Rising to the challenge of a 3 day walk

Rising to the challenge of a 3 day walk

Liz picChallenges: We all have them. No matter where they stem from, we’ve all faced something in life that we were not sure we could defeat. You fight your way through it though, and along the way, you learn about your grit, your worth, your character – YOU.

At times it is hard to stay the course, and it would be easier to just give up and try again “some other time”.  But what if you don’t get that chance? This is what I told myself when I encouraged my mother to join me as I signed up for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk. I know this will change me forever. Training has already changed my relationship with my mother to something even better than it already is. I never thought I would use the word, “Easy”, when referring to a walk in excess of 6 miles. But that is what challenges do – they completely change your frame of reference. Even at its hardest moments, this will be easier than battling Breast Cancer.

I have never had Breast Cancer, though I did find a lump in late spring which was fortunately benign. I was lucky. However, I will tell you that until the doctor at AAMC’s Breast Center told me that it was NOT Cancer, I thought that I was living in Black Hole.  I left there with a positive outcome, but will never look at life the same.   Many are not as lucky as I was that day. Many leave there needing to make plans for treatment, for surgery, and for “Family Meetings”.  My sister-in-law Bridget is a Survivor. My friend Shannon is a Survivor. These and many others are why I walk. Of course, I walk for my breasts too; I won’t lie – I’m kinda attached to them!

We are close to the October 12th Opening Ceremonies and I find myself  worried about the normal things like blisters, dehydration, and not being able to complete the 60 miles. When these thoughts trickle in, I remind myself that undoubtedly there will be harder things for me to endure between now and the day I take my last breath. Life is like that. I have two choices: Stop or keep going. I choose to keep going.

John Wayne said, “Courage is being scared to death but showing up anyway.” Well, I’m scared and I’m showing up. And I’m going to walk the treads right off those shoes if I have to. This challenge will not beat me.

-Liz Cariaga, RNC


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