What is your worst ever experience with pain, agony, distress?
If you ask me, I can think of nothing more, but my monthly period cramps. There should be more, but I might have to think or rather say I do not remember.
We all have experienced pain at some point in our lives. And each one of us has no clue what the other person goes through unless we face a similar painful crisis. But how much pain in bearable? Well, no one can say that, as pain is subjective, means there are no pieces of equipment to measure it independently. So one can never say, “My pain is more than yours or less than yours”.We can never feel the pain someone goes through.
Lance Edward Armstrong, an American former professional road racing cyclist, in 1996, at the age of 25 after winning a world championship in 1993, was diagnosed with potentially fatal metastatic testicular cancer.
This is one book that I read and made me feel the pain which I wish someone never goes through, not even if it was going to teach you how to fight or succeed, I thought. Lance’s portrayal of his journey “back to life” will definitely give you chills down the spine.
Lance Armstrong, in his book “It’s not about the Bike – My Journey back to life” talks about his journey as a teenager when he commences cycling as a hobby to participating in local raced and then becoming a professional racer. The adversities he faces in becoming one, facing cancer as a 25-year-old, fighting the odds, coming back to life and racing again. It’s not just because of the cancer thing, I suggest you read the book. But the spirit and aggression he fought the disease, and with the only intention to beat it, is worth experiencing as a reader.
“There was a disquieting intimacy to the idea that something uninvited was living inside my head. When something climbs straight into your mind, that’s way personal. I decided to get personal right back, and I began to talk to it, engaging in an inner conversation with Cancer.You picked the wrong guy. When you looked around for a body to hang out in, you made a big mistake when you chose mine. Big mistake.”
The initial part of the story talks about Lance and his single mother who raises him with enduring love and support. His passion for cycling and how he cultivates it into a professional one with the help of his mom. He shared a very friendly and solicitous relationship with his mom who supported him throughout his journey, also remains his closest and dearest person in life. The fact of her being a single mother didn’t have much of impact on Lance’s education/career either financially or emotionally. Her love for Lance remained always above everything. The book also highlights that his Mom apart from being his best friend was also his organizer and a motivator. On being diagnosed with cancer first which left him shattered it was again his Mom who encouraged him to fight no matter what.
The grit with which he understood, researched and assembled every information about cancer is laudable and impelling. We can learn from his attitude that if you need to defeat your enemy, you might have to study it well, understand its weaknesses and then analyze the ways to defeat it. Lance not only probed every scrupulous detail about the disease but also followed his reports so closely that he could read them. He asked incessantly numerous questions to his nurses/doctors to quench every possible statistics to keep himself well aware of every part of the treatment phase that he was going through. The mortifying narrations of the chemotherapy sessions will leave you in an agonizing state.
Later part of the book narrates how he meets Kik who becomes his wife and another support in his fight back to normal life and racing. He also talks about the difficulties they face in becoming parents that is unescapable for a cancer patient survivor.
Why you should read the book?
To get a little closer to understanding someone’s pain in life and the ability to fight it diligently.
Lance is no doubt a HERO.