I paddled out to the ocean. I am a kook. I'm trying to sweat out the chemo. My legs are heavy. But I pull my arms through the water--I'm on a search, and hope the waves can return my journey. Timing off. Paddling a little harder. I'm trying to paddle away from chemo's effects.The only way to handle all of this is pretend I'm just as horrible at surfing as 90 percent of the cheeseheafds who are in the water--amazing how bad and stiff and happy these wave-catchers not surfers are. But my battle isn't with them, or competing for waves, And oh how they talk to each other--instant experts.
"I wonder where all these people are coming from?" said a friend of mine, looking at yet another couple carrying foam boards.
"Have you noticed they all know each other?" I said.
I paddle and paddle, push off the board to strengthen the chest. I noitce some guys paddling around me to get a wave. I let it happen and just hope I get a chance at as wave when no one else is in position to get in my way or take it (which is how I thought as a beginner because I didn't want to get in anyone's way.). If there's a chance tof colliding with a person burning me down the line I pull out and ignore them. There are two instructors with three students apiece cramping the lineup. Soon the spot goes from six people to twenty-five. I ignore the numbers. They yak and joked and surf badly and applaud each other. It's gruesome. I stay within,
My battle is within. They are without me in every way possible.
So I paddle. Stop. Push up on board. Paddle. Stop. Push up. I do snag a couple waves. Crawled up a bit, felt awkward. Even fell once. I accept my abilities being demoted in the effort of the climb. This spot has always gone beyond me and given me so much. I crawl up on the board and paddle out again.
I'm too tried to carry my board.
"Fred you need help," shouted a friend.
I've learned to be humble, and said, "Yes."
I have to be strong. In a month there will be a surgery. I have to be in the best shape possible. They are going to cut me open. I can't control how they do the surgery. All I can do is be the healthiest cut of meat so I will endure it, and bounce back. I hope the world isn't done with me yet. But my goal is not to give it a choice.