Seeing this photo of Lance Armstrong with sheer determination on his face (please go check out the image, which I was ever so tempted to post directly on my blog but my gut was telling me I better not or I could get into some copyright-related trouble) in the Newsweek article by Buzz Bissinger titled “I Still Believe in Lance Armstrong” reminded me of just why Lance Armstrong has had such a huge impact on me, even though I am neither a cancer survivor nor a cyclist. Heck, I’m not even athletic. Why then would he have such an impact on me? Well, for one, he is a survivor. When the odds were not in his favor to beat the cancer that was threatening his life, he went on to beat those odds….and won. This image of intense focus and sheer determination and willpower will forever be ingrained in my mind whenever I am faced with some sort of challenge, including moods that like to tank on occasion (like my last bout with PMS…see my last post), difficulties at work, feelings of doubt concerning the people in my life, or what have you.
The Preface of my book starts off with the following self quote:
If asked what individuals inspire me, I would answer: “Those who overcome adversity and share their experiences with others to chip away at ignorance and enable others in similar situations to benefit.”
And I go on to say the following a few paragraphs into my Preface:
Those impassioned about certain causes usually aren’t motivated in such fashion unless they are directly impacted by a life-changing experience, such as a serious illness, near-death experience, or surviving the death of a loved one. It takes these kinds of experiences to motivate individuals to try to make a difference in the world and to try to help others. Some are determined to help others by sharing their stories, like Brooke Shields, Marie Osmond, and Lance Armstrong.
Granted, he is obviously not a postpartum depression (PPD) survivor. So why did I mention him along with the likes of Brooke and Marie, both of whom published books about their PPD experiences? His book It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life left a very lasting impression on me. It wasn’t so much the fact that he wrote that book but that he beat testicular cancer with a tumor that had metastasized to his brain AND lungs, and after beating the odds of surviving what was deemed an extremely poor prognosis, started up his Lance Armstrong Foundation to raise millions for cancer research, and went on to win the Tour de France not just once but SEVEN times.
Lance signing my autograph at NYC Bike Race – 8/4/02
Poster autographed by Lance at NYC Bike Race – 8/4/02
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is an organization that has endless amounts of money and time (to waste, evidently) to continue such a ridiculous witch hunt. They know it was just a matter of time that he would give up. After all, who has endless amounts of their own money to keep throwing away like that. No one. The USADA should be ashamed of themselves. They’d be dumb to pass the medal down to the 2nd or 3rd or 4th, and so on, runner up to those races years ago. Why’s that? Cuz more than likely, they won’t pass the supposed doping tests either. So, they might as well leave well enough alone.
USADA, you may have stripped his medals and banned him from pro cycling for good, but Lance is the winner of those seven Tour de France titles. Period. I am a forever Lance fan, and don’t care that people or organizations out there want to smear his name. I know I am FAR from the only one who feels this way. I’ve seen the countless tweets in his favor with the ones against him practically non-existent.
To anyone reading this who is in the midst of struggling with PPD right now, it might help to keep the image of Lance’s look of sheer determination and willpower firmly ingrained in your mind. You WILL be well again, you WILL defeat PPD. You CAN do it. You just need to get the right help to set you back on the road to wellness. Along the way, there will be ups and downs–kind of like the intensely steep inclines in the Alps that Lance mastered followed by the declines…well not really, but you know what I’m trying to say here–but you will reach the end of your PPD journey intact, victorious….a SURVIVOR! Take it from me, a PPD survivor who was at one point fearful that I would never be well again. Not only did I recover fully within a year after I started my treatment protocol, I emerged from my PPD journey stronger–and a whole hell of a lot smarter–than ever before!