I lost a good friend today. That friend has been with me around the clock for the last seven years. He has been a constant talisman, a guardian of sorts, protecting me in some way from a disease that is trying to take me. With the snip of a pair of scissors, I cut my yellow LIVESTRONG bracelet from the place on my right wrist that it has occupied, rain or shine, through operations, radiation treatments, infusions and needle sticks for almost 7 years. I wore that bracelet as a tribute to my hero, Lance Armstrong.
I was co-owner 0f Ride On Bikes here in Columbus, Ga. at the time I wiggled the bracelet on my arm. I wore it with the word LIVESTRONG facing out, so that all who read it might gain some of the good karma I felt it was gathering from the universe around me and allowing to flow into my body. In addition to using it in my daily fight against cancer, I gave them, sometimes with great ceremony, to others. My mother, my son, my brother, Eric, on the day he was diagnosed with the same cancer Lance had.
Like many others, I suspected Lance was doping but I chose not to believe the reports because he represented to me everything good and powerful, not only on the slopes of the Pyrenees, but in the war against cancer. When people would ask me whether or not I believed the reports of his doping, I just wouldn’t respond. He was my hero, and I just wasn’t having it. I chose to hold him up, to continue to cheer him on, to allow him to be a beacon in my personal war against cancer.
The last few days with reports from his trusted lieutenants starting to come to light, it is now obvious to me that my hero is a fallen man. I’m not as upset about the alleged doping as I am the apparent elaborate string of lies and deceit that it took to cover it up. I’m just sad about it.
Honestly, it felt very strange going toward my wrist with the scissors. Jill asked me what I was doing and as I let the blades fall on the yellow band of plastic, I said, “That’s it. I’m cutting it off. Now I’ll probably die by next week.” Like it was really a magic deterrent to death by cancer. Without nearly as much of the ceremony I have employed showing it, looking at it and sharing it, I just cut it in half and threw it in the trash.
Lance, thanks for the hours and hours of excitement you’ve given me over those awesome years of your seven Tour de France wins. Thanks for the leadership you’ve shown in the epic battle against cancer. But, dude, I’ve got to move on and I’m going to do it without you.