As a cancer survivor it is hard not to be drawn in by the story of Lance Armstrong. I watched much of his interview with Oprah with a mixture of puzzlement and distress. I expected a mea culpa; a repentant, regretful Lance. I expected him to turn this awful story around, own his wrongdoings and being the process of apologizing to those he damaged. I should have left my expectations at the door many, many years ago.
I’m having a hard time with all of this on two levels. Today: Part One.
My son has lost his hero. As the child of a cancer survivor, Zach has watched this man – an athlete, no less – not just survive cancer, not just thrive cancer, but make a stunning and spectacular return to his sport. Knowing that metastatic cancer could be put in its place, that it didn’t have to inform everything, gave Zach more hope than I think I will ever be able to truly appreciate.
I can’t even count the number of times Lance’s name is invoked in our home. Now Zach can’t bear to hear about him. He avoids the paper and turns of the TV when a report comes on. As a mother it is excruciating to watch this. When your child aches, you ache as well. As adults we know that the higher up we hold our heroes the further they must fall.
But this one is different. Lance was living proof that someone with metastatic cancer can beat it. Not just beat it, but beat it BIG. Lance was living proof that cancer doesn’t get to win. So imagine what happens when it all goes up in smoke, when the man who helped you believe that your mother would live ends up nothing more than a liar. When you look at this and see it was all just smoke and mirrors, what then do you believe?