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Life's worth of lessons in a week

There are moments in your life that you'll never forget.

Usually, they are single moments in time - a graduation, a wedding, a birth, a chance meeting, a first kiss - the things that form the human fabric of our lives.

For me, the truth is I'll never forget the last seven days.

About seven weeks ago, I wrote a column that said I was finally starting to feel like myself again after a long recovery from two surgeries for cancer.

Unfortunately, shortly after that, cancer intervened again in my life. We found out that my cancer had, for the lack of a better term, re-emerged in other places.

There was a 20-minute period, at least it was that long for me, when time slowed to a crawl as my mind tried to absorb the news.

At that point, you're trying to think of things to ask your doctor, but in reality all you can think about is your situation.

Has everything I've gone through been a waste of time? Why does this keep happening to me? Why can't we catch a break?

Around that time, someone asked if it wouldn't be better for me to take time off from work, you know take things easy during this next round of treatments.

I thought about it for a second.

"No," I said. "It's called life and you live it and that's what I intend to do."

So that brings us to the last seven days.

Last Monday, I started five straight days of chemotherapy early in the morning at Emory. All in all, it wasn't so bad thanks in a large part to the wonderful, dedicated people that work in Emory's infusion center.

On Tuesday, I was treated to an incredible three-game volleyball match between county rivals Rockdale and Heritage. The Lady Patriots came back to win after the Lady Bulldogs had rallied and appeared on their way to victory. Even though I'd had a long day, I got quite a lift from watching and then writing about such a spirited contest.

Wednesday was a day off and a chance to rest up.

On Thursday, I stayed in the office here at the Citizen, trying to gather strength for what I knew would be a long football Friday night. Honestly, I could feel the fatigue really starting to build.

Of course, Friday was the longest day of the week, chemo early in the morning and then football until midnight.

The trip from the parking lot at Heritage High School to the press box at Evans Memorial Stadium was not easy. It took a lot out of me and I wondered if I'd made a mistake.

The Patriots suffered a one-point loss to Habersham Central on the same night that saw Salem and Alcovy wrap up county bragging rights. By midnight, we were done here at the Citizen and I was wiped out.

On Saturday, the plan was to be off early again to Emory to finish chemo, but things didn't go smoothly in the wee hours of Saturday morning. My chemo pump had a problem and the alarm kept going off, but I got it fixed and finally got some sleep.

Truthfully, Saturday was a blur, even the college football. In fact, the whole day felt that way, except for the trip to the Flying Biscuit for the best breakfast I've had in a long time.

Even though I was run down, I worked on Saturday, writing a story about the Heritage cross country team's impressive showing at the Rock Ranch Invitational. After that, it was time for a wonderful and lively dinner with our friends.

Sunday was our annual fantasy football draft, and, even though I was drained, there's nothing like the boost of energy you get from the camaraderie of friends.

To tell you the truth, I had no idea how the last seven days would turn out. They were a tough, yet rewarding, grueling journey.

I learned to see the value in each moment, whether it's a good volleyball match, a delicious breakfast, more good friends than a person deserves or the fact that you willed yourself all the way up to that press box.

This week isn't going to be too shabby, either. On Thursday, I'll be in Pittsburgh for the Steelers-Titans NFL season opener.

Since life goes on, in today's paper you finally see our All-Area Girls Basketball Team. The boys basketball team will follow next weekend and then we'll work through our spring sports all-star teams, as fast as we possibly can, all the while keeping up with football, softball, volleyball and cross country.

I plan to keep moving forward in this journey because it's called life and you live it.

One week taught me that.