We runners are a hardy bunch. We push ourselves to exhaustion. We sometimes break bones and scrape skin seeking out stressful situations to see just how far we can push ourselves. Sometimes we do all this while overcoming some immense obstacles.
If you’re San Luis Obispo, Calif., pulmonologist Tom Vendegna, 43, you run to reverse a cancer that initially left you only a 20 percent chance of long-term survival. The Tribune newspaper in that central California city last week ran a human interest story on the medical doctor, who helped confront the ravaging effects of chemotherapy by running and cycling. This after surgeons extracted three pounds of flesh from his cancerous leg.
As the article noted:
From the beginning, Vendegna decided to fight through major surgery, radiation and chemotherapy with exercise, which he said aided him tremendously in his recovery. Although he was a runner before his diagnosis, Vendegna said the experience changed his outlook on keeping fit.
“As time went on, I really started enjoying exercising and forgot about the whole thing of, ‘I have to exercise,’ he said. “It became more of an exclamation point on being alive, and I really started having fun.”
Vendegna’s inspirational explains how he overcame the odds to become cancer-free. It should help some of us who complain about minor aches and pains gain some perspective, while also providing comfort to those who currently or later encounter similar physical difficulties.
Vendegna, according to the article, plans next year to celebrate five years of restored health by cycling in France with his wife. Sounds like the trip of a lifetime.