March 8, 2016 7:27 AM   Subscribe

Nathan Sexton finished his first half marathon this past weekend in Chattanooga, Tennessee, finishing at a 7:44-mile pace for 13.1 miles. Last summer, Sexton was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer that brings an average life expectancy of 15 months.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (10 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You only go around once on this planet. Do what makes you happy.
posted by prepmonkey at 7:41 AM on March 8, 2016

One of those got my dad at 55. The pre-diagnosis seizure paralyzed much of his left side and took away his ability to talk, so the quality of life in his remaining 5 months was greatly diminished from the onset.

Seeing "stage 4 glioblastoma"....I really hate aspirational lifestyle cancer stories.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:54 AM on March 8, 2016 [8 favorites]

Very inspiring. I hope he beats the odds.
posted by biggreenplant at 8:00 AM on March 8, 2016

Jesus, look at the little guy with the pacifier. Fuck Cancer.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:22 AM on March 8, 2016

This hits a little too close to home for me, too. My dad was diagnosed with brain cancer a year ago.

Sexton is clearly hardcore, and for him to be working, let alone running a half marathon is impressive. I hope it brings joy to him and his family.

My dad finds these sorts of stories really painful to read, so I just want to say that my dad is also hella hardcore and impressive.

He hasn't worked since his diagnosis (medically necessary and also, in his case, probably not what his employer would want either). So, instead, my dad (who almost always had to be forced to take his vacation time) spends his time going around the state with my mom to look at quilt shops. He watches strange Korean dramas with my youngest brother. He chats with me on Skype until he gets too tired. He spends a lot of time watching golf, doing crosswords, and taking naps.

And fuck it, that's enough. Those of us who love him don't need him to run marathons. We don't need him to be inspirational.

People in his small town like to point him to these stories or to stories of people who had 'miraculous recoveries which astounded doctors' through eating only vegetables or herbs or whatever. I wish I could smash this cultural expectation that he needs to be doing something dramatic in order to 'fight' this unstoppable, unbeatable creeping tumor. I hate that he feels like he is failing by just being his lovely self and spending his remaining time with his family.

But I am taking a lot of comfort from the fact that he's enjoying his last months (years, I hope) eating ice cream and spending time with us.
posted by brambory at 10:08 AM on March 8, 2016 [24 favorites]

Brambory, gosh, this! I have gotten quite rude in asking people to stop sending me all this inspirational woo-woo drek. It's not helpful.

Then there are the people who want to fit me into a story in this format. People expect it of you: if you have a name for your disease and you're not dead yet you must be some kind of fucking hero. There's no orchestra swelling behind me when I go to the grocery store. I'm the same person I always was, not some generic inspiration. I do what I can, and let the rest go, just like I did before I had a medical acronym attached to me.
posted by elizilla at 12:11 PM on March 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

"I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named FuManChu."
posted by nofundy at 2:50 PM on March 8, 2016

Man faced with suddenly impending mortality decides to do something that was on his bucket list.

My best friend died from stage 4 glioblastoma in December. He didn't do any big fancy projects between his diagnosis and his death, just enjoyed the stuff that he enjoyed. Continued at his job, but left promptly at the end of the day. Went on a lot of trips with his family. Ate foods that he liked.

And that's what Nathan Sexton is doing. He's just doing something that he enjoyed, something he wanted to do before there was no longer a chance to do it. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. I've got no problem with Nathan Sexton at all. But it's not an inspirational story of...whatever it's supposed to be. If the brain surgery cuts out something that makes walking/running difficult, then that's a huge hurdle to overcome. If the brain surgery doesn't affect your motor abilities, then running a marathon as a person with stage 4 glioblastoma is no easier or no harder than running a marathon with a cancer-free brain.

Again, it sounds like I'm shitting on Nathan Sexton, and I'm not. He's doing what he wanted to do, which is the same thing I expect any of us would do. I guess I just don't get what amazement or emotion this is supposed to make me feel. "Man loses both legs in car crash, watches Mad Max: Fury Road" "Woman contracts AIDS, gets really good at speaking Klingon."
posted by Bugbread at 4:43 PM on March 8, 2016

Okay, wait, change that to "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" or something, I didn't intend any connection between the injury and the bucket list item, and didn't notice the coincidental overlap between "car crash" and "Mad Max".
posted by Bugbread at 4:52 PM on March 8, 2016

It's funny because these stories don't bother me overly much now - I mean, I'm not particularly inspired by them but they don't make me angry either. HOWEVER, if someone would have sent this to me during the time between my mother's diagnosis with this very cancer and her death (8 months) I would have punched them right in the face.

Unless this article is meant to make me appreciate God even in the face of death. That I have a problem with.
posted by lyssabee at 10:58 AM on March 9, 2016

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