Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cancer Post #1 - Happy Anniversary

I promise the next post will not be about my health.  Furthermore, the third post of each month will be dedicated to my health.  That way, readers can know what’s coming and decide to tune in, or not.  Don’t laugh, btw – in April I had over 400 unique hits to my humble blog.  Now, if one-tenth of those people would buy a book…

Being the kind of guy I am, I have trouble remembering anniversaries.  I mark them on the calendar in January and hope only to find them before they find me.  That said, here is one to remember:  on June 5th of this year I was diagnosed with Type 3 Colon Cancer.  That puts me in what I call big-boy territory.  Today is my two-week anniversary.  I have two-hundred and fifty-eight weeks left to beat the bell-curve.

This will probably turn very ugly before it’s over, but today is a good day.  For the first time in two and a half months, I had a long grocery-store run and didn’t pause for either pain or lack of energy.  In fact, the only pain I have now is when I sneeze.
Sneezing pulls the guts where I had my bowel resection on the 4th of June.  The only other discomfort I have is with my new port.  A port is a thing the surgeon stuck under the skin of my right man-boob this past Monday.  It allows doctors and nurses to draw blood and hook up the chemotherapy needles without making my arm look like I’m competing with Macaulay Culkin.  Today my man-boob is really itchy.

Furthermore, I have no restrictions on what I do or what I eat.  I am down to pre-wedding weight and the doctors tell me to eat what I want, when I want, and as much as I want.  That’s what I call a silver lining.  I’m coming off a cheeseburger binge even as I type and have managed to gain one entire pound.  So yeah, not a bad day.

Again, it’s extremely early in the struggle; but, not so early as to have failed to ruminate on a few things.  Here are a few of them.  They might help somebody.  They might not.

Cancer Rumination #1:  Having cancer is like waking from a dream that changes you.  This thought popped into my head last night.  I don’t know what it means, exactly.  But I like how it sounds.  It probably deserves its own post.

Cancer Rumination #2:  I have resolved that I will watch my daughters grow to be much older than they are today, that my parents and sister will not attend my funeral, that my wife and I have more anniversaries to celebrate, that I will own the boxed set of The Hobbit movie trilogy, that I have more books to write, that I will see Obama leave the White House, and that when I turn fifty I will buy a new motorcycle.

Cancer Rumination #3:  The only difference between a person with cancer and a person without cancer is the cancer.  This is more profound than it sounds.  Think about it.

Cancer Rumination #4:  Most people don't know what to do when they find out that I have cancer.  Reactions tends towards awkwardness or wanting to help.  The outward support I have received thus far has been tremendous.  People have brought food and have mowed the lawn.  They’ve stopped by for visits and are there for my children and my wife, which I appreciate more than I can articulate.  The shittiest part about this is the burdens, the worries, and the helplessness they feel.  I think, so far, I’ve taken the news better than they have.

Cancer Rumination #5:  Some families only get together during funerals.  Then they leave, years pass, and they see one another only at the next funeral; a little of that has come my way.  People I have not heard from in years have contacted me to share their support and concern.  It’s goodness, really it is.  Don’t be shy.  Send me a note.  It’s just a shame we don’t stay in touch during the good times.

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