Share. Connect. Love.

My Cancer Story

I was diagnosed on April 23 2015 with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. This site is dedicated to my story so that my family and friends can follow my progress to success.

Latest journal entry

Fathers Day.

Since today is Father’s Day I thought it would be a good opportunity to do an update post.  I know it has been a long time since my last update but life has been busy and that is a good thing.   Before I get to the “me” part of my post I want to give you two quick stories that only a parent can relate to.

We knew we wanted to be parents, I was just not sure when I wanted to start, but 12 and 5 months ago our first was born, a boy, his name is Garret.  Waiting from him to be born felt like forever, it was a mixed bag of holy shit and I can’t wait.  We never peeked so he was a total surprise.  Like most first time parents we were worried we would break him, he was SO SMALL.  Always hold them with two hands, like holding something breakable.  We almost starved him till the nurse came out for the first week checkup and asked if we were feeding him.  Yes, we were he was just not eating a ton, so she showed us how to feed him with a plastic bottle cap. 

There is not enough pages on earth to write up all the joyful stories and challenges he has brought us, however, there is 1 recent incident that is worthy of a post.

Garret, now 12 and hardly starving and out eating me on a daily basis yet remains in shape, yes, I am totally jealous!  He is growing in to a teen so like him his cloths are getting bigger, including his underwear.  In-fact his undies somehow made it into our laundry since they look like mine (boxer briefs and any color other than white).  My guess is since the look so close the got washed after being mixed in the laundry room and returned to our room.  We always put the clean laundry basket at the bottom of our bed, dump it on the bed to fold them.  Had I done this you would not have a story I’m about to tell….

It was a dark morning, still winter so the sun was not up at 7am.  I was running behind for work, like most I felt that initial oh shit panic when you look at the clock, so I was rushing.  Ran to my dresser to get dressed and I was out of undies so I went to the end of the bed, grabbed the basket and dumped it on the bed. Saw the first pair of men’s undies I could find, put both feet through then gave it the good old power yank up.  Well, as soon as they hit my knee caps I knew what I had done, however they were so tight I could not move my legs, it was honestly like a Chinese finger trap for legs.  My thumbs were on the inside pinned to my thighs unable to move because he has a size 14 waist.  I stood there, bent over, hands pinned, legs handcuffed mooning the dresser wondering how in the hell did I just do that.  Then it happened, I lost my balance, I knew I was going down, with no hands to brace my-self I aimed for the bed.  This worked, well mostly, I landed on the corner, then it squished in and I rolled off onto the floor staring at the ceiling.  In all this commotion, I freed myself.  But there I was on the floor wondering if the world should ever know this story or if I should take it to my grave.  

I decided to post it on Father’s Day, so now I feel much better with that off my chest!! 

Life changed again in the spring of 2007 when Ilah was born.  We do admit we peeked and knew it was a girl but we kept it to our self.  The only reason we looked was for planning, boys or girls close etc.  But when she was born, I actually delivered her!! I don’t mean just catch her, I was trained as an EMT and the Dr.  let me do all of it in the hospital setting while she was next to me.  It was incredible to doing it.  I recall making a joke to my wife something on the line of “I put her in out I took her out”, I am sure I laughed much harder than she did.  But she had plenty experience ignoring me after being married for 6 years. 

Having the 2nd child did not really frighten me much.  Other than my vow to get snipped after the 2nd child was born.  So, yes, I was thrilled to have another baby, but less than thrilled at my own future. 

 

Funny, this time after being parents for 2 years we were LONG past the “Are we going to break it?” stage.  I used to carry Ilah around with 1 arm, held her head/neck in my hand and let her legs drape around my arm.  Let’s just say we realized how tough babies really are!  If you have more than 1 kid you know exactly what I am talking about!!  2nd kid was a BREEZE. 

I don’t have any drastic stories for her like I did for Garret but she has none the less had her funny moments.   We used to have this 6-volt gator that kids drove around the yard, well at least Garret did, every time we let her drive he punched it, looked at us, never forward and drove herself into the garden, trees or bush. Right then, I knew she had Lisa’s driving skills. 

The other funny moment came when we are at the kid’s hair cutters and she asked for a quarter to get a candy from the glass jar coin machines.  She kept saying it did not give her one, the lady behind the counter was a bit snarky, looked at her and said, “Did you not see the out of order post-it note on the machine?”  Ilah scrunched up her nose, squinted her eyes and said, “I can’t read yet, give me my money back!”  Right then, I knew she had my temper.  The lady was shocked, got all nice, went and opened the machine and gave her candy and her quarter back.

Both of our kids are truly wonderful, they make us better parents and we love them every day, even when they drive us nuts.  We know we drive them nuts at times too, we like everyone are not perfect.  We make mistakes, know we should have handled it better, not gotten mad, shown more affection, hugged longer and all the above.  But we do the best for our kids, and they are really awesome and great kids growing into spectacular individuals.  But that is what parenting is about, doing better, doing the best you can, doing the right thing, putting the first.  Being able to laugh at your own mistakes, love every minute of their raising because it’s over so quickly. 

I hope all fathers have a special day and can reflect how they can inspire your children. Love your kids, you made them, you heled raise them, do it the best you can, make them have the BEST memories of you and show them what a father should be! 

Ok, time to talk about me for a bit.  I am doing good, I feel 100% normal, well as normal as this guy gets.  I have a lot of body repair to do.  Turns out that over eating and not exercising is a poor combination.    In my defense, I did have a torn meniscus and had surgery in April, prior to April I was not physically able due to fatigue and sore knee.  But, now that I had surgery I have no excuses, I even joined the gym again and though I will never be Bay Watch material I can at least get myself back in proper order.  2 years of treatment has had a toll and it is about 60lbs.  But, look, I don’t care, I am alive, I am doing well, I’m just fat now, or to be politically correct I am gravitationally challenged.  But this is something I can finally fix, I have been unable to really do much other than keep my chin up for 2 years.  Now, I can fix it myself, and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.

Life is going well, it has moments where I struggle.  For 2 years so much has been done for me, yard word, cleaning, you name it. Now that I can return to those duties I feel overwhelmed at times.  I find myself in overtime trying to speed up the last 2 years.  I know this is me and I feel behind.  I need to work on it, I need to relax and I need to stop political bitching on facebook.  Yep, I know I get carried away, but it helps me depressurize, I have a lot of stuff inside from treatment, I am working through it but it does not happen overnight.  I struggle a lot when I see facebook post the 1 year ago crap.  I see myself where I was in 2016 and 2015.  They are hard to see, I have considered deleting my facebook account because of them but then it would define me, it would win.  Instead, I need to recognize where I have come from, not where I was.  Trust me, a lot of what I say is harder said than done but even know, healthy I refuse to be overcome. 

That being said I still worry about my scan, coming up July 27th and the results July 28th.  If I was not scared I would not be alive.  I have had cancer return in the past and I know what that feels like.  But now I feel like I am sincerely healthy, I don’t have that shitting feelings, pains and exhaustion like I did before.  I also understand that it might not be cancer that kills me, I have unfortunately seen people die that were healthy.  People that were active in posting to my blog, people that had no reason to fear death, and now they are gone, and I am still here.  This is a part of my story, a big part, but my story is not sad no matter how it ends.  My story is filled with Joy, Children, Wife, experiences and memories.  I continue to build them, and make them good, make them enjoyable.  I do the best I can not worrying about the future, it’s not living if I worry about death. 

I do have news that makes me less than happy.  I know have 4 people that have been diagnosed with cancer.  I hope in some way they can take my journey, courage, insight and put it to good use.  I used to feel somewhat special having cancer, but now I know 4 people that are just starting the journey I finished.  The only way I can describe it would be, consider a race, I ran the distance, I navigated the hardships, swam the rivers and crossed the finish line.  Now, I am going back cheering for others sill in the race, rooting them on, keeping their spirits high, letting them know they are NOT alone, that so many people are clapping and yelling their names to get to that finish line.   I know all too well how far that line can be, you can see it in the distance and it looks at times as if someone is pushing it out farther.  But you just run faster, you don’t give up when it feels so hard to finish.  Remember, EVERYONE can quit, but you can push forward, you are not everyone.

So, with that my friends I am bringing a close to my post but there are many chapters left in my story.  2017 is the first year since 2014 that I am experiencing life cancer free, I am loving every new memory I am making, loving my story. 

 

Love your story, it’s beautiful and unique like mine.

-Grady.