Friday, July 20, 2012

Feeling Real

So the world class  neurosurgeon and I have traded some emails and it’s clear why he’s world class, out of all the doctors, he’s the only one trading emails with me. I’ve talked to them and even have some of their cell phone numbers but he’s the one willing to put it in print and then I can absorb it but he’s officially stated that I only need to do MRI’s once a year… Today I go see the guy who first took a piece of my mind in a couple of hours. I’ve tried to distract myself all day, car is washed, oil is changed, overdue inspection is done. Laundry is done. Check book balance updated… not looking good but trying to keep in perspective that people lose jobs, people sell houses but I am putting that off for a little while and am going to sell a couple of things as push comes to shove that I thought would be there forever but what do you do…

I am not superstitious; I’m just a little stitious but there was a party at my place with people from the running group I’m coaching and for the first time ever period that night I believed I was going to beat this and I said it out loud… and then Monday the emails from Duke started coming. I am not sure what it was about that night, some mango margaritas I made, some people who I was meeting for the first time who had no clue about any of my health problems, a little bit of dancing that broke out in the living room to we are young, that made me feel like just a random dude and while I’m glad to always help and be a survivor that was the first time I ever said and believed, “I am going to beat this thing.” It’s obvious in some of the interactions why Livestrong and other organizations tell you to control your own health disease because some of the doctors I thought were talking… well they weren’t. This at some level is scary for me because what happens if my brain failed or fails… but still. Still, somehow going to see that first neurosurgeon, the one that gave me permission to go running the night before the biopsy on hospital grounds while nurses supervised (they realized how boring it is to watch running) and I may have snuck off and done the training run that marathon schedule required. Still, somehow if this guy tells me we have to go monitor it once a year, the guy who first told me I had a tumor face to face instead of an email it will finally sink in.  When he first told me, in my so well appreciated coping mechanism, I told him to rub some dirt in it. I am eloquent at some level, cracking jokes after the seizures that I don’t remember, telling people that I love them, that they are good looking, apologizing for ruining their birthday,  but there have been moments in life where I had nothing to say and oddly enough (at least all the ones I can remember) where good moments. In order of condescending importance, at the end of 2 Livestrong events the guy with the mike came and tried to ask me my story and I said something along the lines of how awesome Livestrong was and call it oxygen deprivation, but I couldn’t think of anything deep or clever. Another was when my friends handed me a check that would pay a proportion of all the last couple of years have costs. Another was the time I was handed that certificate so long ago for a full scholarship to college where fascinated by people I chose psychology instead of a more practical degree. The other was when I met my father for the first time at age 15. Two more were when I got a yes to a proposal and when the I do happened a few months later. And the moment when I stood in silence the longest was when I first held a child that somehow fitting in my hand just changed the universe in an instant. There’s a long standing remark that women become mothers when they are pregnant and men become fathers at birth. I lived that remark.

A few people have offered to come and I’m going to take thorough notes but I’m only taking one person, the person who I hope these matters most in our lives, a little girl that keeps me going. I still haven’t told  her anything but when I went to have lunch with her, a little boy was giving someone a hard time about not having sunscreen on, that they should put it on or they’d get cancer. And with the innocence that only children bring she announced that her dad had brain cancer and a new daycare worker asked me what it was and stated that her aunt had this exact type of tumor in her left temporal lobe when she was an infant, that her aunt died at a young age which she said discreetly but Kiana still caught. I took Kiana to the side and told her to come with me to this doctor’s appointment and she said okay and said it’s okay daddy, you’re going to live. She’s said this before and so have other people but the simple truth is that until recently I’ve never believed it. I hope this appointment today ends with me acknowledging that they were right and I was wrong.

People ask what I am going to do if I finally buy it and I am going to find somewhere to dance tonight perhaps with just the reality that we are young and we’ll set the world on fire (

I still haven’t found a job but I’ve come up with a plan if an offer comes for that 10-9 one comes… I’ve found a babysitter who will put Kiana to bed but every day with incredibly rare exceptions I will use my lunch to come see her and every morning I will get her ready with ease and enthusiasm and since it’s a Monday-Thursday job, you better believe that I will be there at her school on most Fridays until she gets tired of it. If it comes, I probably will retire from running marathons and things like serious athletic events because I can’t properly train to be competitive with that work schedule but I can properly provide and want to be there for this kid. When Livestrong originally asked to do that video, I was a little annoyed that they focused on the relationship class level because I wished they’d focused on the guy who puts off brain surgery to run a marathon, comes back and wins the cancer division etc but I think they were right and it doesn’t matter how few athletic events there are left ever as long as this child is provided for as best as I can and as best as I know how. 

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