Yes, I am Happy. I have Hope, but No I am not Content (yet) because I am a work in progress. I could be ‘in remission’ now, but with MM, that is not usually a permanent condition. I am technically not Cancer-Free, but the chronic pain is gone . I do not have enough money in the bank account, or the house I wanted, nor at the college degree level I desire. My Good News: Physically, emotionally, and spiritually I am the most ALIVE and AWAKE I have ever been. What I do know is, there is more I do not know. I have still have more to learn, but am grateful for the opportunity and right to keep learning.
The title survivor, unexpected, is due to mis-information and fears that had convinced my brain I was just 5-7 years away from ultimate mortality (spine fracture, spinal chord injury, and fusion) sprinkled with 4 years of chemotherapy/radiation. Starting with corrupt data, I made many calculated choices and decisions, logistically and medically, and felt blessed by friends and chosen by God to do all of it (at the time). The result of my Best Intentions were not quite realized, but we found new ways to solve life problems instead. I have always been poor at math, so I suppose this is no surprise to me now.
Here we are in Maryland, summer of 2017, and my intention here is to remain mindful and positive. But remember that reality can be dark or twisty, so darker humor may reflect in the narratives. I am a thinker, and have a right to choose different paths, and that makes me a Patriotic American Veteran, to be honest. However, some born in here rarely appreciate the rights they inherently possess. Hopefully, those who have to fight to be here… GET the value of that privilege. Sadly, the Mean Girl culture of exclusivity, and belief that He who has the most toys Wins, does not get the bigger human picture.
I used to identify as a southern-baptist-christian, or as non-denominational, but landed in the united methodist christian church, as it suited me best for a time. Now, I am among the many, a soul-filled spiritual being with a purpose for existing. (with my inborn guilty compulsion to elaborate – not in 1980’s New Age or Illuminati way)… However, reminded that I no longer have to ‘explain’ myself. Not every person is ready to hear things people with differing viewpoints have to say in this world. I have no interest in judging a person with regards to how they choose their internal belief system, unless they have a proven history of harming others in the process. Caring for Human Rights and Social Justice does not make me a Liberal, but it is something I am passionate about.
I choose to live and die for the right to know truths, no matter how uncomfortable it may be to hear, with rights to be a fully connected member of the human race. Politically, I choose not to get lost in the semantics, but as an Independent (thinker), you may call me whatever you like. I think every living thing desires to be treated with respect, and that some folks need a moral compass to help them do the least harm to others while attempting to live to our purpose. Differences in size, shape, color, mental, spiritual, physical or emotional status should be celebrated, and not treated like problems to solve or eliminate. There is no reason we should be so politically correct as to encourage or allow other humans to behave in ways to offend or traumatize others without a consequence for those actions. In my humble opinion.
I am still alive and breathing against all odds. I try to live each day mindful of that fact. I recognize the physical and mental recovery needed, and live in active forgiveness of others, to include myself. Living life is not easy, nor do I presume it is. Unfortunately, psychological stressors can create fearful and uncertain sensibilities within a self who attempts to blindly navigate life as an adult. I think it is wrong to assume we can ‘blindly follow our bliss’ in the world as it is today. I know that prolonged stressors can raise a person’s susceptibility to illness, but cancer never crossed my mind as a possibility … until it did. I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, stage II, at 37 years old, and the year was 2012. However, my mind, heart, and soul were (fortunately, from my perspective) rebooted as that small wrecking ball hit me in the throat.
That tumor, or plasmacytoma had wrapped itself around a couple vertebrae in my cervical spine. It squeezed until a spontaneous fracture crushed the bone holding my head upright, which is now fused (I like to say, bionically) with a titanium plate, on October 19, 2012. Just 1 millimeter away from being paralyzed and the expert doctors could not see how serious, initially, and sent me home after the 1st ambulance ride to the ER. By the 2nd trip… the doctors quickly sprang into action and stabilized my neck (after I had walked around for at least a week in intense pain). For the first time in 40 years of life, I now hold my head up, and look people in the eyes, without shame, because I was blessed with the ability to do so.
Multiple Myeloma is the invisible beast, or the sleeping monkey on my back. MM affects it’s targets bone marrow and bones, and can become aggressive to bodies under stress. I am grateful for ‘timing’ and at least we were on solid ground among decent people during some more difficult moments. I managed to steer the lifeboat towards shore before storms rained upon us relentlessly, and swept us out to sea for years. It would be odd if I told you all that we were not changed. While I was going through my first stem cell transplant, I started writing about the journey. Sharing my stories with humor was always therapeutic but fun, but the message I intended was not what was presented at first. If you were to ask any person that has seen me in action… My brain processes data and energy 24/7, and some words flow from my mouth faster than my tongue can decipher. I talk a blue streak when nervous and joke inappropriately when scared, am socially awkward and can be over-confident in defense of a soul that cannot speak for itself.
In the past, I trusted unsafe people and we live and learn daily with consequences of those choices. Fear infiltrated my soul from as far back as I can remember, and through the years – it disrupted life utterly and completely -without mercy. Today, irrational fears are gone as well as thoughts of mortality, even with that mm monkey still asleep on my back. I am here because I must write thoughts often because Real life afforded me experiences to share and to inspire others still struggling….