How will it define me? How will I define it? I know in my heart that this Cancer is part of my destiny. It was predetermined and has always been waiting for the right time. My entire life has led me to right now. I have been in training for 38 years for this moment and I just never knew it.
All the challenges and growth that I have gone through over the years, from the ups and downs of building a business, divorce and marriage, the long hard worked nights, money, time management, raising an amazing son… All the the things I have had to grind through to keep getting to a better place, have led me to right now.
There is no “why me” in my mindset. It makes perfect sense why it is me. I feel I am the perfect person for this job. It is now my role to make something amazing from this. To turn this into literally the best thing that has ever happened to me and hopefully others around me. To some how make the world a little better, because I got Cancer. I have always felt I have a sense of purpose beyond the norm. This may just be my outlet to finally sit down and think and write.
It’s been 9 days since my entire life went a completely different direction. It’s been 9 days of non stop intensity and overwhelming, confusion, wonder, pain, fear, exhaustion, and facing my new reality. It has also been 9 of the most amazing days of my life, filled with genuine love, so much support, and a new amazement for the absolute smallest of things (which I will explain later). I love all of you and thank you from the bottom of my heart for loving me. I have been touched of course by my family, April, Brandon, and my closest friends. But I have been shocked by the love from people I don’t know as well, people that I didn’t know I had affected so much in the past. This is eye opening and humbling.
I asked my doctor a few days ago, if I hadn’t gone into the hospital how long would I have survived this Cancer. He said that I probably would have passed away this week or next. This week or next? Holy Sh#t. That will certainly open your eyes.
I think this writing serves a couple points. One is to keep anyone curious about my condition, in the loop, and the other is for me to help understand myself. I don’t ever want to forget these feelings. They are more real and honest than anything I have ever felt. As I write if any of it sounds overly dramatic or deep, well… that’s because it has been pretty darn dramatic and deep. If any of it sounds preachy, well… that is because I am feeling a newfound instant wisdom that I could only get by being in this situation. It’s impossible not to. I want to be 100% transparent with myself and with all of you. I just want to be me.
So how do I know I will beat Cancer? I already wrote it in my domain name. For me, beating Cancer is 100% in my control. Surviving Cancer will have to come from prayer and whoever is listening beyond this world (yes, this is coming from guy who is not religious). I have hope and faith in in my heart that I will survive this. But right now that is irrelevant and wasted energy. It is 100% out of my control. What I have control of is the ability to beat Cancer. What that means to me is that I keep and maintain my heart and soul. I need to make sure that I find happiness everyday. That I stay positive. That I appreciate every breath offered to me. Happiness, I’m realizing, is a very simple thing. It’s as simple as breathing in and breathing out. Opening and closing my eyes. It’s taking more time outs to realize how special we all are to have been given this gift of life. I think of all the amazing steps along the way that it took for all of us to be born. So every breath is a gift.
I realize that most of the “problems” that we face in our lives, we create. 99% of our problems just simply won’t matter in a day, or a week or a month. We allow them to last so much longer because we get away from the simplicity and appreciation of true happiness. 99% of our problems can be solved in 10 minutes with the right techniques. Happiness can be achieved everyday in any condition. I realize that as I write at 4:45 in the morning. I am not scared, or sad right now. I am really happy. Im happy that I can see and breathe. I am happy that I can write and think. More of these long random thoughts to come, I have a feeling….
So let’s do a quick update, How did I get here?
Dec 13th – It was my holiday party at the building that I was living in, in Denver. It was great. April and I were about 40 years younger than most of the guests at the party. There was food and music. As we went to the party, I found myself looking for a place to lean. I had no energy. I told April I needed to leave the party early.
Dec 14th – I had a sore throat, and just felt sick, normal achy stuff.
I continued over the next few days to get sicker. Taking DayQuil and Sudafed.
Dec 18th- I had an amazing holiday party with my team at True Photography. I was so excited to see everyone that I honestly faked my way through the party as far as health goes. I took medicine to try and get through it, drank a few drinks, and had an amazing time. But after that was an all out crash. I couldn’t do it anymore. I felt this beginning pressure in my lungs and pressure on my heart. I was convinced that I just had a bad flu.
Dec 19th-23 I felt that maybe I have Pneumonia. So I took some medicine to help with that.
Dec 25th- Had a great Christmas but could not get off my butt. My lungs were feeling like they were swishing water back and forth. There were only certain angles I could breathe.
Dec 26th – I go to bed in a separate room and start coughing. The medicine isn’t working. I cough until the point that I could not cough anymore. I also couldn’t get a breath. I felt like I was going to pass out, and may have for a brief moment. I knew I had to go to the hospital. That morning I go to Urgent care. They do an x ray and find that my right lung is 20-30% blocked. The Doctor thought initially it to was Pneumonia but was curious about something behind my sternum. He said “Hmmm. thats interesting”, not what you want to hear your doctor say, by the way. He said that I should go to the emergency room right away. So I went. The rest is history.
They said I was drowning from the inside out, and that they had to drain my lung. They drained 2 liters of water. That is 4 pounds of water from 1 lung. The also found a large mango-sized mass that has been growing probably for a year according to my doctor. You would think there would be more symptoms, but until it hits into vital organs, it just was growing. Then it made a crash landing. I have a rare cancer that typically runs in children. This makes sense based on my maturity, Ha.
Less than 5% of adults with Cancer have what I have. It is a form of T lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma. It was interesting enough that the doctors over at UCSD medical center were very excited to recruit me over to their facility to put me on a new aggressive clinical trial that only 4 others have taken before me. A few years ago this would have been terminal, but they have made a lot of progress over the years. It is the most aggressive form of Chemo and also the longest form of Chemo. Meaning it is going to kick my ass. The program is 2.5 years. 7 months of intensity, then another year less intense, than the rest if all goes well is chemo pills and less treatment. My immune system will drop basically to zero at times.
I am basically bubble boy. I am around anyone slightly sick it could be doomsday for me. I have to eat very specific foods. The opposite of what you learn. I don’t have the immune system to handle raw foods. In fact they would kill me. Our natural immune systems fight off the small things and take in the nutrients. Mine wont be able to do that.
I started Chemo 2 days ago. The timing was so close because the mass was touching my heart and creating arrhythmias that were getting stronger. So they ran every test and turned around these 24 hr test in 9 hrs. They then gave me emergency Chemo at around 1:00am. 3 rounds for 100 minutes. 2 of the doses were manually administered by a nurse timing it to precision. Believe it or not I already feel some of the pressure lifted off of my heart. so this stuff works quick. I haven’t had arrhythmias again. So that is where I am now.
It may sound funny to say, but I am so curious to see what I can learn from myself. For the first time I don’t have a plan. I don’t have anywhere that I have to be. I don’t know exactly how I feel. So what gets written from here is to be determined. My thoughts will probably evolve and change along the way.
But wait… There’s more! In my next post, I will rewind a few days, as there have been amazing moments in between first going to the hospital and where I am today.