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A year ago today. :( Never in a million years when I joined the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation back in 2014 as a blogger at first, did I ever think that this young man Jordan Jones, the son of TCAF's founder, Kim Jones, would eventually lose his life like this to a late recurrence of the disease after so long. It's just something that's been burned into me now, how precious life really is, and how uncertain everything is. Never waste a day or a moment, and make each one count for something. We're only here for a very short time.
Six years after my cancer fight, I still GRIEVE the loss of my life as I once knew it sometimes, thinking that everything would always be okay, that my family would always be healthy, and friends that I truly love and care about will always be around. I want to believe that, but know it's just now how things work. Why do I get so sappy and emotional? Because I love you, and I want you to know that now, today, because I know that you might not be around tomorrow, or maybe I'm the one that might not be around.
One day I was reading my friend's website, and my jaw hit the floor when I read a post about grief. It was the first time I'd ever seen a "grief chart." I had no idea there even was such a thing, and I could easily identify myself at every single step of this big curve as a cancer survivor. I had been writing and sharing in my cancer journey for a few years at this point, and it had never occurred to me even once that this entire process and all that I was going through, was all really one massive grief curve.
Today marks my last two days of chemotherapy for testicular cancer, six years ago. Why do I mark the last two days, and not the last day? Because I distinctly remember just how scared out of my mind I was, worrying that the chemotherapy hadn't done its job, and that I'd have to go through these months of misery all over again, possibly without a healthy exit.
The retroperitoneal lymph node dissection surgery (RPLND) is a really gruesome and highly invasive surgery for some testicular cancer patients. It can be used as a primary form of treatment for some Stage I and Stage II patients that have been diagnosed with nonseminomatous germ cell tumors (NSGCT), and can also be used as a secondary form of treatment for the post-chemotherapy management of residual masses. The surgery is horrifying to many newly diagnosed testicular cancer patients and caregivers when they first read about it. Many will gravitate towards chemotherapy thinking that it’s “easier”, but I’m here to tell you not to be afraid of the RPLND surgery. It might actually be the better option for some.
I'm not afraid of cancer anymore, I no longer experience cancer-related anxiety, depression, or posttraumatic stress, and that's an achievement to be proud of when it's only taken me 5 years to get there. Personal behavioral change after cancer has been the key to that.
Happy Father's Day to our beloved "GP", the man who's always been there for us through every bit of our crazy lives. He's always there when we need him, wherever we need him to be, and for whatever we need him to do. He's just there and omnipresent, and we love that about him. We have less than ideal and perfect relationships, but what in life ever is? The fact that he's always been there for us through some extremely distressing times in our lives has not gone unnoticed, and we truly do love and appreciate our GP for that.
Debbie asked me to go into full Scorpio mush mode level eleventy for Mother’s Day, maybe because she wants to hear it, or maybe because she needs to hear it because of how hurt we’ve been over the past year. Either way, she damn well deserves it, and I’m happy to deliver.
I'm proud to share the news of a huge expansion of my role at the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation in not just continuing to blog and share in my continuing journey, but on also becoming a Director and Board Member.
Through my cancer experience and the writing that I do, I've come to know people from all walks of life that span the entire global political spectrum. There are certainly people with whom I don't share even a single political belief with, yet I love them and appreciate them all the same for who they are, and for being the beautiful people that I know them to be, despite our differing beliefs. There's far more to people than their political beliefs, and there's far more to the world than "politics." It never occurred to me that I should hate someone because they believe differently than I.
The Big 4-0 is coming for me in October. This is the year that I thought would never come, because there were significant periods of time in my life when I felt like it was inevitable that my cancer would come back, or a secondary cancer would develop, that there wouldn't be a cure, and that I would die. That's still a possibility for me, just as it is for anybody, but I've learned not to be afraid. The glamorous life of young adult cancer survivors.
I have no words to describe 2016, so here's around 2100 of them, along with a photo that nicely illustrates the precise manner in which I'd like to leave this year behind. 2016 has been the year of the unconscionable, but with some very important life lessons reinforced. Never stop living your lives. The various tragedies we'll experience in life don't stop for anyone, so why should you?
I've wanted a Fuji X100 since the line first came out in 2010, but had just blown my wad on a new at the time full-frame Canon 5D Mark II camera, and was acquiring lenses for the Canon system after switching from Nikon. The first X100 was intriguing, but seemed a bit rough around the edges. Fuji made some nice improvements to the camera with the X100S successor a few years later, and I still wanted one. Then they made yet more improvements with the third generation X100T, which had finally become a very well-rounded camera, but still didn't get one. Now they've just released the fourth generation X100F with yet more improvements, and I finally bit the bullet and got one.
It's become a bit of a tradition to meet my folks at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA for a Mother's Day get together. There's a bunch of good places to have a nice brunch around there, and the gardens are beautiful, and great for family photos.