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As a newly minted 40 year old young adult cancer survivor, I've spent much of my 30's heavily engaged with testicular cancer advocacy, but there's other things I've aspired to do in my arc through life. If my life before cancer was my first act, and my life after cancer from the ages of 33 to 39 has been a second, then let this new decade of my 40's become my third. A new era in my life begins today.
I have 4 draft Facebook page posts, and a half dozen draft blogs on my website just trying to capture all of the thoughts running through my head, and I've finally gotten a handle on what's been going on with this crazy Scorpio mind of mine, as I approach 40 as a young adult cancer survivor. As I approach this huge milestone, I'm remembering all of those times that I was so spooked and convinced that this day would never come and missing out on so many life experiences, but at the same time I'm also remembering how I made it through those times, how I overcame it all, and all of the amazing people that I found or who found me along the way that were able to help me in this journey, and such deep love and gratitude that I feel for so many.
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 didn’t have the slightest freaking clue what I felt or how I knew, because I’d never felt like this about anyone before, but I just “knew” she was the one. This sense was suddenly went from nothing to pegging the scales at “eleventy”, and I’m glad I was smart enough to listen and asked her out, because here we are today 21 years later.
It’s not too often that I get a new watch, but I did, so I figured I’d write about it for fun. It’s nice to write about things of personal interest once in awhile, just to mix things up a bit. No I didn't splash out on a new Breitling for my 40th yet, but I really like my new Acura I mean Citizen Skyhawk Titanium!
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.
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.
Here in the Washington, D.C. area, we only get an air show every other year at Andrews Air Force Base (Joint Base Andrews) due to DoD budget cuts, which makes the biennial Andrews Air Show a must-see event. This year I went with just my son, and it was an amazing day!
Do you own your photography, or does your photography own you? A classic age old question, that's often a bit of a balancing act that requires a bit of experimentation!
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.