Those of you that have been following along with this Cancer Survivorship journey of mine know that I started off 2013 on a truly terrible note. I was so scared and depressed, was experiencing a downward spiral of very dark and terrifying feelings, and was clearly a very distressed and barely even functional human being. As long as I live, I'll probably never forget how good I had to become at finding quiet corners to cry in, pretty much every day in the month of January, sometimes multiple times per day, because I was so distressed. I'm amazed to this day that I even made it in to work and managed to stay productive, but somehow I did. It was only the endless and everlasting love and support from my wife Debbie, the unique love and support that only a soulmate so deeply in love and wanting her husband back could provide, that got me out of this nose dive that I had been in for going on 2 months at the end of January. This allowed for a new beginning, a fresh start, and a months long and at times very painful healing process to begin.
In January I was so distressed that I just wanted to skip all of 2013 and wake up in 2014. It's truly a very big moment for me to be able to say now that that would have been a mistake. As this summer of 2013 comes to an end, I feel as though the good times and fun memories that I have from this year finally outweigh the bad for the very first time, and that in more than a few ways I truly feel reborn as a person. This is so big of a moment for me to be able to experience feelings like these, that tears of joy fall as I type this. Many of you have been amazed at how much we get out, and all of the fun things that we do as a family. A big reason for that is because it's what I've needed. July of this year marked being 2 years cancer free and is as official of an indication as I would ever get that I had truly beaten and overcome the cancer that I had faced in 2011, but I hadn't yet overcome all of the emotional trauma it had put me through. Positive experiences and new memories being made, and shared feelings of love and friendship and joy and laughter overcome the extreme negatives with time. People joke about PTSD, but I know what it's like for real, and just what a challenge it is to crawl out of the very deep and dark hole that it puts you in, afraid at times to even step out of your own home and not wanting to leave or stray too far from your safe zones. Months ago I felt like I was gaining a foothold on all of this and knew I was on the right track at long last. Lather, Rinse, and Repeat. I feel as though I'm finally there, with solid ground under my feet, for the very first time.
Having to fight cancer and deal with all of its ugly aftermath, especially with two completely silly and adorable young little kids at home that you love and cherish so much, is the most terrifying thing in the world and strips every ounce of security that you had about life away from you. Much of that is a false sense of security, and a big part of my journey in these past two years post-cancer has been learning to accept that for what it is, that I was never going to get it back, and to live without it. Let's just say that I had a very big false sense of security about life, as many people probably do, and that it's been a huge adjustment for me learning to live without that. It doesn't happen overnight, nor does it happen in weeks or months. It's a very long and complicated thing to try to explain. I'm just scratching the surface of it here, which is why I'm writing a book about it. :)
I have many circles of friends these days. Old high school and college friends, friends from work, friend from various clubs, friends of Debbie's, neighborhood friends, friends from our kids' schools, and very importantly for me, my cancer community friends. To all of you that have been a part of our lives this year, I just wanted to thank you all once again for being along for the ride. I know I thanked just about all of you at my 2 year mark a short time ago, but hey, when you've been in such a dark and terrifying place as I've been, you most certainly do appreciate those that you have in your life a whole lot more. Yes you, reading this right now. You matter to me and have made a difference in my life. And no matter how small or insignificant of a difference you think you've made or that you made no difference at all, it's been significant to me. Just being the right person, the right soul in my life, at the right time, has helped to rebuild mine and restore things that had been damaged or lacking. Thank you.
This is all fresh, hot off of my brain press. Even a week or two ago I didn't quite feel this way yet, nor did I even realize that I would ever get a feeling like this, but felt like something was coming. Late yesterday, after a truly wonderful weekend it finally hit me. Like a load of bricks. The whole of this weekend was definitely far greater for me than the sum of its parts. Wow. What a feeling, and what a great note to be ending the summer on.
God Gave Me All of You.