Random Updates and Thoughts about Life
Life is chaotic, and life is messy, but can also be so vibrant, colorful, and beautiful all at the same time.
It's that time of year again! Today was Katie's first day of 6th grade and middle school, and it was William's first day of 4th grade. They both had good and uneventful first days of school, and we celebrated with our traditional Cheesecake Factory dinner. :)
After living in our crammed townhome for 10 years, we finally upgraded to a single family home with a nice sized yard last year, and got a dog to go along with it. It's been a pretty big transition for all of us to become "dog people" and we're still getting there, but Puffles has been awesome and the perfect dog for us. Puffles was born on October 10th, 2017, and we picked him up and brought him home on December 5th.
You own everything that you’ve ever faced and been through, and the only person that’s responsible for your happiness is you.
Who knew that one day I would get so pissed off at lawn freaking mower manufacturers, that I would feel the need to sound off about all of the shenanigans and totally deceptive and misleading marketing practices going on in the industry. Really? You can’t just walk into a store to look at lawn mowers without being fed a bunch of BS? Good grief!
Turning 40 has been a lot harder than I ever expected, and there's a lot of things in my life that I've still been struggling to come to terms with, including my cancer history. Braving the Wilderness has helped me to feel more at peace and at ease with much of this, rather than feeling the various forms of inner struggle that could have been keeping more than a few therapists busy instead.
Somehow 22 years ago, I managed to win the heart of this incredibly beautiful woman that I get to call my wife. I do consider it a miracle every single day that despite all that we've been through and faced together, that we've never lost ourselves or each other through it all. Those who know us well will know just how much that's really saying.
Our two kids could not be more different. They're both amazing, and challenging, in their own ways! :) For WIlliam's 'YES DAY', he was balls to the wall and wanted to use ever single minute that he had. Katie was decidedly more casual, and for the most part just wanted to bum out at home and watch TV all day! Uhh, okay, that's easy enough?!!
Rather than showering William with yet more gifts and junk that he doesn't need for his birthday this year, we gave him a 'Yes Day' where he could fully control the schedule and everything that we did, within reason. It empowers kids to take control, which they love considering they usually don't have much, and focuses them on experiences and fun things to do rather than more throw away toys. William loved it, and it was a huge success!
To celebrate our 40th birthdays on October 27th and January 1st (well, Debbie is turning 28 again!), we ate our way through DC with family and friends. We're a few grand poorer and a couple of pounds heavier, but it was worth it! Here's the story and a ton of photos. :-)
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.
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?
After this year, the only thing we know is that we don't know, and the only thing that's ever certain, is uncertainty. We've been hurt, disappointed, let down, and have been burned out, and just want to be done with this wretched year. But we're still thankful.
I sat down with a few friends to talk about the election, and we all shared in our perspectives and life experiences in a non-judgmental way, and how that led us to our votes. It was refreshing, and most of all, I learned that we don't have to hate each other if we voted for someone else. We can vote differently, and still love and respect each other as friends.
20 Years Ago I Met This Girl... I was a freshman at Penn State University in the Fall of 1996. Her name was Debbie Lin, Chang-Ching Debbie Lin actually, and she was from Taiwan. We met, and things just clicked. Don't ask me how I knew. Call it divine intuition, a bit of a sixth sense or whatever you wish, but I just knew that she was the one.
That time a cancer survivor got to talking to a suicide attempt survivor in a bar, and despite having absolutely "nothing" in common, they realized that the pain they had felt, the ways in which they had evolved, and the the inner attitudes and beliefs that they had developed, were all THE SAME.
What makes someone's life matter or not? It has neither anything to do with skin color, nor what anybody else thinks of you. Whether your life matters or not has to do with one thing, and one thing only, and that's you. The question is, do you believe in yourself? Do you believe that your life matters? That's What Matters.
Happy 9th Birthday to our incredible Krazy Katie!!
Of all the amazing people I've had in my life over the past few years, from my wife to such wonderful friends that have been by my side through my darkest times, there's none that I've learned more from about how I've needed to live my life after cancer, nor any that I've been more inspired by than my son.
I was in New York City in January 2016, for the first time in I can't remember, for a work-related trade show. I'm certainly not a stranger to NYC. Some of the top testicular cancer doctors in the country had consulted on my cancer fight at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. I was up in NYC at MSKCC a total of 5 or 6 times between 2011-2012, including an 11 day in-patient stay in the hospital there after undergoing a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection surgery (RPLND), when I failed to get a complete response from chemotherapy alone. There were some complications after that surgery that nearly caused one of my kidneys to fail, which required a procedure or two and some monitoring. Needless to say, I haven't had the fondest memories of NYC.
By all accounts, 2015 was an incredible year. As I reflect back upon the year, I’m amazed at all that's happened and all that I’ve managed to accomplish.
(Explicit Language Warning) I don't think anybody really realizes just how painful the month of December is for me. The whole month has become such a densely packed minefield of painful and traumatic memories in my life and for those close to me, that it's just become impossible to get through this month without stumbling over and triggering some of them. [EXPLICIT LANGUAGE WARNING]
One could easily replace the word Cancer in my blog, "Coping with the Uncertainty of Cancer," with "Life," or "the World". The events in Paris are beyond tragic, with over a hundred dead and hundreds more wounded. In an instant, 129 souls torn from this world and their life adventures, with their loved ones left dealing with their sudden losses that will ripple on forever.
Turning 38 has been an unexpectedly big thing for me, because for the first time I feel like life really has moved on after cancer. Recovering from cancer isn’t simply an exercise of healing the body, but the mind and the spiritual self as well, and it’s wonderful to finally feel completely healed. 38 also marks the fifth birthday I’ve had since being diagnosed with cancer, so in a way, this birthday represents the first of many 5 year celebrations, and believe me, we will be celebrating this coming year!!