Friday, August 19, 2011

What's Next?

I was sold the risk of brain surgery was worth it because I’ve never been about the past, I’ve always been about what’s next. That’s how I’m trying to approach each day and the long term picture and have some things on the horizon as well as enjoy my day to day. I am going to run Boston next April with Team Livestrong, Kiana and I are taking her first paid flight ever in November to see my friend Keith and the San Diego Zoo.

So what’s next? I’ve repainted the entire house as people told me that was the cheapest way to make your house feel new. The decorations are all new with many of them reminders that I likely just got to beat a cancer that even at my most hopeful, I thought I’d just get time bought on. There probably will not always be that many always up but there will never be a time when there are none up. Some people celebrate or note their andivorcary but that’s just going to be a normal day in my future. But I do have some things to note for anniversaries. On March 3rd of 2012, one year after the brain surgery, I intend to plant a tree to show that life is still growing. The Life Part II party is about a week away where Kiana’s daycare made a banner that incorporated things that have to do with us and with the brain. My friend Lydia who had come to visit me at Duke sent me a hat that says no brainer, something I proudly wear. I still have Egon’s shirt of “It’s not rocket sugery” and Todd’s “I gave him a piece of my mind” both of which I wear regularly. I’ll wear some of those to the party that happens in a few days, “Life Part II” where people from both local and out of town will be there to help me celebrate. There will be people from work, from ultimate, from running, family, high school. I lost the person I considered the most important in my life but even as she was leaving I went down swinging, trying hard to get her to try but I guess I was too little too late. She didn’t want an invitation to the second part of my life but our princess Kiana will be there 12 out of every 14 days and I’m infinitely grateful for that. The party itself will have lots of parts that are for her and her friends. It’s a unique party because it’s neither an adult nor a child party but will have plenty of components for both.

I don’t believe things all happen for a reason but I do think that not having been able to drive taught me to be at home more and appreciate a perspective I’d never lived through or for until I was forced to and that helps me as a single dad. The fact that she left when we were in the spotlight was bad timing in many people’s views (and clearly connected in many of ours) but I think if she’d left at a different time I wouldn’t have had as many friends checking on me and helping me get to the new normals, a brain cancer survivor who now has to learn to raise a little girl mostly by himself, a task that’s unusual but like the marathon, I hope to give it my best and finish whatever my role is no matter how hard it is. Perhaps, learning and accepting how unpredictable life and affection is will prepare me for raising a little girl who has more personality in her pink than I’ve had in my entire life. The first birthday I had after this I got an invitation to race a 5k that raised money for Brain cancer research and I immediately signed up. Sometimes the universe lines up and reminds you on the day you were born that you should be grateful to be alive. I also signed up to raise money for it. I didn’t want to bother too many people since they donated money for my medical bills but I am glad to have raised $600 so far and hope more before the September 10th race.

I wished this story with my entire family living happily ever after, that we took a crisis and made an opportunity to become a better family. Kiana and I are doing that in whatever way we can. But crisis is like a volcano, it can be Pompeii and destroy life or it can be Hawaii and create life. So I am trying to take that approach with my Hawaiann Moon Goddess daughter. But happily ever after is not how it ends sadly and unfortunately. I’ve even accepted that this may be more like the song from Wicked “I don’t know if I’ve been changed for the better but because I knew you I have been changed for good.” I don’t know how far I am away from the happiness nor am I really clear what’s next other than realizing that good people helped me get this far so it can't be that. Happiness is a vague term but I do know that life, well I’ll be ever after it.

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