Sometimes the way we process information says a lot more about us than it does the information. I have a scar on the side of my head and there have been a few different takes on it from people who don’t know what it’s related to but the most common response to it is that it looks like a question mark or half a heart. In light of all other events, both seem fairly appropriate. But today as my running group and I were walking around putting up flyers telling people that their house was about to be blocked in next Sunday for the marathon, I heard an interpretation that no one had ever thrown out. As I walked to a guys door, he started chatting me up and more directly than any other stranger, started talking about my scar and I told him what was going on. He had the awkward silence that people do when they first hear the brain cancer surgery story and then said as directly as he had started, honestly I thought maybe a donkey had kicked you in the head. We laughed and as I had to keep walking the streets, I couldn’t help but reflect on the simplicity that maybe it was the ass part of the universe that took a shot at my head and knocked me over…
Speaking of , I’ve been working on my marathon play list and a song that I hope will come on if I’m on the right pace will be Elton John’s I’m still standing, the song I most often dedicate to my tumor mostly for the chorus :
Don’t you know I’m still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid
I’m still standing after all this time
Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mind.
I hope I get decades of singing that cheesy song.
My medical bills from the past year are now part of the past (which is good because before November 5th, 2010 I had never taken a claim on my insurance and since there then there have been 91 claims, that’s an average of six a month). There will be new ones in the next few weeks and probably for as long as I live but the other ones are gone. It’s interesting, flattering, humbling and demasculating for a Mexican male to have had so much help. Some came during the diagnosis, some during the divorce, some because of recent race results. Some of the help was direct, some donations to the cancer research and Livestrong things I was doing, others have given things like clothes to Kiana, others to medical institutions and some were checks handed directly to me. Apparently a huge percentage of bankruptcies are due to medical treatments with most of those coming from people who have insurance, just not enough. It’s a relief that it’s not part of present circumstances. But some people have helped because their father had brain cancer, their mother had liver cancer, their spouse left unexpectedly, their mother left unexpectedly, some because I’ve run tournaments… some just because they are just good humans but all of them just keeps me thinking and infinitely appreciative of Abe Lincoln’s old idea that we have to hang together or we’ll hang separately.
The Media company promoting some Livestrong programs was at my house yesterday. I’ve done a few things because of this development, promoting the marathon, its trash runs, the Hawktober event… but those were all an hour or less. I didn’t realize when I signed up for this the intensity. These guys were at my house for 5 hours starting at 7 Am and staying past noon for what will be a minute or two of things. They were incredibly gracious and meeting with them reminded me that as bad as this blog is, I’m much worse talking to the camera. They wanted to get me waking Kiana up and asked what I slept in and if I would put that on. I sleep in whatever I wear that day so we didn’t pick a special outfit. Still when I told one of my friends from my running group about that request, he couldn’t pass up the joke that if they saw what I slept in they’d know the real reason my wife left me. My divorce awkwardly and painfully so was part of the story that we shared on video and who knows how it will come out edited but they also focused a lot on how I picked my own doctors and how my friends and families helped me both find doctors that we handpicked rather than the ones that came from the ER. We also talked about how my friends and family were helpful with every part of the process from driving me when I was banned from driving for a few months to feeding me as I was recovering at home to raising money to helping babysit Kiana. I looked into the camera and said what I believe above all: the doctors took out the cancer but my friends and family saved my life. At least that’s my impression.