Monday, March 12, 2012

Better Sloppy




I have had the opportunity to help organize or direct several ultimate tournaments over the years and have gotten lucky enough to never have to cancel one due to rain. Now, it’s rained on a couple of them but due to the good team work we have at the Ultimate Players League of Austin, we’ve always managed to find back up all weather fields, once literally the morning of. Ultimate being a field sport, it ends up being ridiculously sloppy with you often covered in mud. This year I returned to directing Centex after a year hiatus since someone else ran it last year since it was a few days after the surgery. The weather was absolutely miserable and the fields were a mess and teams would drop out despite it not being cancelled (it was somehow comforting that despite teams dropping out at the last second and one game cancelled to thunder that my mind worked quickly enough to create alternative schedules that were decent under the circumstances). It was more than frustrating but I got to play with a team from Mexico and finally just stated to the captains hoping they weren’t too annoyed that, “Like other things in life, sometimes it’s better to get it sloppy than not getting any at all.” One of the female players at the tourney said they only do things right. Interpret that at will…

Different tournament participants came and talked to me about different experiences that keep this aware. One of them was actually a friend’s mother. It is amazing the number of friends who have said, my mom asks how you’re doing and unlike a lot of other times, I actually grow up and pass up the easy “your mom” jokes on those scenarios. One of the ones from Mexico, who coincidentally, had been here shortly after the diagnosis and it’s the first time I see her, handed me the nicest rosary I’ve ever received. While I’m not Catholic, I will always cherish it. Someone else shared about how they recently learned they have a problem in their brain that could cause seizures and are trying to figure out to tell their family without over worrying them. Another told me about how their brother is going through their 4th colon cancer surgery and their wife has just left them and how they shared the marathon stories with them and made their brother cry. I listened and hugged each one of them, unsure as to what else to do. More than a few people came and asked about the seizure but only one tournament participant, me, noticed that like the previous time, the first time I played ultimate after literally being off balance, I was again physically off balance.

Today I had to call back my neurologist to get the final conclusion of all my bloodwork and EEG stuff. With almost no exceptions, after tests, my neurologist has said to call me a few days after the appointment to get the results. While it could be him passing the buck about taking charge of my own health care, and while he’s never said so, I really do have this gut feeling that he’s done that as a way to both test my memory and to keep reminding me to stay engaged because when the MRI issue came up he called me long before I would have called him. The results are that at the new level, Keppra is fine though he now again highlights that we should stay at this post surgery level since apparently my level of exercise makes it go quickly through my system. The EEG shows my brain is still staying up to speed (though there is still post surgery “waves” that are irregular to a normal brain due to the hole) and that, during the EEG, we didn’t get at all close to having a seizure, apparently my lightheadedness and finger tingling were more about CO2 over loading.

It was a packed weekend while sitting here waiting for these results. There was an ultimate tournament, a couple of birthday parties, a couple of meals and my own fine wine and dine party (tried heels on for the first time, forcing my respect for the female gender to grow. I’ve got some friends with good taste in both food and wine and there’s still some left if you didn’t make it). My friend Adam from Australia, hadn’t seen him in years, was staying at the house . We sat and talked and he wondered why I didn’t pursue any of the girls at the party (there were some cute ones). I told him simple truths that I haven’t done this since high school, the events with my previous spouse left me pretty emotionally crippled, that I was focused for Boston, that I had a princess to raise but then started talking about that reality that I am content with the fact that I’ve accomplished some improvements as a runner, father, tournament director, employee without someone attached to me. Then, with a little more wine in me, if I am honest, I stated that bigger fact that I am also worried about protecting anyone from my tumor and afraid of them leaving if the going gets tough, neither wanting to damage nor be damaged by anyone. I made a decision when I got the tumor to not make any new friends because I didn’t want friends who were my friends out of pity and my pride wanted people to like me only as a whole person but well, that day is never coming again so now what? And I said to him, as I’ve thought to myself, I got through the last 18 months, what I hope will always be the roughest 18 months without a loyal “significant other” (though there were plenty of significant people), so what’s the point of signing up again?

The Livestrong Interviews will come out soon and I’ve seen a rough edit of one of them to see if I approve (I responded with no changes since I don’t really know what to say). They seem okay and accurate and fairly edited to me and I hope they’ll help someone. Like some of the other stories, my wife leaving and filing for divorce shortly afterward is a small part of the story in one of them. But Adam listened last night and essentially made my argument about the tourney back to me, that maybe I should be more open to a future relationship might be sloppy but is it better than nothing at all?

Not having a tumor would be better than having one but I’d take it over losing some other things. Not having passed out during a 10 mile run would be better than not but it’s better than not being able to run. Having won the cancer division and getting a PR would be better than shit having happened and only getting one of those... Kiana being raised by two parents constantly there but the sloppiness that comes with single parenthood, I’m glad and grateful to be the one there. But in regards to opening that part of my heart up, I honestly don’t know if it’s better sloppy or not at all. But life, as a single dad who is at times overwhelmed, I hope I always keep the attitude that life’s better sloppy than not having it at all.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I came across your blog through the Yahoo news piece of you running with Kiana and have gotten hooked. I've read from the beginning but this is the first time I've been moved to comment. I've been surrounded by cancer within my family with one being inflicted with brain cancer, he is our miracle boy!

    I have a friend who is a recent cancer survivor (2nd time around) from melanoma. She was divorced when this diagnosis hit and just getting out of a relationship and so desperately wanted to be in one again. She went online in conventional and a little un-conventional ways and found quite a lot of men to date. The man she ended up with and has now been married for 4 months had lost his wife to cancer just 1 year before meeting her. I was extremely moved that this man would consider being with someone after watching his wife of over 25 years loose her battle.

    You go all out in everything you do with no fear and putting yourself at risk at times. So why would you hold back here. What you are doing is thinking for other people instead of letting them make the decision whether or not to be in your life. It's always bothered me when a friend of mine neglected to ask me to do something because they thought I was too busy or wouldn't be interested. How do they know what I would or would not do. At least I had the option. You are an amazing man, friend, athlete and most of all dad. By your ex divorcing she took away your opportunity to be the best husband you can be to her but now you're letting the tumor take away the opportunity to be the best husband you can be to someone else. From what I've read thus far it doesn't sound like you at all.....please forgive my bluntness, H

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