My friend Chris is a digital guy. He’s building up his business on what he can do digitally in various ways but one of those ways was removing freckles or changing hair color etc. He took the picture that’s literally the center piece of a Livestrong poster, the centerpiece of a frame in my living room and the split point of life part I and II. That scar, the symbol of this cancer that took over my life, what changed it, what will statistically speaking, most likely be the cause of my death. He took that scar and he removed it digitally, like magic. And for the first time in over 2 years I saw a picture of me “without cancer.” It was strangely both comforting and discomforting… And kept putting me in one of those “what if” mentalities… what if all this hadn’t happened?
And while I cracked some jokes about how I wanted to keep the scar mostly because chicks dig bad ass scars… I realized I don’t want to take it back. And yes I wish I could clean up some of the mistakes but the past is written and the future is probably fairly predictable in some ways but I want to keep living in the moment, enjoying the now because that maybe all I have. I sat there on Christmas eve with cousins and family but for the first time without my daughter, dreaming of a place called home even more than I usually do. I absorbed the distractions of watching the first time I’d ever seen my grandmother drink, taking a shot of tequila and drank some wine with her. I did an 18 mile run and a track workout over the break. After Kiana had spent Christmas with her mother, I spent a fair share of the break with her when my mother, who also works for the school system of another town, kidnapped her for a few days after her 6th birthday (I love Doctor Who and I’m starting to think there really is a time machine because has it really been 6 years?). Kiana’s new bed went up, and in one of those fortuitous but makes you feel guilty moments, I tried to get rid of the crib on craigslist for free and got a strongly worded email from a stranger about how it was a crib/daybed that had been recalled and took it back to target where something Kiana had managed to stay safe in from birth until she was 6 was returned and I got a couple of hundred dollars of store credit which I made easy come, easy go. I’ve taken these days to redecorate the house, since all Christmas gifts were household items or gift cards that I used for things around the house. With a nod to that Vincent and the Doctor episode, one of them was the painting where the ghost was removed and it now sits near the entrance to my house.
Still, since I am the guy whose last breakup is on youtube and who hasn’t had a girlfriend since high school isn’t ready to rush into any relationship of any sort but I am appreciating the connection with the girl who says she’s coming with me to my next appointment. This is the most time I’ve spent with any one adult in 2 years and has seen me recite pi to a ridiculous amount of digits from before the surgery and quote things from junior high and high school to great lengths has also seen me struggle to now remember a phone number and get excited over the fact I remembered a couple of items at HEB without having to look at my notes on my Iphone. So let’s just say that I finally watched 50/50 and the same day I watched friend for the end of the world. The first one is the right approach, the guy gets left during the cancer the movie ends with him on a date with another girl, with them going out and saying hey what’s next… the second also may have some truth in that they get a short time together but they are grateful for it. I am not leaving the George Clooney lifestyle anytime soon but let’s just say she got the question of what are you doing new year’s, new year’s eve and was the designated driver that night. Still, the guy who both duke and local doctors have asked when my hospital rooms in both the biopsy and the surgery were so crowded why I go to so many medical appointments alone… is scared of going to a doctor’s appointment in a few weeks both with and without her.
But as 2013 starts… as resolutions get made… as I make my home even more homely… well, I think if I had full control of the universe, even if it kills me in a few years, if I had to do it all over again, I’d sign up for the cancer and live life with the scars it’s come with because it’s made me a better person. Because those scars made it to where the people I hugged throughout all these holiday parties got hugged tighter and makes me bust my ass so that the house Kiana was born to continues to be her home.
People have kindly wished me a new year and said that I hope 2013 goes better for you. And I hope it does to and yes I woke up in an ambulance again and yes financially it’s been hell. And yes I need help with some things that a proud stubborn man doesn’t like help with. But my mom and daughter did their first races and I took home titles in every distance, the mile, the 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon and 2 of those pushing a stroller! I put my daughter to bed most days in the room she was born in. I sent and received more Christmas cards than I ever have, using them as my Christmas “ornaments” and I think/hope that represents that I’ve continued to grow in both quantity and quality of relationships. And on new year’s eve at midnight, well I kissed a girl in front of people for the first time in a couple of years and I liked it. I kissed a girl just to try it out. And if all of that’s what living with the scar made me appreciate more, I don’t want to live without it.