Sunday, November 24, 2013

Make It A Good One, Eh?

I’ve been working on my holiday cards the last few days. Both last year and this year, I did it around this time which people commend me for getting it done so early. I’m a guy who always like to think ahead (a necessary act when you don’t trust your memory) but the simple truth is that filling out a few dozen of those envelopes and hand writing them serves many purposes. (By the way while people may commend me, I got two before I was done with mine and unlike mine they were long handwritten notes. Mine was a collection of pictures with the highlights of the year shared through Kiana, the highlight of my life. By the way if you’re reading this and don’t have one by the end of next week, please send me your address because well I forget things). The biggest purpose to quote JFK is to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our life. Another purpose in simple truth is that when the medical tests get close, though even though I’m not working my insane stay busy-ness ramps up because, I get nervous/scared/insert appropriate word. I hope everything is stable, I wonder if anything will show that makes it time to get prepared for the trip to the Grand Canyon. So I just ramp up the days, hours and minutes to have very little thinking/worrying time. And well holiday cards is an incredibly good distraction because it puts in my mind the people I'm thankful for. I can't think of a better way overcome stress or worry.

I’ve done holiday cards since Kiana was born except for the year when all this started in November 2010 (I had some distractions) and as is typical and probably appropriate, the caption on there has always been a positive thought that struck me that year such as two years ago, the best part of life is when your friends become family and your family becomes friends. This year’s caption was from an episode of Doctor Who, a show that’s had more than one nod in this blog, and as he’s dying and talking to a little girl says to her while  she’s sleeping, “I’ll just be a story in your head. But we’re all stories, in the end. Just make it a good one eh?” Now it’s a TV show that had it’s 50th anniversary yesterday so he’s clearly not dead but we as humans still die. Still, that line struck a chord.

My story has been told way too much this year (With friends I change a bit the tunes of Simon and Garfunkel and joke, I am just a poor boy but my story’s often told). I’m humbled but still completely unclear as to why because as I said to NBC the things that people are talking about are the basics of life, one foot in front of the other with people you love (Today show: and  NBC nightly news:  

There is one element I’d not recommend being in the media or keeping a public blog after all this. Many many good people have reached out in just simple kindness but occasionally some other people who, in simple frankness, might benefit from having their own brain checked out even if their intentions are good. There were several pot offers, a proposal from someone twice my age, there’s the guy who said if I didn’t try this product I’d given up on life; with all due respect, who contacts a guy they heard of on the today show for winning a marathon behind a stroller to tell me I’ve given up on life? People point me to texts showing that God intends  other things for me etc etc. Kiana and I will head to church in a couple of hours but my approach to morality, the will of God is what an old college professor used to say: “You can try to figure out what the will of God is for you or you can try to figure out what the will of God is period and live your life accordingly.” And that’s my approach that the will of God/what’s moral are the exact same thing and I don’t believe I have an individual destiny but am just trying to do the basic right things which in my current circumstances is just one foot in front of the other with people I love. And I may be over simplifying it but on most days, in most circumstances, I do think that for the vast majority of humanity, the right thing is rarely that complicated. Still well intentioned people have suggested products/religion/diets/medical approaches to get me to cure and beat this. Most of those idea
have been considered and a few have been attempted. Some are just so different from my perspective that I blow them off but the simple truth is I trust my doctors, my friends and my family and if the tests go well next week or poorly, I am grateful for the journey. I am grateful that friends have laughed and cried with me (for good laughter see the current attached note someone gave me for my 3 rd cancer anniversary). And while I assure you I do some of both, I still insist it's healthier to laugh at some of the things that make you cry. I mean this week alone a very polite and very enthusiastic telemarketer called and said
Telemarketer: I'm calling from <> to tell you about our car insurance rates dropping.
Me: I don't drive. 
Telemarketer: Well let me talk to you about our life insurance, do you have any serious pre existing conditions:
Me: I have brain cancer.
Telemarketer: Well, if any of that changes, keep us in your mind... I mean give us a call then. 

Some things couldn't be scripted if you tried. I felt sorry for the kid who got the bad luck of getting my number and I'm sure he's feeling sorry for me or wondering if I was just messing with. But I really do hope that as we remember that story today or whenever that we both look back at it and laugh or at least smile. 

For four years in a row now, at years end, I could have said this was the strangest most unexpected year of my life (2010 cancer, 2011 brain surgery and divorce, 2012 waking up in an ambulance and getting fired and custody fight, 2013 winning a marathon, a few media things, race invitations and a few legal battles). I assure you on January 1st 2014, I will be hoping that even if it’s a strange year that it will at least be less strange than the previous one. But with or without strangeness, it's good to have shared some of the company. 
But still whether this is all I get or whether there is some eternal life, that’s all I’m trying to do is just make it a good story which is just life itself. Because there is no one always there and so however long life lasts, when we’re running together or throwing a Frisbee or going to church or cooking a meal, I try to focus with Kiana or whoever is with me or if it’s just me to take some joy in the journey, to make the pancakes into flowers, to make the run a karaoke show, to make a walk into a heart warming, hand holding experience. And that is the best story I could ever dream up.

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