Anyone whose read this blog for too long knows that the entries get to be a bit more frequent and sometimes much longer when the medical stuff is coming up... especially the MRI's... so be forewarned as you read this entry. Somehow I am the guy who lives with dizziness and will still roll under barbed wire for a race... I am the guy who puts off brain surgery to run a marathon, who wins one pushing a stroller, who wakes up in ambulances and runs 48 hours later... And because I happen to be fast it makes for good headlines... but as I've said all along, running is my therapy and how much I run and how often I run tells you how bad I need therapy, in case that's not obvious let's just say that on both days this weekend I ran more than my scheduled called for on two long runs. And while there are times all of us post on facebook because it's how we attune to our friends and/or feed our ego by the fact that getting some likes is few seconds worth of social reward, it may tell you something that my cover photos recently have changed to pictures of me and Kiana or things about hope for no other reason than subtle reminders to remind myself to breathe.
I wish I could tell you I've mastered this medical appointment stuff. I'm not quite sure why there's this impression that I handle cancer greatly when I get like this around medical appointments but I am proud/relieved/happy to say that each time the stress before takes longer to set in and that the hope is greater ... That's progress isn't it?And sometimes that's the only measurement in life right, is progress (is that progress of growing hope or just accepting a disruptive machine that's checking whether or not something in your brain is growing as far too normal? I know I'm known for few victories (the only race I have all of July was today's annual church pie eating contest and I took first place and at some level the discomfort since then is on par with some of athletic victories) but when I used to be a probation officer I said sometimes the way we measure progress is that some of these kids grow up to be misdemeanor criminals instead of felons. Or as a great preacher Tony Campolo once talked about how he became friends with someone who was picked on a lot for being a "skinny wimp and then said, "yes I know people want to hear and I loved that wimp, and nurtured that wimp and today, today he is president of the United States" but the story was nothing more, which may be the greatest thing ever, but that "we became friends and had some great childhood memories together." I've not mastered my fears before medical appointments, just gotten better at them...
And on the dating scene or being open to romance that I've ignored for so long, I've just began to be open to improving. The first girl I've asked for their number, the first girl who I was honestly pursuing... the first girl who I would love to be taking to an MRI as a girlfriend... I think in the end the story will be as simple and as complex as that I scared her away with too much intensity too fast (the fact that the timing was around the MRI was unfortunate at best). Call that rust from not having really given dating a fair chance since i was 17 (cause we were all so good at it then), call it as one friend who put it slightly more bluntly than I will on here that they forget that despite the fact that I have other experiences with the George Clooney girls you can't really call that dating. I'm not an idealist even as I get from hopeless romantic to hopeful romantic stage but let's all be realistic that your chances of succeeding with someone you're dating are statistically a lot lower than my chances of beating brain cancer. But when you connect with someone the moment you meet them... well maybe it feels to good to be true and the awareness of that and the hope of that are both a thrilling and a tough roller coaster to ride.
But I took the George Clooney bet that I'd never get married or have kids again not because of bitterness or hurt from my marriage collapsing to an affair during brain cancer (okay okay, not only because of that) but out of some 'obligation' that no one should ever have to sign up for this. As I've spent the last few months thinking about it, the idea of a real relationship was more realistic because at least the adult had a choice in the matter. But the idea of children I was truly closed off to because that person wouldn't have a choice in the matter. Livestrong has a strong fertility preservation program but I've wondered whether being open to the idea of having kids after/with cancer wasn't incredibly irresponsible or just a way to pass on life. My cancer has no known genetic factors but it's also not clearly going to be gone while our technology remains the same (people ask if this is a routine MRI. I don't know what a routine MRI is since We do them so often and if there's growth we'll talk about possible treatments and if there's not we'll just schedule the next one... I think people forget that they never took the tumor all the way out. They just reduced it and the doctors said then and all statistical data said, it was a waiting game and that odds were I wouldn't make 40. The median survival rate for this thing is 4 years without surgery, 7 with. I'm closer to the 4 year mark but obviously the outliers are all over the place). Still, I suppose if there's anyone who ever gives me the idea, the hope that the rest of our live could be shared... if they want to have kids, it should definitely not be a deal breaker right at the start. I imagine if there's anyone I could imaging living and dying to, even if it doesn't happen, the chemistry would be there to where I'd understand that line that you can see your unborn children in her eyes. Anyway, I worked at a nursing home in high school which had the worst logo ever, "when love just isn't enough." Maybe that's true but if i get a choice into what life philosophy to take from here forward it'll be what I wrote into a wedding book I attended recently, "Love conquers all."I don't know if I'll ever lose the George Clooney bet, I rarely lose bets but if I do, there will be no one who ever smiles while they are paying out a loss as much as I will. And while everyone has deal breakers in what relationships they want to pursue, for the time being, I've decided only two matter. They obviously need to get along with Kiana since those wicked stepmother stories are so horrible and they better be able to dance cause who wants to spend life with someone who can't dance ;).
So the guy afraid of getting commitment is trying to get better. While I may be too little too late to get a successful yes on getting a girlfriend to an MRI, I choose to be grateful that they nursed your communication skills to addressing things that you wouldn't even say to yourself. And I don't know how the MRI or being open to romance will go. But one of the lines that got quoted a few times in the marathon media blitz was if everything goes right and all I did was hang out with my kid or if everything goes wrong and I all I did was hang out with my kid, to me that's a win/win. So for the journey that I've had in many areas, other than places where I owe apologies I have tried to deliver. But if the MRI comes out with scarier results or with the status quote, well, let me quote Leonard Cohen,
I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
So I'm going to go to bed soon and then having a fun day with Kiana tomorrow and trying to sleep calmly. And trying to accept that the fear of the unknown is a poor way to tune in because the future is always unknown and always what's coming. And so here in the unknown, I choose to try to keep daring to dream that hope, faith, and love, the things the Universe has been kind enough to let me have some great experiences with, will keep being the known.