'I am and will always be an optimist, a hoper of far flung hopes, and a dreamer of improbable dreams."
While I did not start this blog on November 4th of 2010, the day before my brain cancer journey began, that was the first day I blogged about. I called it the end of days because well it would be the last 'normal day' of my life. I've had some reprieved ones between now and then. While I usually make it a habit to blog on my cancerversary, this year I'm making it the day after.
I still 'remember, remember, the 5th of November.' I didn't think I was going to make it till yesterday. The 10 year survival rate is 12% and while there are other ways I like being a minority that wasn't one I expected but I dared to hope. I've often stated that hope is my four letter words (I'm no saint; I've let other ones out in the last decade in regards to cancer) someone once said to me was hope is a muscle.
I loved that analogy. I've exercised it as best as possible; there have been times its been exhausted like any muscle, sometimes it's been sore. But like a whole lot of other muscles, I keep exercising it in a way most people find unreasonable. Yesterday, November 5th, was my 900th consecutive day of exercise of 880 calories a day (that obsession with 8 since I was born 8/8/80). I didn't do anything particularly special, or have anything planned anyway. I started the day with a run with a post cancer friend, on a route we often do on Thursdays which right in the middle has a very steep technical hill called "The Hill of Life." Realizing I was still alive on a day maybe I shouldn't have been I gave it one of my best efforts up, probably top 3 in my life and certainly my hardest one by myself (my friend was smarter than that). I was breathing hard at the top but a lot of life's best activities leave you breathing hard and on top.
I had a board meeting for a non profit I'm helping with where it was stated that this was me celebrating my 10th anniversary of being cancer free. I didn't feel the need to correct the detail because it seemed like a downer to tell them I still had cancer and it was 10 since I'd gotten diagnosed so I focused on the meeting. We're going to do some cool stuff.
I had a phone call with two friends that I usually have lunch with on November 5th and we talked about the life transitions that start today where a month ago I had two women and a teenager and now I'm headed to California and coming back to just a teenager and single fatherhood.
I had an afternoon run planned with an old lover and partner in crime, now an ex, who wanted to kidnap me to celebrate sunset and drinks and past time. We were connected from pre cancer days and it's interesting to see myself in her eyes wondering if she underestimates my damage or I overestimate but a few laughs and moments made me realize that today and tomorrow are a bigger deal than a decade sometimes.
But what I had each of those moments was far flung hope. I've had far flung hopes before about love and faith that haven't worked out. I've had them about other people's lives and cancers which have not worked out with them now gone. I've had smaller ones about races or finances, some which have crashed and some which have landed and it turned out to be smaller than I realized to win a race or settle some bills than it was to love and be loved.
Some of these blogs have gotten quoted, some of them have been printed after being cleaned up, some of them have been deemed less than appropriate, some inspirational but all that they have been was a journal of a man who is wondering why the universe keeps suspending what felt like a death sentence. I've tried to justify it because I exercise so much and studies have shown that long distance runners have a higher survival rate for brain cancer but I also know some who have died. I've tried to dismiss it as blind luck but anytime I see sunflowers turning in nature, I think there has to be something to the beauty of chasing life and nourishment.
My brain is damaged and cancerous. My heart is healthy though not at it's strongest. My soul isn't sure it's singing that things are well with it as well as it should be. My life is changing (see previous entry). But I have life and I have hope as my muscle and I'm going to keep exercising it. Thank you to those of you who have done some of that workout with me.