I have used this blog to chronicle, predominately, my life with cancer since I was diagnosed in May, 2009. There have been posts that didn’t refer to cancer, but as I look back, they were few. My story has been raw at times, spiritual at others, hopeful, desperate, angry, wistful and at others, downright sad.
Looking back on those early days, the information I got from my research said fairly emphatically that I wouldn’t be here now. My funeral would have been set, planned, executed and I’d be lying peacefully returning to the dust of a Seale, Ala. cemetery. These last almost three years have been life-affirming, instead of life-ending.
My story has been followed by thousands. People on at least five continents have accessed and read my blog posts. More important to me and to my family have been the local readers who have not only touched their mobile devices, keyboards or touch screens, but who have also reached out and touched me, hugged me, prayed for me, encouraged me, fed me, preached to me, cared for me and loved me.
I know I have pulled on your heart strings, made you laugh and made you cry. You’ve railed against fate with me. You’ve wondered, like we have wondered why it happened to me, all the while being glad it wasn’t you. Don’t lie — I know you know this is true.
You have looked at me with sadness in your eyes. Pity, even. How do you look at someone who has been given a death sentence?
Back in the early days, after cancer, I read longingly about that smaller percentage who could beat this tricky, deadly cancer. I have worn out my knees praying that I would be included in that percentage of death-defying survivors.
If I am to be, I’m on my way to paying the price of admission. Thirteen incisions, cinched up by many stitches and much surgical glue criss cross my torso, front and back. Countless sleepless nights with a vomit bucket within reach. A hospital bed, two different walkers, spare recliners moved from room to room trying to find a place I could be with my family and still be able to find a way to sit. Indescribable pain, hundreds of needle sticks, bags of fluids and radiation — oh my God, the radiation. Hundreds of hours of reading, studying this cancer and trying to hold up my responsibilities as part of my medical team. These are the tickets one has to punch to get into the show. I’m praying all the seats are not full when I get to the head of the line.
Dr. Mac Molnar met with us on Thursday of this week. He described the epic left lobe of my multi-noduled, benign, big ass thyroid goiter. It is gone, the path report was clear, my latest incision is healing well and my voice is beginning to get stronger. This is all good!
On this day, this beautiful Saturday, I torched my garden spot making ready for some tomato plants. I spent some time in my Ranger ATV looking at longleaf pines beginning to stretch their cactus-like arms toward the sky.
On this beautiful Saturday, I drove to the back part of our property out in the woods, turned off the vehicle, stripped buck naked, except for my socks, hat, sunglasses and boots and stretched my arms to the sky and thanked my God for healing me. For sustaining me through these dark days and nights and for giving me the first real seed of hope I’ve had in almost three years.
Here’s what I found out: I like praying naked in the woods and I’m going to do more of it. But first, I’ve got to get that drum circle started.