sleepingatlast

Life is a Gorgeous, Broken Gift

It’s been a very quiet couple months for Mikey Versus Cancer. As for Regular Mikey, I’ve been busy with life. I haven’t been to any cancer treatment facilities since October. I did make a brief emergency room visit last week because of my ileostomy, but it wasn’t anything to be concerned with and by the time I saw a doctor, I knew everything was alright.

Heather and I are currently doing a lot of adulting too, including refinancing our home to a shorter term with a lower rate for a lower monthly payment (win/win/win!). And in the next few days we’ll have a blue Equinox instead of a black one. I’ve been back to work full time since September, learning new things and getting back into the swing of 40-hour work weeks. I’ll even be skating in an outdoor hockey game at Clark Park in Detroit on January 7th with my childhood best friend and the rest of the PKHL. I never thought I’d ever be able to play hockey again when this all started, let alone do it cancer-free. There will be tears, joyful ones. I’ve also been a full-time daddy many weekends while Heather works, doing more parenting than I’ve done my kids’ in almost 7 years of life.

Seven Years.

Life moves so quickly. So much of it passes by without us even noticing it.

I spent Christmas Day helping Milo record a time lapse video of him building one of the many lego sets he received, and it’s amazing that just a few short years ago he was a little toddler. I wish I could look back on the time lapse video of him growing up.

And Eloise… she’s so grown up now. No longer a Princess, but the self-proclaimed Queen. No words can ever prepare a new parent from how quickly it happens.

Life.

When Christmas was over last year with 2016 on it’s way, I remember being so uncertain of my future. I had no answers. I had very little planned out. I had my first, devastating appointment at CTCA and was trying to plan my next steps, fighting against the weight of cancer and life or death. I was 34 years old and completely ill equipped for the year to begin. And now I’m 35 years old with 2017 is on it’s way… and I’m still no more prepared or equipped for the challenges I’ll face this year.

Because so much can change in one year.

Both good and bad happens so instantaneously. We can never be prepared for either. And life keeps moving forward no matter how much we try to slow it down or understand it.

Like 2016, life is again uncertain. My next CT scan in January 16th. This will be the first look at my body since my surgery when all the cancer was removed AND already proven to be dead in all but one specimen. It’s difficult to live in these blocks of time and although I have peace that no matter the outcome, I’ll keep moving forward towards complete healing, the brave face is hard to wear all the time. There are days where I have question everything.

Is the cancer really gone?
Was the pathology report correct?
Why me? Why not others?

But the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard
Is that I don’t have to have the answers.

Sometimes you just have to turn down the need for answers and have faith that the next steps will be exactly where you need to go. I wear the brave face proudly even when it’s difficult or I feel hypocritical… because sometimes you just have to be brave. For you. For others.

I have so much to be thankful for this new year.

Wife.
Kids.
Friends.
Family.
Work.
Home.
Health.

Health. It’s the only thing we want in life when it’s failing us. And it’s the only thing we fail to think about when it’s not.

I have a challenge for everyone this year… Take some time to think about your health.

One of my many new years resolutions will be to focus on my health. My mom bought me a Forks over Knives Cookbook for Christmas and it’s an eye opener seeing how much I have no idea how to cook (especially with no oils!). The book is as much a course on cooking as it is a recipe book.

Easy ways to improve your health:

  1. Eat less meat
  2. Eat more fruits
  3. Eat more veggies
  4. Move your body (This is the one I struggle with the most)
  5. Drink less sugar
  6. Drink less milk
  7. Drink less alcohol
  8. Drink MORE water

It doesn’t even have to be cold turkey… just replace a few meals with fruits and veggies and a few coffees with teas. Slow and steady.

Another resolution is to level up my patience, especially with my kids. I have to remember daily that they’re only six and they don’t need me barking orders at them all day long. They need a dad who they respect, not the guy who tells them not to do things all day long or to move faster. If I can overcome cancer, I surely can overcome this too. It won’t be easy, but nothing worth doing ever is.

I’ll also be venturing into writing this year. In 2003, when I was housebound battling Crohn’s disease, I bought a book called “Story” that my cousin recommended because I wanted to write a book. I never did. I had nothing worth writing about. Now it seems I do, and if whatever I write helps one person through a devastating time in their life, then it will be worth it.

I don’t have much else to say, except that, as the Sleeping at Last song below says, “life is a gorgeous, broken gift; Six billion+ pieces waiting to be fixed“. Each new year will bring new parts of our lives what we get to arrange and fix to fit together into a complete picture. Some things may be great while others overwhelming or disastrous. It’s life. The good and the bad woven into one lifelong puzzle.

All I wish for everyone this new year is so take the good with the bad and remember that all things are possible, even the things people say are impossible.

“Emphasis”

Death is promised to the bee
Who’s sting protects the colony.
Was its life worth nothing more
Than honey for the queen?

Life is a branch and it is a dove,
Handcrafted by confusing love.
Sign language is our reply,
When church bells make no sound.

In hollow towers and empty hives,
We craved sweetness with a fear of heights.
Was it all just a grain of sand
In an hourglass?

The smartest thing I’ve ever learned
Is that I don’t have all the answers,
Just a little light to call my own.

Though it pales in comparison
To the overarching shadows,
A speck of light can reignite the sun
And swallow darkness whole.

Death is a cold, blindfolded kiss.
It is the finger pressed upon our lips.
It puts an unwanted emphasis
On how we should have lived.

Life is a gorgeous, broken gift.
Six billion+ pieces waiting to be fixed.
Love letters that were never signed,
Sent to where we live.

But the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard
Is that I don’t have to have the answers,
Just a little light to call my own.

Though it pales in comparison
To the overarching shadows,
A speck of light can reignite the sun
And swallow darkness whole.