This past month has seen some reality checks when it comes to the ongoing fight to endure the battle with cancer. On Sept. 12, I lost my uncle that raised me when my father and mother had their own challenges. Ironically, he was my father’s identical twin and just like twins, he died from the same cancer that took my father 5 years ago.
The funeral was both a reunion and one of the more difficult emotional times of my life. But as a family, we made it through.
Once back in Hawaii and looking to return some normal routine of family life, training for endurance events and work, I was slapped with another reality check. My radiation therapy to my face 5 years ago had caused some damage to the nerve in a tooth. These things happen despite everyone best efforts. I’m surprised it took so long to present. So, I had a wonderful root canal performed to take care of the never ending side effects of the treatment.
I almost forgot the topical chemo for basal cell and many stitches from a little cyst on my back. These didn’t slow me down although they did keep me from swimming for a while. I didn’t want to be easy shark bait.
So, as I continue to look for the normalcy in life, I’m once again reminded of the never ending battle. Last week, I awoke to a chubby upper lip. I guess if I wanted to look like one of the reality TV stars with their big lips, I would have been pleased. On the contrary, I knew there was something up. Now, the swelling is into my cheeks, upper and lower lips and eye lids. I look so cute. It’s likely lymphedema due once again to the life long side effects from my treatment. My system was damaged permanently, so this is what I must manage. I’m working to isolate the trigger which is eluding us at the moment. But, I do look rather interesting.
So, one would assume that these events would allow for a lull in my attitude. Actually, just the opposite. I feel better than ever and more motivated that ever. Date nights with my wife, beach time with the boys, camping with my older son and training for long hours smelling the lilikoi, mountain apples and white ginger along the lovely Hawaiian trails that always brings a smile to my heart. With life we can either succumb to the events that we are faced with, or continue to live the journey. It may not always be pleasant, but that’s life. Live while there is life to live, and save the complaining for when the living is done. Because of these challenges, I go out of my way to help others, especially those that can actually help themselves. Sounds strange, but in a circular logic, I am showing them that because of my challenges, I am still able to do more than you without complaining and with a smile. What’s your excuse? I can’t find one.