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Wearing snowshoes on a summer day

July 5, 2012

The after-effects from the Big C–(now C stands for Chemo) is a numbness in my feet and a heaviness in my legs. When I walk upstairs it’s like I have snowshoes on and walking through a high snowdrift. And I bear down on it, believing I can overcome this with some force within me. This heaviness made it close to impossible for me to spring up on a surfboard, or walk 18-holes of golf. But I still paddle in the ocean, and take a cart on the course and walk here and there. I always have to let the pain and difficulty know I’m there. And how else can I fight it? By giving to others. Toni, the woman who works at the post office has a friend who has Lou Gerhig’s disease, and she told me her friend liked Perry Como. So I ripped some CDs of Perry Como and gave them to her. A few days later Toni said, “My friend hasn’t smiled in so long, but this time when I visited her and put the Perry Como CD on and she heard it on her headphones she smiled.” There’s one force I think. I bring a bottle of wine to Linda of DVD to go who has let me have free DVDs to watch during my treatment. I go to Dr. Resnick-Sannes, who first detected my tumor, and give him a bottle of wine and said to him, “This is for you for saving my life.” And we talked for awhile. I told him about my battle and explained how I fought against cancer. He said, “I wish I had a tape recorder to get this down.” I replied, “I’ve been keeping a blog about it and I’m putting it together and calling it “Today Cancer, Tomorrow The World.” He said,”I’d like to see it.” Then he added,”Have you gopne to any cancer groups?” I said, “No. But if someone needs my help they can call me.”

We continued our conversation. I said,”When I first had cancer I wanted to change my life. I thought if I ever lie in this bed again who will I be? And I quit my job and left for California to do stand-up and surf. And I accomplished those things. But this second time, all I want to do is give more, just give more of myself. I’m not going to be Mother Theresa, and I certainly want some time to myself. I remember talking to a nurse when I first had cancer and explained what I went through. And she said,”You’re different than most people. I found most people don’t change at all, they react to cancer the way the react to a paper cut or anything else.’ WHen she told me that, I just couldn’t believe it.”

Dr. Resnick-Sannes said,m “Well you can articulate what you wewnt through. Most people can’t do that. But they feel it.”

“Okay. I guess the tough thing right now is the side effects I have from chemo, the nerve thing with my legs. And they never tell you that.”

“Would you feel better if when you first took chemo they said there was a five percent chance that you’d never walk again?”

“No, I hear what you’re saying. It only adds to the fear. And that’s the worst part about understanding the disease. For the one fact I learn about what I’m going through, I find out two more horror facts of what could happen to me. And since I’m going through it anyway, it almost doesn’t matter.”

I flash to my Dad who said to me that kids should only learn the good points in history instead of the darker facts because a kid needs to dream. And I had to keep dreaming.

I have to believe drawing from the well within me will  lead somewhere. I was cleaning the deck of my house and found a Popeye Spinach can lying on the steps and the little cactus plant I nurtured back to health during my chemo treatment was spilled out on  the stairs. The cat must have knocked it off the railing. It was shriveled in the dry dirt, but the plant looked like it had some signs of life. This frightened me. Was this a sign that cancer was going to reappear. It seemed like a sign of bad luck, like finding a dead baby bird on the ground. I thought, no, no no! I picked up the little plant, scooped up some of the dirt, got some water and placed its dry roots back into the moist soil. Then I put it in the shade thinking it already had enough sun. I need you to get well, I thought.

Maybe that’s how I was, my roots on dry dirt and I’m trying to find my way in new soil. But I want that little cactus to make the journey with me.Rise with me green thing in the light of the sun. Reach out with me. We have to make it because I need to believe that you and I can make it through this together.

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