(Note: A step aside from baseball for today’s post. I don’t really have any other blog anymore and this is where I turn to share with all of you impactful things in my life sometimes. Today is one of those days. This topic I’ll get into on May 14th and August 29th. Thanks, friends!)
Those who know me well, know that I’m a big fan of trivia type things that include “on this date” or “(blank) years since this happened”. My dad has an incredible memory and I learned it from him. A lot of these will circle around birthdays, sporting events, concerts and adventures with friends. But every now and then I come across certain days that hit me. Call them “days of reflection” or whatever you’d like. They are dates that forever changed my life. Dates that had huge ramifications on my life. Dates that made me who I am today. May 14th is one of them.
On May 14th, 1991 I went to Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CHMC) in Seattle for a nagging “back problem” I had for roughly two weeks. I had gone to a local podunk clinic that diagnosed it as an intestinal/”gas” problem and that time was the remedy. They were wrong; they were way wrong. I spent the day at what I remember simply as “The Clinic” at CHMC. Little did I know this would be the first of many visits to come.
On this day 20 years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a grapefruit sized tumor connected to my spine. The cancer was diagnosed as an “Ewing’s Sarcoma malignant tumor”. I was in trouble; this was nothing to sneeze at.
I often think back on what I had to go through. It was hell. There was nothing cool about it, there was nothing flashy about it, and family and friends definitely had fear put into them. I had a biopsy roughly one week after being diagnosed. Being a kid, you don’t fathom the magnitude of anything like this. I’ve at times wondered just exactly “how much time I had left” had this not been addressed/caught in time. It’s these types of things in life that can really put you on one of those “What If” paths… good or bad.
Having this happen to me at the age of 7, I really know very little of my life without cancer/recovery and everything that has come from it since then. I’m sure I used drugs that may not be on the market anymore, but who really knows what type of side effects they may or many not have had on me throughout my life. At that point in time, if there was a chance any drug could help, it was a “go for it”. My mom and dad used their best judgment.
But as I’ve grown older and wiser, I’ve learned there’s nothing I can do about what happened to me. Yes, it still effects me every single day of my life but sitting around and bitching about how much my back hurts isn’t going to get me anywhere. I do not want sympathy, I want understanding. I’ve said it time and time again, I defeated cancer… it did not defeat me. And despite those lingering effects that I go through, I need to remind myself that every day I live is one more than some doctors may have ever expected.
I finally broke out of my shell last August when the 29th of that month occurred. I had kept pretty mum about it. There are still quite a few people in my life that know nothing about it at all, but this blog post offered me a chance to tell my story and share it with many. The day August 29th marked the 19th anniversary of when my tumor was removed (after chemo, with more chemo and radiation to follow). You can read that blog post here:
May 14th and August 29th. These are two days that I will never forget. They are my battle scars. They are my days of remembrance. They are my days that keep me humbled and reflective. I don’t wish what happened to me on anybody; not even my worst enemy. But I do wish to be a good example of a cancer survivor. I want to be an inspiration to those who have had it, are dealing with it, and have defeated it like me. With me finally being vocal about it after all these years, I hope I can do just that.
Thanks for your time and thank you for letting me be me.