I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted here, but life’s been getting in the way a lot as of late. In the past two and a half months, I’ve dreamed up an idea for a survivorship movement, I’ve started selling t-shirts to get the movement’s message out there and get survivors out where people can see them, I ran myself into the ground trying to make a deadline for work, I’ve been to Texas for a Planet Cancer retreat and to visit my parents, I’ve been fired, and it looks like I’m on the verge of being hired again. There have been many trials and tribulations over the past couple of months, but more than ever, I’ve been feeling that “guiding hand” presence.
I’ve never really been a religious person, haven’t really believed in fate either. But with each step I take through this cancer journey, it seems that more and more I’m seeing things happening for a reason, and it seems that nine and a half times out of ten, that reason is to get me back on track with CiMB. Whenever I’ve felt down or strung out and tired from overwork or like giving it all up, something always happens. I’ll get a wonderful note from one of you complimenting me on what I’m doing. I’ll read a touching story that hardens my resolve to Do Something for my cancer surviving family. I’ll get some little something that gets me back on track and shows me that my path has already been written down somewhere.
Usually it’s something small like these things. Like they say, it’s the little things that mean a lot. Sometimes it’s bigger things that happen, like losing my job. After all, if I can’t work on CiMB because of all the time I’m putting into work, that guiding hand has to make it go away, right? It also has to then make another job available to me that will make me work more on CiMB, and it has. But now that hand has done the biggest thing and gotten personal. It took my friend Mike away from us.
We met Mike and Sarah at the Planet Cancer Young Couple’s retreat. They’re from California and were our roommates for the weekend. Mike was a survivor of the Hodge, stage IV, just like me. Only trouble was, he was diagnosed twelve years ago. All of that chemo and all of those years of fighting had taken its toll on his body, but his heart was still strong and he was prepared to fight this thing forever.
It’s amazing how close this cancer can allow you to get to people. From complete strangers to best friends – no – to family almost immediately. We bonded with everyone there and became one big happy semi-diseased family. And there was so much about that weekend that kept me inspired and kept me going when I felt like I couldn’t go anymore. Mike was one of the main images in my mind for so many reasons, so many of which (as has been typical lately) just resolved into anger. I never really indulged in the “Why me?”s through all of my treatments, as I knew there were plenty of folks who had it rougher than I. But Mike brought out the “Why me?” in me. Namely, why am I standing here, looking fit as a fiddle, while my poor buddy Mike has been through the wringer over and over again? Why did I breeze through when he had to fight so hard? It’s not fair. It’s not right.
I hate this fucking disease.
I hate the fucking politicians who won’t save our lives.
I hate the fucking media for turning the country’s brain into mush and going after sensationalism rather than news, or at the very least, get sensationalistic about something that actually fucking matters, rather than the latest update on where an ex-stripper is going to be buried.
I hate myself for setting my quest aside for work or for rest or for any of the millions of things I’ve told myself I have to do.
Sarah just got off the phone with us a little while ago, telling us of Mike’s passing. He loved his shirt and wore it proudly, which makes sense for a guy with a biohazard tattoo on his back. Sarah said that for that weekend, he was like the Old Mike again – no cancer, just life. I’m honored to have been able to spend even a little time with a real-life hero, and my anger over losing him is wiping my slate clean.
No more excuses, no more screwing around. In the next couple of days, you’re going to be seeing a lot of changes to this site. I’m taking my Idea live and I’m going to start tilting at some fucking windmills. For those of you who only know me in the real world or through this site, you might not have learned of the Grand Idea, but believe me, before long, you will. It would be a disgrace to Mike’s memory and the memory of all the other warriors we’ve lost to this cowardly, piece of shit disease if I fell asleep on the job again. We can’t afford to lose any more Mikes.
Mike, I know you’re up there in heaven and all, but keep giving ’em hell.