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.
14 thoughts on “Warning: Parental Advisory”
So sorry to read about your friend Mike losing his valiant battle against the Hodge. I can understand why you are going full steam ahead with your CIMB movement. Go get em Brian! Yours is a battle that WILL be won. See you when you return to our family on the HL forum. You will be missed – but we’ll hold the fort for you and leave the light on.
You words mean more to me than I can express. And your resolve and motivation is encouraging. Your outlook is more similar to Mike’s than I think we ever realized at the retreat, even though we instinctively knew it.
I don’t have much time to write now, but will follow up more completely soon.
In closing I’ll pass on some experiences that have prompted tears of joy and pain over the past few days. Althought not orchestrated, we began toasting Mike each day. (Of course, the first three days it was Champagne, then Hefeweizen…probably mint-chip ice cream tonight.) Just hours ago this morning, we lifted our spoons “To Mike: He loved Cheerios with frozen blueberries.”
So as the second toast of the day for a guy with cancer who wouldn’t refer to himself as a “survivor” yet… To Mike: Cancer was his bitch.
Grudgingly “Mike’s Widowzilla”
(but I AM the only one who can call myself that!!!)
Mike is my best friend. He was a soldier through out his battle with as you say this “fucked up” disease. From the day I found out the Mike had cancer (may 26, 1995) I never heard him really complain. He gave me a life lesson on how to handle adversity and did so with class and dignity. The day before Mike died we joked, laughed, and he even flipped me off on several occassions which really means he loved me. Of course I returned the favor. Good luck in your fight and thank you for all that you are doing for all those affected by this disease. By the way the t-shirts and stickers are great. Sarah gave me a sticker which is now posted on my bike helmet.
Thank you so much for honoring Mike. Our family and friends wear and display the “Cancer is My Bitch” pins and stickers with pride. I am so glad he was able to meet such awesome people. Good luck with the fight.
Molly Moore-Mike’s sister
As a friend of Mike and Sarah’s, I’m glad you got to know the man we all recognized as a “real-life hero” for over 12 years. I never heard him complain, except to have to “play the cancer card” on occasion (though rarely) and opt out of an event. He was so candid about it, which I know I would never be able to be, which just goes to show his strength. It frustrates me to see healthy people destroying their bodies by voluntarily putting toxic chemicals in them while people like Mike and yourself have to answer to this bitch. Thank you for sharing your experiences with Mike and Sarah – they both said it was such an amazing time, and I’m sure you were one of the main reasons why. Keep up the fight!
Hi Brian, your post truly touched me and I want to say how sorry I am to hear of the loss of Mike. To his loved ones and friends, I send my heartfelt condolences.
Just a thought that has been on my mind for a few months. I know you have lots on your mind and you want to get going on your idea. With cancer not on capitol hill’s priority and other “bigger” cancers treated with more priority, HL seems to be forgotten. My thought is doing a flash picture slideshow of all the people you know afflicted with cancer to show who we are and that we are real people struggling with what is known as a “curable” disease. Those who particpate can wear your shirts or other lymphoma awarness shirts. – just an idea off my head and something I’ve been wanting to do.
I created a floral slideshow not too long ago which I will post below only as an example. If this is something you feel is a good idea, let me know and I can help or if totally out of left field and not a good idea, I’ll understand.
Example slideshow with music
i feel so blessed to have met sarah and mike on the AWESOME PC retreat last month!
what an ADORABLE couple. and mike, what an amazing smile. you were the first couple we met at the airport. i will NEVER forget mike’s smile nor his POSITIVE spirit.
it is times like THESE that REMIND US we MUST stop and enjoy EVERY MOMENT of life. life is too short. i can’t help but be angry to hear the news. but i am NEVER giving up OUR fights!!!!!
i will be sure to smile up at mike in heaven DAILY and definitely feel blessed to have met he and sarah.
I also was completely amazed with Mike. He was a great person, and really an inspiration to me. I wish you the best with the website, and I hope you stay in remission. Stay in touch!
Sarah-(and everyone we met)
My heart is open for you to come and visit with us. You are welcome to stay as long as you need. Have clarity knowing that he has peace now.
We love you-
Kaye and TC
Hello, my friend. Just wanted to stop by and say HI! I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. It just sucks…
If there’s anything I can do for you, you know how to contact me. I’m always willing to listen and help you out any way I can.
I think of you often, and miss you on the HL board. But I know you have a job to do here, and we will all be waiting for you when you come back!
Thank you for your post. Mike touched me too in but a brief time at the PC retreat. We had lost my wife’s brother to the Hodge just a month before. Your resolve encourages me. I suspect that you have a guiding hand bigger than cancer.
Fond memories and shared grief,
Hey there Brian,
It’s has awhile, man. Cancer is a bitch! You’re definitely right about that. I’m so sorry to learn about the passing of your friend, Mike. Your love and affection for your friendship is so clear through your beautiful words. I’m thinking about you and his family at this difficult time.
Just checking in Brian. I hope all is well.
Just checking in on you, haven’t seen any posts from you lately. I thought of you yesterday when I wore my CiMB shirt! I hope all is well!!
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