One hundred battles a day

With a diagnosis like mine and the unique circumstances surrounding that diagnosis, there are more like a million a day but “one hundred” sounds better in the title. Yesterday was the second annual Drive-in to Drive-out Cancer car show that I, with the help of some friends put on as a surprise for my dad last year. Sadly, dad passed away a few months later and I won’t bore you with the tragedy thats happened since then, suffice it to say,  this year the car show was just as much for me as it was for my dad. It was a beautiful day with hundreds of cars and people coming out to show support for us. I couldn’t ask for better friends and family. The night was perfect, we all watched the video I made for dad and I know he was smiling down on us from car show heaven. I cried a hundred times wishing my dad could be here and I constantly fought the feeling that next year it will be Rach putting on the show in memory of me. I try to remain hopeful that I’ll still be here for many more years to continue this tradition, but its a battle.

A month ago we gave birth to our sweet baby girl Sadie Grey and I am overwhelmed with the emotions that come along with that. Its hard to explain how it feels to know that you may not watch your baby grow up. It’s impossible to comprehend the inner struggle that I go through when she’s sleeping on my chest. The guilt that I feel when I have thoughts that tell me not to get too close because it will only make it harder in the end. It truly is a tornado of emotions and my saving grace is Rachel telling me that its okay to feel what ever I am feeling, reassuring me that I’ll connect with her in my own way and even small things like having her sleep on me will leave an imprint on her that will last a life time. Every time I hear her cry, its a battle, of course I want to run and comfort her, what father wouldn’t? but sometimes I don’t, and the guilt that I feel for not being able to or maybe subconsciously not wanting to as much as I did with Riley is impossible to understand unless you’re in my shoes.  

Riley started school last week and I could not have been happier to have been able to walk her there and pick her up that afternoon. As happy as I was, the moment was shadowed by tears, I can’t stop the thoughts that make me wonder if I’ll be here to do it again next year. As we entered the school and walked up to her door, she looked up at me and asked me to pick her up, which of course I did, I hugged her a little tighter and took that step over the threshold and into the classroom where she almost immediately leapt out of my arms to go play with some Lego. Only then did I realize that she just wanted help getting through the door but Im glad she did because I needed that hug as I moved one step forward from the hallway to the classroom. That one last hug gave me strength to walk back home, hand in hand with Rach, Sadie on her chest and know that even if everything doesn’t turn out the way I want it to, that moment was perfect and it made me happy despite the battle I fought in my head as I walked her to school that day.

Everything I do is shadowed by the question of how many more times I’ll get to do it. It’s a terrible thought to have but one that has become engrained into my everyday state of being. From the smallest things like mowing the lawn to the bigger things like sitting down for dinner with my family and friends. Playing music with and for the people I love. The list goes on and on. The silliest things like replacing the air filter in the house suddenly seem that much more important and memorable, knowing that I’m doing something for my family, unbeknownst to them is what makes it special. The fact that I can still do it is what makes it special, it’s hard not imagine myself in a wheel chair, frail and incapable of even moving myself around or worse, not even here to be incapable of the simplest things. I have no idea what the future holds for me, so my imagination runs wild and from one end of the spectrum to the other. I also imagine myself twenty years from now being that person who beat this shit, standing next to Rach at our thirty year anniversary with our daughters by our side and our friends and family gathered around. I battle every moment of every day between those two polar opposites and every night when I close my eyes to go sleep, I’m not sure which one I’ve landed on. 

I fly back to New Jersey tomorrow for another meeting with the doctor there, discussing results from the testing they did came back and now hopefully he’s in a position to advise on what type of treatment I should be doing and what that will mean for the longevity and quality of my life. Since I stopped chemo back in June, my hair has come back, eyebrows, lashes and all. I’ve felt more like myself than like a cancer patient, of course there have been days that are hard and I feel exhausted and overwhelmed, days where I feel pains that land me in the emergency room, but there have also been days where I get to go to the farmers market with my girls, ride my motorcycle with my brother and spend time with my friends and family. Every day is made up of a million little battles and I don’t keep track, but I’d like to think I’m winning most of them. This next chapter with treatments, side effects and uncertainties is going to be harder than anything I’ve endured and I’m terrified of the prospect of having to go through more rounds of chemo and radiation now having been on both sides of the fence, but with the support of my family and friends around me, I know I’m not fighting this battle alone. 

One thought on “One hundred battles a day

  1. Bryan says:

    You Sir,
    Are an inspiration to many,
    Myself included! Don’t stop fighting
    My friend! These days, and all those little memories you spoke of, are what those little girls need! Peace Brother!


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