Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A time of peace

  I awoke this morning intent on writing. It took 15 minutes to choose a title. I threw my phone on the couch in disgust. I wanted to write but had nothing. It was easy to write when life was a whirlwind. There was always something happening or Cancer news to report. My life has become incredibly normal. That thought opened my heart. I have been on this road for a very long time. The road has seen many battles. There are many to come. For now, there is peace.
   Wednesday last, Mandy, our daughter, her boyfriend, and I were drifting an Riffe lake about a half mile upstream of the dam. As the boat moved gently with the breeze and Otis Redding sang "Dock of the Bay" the peace was shattered by a pair EA18G Growlers doing a practice bombing run on the dam. They were a mere 300 feet directly above us. It was awesome. The roar of the turbines shattered the silence and echoed across the mountains. Moments later they pulled up in a near verticle climb and were gone. Once again peace returned.
   My most recent PSA is still undetectable. Each morning and evening I take my pills. I am not due for infusions or Lupron for 2 months. For now the beast is quiet. I am adrift upon a still sea and being pushed along gently by the winds of life. I rarely think about cancer. It is there. In the dark recesses of my mind. I know that at any time the peace can be shattered by the roar of the beast. 
  The next day we took our cameras out on the lake and waited for the jets to return. I wanted to record a video of me skiing with the planes flying over. It was a two hour waste of time. The planes did not return that day. We drank a few Coronas so it was not a total waste of time. In this story lies the epiphany.
  In regards to stage 4 Pca, recurrence is inevitable. The beast will return. Remission is temporary. Life goes on. In the mean time how we choose to live is paramount to our overall survival. 
   My dad has been diagnosed recently with stage 4 cancer of the esophagus. It is a devastating diagnosis. Still, he may have several years and yet he seems to have lost the will to survive. There is no fire. There is no fight. He appears small and defeated. It is unsettling. My dad is the man of steel. He is my hero. I have never seen him like this. I hate cancer.
   I have a disease. It most likely will cause my flesh to die one day. It cannot harm my spirit unless I allow it to do so. It is powerless. I will not allow it to define how I live my life. I will not waste this gift waiting for peace to be shattered by the roar of death. That aspect is for those who do not yet realize they are terminal. One day they will come face to face with the reality that life on earth for them is over. They will look back on their lives and regret the wasted year. 
  We, we lucky few, have been given the gift of mortality. How we spend our months and years between now and the grave define our character. Time is truly a precious gift. Choose wisely how you use it.