This blog is made up of thoughts for my children as I battle cancer. It is not meant to be all knowing or holier than thou. It is simply a place for those that have asked, to read about the lessons that I would like to share with my children, whether I am able to stay with them, or not.



As I contemplate what I have left in this life, my thoughts often turn to “What have I done with this gift so far?” The answer to that question is exactly as deep and complex as the question. I can choose to look at it from a very high level and say that I have made mistakes, but overall, feel pretty good about my efforts. That is fine for maintenance purposes, but as I begin this Introduction from a hospital bed afflicted with Stage IV Prostate Cancer at 40 years old, it is not sufficient. The prognosis for my disease lies somewhere between 6 months and 2 years.

The odd thing about life is its ever changing definitions and standards. When I was younger, I would characterize life as freedom to make my own decisions and choices, beholden to no one. When I married, my life felt like it was intangible, yet to be defined, like a ghost. It was something that I was working towards, a goal. My wife and I were building a life together. It was like watching our first home being built. I saw the foundation, then the structure come into focus. Eventually, we began to see the frame taking shape to resemble our dreams and expectations. After we had children, my life completely became our life. Our life developed into defined roles. Some, my wife assumed, while others became mine. Instead of a mist that was formed by the particles of a concept, life became tangible and required research, planning, and action. I didn’t think of me anymore. Me became us. Not all the time. I’m not so full of myself to disregard times of selfishness, but my family of four, was ONE. I felt that one of my main roles and responsibilities was to provide for my family. To provide is a concept that isn’t only financial, but also to make sure that essential necessities of life were available to my family. Sometimes it was paid for, sometimes it was a shoulder, and sometimes, it was just time.

Not too long ago, our life changed. At 39, what was thought to be Prostatitis was diagnosed as Advanced and Metastatic Prostate Cancer. The cancer had left the prostate and spread to the lymph nodes, bladder, hips, pelvis, ribs, sternum, shoulder blades, and spine. My vision of life turned into a fight to live. My children, ages 9 and 11 became the focus of that fight.

As I pondered that high level question of whether I have done enough with my life, it inevitably became a much deeper question with much deeper answers. The more I thought about the question, the more I realized that the answer was much more involved than, “basically, I did fine.” The fact that I have 2 young children that I may not see progress into adulthood told me all that I needed to know. No matter what I had ever done, unless I left a road map for them, it could never be enough.

So what did I want for them? Easy enough. Everything. The best. All they could dream and all that they desired. As I prepared to make sure that they had all of these things, I realized that wanting these things at a high level, but not defining or measuring what that meant or telling them how to achieve it was the equivalent of calling them to my death bed, shaking their hands, and telling them, “Good Luck!” If that is all I give them, I have not done nearly enough.

These writings then, are exactly that. I don’t know how long I will have before I am called from this place, but I want my wife and children to know what I mean when I say, “I want the best for you.” I want them to feel my spirit with them, even if my body cannot. Mostly, I want my immeasurable love for them to be felt eternally as they progress through this life. I love them with every particle of my being and it overwhelms me. I want them to always know that without question. I want to define what “The Best” means to me and the values that make the type of person who lives that kind of life. This is for them, in the hopes that it will give them a map to use, whether I am there to guide them in this life, or the next.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Why I Try

Through this treatment of cancer, it is always interesting to talk to and correspond with others going through similar trials. For every patient, the treatment varies slightly. Even though conventional treatments for cancer follow a well defined and researched path, patients always put varying degrees of emphasis on spirituality, diet, nutrition, supplements, attitude, outside support, etc. What also seems to vary is the desire to fight and the reasons for it. Some that have lived a long, full life may have an acceptance of their disease that others, stricken at an earlier point in their life, refuse to acknowledge. With 2 young children and a dear wife trying to juggle these seismic changes, I put myself in the latter category. Some diagnosis, regardless of age, are so dire that it leaves few options but to “put your affairs in order”, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Again, while I am not having much fun with my diagnosis, I do have the luxury of options and time. Time to reflect. Time to research. Time to repair. Time to Fight. It is too simplistic to say that I fight for self preservation or fear of the unknown when this life is done. Of course, those things are true. My faith allows me to worry a lot less about life after this one, but it also teaches me that this life is precious. Something to be defended and protected. I think the biggest reason of “Why I Try” is the love that I have for others and the love that they have for me. If the last example I can leave for my children is that I would not give up, not doing as I say, but do as I do. Sometimes the victory isn’t always only in the outcome, but the dignity, grace, and valor of the battle. I want my children, my wife, my family, and my friends to know that I love them enough to fight with every ounce of energy to win this war and remain with them until God calls me home, not just until it gets too difficult. The love and support given to me give me strength to try new treatments, as alternative as some of them are, because if there is a chance, I owe it to myself and all of you to endure to the end and make this life all it is supposed to be. When my time is up, I will know. It’s not my time. That is why I try.