Getting goosed while getting my ducks in a row
2014 suffice to say was an abysmal year for me. It was the year of the struggle. I simply could not catch a break despite an excruciating amount of effort on my part in all aspects of my life; personally, financially, socially, emotionally, etc. I had never been in such a dark abyss a year ago as a terrible winter had its grips, I was just guzzling alcohol to cope, and though mom was doing ‘well’; the inevitable was still ahead.
I’m not sure how, but I came out of it feeling somewhat optimistic and healed. Maybe all the retrospect and learning that I enveloped myself with during that period was worth it. I stepped up, took risks, and started making some headway to get myself propped up and solidly going forward. Before I knew it stability was fragile, but with a steady foundation. I made the ultimate move downtown, got some positive work feedback, and finally made an effort to make me more mobile.
I was finally, FINALLY, getting my ducks in a row.
After years of just ignoring many of my problems, and just scooting by I started making conscious efforts to put these things at rest that was keeping me up at night, a lot of the time. Tax debts, student loan debt, personal shortcomings, and so on. It wasn’t easy to begin making those sacrifices to put these in perspective, and not the best time, but it had to be done. The layers upon layers of crap though that I was facing last year though certainly wasn’t the best time. It kept me from going out. It made me quite irritable.
Irritability though came mostly from a now notorious aching back and general malaise which we know now was the culprit. If there was any question of my fortitude, last year simply proved it.
The greatest point of the year was finally getting hired on full-time, and finally getting to a few paychecks later to finally give me cushion I had been talking about to alleviate the struggle; to get back out there and bring Jeff back out to being more social and drinking beer on a regular basis again, etc. That was the last week of November. The first week of December I not only got ample paychecks, but the most important thing of all; INSURANCE!
That’s when I got goosed. December 8th I was diagnosed. Four days later my mom died. Perspectives changed VERY quickly.
The first person I told about my diagnosis was my nurse friend Amanda in Milwaukee (we went to Germany together). I had been consulting with her about what the hell could be wrong with me and sharing my symptoms. Funny thing is I had isolated my pancreas as the problem though I could only suspect pancreatitis which she quickly thwarted. It could have been that, or diabetes, or well..it couldn’t possibly be cancer, right? The day I had my CT scan I drove home and told my brother-in-law Cy that just getting a CT scan increases your cancer risk by like 5%. I told him straight up I probably already have cancer. I had never felt so bad. It just seemed so serious. Right again.
Telling my family was the hardest thing since we thought we had closed the book on our recent cancer fatality, mom. My sister’s were already broken, my dad was just his realist self about it, and the hardest part was sharing it with my nieces and nephews. I never wanted kids, but being an uncle has been the greatest thing in my life. Facing the fact I would not see them grow up beyond adolescence made my heart sink. That’s the hard and darkest part. Sharing with your family because your breaking a bond regardless of what control you have. You feel guilty even though it’s no fault of your own.
And that’s another difficult thing in the back of my mind. I’ll never know if it could have been prevented. Should have I eaten more fruits and vegetables, if I had drank less alcohol, avoided artificial sweeteners, and so on. You just never know what one thing could have triggered a couple of cells to split the wrong damn way one day. An article came out just a few days following my diagnosis that it doesn’t matter what kind of prevention you take; you’re ultimately screwed if it’s in the cards.
Facing death is always there, but of course at age 40 when somebody told me ‘hey, you’re only halfway to 80’ I wasn’t all too thrilled with that perspective. I figured I’d be happy/lucky to get to 70, so life is ticking fast. Now every second ticks off in my mind extra loudly. I’m a little more frantic, at least when I’m not tired. I have a difficult time trying to relax; I take what I’m doing more seriously, and the only thing that really matters to me now is spending time with my family. I work my butt off, and I think about my family; that and trying to keep my protein and vitamin K intake for my platelets. If you’re not in that mix, it’s pretty much secondary in my life. I do want to visit some of you out there reading this too, but work and family is getting in the way of that. 😉
I’m also no longer putting off projects. I’ve been working on two old computers over the past week or two to get them out of my space and retrieve all the files. I have photos upon photos, and a lot of stuff I have written in the past couple of decades. I don’t want any of that lost, and to be honest I want to be publicly available at my memorial so I can expose you to who I was on the inside, because my dead body isn’t going to tell you anything except I’m really dead. For being a pack rat my whole life I do hope by the time I either have to move myself out of here, or hopefully not somebody else it’ll be an easy move for me/them next time. I admittedly have a lot of boxes. I want to be able to move home with a car load next time.
Another perspective is a peaceful end to a few things that have eluded me for far too long; dating (the big one), not completing college, and religion (or lack thereof). The simple and borderline of insanity of dating especially over the past two or three years has been nothing short of rejection of epic proportions. I’m glad now that I don’t have to put a spouse, or worse my own kids, through an early death. I’m glad now that I can go out and look at a women with a certain desire and I don’t have to walk away regretting that I didn’t approach her. Rejection has zero weight now, but neither does acceptance. It’s peaceful to be stuck in a place where it doesn’t matter. Dating sucked, and I’m glad that chapter is over regardless of the situation. Though I admittedly, sadly, still have the loans I’m at peace that I didn’t complete college. It would have been a even bigger waste now. And finally, going public with my cancer diagnosis on Facebook, many may have wondered why I brought up religion/atheism at the same time? Once again, to be a peace. I suspect that many were more shocked and awed about the atheist announcement than the cancer announcement which to me makes the perfect juxtaposition in sharing news. Most don’t bring up that portion (being atheist) in casual conversation and I’m not sure why (my guess is there own religious insecurity), but it’s my way of saying it doesn’t matter. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t (that’s where you were supposed to watch/listen to Kasey Musgraves in the last post).
So there you have my nutshell summary of what has transpired in my mind in the past 2-3 months. I’m glad you’re here to follow along, and I do hope to give more recent and shorter commentary regarding my health, stats, and general goings on with you from here on out. Thanks for reading and standing by with me through all this. I couldn’t do it without you!