August the 30th was the one year anniversary of the second worst phone call I have ever received. I knew in the back of my mind the cancer had returned. But for me it was still hard to hear. My life had changed before that day. The first cancer phone call and all we went through that first year took care of that. I was truly living life differently. I had just been elected the Third Vice-President of the Oklahoma State Fraternal Order of Police. A huge honor and responsibility I was truly looking forward to. Things at work were good. Things at home were great with the wife and family. We were working towards hopefully buying a home. The kids were settled in, all was great. Yet somehow I knew in the back of my mind that if that day ever came, if the cancer ever returned, things would change drastically. If I had only know just how good my fortune telling abilities were.
And so the whirlwind began. Surgery, tests, and finally a trip to MD Anderson began what has been more of a journey than I could ever have imagined. One year later, hard to imagine in a lot of ways, seems like forever in others. I wish that I could say that it has been a great journey of self discovery and growth, during a time where I have been able to answer some of life's mysteries, solve long lived problems, and found a peace that passes all understanding. As I stated above, the year after the initial diagnosis, I was living differently. I valued life more. I slowed down a little bit. I didn't take as many things for granted, put my family and friends first, tired to be better at everything I did. But the changes that lay ahead were more than I ever bargained for. Because of the physical part of the treatments and surgeries I had to walk away from work. Something I have never done before. I was a workaholic. I wasn't able to perform my duties as Third Vice-President like I had wanted. It seemed even during those times I felt okay, I always had a doctor's appointment or a treatment or surgery when a responsibility came up that I needed to be a part of. I slowly had to start to give up the things I loved like fishing or playing golf. In the beginning I could stil do certain things like mow the yard, or work in the shop, things that would keep me busy. But slowly over time I have had to give those things up as well. (The one good thing is I have been able to spend a lot more time with the family and that is always a great thing.) Now days I spend most of my time stuck on the couch or in bed. As I have stated in previous blogs I am much more sick these days. Nausea, vomiting, fever, pain, and on and on. It has become very tough for me. Someone who is used to be constantly on the move. is now stuck doing nothing but sitting. And the trips to different states for treatments are starting to wear thin. And treatments, we are on our fourth different treatment, none of which have worked. And as one ends and another begins, it is becoming more difficult to be positive and upbeat that the new one is going to work. A year later, here we are, still fighting, still trying to find something that will work. And as I knew back then deep down inside, it is getting worse.
I share all of that because I made a commitment to be honest about how I feel. And a many days that is how I feel. Frustrated, scared, tired, sick, and simply worn out from it all. People don't call as much anymore. I don't talk to as many people as I used to. I have too much time to sit and think. So what now? That is a question I have asked myself a lot here lately. What do I do now? How do I continue to find the strength I need to keep on fighting? It is a question that is continually evolving. I haven't gotten there yet. I pray a lot more. I lean on my wife and family more than I ever thought I could or would. Then I make a trip to Houston and walk around and see others who are fighting and I realize several things. One, I am being selfish feeling sorry for myself. Two, I ain't the only one in the world in this position. It could be a whole lot worse than it is. I also realize how good I have it in so many ways. God continues to take care of us. Our needs are met every month, the kids are taken care of, even the dog gets to eat. It's all about my focus and what I chose to spend my time thinking about and focusing on. It's not a complicated or new theory. If I focus on the negative, I will be negative. If I focus on the positive I will be positive. It's really that simple, but not always easy. So I have to work a little harder at it, its good for me. I never thought this would drag out so long either. I don't know what I expected, but I guess I expected faster, one way or another. So, and yes I am going to say it, patience is slowly becoming a lesson I am being taught. Notice I didn't say learning. I am not even begin to explain or give any sort of dissertation on patience. As I am sitting here writing this the air conditioner in our bedroom went out. It's always something.
So one year later we press on. We continue to do our best to put one foot in front of the other. Some days are good, some not so good. The lessons I have learned and continue to learn are sometimes easy and sometimes hard, but in the end it's worth it. And as always I must give my wife a huge amount of credit. She continues to be there for me, and take care of me without complaining, not expecting anything in return. She has had to take on even more now that school has started, taking the kids to practice, school, and all their other activiites. She continues to work and take care of things around the house. She is absolutely amazing. The kids are doing well, busy as ever. We won't know until mid October if the new medicine is working or not. It's another round of hurry up and wait. You would think the we would be used to it by now, but apparently not. It's still hard as ever. Thankfully, at least for the time being, the weather has cooled off a great deal and I am hoping I will be able to get out and work around the yard a little. I think some fresh air and cool weather will do me some good. Thank you again to all of you for your prayers and support. We could't do it without you. Hopefully this new medicine will work at least enough to help me feel better. I will continue to put one foot in front of the other and do my best to focus on the good things in life. Because even in the midst of all of this, there is still more good in my life than bad. And I think it's fitting that I am going through these changes during the change of season's outside. I think for me it's all about growth and knowing that I can change and grow no matter how good or bad things may get. I just have to keep my focus on the good, be open to the lessons that God is trying to teach me, and strive to be the man he wants me to be no matter the circumstances. One foot in front of the other. One day at a time, no, one moment at a time.
Remember every day to put one foot in front of the other, drink a lot of water, and don't forget to breath..............