Well, welcome to 2005, everyone.
I hope you and yours have a spectacular year.
Also, I am hoping that me and mine can have a better year than last year.
And, that said, and not to go all Oprah Winfrey or anything, but it wasn’t all bad.
For one thing, my g-f proposed, and that is huge and fantastic!!
And there were lots of great moments, in spite of all the hard parts.
And, not to sound too much like a self-help book or anything, but there were some really good parts that came around because of the hard parts.
Lance Armstrong says that if he had to pick between being a Tour de France winner or a cancer survivor, he’d pick the cancer survivor.
And I don’t think he is just meaning, ‘whoa, glad I ain’t dead.’
I think he means that it is a bit like being thrown in the fire, and you come out different, and hopefully stronger, in the long run.
This last year has been a wild one, that’s for sure, and I am more than happy to make a fresh start with 2005.
But I have seen a whole lot of the good in people in this last year.
People have been really really kind to me and to Elaine.
It’s been a really interesting experience in real-life human behaviour, including my own.
I am only starting to have time to unravel some of the stuff that I have gone through in the last year, and I am not really sure where to begin. I feel a bit like some old spaceship, coming in for landing and all banged to shit from smashing into space debris along the way.
But I made it through a huge thing, and I am still learning how to exhale.
And, the fact is, I don’t quite know when I get to exhale. Maybe I don’t get to completely exhale for a while.
I go for my first post-chemo bloodwork in February. I confess I am a bit apprehensive about that, but I am trying to appreciate each day for what it is and not get all future-trippy about things.
Someone started a sentence to Elaine by saying, “Now that your girlfriend is better….” and I confess, I was confused. Because really, right now, I am done chemo. For now. Assuming everything stays good.
But it doesn’t mean I am all better.
It means I am done chemo, and we wait to see how well it all worked out.
And for sure, I want to get my life, and Elaine’s life, back in order and back to normal, whatever that means to us now. But I want to point out that it was kind of unlikely that the chemo would have killed me. The point of the chemo is to kill the disease.
And now we wait to see if the chemo worked in a long term kind of way.
That’s part of what is on my mind now.
That, and trying not to think about it and just get on with life, because you’d think by now I would have learned to enjoy every single day.
So… looking ahead, I have my fingers crossed.
And I am grateful for the things I have learned.
And I want to take the time to sort through some of the stuff that has happened over the last while. It’s been a bit intense.
One of my favorite things that happened in 2004 was going to the Metallica concert. It was just so fun.
I am really glad we got to go see Cirque du Soleil, especially since I got to go before I started chemo and got too sick to be in public. It was a great show.
I am also really glad that I got to go to Tofino, and to spend time on and around Vancouver Island.
And meeting the uber-rich man in the steam bath of the Wickaninnish Inn, the one who told me “cancer people have to stick together”, that was a highlight for me too. Because I realized I actually did have some common ground with this guy and that was kind of incredible. And he liked me because of that, and we could take it from there. That was incredible.
My cats have been an endless source of delight, amusement and comfort.
My girlfriend has been flawless in all this, and should get the Nobel Prize or something.
I’m really glad I had such a good surgeon. He wasn’t a really chatty kind of guy, but he stayed late on a Friday night and got the job done, and did a good job, and I am thankful for that.
I am really thankful for all the friends who came to visit at the hospital or came by the house or helped get firewood or cut the hedge or took me out for a car ride when I was too messed up to be able to drive, or bought me a t-shirt, or got my prescriptions for me, or hung out with me through chemo, or returned my library books, or invited us to dinner (whether or not we actually made it), or the folks who shaved their heads to support me (because I was *so* unhappy about having to be bald and it was really hard, and those guys were so great). I am grateful to the people who polished boots or had a bar night or a party of some type to raise money for Elaine and I. Thank you.
I am grateful for the friends who came and helped me cut the lawn, or clean up the yard, or take out the recycling and the garbage.
I am thankful for the folks who gave me pants when I outgrew my old ones.
I am grateful for the people who I reconnected with after losing touch over the years. Lots of people came back and jumped in and helped, and that was so cool.
I am really thankful for the trips I got to take out of town, and for the people who helped make that happen, in so many ways.
I am thankful to have been able to make a quick side trip to Quadra Island, even in the dark.
I had a wonderful time on Hornby Island.
I had a great time in Tofino.
I am lucky to have bosses who held my job for me, and who cared about how I was doing the whole way along.
I was lucky to have co-workers who came by and had coffee and brought picnics and stuff.
I have a great GP and she has been completely available to me and totally supportive of me.
I think the folks at the BCCA have been really really good, even if people like me do present some challenges for them. I think they mostly don’t let on that I am kind of peculiar by their standards, and I have never felt like I was getting second rate treatment because I am a big freaky queer.
In fact, I think the BCCA deserves a round of applause for their “we don’t discriminate on the grounds of…” policy and their follow through with actually living it.
So, yeah, this past year has been incredibly hard in a lot of ways.
And there have been some really good moments.
Thanks to everyone for the things you did, or the sacrifices you made, I appreciate it. I know that some stuff happened behind the scenes and I don’t know about it, but know that I understand that lots of people did lots of things and made lots of sacrifices so this can be easier for me, and for Elaine.
And hopefully, you got something back along the way, one way or another.
We are having a small Open House tomorrow, January 2, to say thanks to people. If you are part of our crew, feel free to drop in between 1 and 6 pm tomorrow. If you need directions, give me a call or e-mail me.
And finally, here is a little movie (below) that Elaine made of me stomping in the surf at Tofino. I had been walking in the water quite a bit and my boots were being remarkably water-proof. While this movie was being made, the water-proof status gave up the ghost and you can hear much whining about all that.
You’ll have to download it to watch it. I hope you enjoy it and get some small idea of how fabulous it was to be in Tofino.
Happy New Year to all.