An old friend asked me about fear the other day, So I’ve been thinking a lot about this…
On or around Memorial Day 2011, for some reason two of my chromosomes decided to trade tails causing a genetic mutation in my bone marrow. I was walking around completely unaware of the horror happening in my body, but I knew something was wrong, my body was sending me all the signals that it needed help, but I never imagined anything to this magnitude.
June 23: Dr F’s office – 50/50 you have Leukemia, he said… need to do a Bone Marrow Biopsy now and check you into a Hospital. I asked if we could wait until July 5, I felt fine, I didn’t have cancer, he said you could be dead by then….
Sure I smoked (past tense) for about half my life, but not a heavy cigarette smoker, pack a weekish, never been a big drinker, and in college it was pretty colorful (purple!! Sarah Starr) and awesome. I traveled around the world, lived abroad as a child, grew up comfortably in the suburbs, well educated, ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, I was young, healthy, why not?
So do I FEAR that my choices caused my cancer? Do I fear my future actions will cause a relapse? If I was given an option to go back to change some of those experiences, assuring me I would never have gotten sick, would I?
How could I? Those experiences shaped me, introduced me to all of you, gave me the outlook and perspective to deal with this setback.
Healthy, but empty. Poor in life experiences, no thank-you. If we/you/I believe in fate, destiny and/or divine intervention, wouldn’t I always have not been who I was destined to be? A survivor
When you get cancer, there are a lot of prayers and <<<vibes>>> from so many amazing people, friends, friends of friends, support groups, etc. They extend their faith to you, unselfishly.
I recently left a Facebook group for people with Leukemia. It was very “prayer” centric and I had a hard time feeling comfortable. Are these people praying that their deity will intervene with my fate or others? We all believe in something but that something or someone is not the same. Who are you praying to when you pray for me? My g-d or yours’ and who going to take the lead?
I was never taught how to pray, as a little Jewish boy I didn’t say prayers, we didn’t pray – did my family not instill religion as they should have?
No, I was apathetic, I was given every opportunity to be devout, to be faithful. I went to Hebrew school, had a Bar-Mitzvah, my grandparents are Holocaust survivors and we celebrated the Holidays. But as I got older, starting with my teenage years, I stopped practicing religion. I’m an Americanized Jew and that was my choosing. I could have been devout, took the time to learn my place in my religion, I could have learned how to pray, how to be faithful.
So then do I believe that this was my fate, destined to be a cancer survivor? A badge to wear proudly and courageously for the rest of my life, I have to.
This is where fate comes in and gives me my new FAITH –
I was on the plus side of the 50/50, yes I got Leukemia, but I got one of, if not the most curable, on top of that I was DX early and was considered low risk for relapse according to how I presented upon DX, meaning I got to take the less bumpy road. I didn’t loose my hair, I didn’t get sick from my chemo as other patients do. I was given a different test, a test of endurance. You would never have known I was sick, never once. I’ve had minimal setbacks. I’m patient zero. I’m the test case that is really boring, except for how I was DX, heading out of town to see Phish, SBIX, my favorite band with great friends.
Did fate intervening when my oldest friend, I’ve known since 1988, punched me in the left-side, sending me to the ground in pain at a phish concert on a Friday night (6/10/11), a hometown show no less, the same band we have been seeing since 1996.
Did fate intervene when I woke up that Saturday morning and couldn’t get rid of this “cramp”, with all the local Minute Clinics crowded, I called my doctor (PCP) on a Saturday morning, I was uncomfortable, needed something and we were headed out of town to see more Phish that weekend.
Did fate intervene when my PCP called me back before we left town, gave me a script and strongly requested to see me in his office when I got back in town and this time I made the appointment, I hadn’t seen him in 4 years.
Did fate intervene when my PCP looked at my CBC results after hours, referred me to his colleague, who is a leading Hematologist Oncologist, who saw me the next day and who’s son happened to be heading to the same Phish festival I was pleading to go to instead of being admitted to the hospital, until he flat out said you can DIE there.
Die? The one thing everyone fears? The fate changer. When you hear those words, something clicks, it instantaneously makes you aware. I needed some faith…
So we followed the course, trusted the experts, never missed a dose of medicine. I made this my job 24/7, beating this thing, and I’m winning just like lots of other fellow survivors out there.
Fear, nah… I can’t be fearful of my future because my faith in my choices has gotten me to today: Happy, Healthy and faithful.
P.S. See you at summer tour!