April 30, 2012: Gotta Song in My Head

(Oooh la la la…)

Want to get in my head?

Usually not advisable, but today, at least for a little while, come on in.

(Na na na na na)

I know there’s a song playing in there now. So let me turn it down for a sec just to fill you in on what’s going on.

According to the Doctor, the only thing not normal today about Stella is her husband (yours truly.) The data suggests that the cancer is either completely destroyed or is present in such small amounts as to not give us trouble for a very long time. While me must remain vigilant and follow up with scans and other stuff, she is in a completely different situation than a year ago when tests showed a “belly full of disease.”

Of course, in answer to the unanswerable question, long term survival will be proven not by statistical predictions, but by…. well, by long term survival. We are “outside the box” as far as stomach cancer is concerned. And that’s where we hope to stay.

We have no further chemo scheduled.

We do have our previous lives scheduled.

Now the truth of the matter is that cancer is not like a football game. The Giants won the Super Bowl. Time ran out and they had more points. ‘Game Over” is what we like to say. I would love to say that to the last remaining cancer cell as we boot him off the field.

But cancer is never really over. You must live with uncertainty. But it’s the word “live” that we will focus on rather than the word “uncertainty.”

I really don’t have more to say right now because I am getting choked up just writing this.

I think of how bad it got. I think of the real and psychological terror we have lived through.

I remember so many terrible moments so clearly.

Whenever you think you have it bad, just imagine gently trying to shave your wife’s head because the chemo is making her lose her hair all over the house and it’s freaking the kids out.

And that’s just one of the horrible memories I will never forget.


BUT, now more than ever, I understand some other things.

Every day the sun rises is as important as all of human history. We can all — every one of us — worry about the future. And we can tie ourselves all up in knots just thinking about it. And it wouldn’t do us any good at all.

Or we can LIVE.

We can find beauty in a sunrise, or the smile of a child, or the wag of a dog’s tail.

We can go for a hard run in the cold air and feel our bodies come alive as our hearts pound and the kilometers seem to fall away.

Instead of complaining about whatever the “Matsav” is, we could truly try and understand what a miracle our lives are, every single day.

And we can truly value friendships.

We all can — and do — take friendships for granted. It’s hard to really understand the importance of friendships.

But if you think about it, friendships are worth more than the biggest lottery ever won. When the world turns dark, they are our lights. When we are blinded by pain, they are our guides.

So to all our friends (including some we may have never met) — thank you for standing by us.

And one last thing. I think I could justifiably not believe in G-D after this ordeal. Or I could be bitter and hate G-d.

But I don’t. I may not come anywhere near understanding G-d, but I at least know that he does listen.

And that miracles still happen.

(Dum de dum de dum)

And now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to turn the music in my head back to full volume.

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