Thank you all again for EVERYTHING… your prayers, your calls, your visits, your thoughts. They’ve all carried me through in what I alone made into a very difficult time for me.
Until recently — VERY RECENTLY– I was ready to throw in… the towel. Tonight, on the eve of my 52nd Birthday, I am ready to live. It’s been an exceptionally emotional period of months for me, none more so than the past few weeks, and I want and intend to explore all of that in writing, in depth, in the coming days. In the interim, a few brief thoughts.
Shortly after my 16th Birthday, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer that spread to both lungs with a vengeance. Terms like “Stage 4” and what-not were not widely in use at that time, but me and my parents were told, in no uncertain terms, that I was “terminal;” that THIS illness would kill me. After a horrifyingly savage battle of nearly 3 years, I left Tarzana Hospital on my 19thBirthday, for the “last time.” CURED of cancer. I was asked often in those days, something along the lines of “don’t you just fall to your knees and give thanks every day?” or “you must appreciate EVERY moment of life, don’t you.” The truth, which I freely spoke, was… “no, I don’t. Today is just another day.” And while I went on to live –and for the most part love– a life filled for the most part with joy, excitement, adventure and the like, the truth is…none of it was any big deal. I went on to live metaphorically what I considered to be 8 lives –which you WILL soon read about in my Book “Little Big Man” (officially retitled from “Been There, Done That.”) But again, NO BIG DEAL.
As those of you who have been following me know, in August of this year, following a year of abject pain, I went in for the first of what become three major back surgeries, “complicated” by very serious infections that my top doctors at Cedars-Sinai termed “imminently life-threatening.” When I say that the past 4 months are characterized by nearly insurmountable mental, physical and emotional pain, I do the idea of an understatement a disservice.
Today, I put that behind me, and I CHOOSE TO LIVE. While the battle to reclaim my physical health will indeed be that…”a battle,” tonight I walk upright and pain free, for the FIRST TIME IN 18 MONTHS. Tonight, I look at every moment as a blessing, as a mini miracle of sorts. Tonight, I look at tomorrow as an opportunity. To be bigger, better, badder and yes…even humbler, in every moment and in every encounter, than ever before. The new Chapter, the “ninth life” if you will, is just beginning. Where very recently hope had all but left me, tonight I believe I am more EXCITED ABOUT LIFE than ever before. It won’t be easy, but the challenge will be part of the fun, and will make the victory, the fulfillment, that much sweeter. I would not be where I am today and tonight without great doctors and greater nurses, without friends –and one in particular who put her own life on hold to dedicate it to mine with neither hint nor promise of reward, without my beautiful and soulful babies Ramone & GoGo and without something relatively new in my life…FAITH. I haven’t yet fully discovered what this “F word” looks like to me just yet, but I expect I will, in action, in thought, and in the written word, as the upcoming days and months unfold.
Sitting cross-legged on my hospital bed as my pups rest against me and snore softly, I metaphorically stand atop a beautiful Hawaiian peak, hold my arms up high, throw my head back, and yell at the top of lungs…I CAN’T WAIT!!!
Sincere thanks, appreciation, love and blessings to each and every one of you,
My angel Stephanie got me these roses, and the nurses on the 8th floor got me a little birthday cake,. I’m touched. Seriously. GoGo got the first lick, when no one was looking.