Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Best is Yet To Come

I've always been a complainer. Ask pretty much anyone that knows me - I often tend to want things to be perfect, and when they aren't, I have a lot to say about it. My instinct is also to explain myself-- to rationalize every statement with probably more detail than people care to hear. Couple that with a related complaint and it's enough to drive anyone nuts who dares to listen to me.

So when I say that I've had a lot of complaints lately, it should come as no surprise to anyone. And while I am cognizant of the opportunity I have to share those complaints on this blog, and explain them away, I'll spare you. That said, I did decide to start this blog partially to keep friends and family updated on my progress in fundraising and training, so here's the latest:

  1. As of yesterday, I've surpassed the halfway mark in my fundraising! Thank you to everyone who has donated thus far, and for those who haven't, you can do so here.
  2. Hip/glute strain injury still in full effect. I'm on week #2 of PT and have decided to stop running until I'm asymptomatic.
  3. I've come down with a cold.
  4. On Monday, I'll not only be raising money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, but I'll also be a DFCI patient. Don't worry -- nothing too serious, just my first of what will likely be many skin cancer diagnoses in my lifetime (basal cell carcinoma), for which I'll be treated in a routine outpatient procedure at the Mohs Micrographic Surgery Center.
As you might imagine, while I've been very happy with my fundraising success, I've had a difficult time staying positive about everything else. This has made me think a lot about why I choose to focus on the not-so-great things when I have so many other reasons to be happy:

  1. I'm married to a wonderful person who has not only helped me with all the fundraising-related baking over the past few weeks, but supports me and loves me everyday.
  2. Despite the hip injury, my body's been in better shape over the past few years than most of my adult life, mostly due to running-- and I have faith that I'll still be able to run in April.
  3. Let's face it, nobody likes a cold, but at least I don't have drug-resistant tuberculosis.
  4. I live in a city that hosts some of the best medical centers in the country.
Maybe the better approach is to simply let go?  Recognize the good and bad things that life throws at you, but take them all at face value?  This seems to have been the approach my grandfather took in life (so much so, that the theme of my father's eulogy for him was "Dave took life at face value").  If you didn't know my grandfather, it might be hard for you to understand what this means, but I can do my best to convey it...

"War hero"
Dave enlisted in the Navy at age 17 and spent 32 months at sea until the war ended. As he was about to go on his first leave in over 2.5 years, a crewman dropped a shell casing on his foot, sending him to sickbay with a broken toe. A few years before his death, my grandfather gave me a bunch of pictures of him during those days, along with a letter that described his time just before and after the war. The letter never mentioned the broken toe story.  And he never, ever talked about the war itself.

Today, my mother told me that Dave had surgery to remove a melanoma not too long ago. It was such a non-event that I don't even remember it, and I don't think my grandfather ever talked about the melanoma he survived, or the prostate cancer he didn't.

While Dave was a sharp dresser in his work life, I remember him spending most of his time around the house in a white v-neck t-shirt and boxer shorts. Even if my grandmother or anyone else cared, I'm pretty sure he didn't, and he never felt the need to explain himself.

He also always had a joke to tell. They weren't always good, but he always made them funny.

I think part of my grandfather's optimism and ability to find humor in everyday life was rooted in simple faith, but mostly I think that it was just his personality, and what made him special. I declared that my DFMC journey this year was meant to be in memory of my grandfather, so over the next few weeks I'll be letting my memory of him inspire me to be more positive, by taking whatever happens at face value.

A week before Dave's death, his sister called him and began with "It's good to hear your voice. You've been through a lot." His unflinching response was, "The best is yet to come."

1 comment:

  1. Loved reading this post. Good luck on the procedure and a big hug to you my friend.