Monday, April 1, 2013

Todd 5.0 – Unplugged

My lovely, considerate, and (fill in the really nice adjective here) sister brought up some Easter leftovers for dinner this afternoon during her visit.  And while I’m deeply appreciative for the really good food here at the VA Hospital, this really hit the spot!  Some spiral cut ham, “funeral potatoes” (a Utah specialty akin to potatoes au gratin anywhere else in the world), and some carrot cake was mahvelous, dahling! She arrived just as my new hem/onc doctor was finishing up my third of four stab-me-in-the back (a.k.a. intrathecal) chemo procedures.  I was about to get plied with a second dose of happy juice, so she was in the unique position to interrogate me, but alas, she relented from the hard core techniques and we just had a great brother-sister conversation about having to replace underwear thanks to the side effects of the first round of chemo. I can tell you’re gaining all kinds of valuable information from this blog about topics you’d never imagine possible. I’m just full of surprises, and even more after a little chemical helper (and some Easter leftovers!).

So, as our conversation meandered from one profound topic to another, it finally turned to something of substance as to the why my life is on hold. I don’t know that we came to any kind of real conclusion, but the consensus was that I’m on Version 5.0. I can look back on my life as I’m sure you can yours and see some rather distinct stages where one chapter of life comes to a rather well-defined close and the page is turned to reveal what feels like a completely new life. Childhood really is just the foreword to the tome that is my life, but once I graduated from Annapolis and began my naval career, Todd, Version 1.0 was released. As I grew and changed, I remained the same base model, but the way I operated was different. Sometimes, that was because of the environment, sometimes it was because of a complete redesign of my ‘operating system.’

The treadmill of sorts that was the platform for Todd, Version 4.0 was has been retired and Todd, Version 5.0 is in now in development. Part of what I think is happening is akin to what a musical artist does when they create something called, unplugged where the art is stripped to its essence. I think that is what the end result of me being pulled off of the daily grind treadmill for leukemia treatment is – refining that person who I am.  Version 5.0 will still be me, but more so. Of course, anyone who knows anything about software knows there’s some beta testing involved and that means some gaffs, crashes, and errors, but in the end, you get a really good product.  I guess that’s my way of saying bear with me during the metamorphosis. I’ll be a quality product!

“Labels are for soup cans,” my friend Henry once told me and as much as I have tried to shun them, they somehow find me still. Some labels have great connotations and others, not so much, but for whatever reason, we seek to define ourselves by them. I’m hoping that Version 5.0 of me sheds the labels that the world would try to define me and rather reflect the part of me that lacks description, that is just me. Getting there, of course, means to reject my own image of what I think I should be, of the rat race standings, and cultural expectations. In a sense, it feels like I’m breaking free of the teenage years where peer pressure holds sway. The difference as we age, of course, is that the peer pressure turns into keepin’ up with the Joneses and having the best big boy toys. Yeah, I know, I play the game, too, but at some point, the effort to keep up appearances, the credit card debt, and the mind games just get to be too much. Simplicity, freedom, and authenticity just feel better…and it’s all far less stressful and much less expensive!

The rain outside and the chemo treatment made an out-of-doors walk impossible today, but I’m still looking out my window for an out-of-body experience to some place beyond the hospital.  Since the April showers began today, I’m looking forward to a beautiful display of May flowers and thankfully, my doctors conferred with each other and there’s a likelihood I may be able to convalesce at home rather than in this hospital room. It helps that I live only ten minutes away and that I’m pretty paranoid about my condition.  Being engaged with the doctors has paid off, so I hope that tomorrow’s blog entry will be made from home.

Today’s music is from Des’ree – Ya Gotta Be.
Ya gotta be
Ya gotta be bad
Ya gotta be bold
Ya gotta be wiser
Ya gotta be hard
Ya gotta be tough
Ya gotta be stronger
Ya gotta be cool
Ya gotta be calm
Ya gotta stay together
All I know, all I know is that love will save the day!
Be well, stay strong, and much love you all! :)