Monday, May 6, 2013

Somebody Else



 This blue jay used to light on his hand
earning its reward of a peanut. It was
a show he always enjoyed giving!

 
 
Today would have been my grandfather’s 100th birthday. He was a great combination of wise soul, cantankerous curmudgeon, and if you pressed him, you might see an undercurrent of the compassionate ol’ guy as I remember him. The last few years of his life were marked with the typical maladies of old age, but from having spoken to those closest to him, the one that I think robbed him of his will to live was macular degeneration – he essentially went blind. The things he had grown accustomed to over his long, rich life were difficult if not outright impossible without his sight. I have no doubt that, had this happened to him even 10 years ago, he’d have found a way to ride that lawn mower in summer and clear the driveway of snow in winter. Last June at the incredible age of 99, his body and mind finally had a pow-wow and … well, I’m sure he just found something else to do in some other place. (Here are my thoughts from a year ago when he passed away).

So, although I’ve had anything but a medically boring day, my mind hasn’t been on me, but him. It has also been on the group of cyclists in Orange County, CA - Team OC - with whom I rode over 500 miles last June to raise money for HIV/AIDS. They’re coming down to the wire as I would have as well. Suffice it to say, I retired my number this year. Next year? I’m hopeful to be with them. My mind has also been on a former co-worker who dropped me an email over the weekend.  He just returned to full-time work after his own bout with a blood cancer, so it started my day off with great hope. Yup, my mind has been all over the map today, so what I’d like to do instead of comment on one of the topics that is on my list, I’d really like to hear from you…specifically:

-          I enjoy posting a music video that has a theme to what I’m going through, but the thing is this – music really affects me in a number of ways, the most poignant of which encourages me to look beyond the here and now. I have a few left in the hopper, but what I’m hoping you can do is send me a list of songs that lift you out of your own malaise.  I’m listing out the songs I’ve posted to-date.  Give me a holler if one resonates with you. I’d be interested in finding out the what and the why.
 
-          Perhaps you have questions that you might not otherwise ask. To put this in context, I went to a Team in Training Kick-off on Saturday. I’ve been chosen as one of five honorees – essentially the local face of leukemia so that the people training for half or full marathons can put a face to the disease they’re raising money for.  One of the other honorees is a little guy of about 4 or 5 years old, if that much. You can see him in the picture next to me.  He has had a rough bout with ALL, but he’s doing well.  His dad spoke to the group about their experience, but one thing that he did that stood out to me is that he wouldn’t use the word, “cancer” in his presentation.  In fact, the PowerPoint presentation had the word like this c$#*@ as if it’s a cuss word.  If you’ve read my postings, you know I won’t hide nor will I try to elicit sympathy, but rather face this monster head-on. With that in mind, ask me whatever.  If it’s something I can share publicly, I’ll write about it, respecting your privacy of course.
 
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) Team in Training
Utah branch. These folks are running half or full marathons
to raise money for LLS to cure blood cancers. The little guy
in the middle with the purple jersey is an ALL survivor;
along with another woman hiding in the back in one of the

red shirts, we are five honorees for whom the team is running.
We're like poster children (you know I'm a big kid).

-          I’m still looking for entries in to my “Perfect Moment” contest. My investment has been in people my adult life and I’m reasonably sure that’s why I’ve had such amazing support from people out in cyber-land – because the majority of people who read this know me well enough that, had we been in the same geographical location, I’d see them on my doorstep. And actually, I have. They’re the same people I’d be visiting as well if the tables were turned. So, please, tell me about your perfect moments (see this posting for the details).

So, really, I’d like to hear about you today.  Take a few minutes and drop me a line either via email or if you like, a Facebook message (please don’t post it to my wall) as I’m as interested in you as you are in me. It’s how this works. When this is all over and I’m no longer a cancer patient wrapped up in medical detail, relationships continue to grow; and the best ones only use electronic media – they don’t stay there.
Be well, stay strong, and seriously, much love to you all!
OK, since we're talking about a couple of athletic events to raise money for charitable organizations, both of which I'm personally invested in - one as a participant and the other as, well...a participant (different kind of course).  Today's music: Win by Brian McKnight from the movie, Men of Honor.
 
Dark is the night
I can weather the storm
Never say die
I've been down this road before
I'll never quit
I'll never lay down
See, I've promised myself
That I'd never let me down, so
I'll never give up, never give in
Never let a ray of doubt slip in
And if I fall, I'll never fail
I'll just get up and try again
Never lose hope, never lose faith
There's much too much at stake
Upon myself I must depend
I'm not looking for place to show,
I'm gonna win
No stopping now
There's still a ways to go
Ohh, someway, somehow
Whatever it takes I know
I'll never quit, no, no
I'll never go down
I'll make sure they remember my name
A hundred years from now
I'll never give up, never give in
Never let a ray of doubt slip in
And if I fall, I'll never fail
I'll just get up and try again
Never lose hope, never lose faith
There's much too much at stake
Upon myself I must depend
I'm not looking for place or show,
I'm gonna win
When it's all said and done
My once in a lifetime, won't be back again
Now is the time, to take a stand
Here is my chance, that's why I
Never give up, never give in
Never let a ray of doubt slip in
And if I fall, I'll never fail
I'll just get up and try again
Never lose hope, never lose faith
There's much too much at stake
Upon myself I must depend
I'm not looking for place to show,
I'm gonna win