Today, I was gobsmacked with a wave of nostalgia. I went to a new restaurant for my office’s lunch run, Belcampo, on 3rd Street in LA, and it was there (in the Verve coffee shop next door) where I spent many a day typing away at my creative endeavors. Whether the focus was My Cancer Story, a screenplay, or the then-numerous blog posts (yeah, sorry about that), I spent my free time (of which I had ample supply then) ticking away at my form of expression. On November 8th, it will have been three years since I moved into my first apartment here, the temporary room rental on Blackburn Ave.
Cancer. The mere mention of the word causes a dislodging skip in your heartbeat as the organ descends into the pit of your stomach.
And the trivial confluence of nonsense that makes up your “life:” the bills, the terrible job, the weather; it all just melts away. And all you’re left with is dread.
But then you decompress and absorb the facts, the treatment, the prognosis; suddenly, you’re ready to take this thing head on. The disease is still center stage in your mind, but your perspective shifts to battle-ready mode. With your family and friends on the sidelines rooting you on, you begin treatment.
You learn of the other fighters around you, and join together for a common goal: survival– nay, victory.
At least that was me, thirteen years ago today. And every year since I say this: I’m grateful that I had Leukemia.
Yes, I said grateful. Leukemia opened my eyes to the real world, one where people band together in times of crisis, and care for one another. This world I see is also adorned with appreciation for the little things in life.
I don’t know who I would be if I was spared from cancer. I do know that I wouldn’t appreciate what it means to be alive on the same echelon. Yet every day that I lay my head to rest, I think of those who fought and lost that battle. I live on for them, and I will tell my story to the world on their behalf.
My story will be a long, personal tale that spans most of my life because it’s important to show how I formed, where I could have went, and where I’m going because of my diagnosis. It’s also going to show the long-term effects of such a devastating treatment.
I’ve been writing a chapter a week mostly since late March. At this rate I may end up lapping the calendar, but it’s important to share the story. So if you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you do. And thank you for being a part of my life; no matter how much we interact, you are all special to me.