party of 5

It’s been exactly two years since I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Happy birthday Beni (that’s the name of my daughter, not the tumor)! Making it two years without growth is an important milestone. I had a clean scan about a month ago, purposely timed after the birth of our third child. I didn’t want potential bad news ruining another child birth.

When Armi was born, I finally felt the pure joy of bringing a child into the world. Most people get this every birth and have no idea how lucky they are. It was probably the most happiness I’ve ever felt in a single moment of my life.

I know people like to know how I’m doing, so here’s an update.

Physically – I’ve been working out twice a week for the last few months. I can see a notable difference in photos from a year ago – I just looked sick before. Now is the first time I’ve felt 100% in 2 years. It’s amazing how my strength was totally wiped out by surgery, then radiation. Surgery affected me mostly b/c I couldn’t swallow for a week so I was basically starving and lost 20 pounds. Radiation was a slow deterioration of my energy that easily lasted over a year.

I still don’t hear well out of my left ear – only problematic in noisy spaces (aka Porch headquarters) and the fact that I always used to hold the phone up to my left ear – can’t do that anymore.

My right vocal cord seems to be doing fine on its own. My voice comes and goes on days when I talk a lot which generally isn’t a problem since I don’t like to talk.

I still get dizzy any time I look up or turn quickly.

Nothing prevents me from doing the things I love in life.

Mentally – Mostly good days now. Still can’t go a day without thinking about it. Hardest part for me is talking about the future. Even as soon as “next year” and I have to wonder to myself “will I be here?” It’s hard to feel honest and talk about when my kids are teenagers, or when they get married, etc. Part of me thinks I’ll make it and part of me thinks I won’t. I fully expect to need surgery and or treatment again in the future, so every check up that’s what’s going through my mind.

It’s draining to be confronted with your mortality on a daily basis.

Every time my son Jett is asked to make a wish he says “I wish my daddy didn’t have cancer.” Makes me cry every time. He can’t possibly understand, but I think he does. Those words make me so appreciative and sad at the same time.

I have been reticent to look at any silver linings throughout this whole thing, but even some good can come out of something so terrible. I think I’m a better husband and father now and for that, I can be happy.