Be here now

May 15, 2013 in Lymphoma by Jeffry Reed

I know it’s been a while, honestly I’ve been too tired to type. I know it doesn’t take much effort but seriously…it does. It’s not just the typing, it’s the sitting up and putting the effort into thought. I went and got blood drawn today at Texas Oncology and almost passed out after standing back up. It took two stops just to get up there..very frustrating for somebody like me that’s used to going wherever, whenever. I’m not used to feeling like that….feeling so helpless and worn out. But it is what it is….and there has been very little pain involved….lots of discomfort, but little pain,  and I am very happy about that.  Things could always be worse. The Anti nausea medications are working. I’ve come close a couple of times but have yet to toss my last meal and I am also very happy about that.  So all that aside it’s pretty positive. Now….for the title.

There was a man named Andy Whitfield that touched my life deeply and left an important message I’d like to share. Now I’m a guy and for me to say a another man is beautiful I feel the need to explain. I’m not talking about his looks….ok he isn’t ugly and I know girls thinks he’s hot… I’m talking about his soul. I’m talking about the man, who he was, what he did and the person he died as.

He died from Stage IV Lymphoma cancer. Having the exact same thing I wanted to know more about why he died and uncovered something wonderful about what he left the world.  Reta and I were first introduced to Andy via a show called “Spartacus” on Showtime. If you have Netflix you can watch the series, the first season Blood and Sand. Andy was a brilliant actor, and I would have to say, he was better than Tom Hanks. He was captivating. He made it through 13 episodes of the first season and I have to say, when the second season came out with the new actor playing Spartacus, we had a very hard time adjusting. But enough about that, let’s get back Andy’s life off the  big screen. This isn’t about Spartacus, it’s about Andy and his “Be Here now” message….and it means “live life in the present, not in the shadows”.

Here is a you tube video…it’s 6 mins if you want to watch.

I’m not exactly dying, I have over an 80% chance of remission and I’m pretty sure I have better doctors than Andy did. Having cancer of any kind can make you question your own mortality though. You think about your past…a lot. Did you have a good life, did you do the right things, are you a good person, are you honorable,  are you a good parent, spouse, what would you change? My regrets in life, my accomplishments, and basically if I were 18 years old again what would I do different?

You think about the future, remission, and worry about if your cancer comes back. I have not even gotten rid of it and I’m already scared of it coming back. I suppose these are all valid fears, but it’s pointless to worry about the future and the past. You can’t change the past and you have no control over the future. So screw it. Be here now, live life for the moment you are in.  I had some friends drop off some BBQ (Thanks Hutchison’s) and I was eating some of the best chicken I’ve ever put past my lips and for that moment there was no sickness, no cancer, nothing but savoring BBQ chicken.

I have another friend that went through Chemo and craved 7-11 hot dogs of all things. So today on the way home from getting blood drawn, we stopped at a 7-11 and got hot dogs. I’ve  eaten them before and the cheese sauce is awesome. Reta has never had one, so today, well we lived in the moment and she had her first 7-11 hot dog. Probably something I shouldn’t be eating while on Chemo, but wow, it was great…….at least I don’t crave them like I do chicken.

We spend our lives on diets, and worrying about so many things we forget to live. We stress ourselves out, worry about what others think or feel, worry about what is going to happen that we forget about the here and now. I’m guilty as sin. Our lives have an expiration date…..every body has a different date but we are not immortal. We drive by things daily and think “One day I’ll stop in there. One day I’ll try that. Or one day I’ll go see what that is about”

Ya know what? Stop the car and do it. It is liberating…it’s interesting and you’ll have something to talk about. Even if it’s something as little as having a hot dog, just live for here and now.  Sure it’s nice to plan and have things to look forward to, but tomorrow you may get sick, and you may be really sick.

Cancer sucks, but it doesn’t have to define a person as sick and dying. To me, cancer has become a lesson in life. It’s a reminder to be nicer, love harder, and enjoy more. It’s about being honorable, giving that bum on the corner a dollar and hoping they will actually use it for food. It’s about spending better time with your kids and spouse and rekindling old friendships and sparking your life. It’s about being the best person you can be and helping others that not only helped you but doing random acts of kindness to a total stranger….to leave an impression about who you were in life so that when you are gone, you are remembered. It’s about doing those things you have been putting off because you will have time later.

Cancer can be a positive thing if you just use it for good. I know all my friends will keep me on the right path.

Thank you for the cards, the calls, prayers and love.