One year of Remission.
That’s what the scan said. It’s great news, right? My Oncologist had a big smile on his face, The Lovely Bride and I went out for a celebratory dinner, and as usual – I was left questioning everything. Searching for perspective in a sea of other people’s joy. Wandering the desert with hopes of sighting an oasis of understanding over the rise of the next dune.
Both metaphors left my thirst for direction unquenched.
I was left with no purpose again. Oh sure, I made plans for the bike ride that I hope will leave me fulfilled, but it’s a hollow promise. Not the bike ride – I can get my body to ride the 200 miles in one day – but even that achievement won’t point the way forward.
Then I heard the fateful interview on the radio.
Their guest had been a passenger on a Kindertransport train out of Nazi occupied Austria as a child. In the interview, Dame Stephanie Shirley described her feelings about being sent to Britain to escape sure death at the hands of the Nazis. In her gratitude, she made a promise to herself.
To live a life worth saving.
I’ve now had my life saved from two two serious medical conditions, both of which would have seen me dead if left untreated. Doctors, nurses, friends, and family used their skills and support to keep me from an early grave.
What have I done to show their efforts weren’t wasted?
Honestly – not a whole lot.
I’ve pursued projects without consistency of the passion I so often preach. Don’t get me wrong – I haven’t been idle. My novel is in its third rewrite and there are full outlines for three more great books to follow, my work helping dogs find homes continues, and I just spent a fantastic summer sailing.
It isn’t enough. And it frustrates the hell out of me.
I want to show the doctors, nurses, loved ones, and The Lovely Bride a life lived at full throttle with the road, sea, and word counts flying beneath me. The self doubt and fear (of both failure and success) must pass through me, leaving only the desire to create something special.
I need to craft a legacy. I don’t care if anyone ever remembers my name, but I will leave an impression in the world filled with ideas. And dogs – it’ll continue to be littered with happy dogs.
It’s taken a brain tumor, cancer, and a chance radio show on a road trip to get me to this point. I’ve had my ear cut off and sewn back on, a hole drilled in my head, and people unwrapping a tumor from my brainstem. They have implanted weird tubes in my body and poisoned me with derivatives of Mustard Gas.
I’m not sure why it has taken these two horrible experiences, but I get it now.
I’ll make it worth saving.