One year ago…today (Instead of…I am)
Today is the first anniversary of the discovery of my brain tumor. I am very fortunate that this GBM tumor was detected and treated when it was, because otherwise my chances of being around to write this post today would have been pretty slim. So I’m celebrating my one year of survival.
I marked the occasion by riding my Triumph Scrambler to the Downtown Orlando YMCA and having a friendly passerby snap a picture of me in the parking lot. It was in that very parking lot that my motorcycle sat abandoned for most of the day on Friday, July 24, 2009 after I passed out during my morning workout and was hauled away in an ambulance. Regular readers of this blog know the rest of the story.
As today ticked by, hour by hour, I made up a fun new game that I’ll call “Instead of…I am…” I relied mostly on my recollections of that day a year ago but I also referred to my medical records to help me reconstruct where I was and what I was doing at each horrible hour and miserable moment a year ago today. Then I gleefully compared it to what I was doing at that time today.
Here’s how the game went:
10:30 a.m.: “Instead of (slumping over in a chair and falling to the floor in a public place after having a seizure), I am (sitting upright on my sofa happily eating a bowl of fruit and watching the penultimate stage of the Tour de France).”
11:30 a.m.: “Instead of (being parked on a gurney in a hallway outside the crowded ORMC emergency room), I am (taking my dogs Chopper and Kaley out for a fun romp in the backyard).”
Noon: “Instead of (giving an ER nurse my complete family medical history), I am (firing up the Scrambler in the garage and heading out to meet a friend for lunch after making my quick stop at the Y and mailing a card to my nephew, who will be at summer camp next week).”
12:30 p.m.: “Instead of (tossing and turning on that uncomfortable gurney while wondering how long it will be before I’ll be bumped into at least a curtained, semi-private alcove in the ER), I am (ordering an Italian Chopped Salad at the Crispers restaurant in Winter Park Village).”
1:30 p.m.: “Instead of (getting a CT scan of my head following a chest X-ray, as per standard procedure for seizure patients), I am (zooming back home on my Triumph to beat a midsummer rainstorm).”
2:30 p.m: “Instead of (being told by an attending ER physician that the CT scan had detected a mass in my right temporal lobe that looked like a malignant brain tumor), I am (taking a snooze on the couch and thinking about what I’ll make for dinner tonight).”
4:00 p.m.: “Instead of (working my way through a frantic round of calls to my brothers, sisters and friends from all over the country to let them know that I’ll be having brain surgery in two days), I am (sitting down to write this blog post).”
And so on. I won’t subject you to more. But the game can go on indefinitely, and anyone can play. You don’t have to have a brain tumor. Just pick any really crappy day from your life (it doesn’t even have to be an anniversary date) and line it up side by side with the really wonderful day that I hope you are having today. As you can see from my July 24, 2010 activity list, the definition of a “really wonderful day” does not have to be limited to a day of great excitement or memorable accomplishment. It can be a day filled with the routine and the mundane. The only requirement is that you be alive. And if in addition to being very alive you are very happy, you win. Just like I did today.
Happy July 24, everyone.