Six Years Ago.

Facebook gave me a notification today that exactly six years ago, I had ostomy surgery.  It also brought up a post I put up the early morning of surgery day.  As you could imagine, I was having a hard time sleeping the night before everything would change for me.  Here’s some of what I wrote:

So here I am thinking about my future and what changes I can expect after tomorrow. I wanted to take a moment to tell you all how wonderful everybody has been.  Over the last six months the amount of love and good will that has been coming my way has been overwhelming. The many notes, comments and calls have been wonderful.  All the offers of help have been amazing.

As I head into surgery on Friday I wanted to acknowledge all of you and everything you have done for me. I know its hard to watch somebody go through something like this. I know that feeling of helplessness you may feel because it seems like there is very little you can do.  From where I’m sitting you have all done so much. My spirits remains high from your encouragement, your humor, your hugs, your offers of help, your understanding, your smiles, your interest in how I’m doing and also just treating me like me.  Talking to you I have never felt “sick”. I’ve always felt just like the normal me and that is an amazing gift you have given me.

There is no doubt in my mind that the whole experience had changed my outlook on life quite suddenly in 2010 and 2011.  I often tell people that even though I was facing cancer and I was scared, I wasn’t anxious beyond the immediate surgery/chemo anxiety.  All the other stuff in my life that was bringing me down was gone.  There was a simplicity to my life at the moment.  I had one job, to get well.  It was very liberating.  All those other things were still there, it just seemed like they were small and could get figured out down the road.  There was nothing so pressing that it couldn’t wait.

During that time, I had gotten plenty of overdue bills, bill collection notices, and stopped disability payments.  Six years later, it all worked itself out.  The bills got paid, the collectors stopped calling, the checks eventually showed up.  It all worked out, and regular life started up again.  With regular life, the old anxiety would start to creep in as well.  At first I was really good at recognizing it and pushing it back down.  Over time, though, that skill that came to me so easily when I was sick, seemed to atrophy.  Now, my anxieties haven’t gone back to where I was before I became sick, but they’ve definitely become more prominent.

This time capsule from facebook was a good reminder of that feeling of perspective.  Reading it made me relive the positive thoughts, love, and encouragement you all generously shared with me throughout my journey.   Reading it made my today easier and helped with certain difficult things going on around me.  It also put my perspective back in check.

So I just wanted to say today, as I said back then, thank you for the amazing gift you have given me.

-Michael

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