Thursday, October 16, 2008

Faces Of Love

What does love look like? I'm not an authority on love––or an expert, a word that I think is grossly overused––but I like to think I'm pretty good at spotting love. And all the different kinds.

There's the lovey-dovey stuff you see when people first get together. The "love you like a friend"––yeah, guys REALLY love to hate that one. Then there's the love your parents have for you, displayed in all kinds of ways that are subtle, overt and dysfunctional. Sometimes all at once. Let's not forget puppy love, your first love, love of chocolate, the love for your children, jungle love, the love triangle, the love that got away, the things you do for love, love of the open road, pet love (not to be confused with the aforementioned puppy love), love from afar, six-pack love––you know you know what I mean––love of your favorite team, love of babies and I'm sure I'm forgetting to post a lot of others. But I don't want to fall in love with my own writing.

But the face of love that I see every day I wake up is the one that keeps me going. Keeps me living. Keeps driving me to survive cancer day after day after day. When I look at my Wife, Teresa, I can see the love in her eyes, her smile and her worry. And she has done a lot of worrying the last 15 months. Every bad turn, every test, every set-back she has been there ready and loving. For me. And I feel it, every bit of it. Her worry is because she loves me.

I have always thought it so amazing that I can love someone sooooo much who is not related to me. They say that blood is thicker than water. I can't buy that. There's no way I can love someone any more than I love Teresa. I know it's a different kind of love. One that I can't really explain. (Some writer I am, huh?). But I do recognize that no matter what happens to me, no matter what I put her through, no matter how much she worries when I ask her not to, it's always there when I look at her.

The face of love. Right in front of me, where I need it most.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Discovery Of Another Kind

We are observing Columbus Day today. Hard to imagine how life was in 1492, traveling on a vast, seemingly endless sea of water in search of a place that may not exist. Armed with a vessel, a group of people that he could count on and a belief that there are riches beyond our wildest dreams, Columbus fought against the odds. Big odds. I think Vegas would give him 1 million to 1, bigger than the Tampa Bay Rays winning the AL East.

I can relate to Columbus these days. (Relate––sounds like I'm back in the '70's.) After another trip and a 4 day stay in the hospital, I feel like my body is going through one discovery after another. This time, they had to put a camera, a wire and some sort of "clean-out" tube down my throat, through my bile duct and at the base of liver. The Doctors also did a biopsy, just to be safe and sure. Oh, and for good measure they checked my small intestine while they were in there. Might as well, 'cause ya never when they'll have to cruise down there again. Hopefully never.

What would they "discover"? Look, after head & neck cancer, skin cancer in two spots,  gall bladder disease and gall stones, I was so over another discovery of the human kind. But it had to be done. My stomach was again trying to erupt like Mt. St. Helens and I was fuckin' tired of being in constant pain. Just get this shit over with so I can get my life back.

But that's the thing with cancer. It does it's own form of discovery. It finds the unchartered spots in your body, landing in a soft spot and then tries to take over everything in sight. I was talking to Sheri last week about the way cancer travels. You never know if it has left the vessel we call our body. It can show up unannounced anywhere, any time at any moment. And that's something you live with. It's something that cruises in the back of your mind when something isn't right with your body. It's also something your family is very well aware of, too. They don't have to tell me. I saw it on ALL of their faces––Fred's, too––when I was in the hospital. Does he have IT again?

I'm not going to lie to you. I was thinking I could have cancer again. I have a 3cm cyst on my kidney. Do I have a tumor or cyst at the opening of my liver? Nah. Maybe. No! Don't stress yourself out, Greg. But be prepared for a discovery that you won't wind to make.

So far, so good. Thank God it was smooth sailing.