In the beginning, when I was processing my cancer diagnosis, I kept asking myself, “why me?”. That after all these years I worked hard to better my health, eating the right foods and working out. But in the world of cancer it didn’t matter, this disease couldn’t have recognize all I’ve done, and I was chosen. I am now part of their world, and how I travel through my journey will depend on me. Faith over fear.
I know I wasn’t alone, my girlfriend Paola and family are with me to help me fight through it. But it begins with me, always me. If I decided to quit on myself, there’s only so much my family could do for me.
I read a lot on people’s story and experience with cancer. Their stories gave me hope. In a way we were connected. I could relate to their feelings, to their pain, and even if our cancer and treatments may not be the same, we were in this together.
Paola has seen me at my lowest and at my darkest moments but she helps me keep going. She restores my faith when I feel like I don’t have any. She has one of the hardest job on earth, being a caregiver. Since all of our family lives in New York, it has been exhausting for the both of us. But we are grateful and blessed for our support system. Our family, Paola’s military family, the doctors and nurses who care for us, and you guys, for the love and energy. It wasn’t easy for me to share my story, but you’ve welcome us to inspire and bring hope to those who are going through it. And not just with cancer but to anything we allow ourselves to become vulnerable too.
I remember walking the halls of Davis-8 one day, I was feeling weak and fatigue from chemo but with my mom visiting I got out of bed and walk the halls anyway. And it wasn’t good for our bodies to remain in bed for too long, otherwise our bodies will become deconditioned. I passed by Diane’s room, a woman in her 50s who I met and seen walking the halls since we weren’t allowed to leave the floor. She told me that day to never lose my smile. On the days I’m not at my best, tired and in pain, I try to remind myself what Diane said to me and smile regardless of how I’m feeling.
As I’m getting ready for transplant, a lot of people may think this is the end for me. I’m not sure of what lies ahead of me, but I’m ready to close this chapter of my life and move to the next part of my life. Cancer has changed me forever, in a positive way. I may have my days filled with anxiety and want to cry, but I also look back to what my body has been through. I wake up every day grateful for my health. That through my pain, somehow, someway, I called back my power and kept it going.