Nope. I'm not dead. Not yet, anyway. When I posted my last entry back in January, I decided to just chill and take a break for a while so I could focus on some aspects of my life that I've been neglecting. This was intentional and in accordance with the discipline that I wrote about in that post. I needed to spend some time examining my life, my motivations, my desires for the future, and, more importantly, how all of those (and more) align with God's will.
It's amazing, though, how easily days turn into weeks which turn into months until I look up and nine months have gone by and I haven't written anything for — or really even thought much about — the blog since first of the year. I wrestled a bit with both what the blog has been and what I want it to be moving forward and, quite honestly, I haven't really come to any conclusions about that. There may be changes coming in the future. Or maybe not. Stay tuned.
That said, there have been some significant events lately here at Where's My Head Central Headquarters and Live Bait. Here's the latest.
On the health front, I had my semi-annual CT scan in early September and (woohoo!) the results were good. Reading back through the radiology reports, they basically all say the same thing. The oral cavity looks messed up but that's from having half of my tongue removed and replaced with neck. But nothing other than that — which is good — and no metastasis in the lymphatic system, chest or lungs — which is even better. That was cause for a mild celebration so I ate a really bad-for-me breakfast. My arteries would hate me later but I didn't care at the time.
Then came the more significant celebration. September 15 marked the two year anniversary of my final radiation and chemo treatments. This is a pretty big deal, even if only from a psychological standpoint. Statistically, if the cancer is going to metastasize, it happens in the first two years about 80% of the time. After that, the chance drops off really quickly and then begins to taper toward zero. It will never totally reach zero but it'll get close enough to round down. Anyway, this is the first big post-treatment milestone I've been waiting for and getting there feels like winning some sort of low-level contest. I mean, it's not like taking home the World Series trophy or anything. But maybe it's like winning the city T-Ball championship. Or maybe it's more like coming in third. In a small town. But still, the coach is totally taking you out for ice cream, right?!? Substitute my friend KP for the coach and breakfast at the local (independent, mind you) coffee joint for the ice cream and, well, you get the idea.
And then came the big celebration. The next weekend my eldest daughter got married. Since we handled most of the arrangements ourselves — that is the bride and groom, my ex and her husband, and myself — it was a fantastic, if somewhat exhausting, time. Well, except for the weather. It was supposed to be an outdoor ceremony but the forecast was not only looking iffy but was changing every half hour or so. It rained off and on throughout the morning and, at 3:00 pm, we weren't exactly sure where the 5:30 ceremony was going to be held. The backup location was supposed to be in the reception tent but we decided to move it into the house we were at instead. That meant we still got the benefit of a really lovely view over the river palisades — just not quite as much of it as we had hoped and it wasn't surrounding the whole scene. Oh well.
In the end, it was a beautiful time. And then we ate. And danced. And talked. And ate and danced some more. It would've been nice to have had someone to dance with during those slow songs but such is not my life right now. So it goes.
And then the rains came in for real. Sunday meant cleaning it all up and getting soaked in the process since it rained pretty much all day. Monday brought more of the same while we were getting everyone packed up, moved out of the rental house, and either on the road or in the air. I made it through the whole weekend until Monday morning when saying goodbye. And it wasn't even when I was saying goodbye to my daughter. No — while talking to my newly minted son-in-law, I broke down. I think it was because it was the first moment of real, raw emotional connection we had and I just lost it. I could barely get my words out. I still get a little choked up when I think about it.
So yeah. Things have been pretty good of late. I've got some things — behaviors, attitudes, etc. — in my life that I need to change and I'm working on it. Habits die hard and it's sometimes slow and frustrating but it will be good in the long run. Some of my best friends and I have begun trying intentionally to spend more time together like we used to. That's been good and a couple of us are going to do so even more. We all know that we need those connections in our lives and have missed them over the years while our respective focus has been drawn elsewhere.
Anyway, I don't know what the immediate future looks like any more than I did last year but here's hoping it brings more milestones and more cause for celebration. Big, little, earth-shatteringly significant, or just a goofy laugh at a stupid joke. Celebrate all the moments you can while you can just because you can.