Sunday, December 27, 2009

DAY 578 - Day 477 in Recovery Paradise

This time a year ago, I was in a good recovery mode, but still not very strong. This year, it seems that I am stronger and in better shape than I have been in a long time. Perhaps, it is just relative to how down and out I was after treatment, but perhaps not.

When I first started my chemo (3) and radiation (35), I was told that it would be a good year in recovery. Having been healthy and athletic my whole life, it was pretty inconceivable that I couldn't bounce back more quickly than that. Although, I got stronger over time and was back at work in 6 months, it did take an exceeding long time to say "I am fully recovered from the treatments." At my lowest point, about Sept-Oct 2008, I could barely walk and was sick most of the time, however, I now have more energy than most people half my age and I sincerely appreciate that gift.

Christmas went well this year, and savored the greatest gift of love and family bestowed upon me once again. I am glad I was here to enjoy it. My sons (mid 20's)and grandson came over Christmas Eve for a short visit. I got to enjoy the joy of Christmas morning with my wife and 11 year old daughter. This is the year I kicked in with my start of the Legacy Gift. I gave each son a photo album of his life with me from day of birth through moving out on their own. Whereas the first 60 photos were of each son individualy or with me, the final few pages were of me and all 3 boys or just the 3 brothers together. The last 16 photos were of their connection to family history. There were pictures of me, my dad, my grandfather, and my great grandmother (4 generations), etc. It was tough to wade through many,many hundreds of slide and photos and pick the best 80 for each boy. So, I put the top 350 photos on a cd and stuck in on the inside back cover of the photo album. I have one for my wife and daughter in progress.

A tough joke in my tonsil cancer group, is that we will beat this thing and strive to live long enough to die of something else. That is how we will win. My goal is to clean up a lot of loose ends and cross some things off my list. I don't have any burning bridges to fix, but did pass on several hundred photos from the past to my son's mom this holiday also. It has been 20 years since I had touched those photos and hope she will enjoy them. I don't exactly have a bucket list of places to visit, as I have had the great fortune to have done my travelling and living on the exciting edge when I was younger. I have, however, spent 40 years accumulating "stuff" and now am motivated to divest myself of most of this "personal stuff" while I still have a say in it. I remember going through my Mom's "stuff" with my sister ten years ago and we still have boxes of unresolved "Mom's stuff" it in our respective garages. I do not wish that on my sons. Most of my "personal stuff" holds only value to me and I am sure it would be split equally among eBay, Goodwill, and the dump. My first and bigget goal is accomplished with the photo history album for my sons. I have more to go and will build on it, but the basic task was accomplished. I also made a small dent in "Garage Hell," Christmas Eve, by unloading a tool box and some hand tools to my eldest ( as I have at least 3 of everything) and a boatload of extra spices from the kitchen to my youngest.

I joke that when I go out, I will have worked my way down to owning only a bamboo mat, a single orchid in a handmade vase and 3 small stones ( I have no idea what the significance of 3 small stacked stones is, but it sure looks cool). Chasing Zen. Since I will do this task in my own style, I have dubbed it the "Zen Bob Way"...which, always causes me to smile.

"Nothing can match the strength of those whose lives have been shaped and forged through challenging and overcoming hardships. Such people fear nothing. To cultivate such an invincible core is in itself a victory. It is also the greatest benefit. Those that can succeed in this endeavor will savor unsurpassed happiness"......Diasaku Ikeda

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