Happy Second Birthday to Me

Well we’ve hit the year mark since the day I felt light headed, flew backwards in my chair, passed out, and seized as Amy watched in horror. I’m super proud to say that I’m still here with so much of who I am in tact. In fact I’m a better man because of it. I was told that there is a tradition of viewing your day of diagnosis as your Second birthday (there was some debate as to when it was because I wasn’t technically diagnosed until after my surgery…but the seizure is certainly when everything changed). The second birthday is a reminder to celebrate the gift of life and to reflect on the trials that make you who you are. Plus it’s an excuse to be the center of attention for another day out of the year. I have reached that day, finally, and it was, I think, fitting that I ended my latest cycle of Chemo the same day.

As I’ve spent some moore time reflecting this past week (on this past year), I  thought about the ways I’ve stayed the same. I still think you shouldn’t “take anything personally”. I still think you should “love your neighbor as yourself”. I still think that “faith, family, and relationships are the most important things in this world”. What’s changed the most in me is the ways I now consciously approach these core values. In a lot of ways, I believed these things, but they weren’t necessarily reflected in my choices and actions before this year. A lot of that had to do with my own spiritual battle of whether or not I was “worthy”, which similar to “justice” is another amorphous idea, but for the sake of simplicity, let me just say that this year has helped to confirm to me that I am in fact “worthy”. What I learned is that being “worthy” really has nothing to do with me or what I accomplish or what people tell me I am (or I tell myself), it really just starts with letting go and allowing myself to just be the things I believe, and as the poster for the film “American Beauty” said, to “Look closer”. As I “look closer”, I see that I have no choice but to let go. What I knew right away when I was diagnosed is that it would take a miracle to survive this…and I’m pleased to report that all I’ve seen this year is one miracle after the next. What’s great about that perspective is that as I look back I realize that miracles have been happening around me my entire life and that gives me hope for a long future. Knowing all this allows me to live without regret. Thanks for sticking with Amy and I. Can’t wait to see what “Year Two” brings us.

I’m not turning 2, it’s just my second birthday of 2012.

Marking “Year One” with gratitude,

Alex

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