As I close my eyes before I go to sleep, the hours of footage I studied earlier that day replays in my head over and over again. The interview sound bites are imprinted in my mind as I piece them together on an imaginary timeline.
I didn't take the symptoms seriously because they all seemed to make perfect sense. I had detailed and logical explanations for all the changes I was experiencing in my body. Those explanations seem ridiculous now, considering I know how serious my symptoms were.
It's been 15 years since I learned that I had Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, a set of blood cancers, which, as they say, can be managed but not cured. When I received this devastating news, I thought that my relatively short life would soon be over.
Three months into my intense chemo, it was time for my PET scan to see how the cancer reacted to all the brutal treatments. Obviously, I was nervous as hell awaiting the results. The following morning, I met with my oncologist who had the computer facing me with what looked like MRI results.
When you spend time fighting cancer, you really begin to realize what's important to you. The little things in life become a lot less relevant, while the major parts of your life become almost equally irrelevant unless they play a part in your survival plan.
This is the beginning of my story. My story to take a stage 4 cancer diagnosis and unravel it into my license to live. In fact, to live an even better and richer life than I ever could have imagined possible before cancer.
I sat up and as much as I could, gathered the heart monitor's leeds to the side, and brought Aura's body sort of close to mine. I pressed her ear against my chest. We were speechless, so she might as well just listen to my heart, and I might as well just breathe.
So, when do you think you'll be ready to go back to work? For quite some time now friends and family have been asking this question. I know why they ask. I know why others don't ask even though they want to. I know why I don't always feel comfortable answering.