Wednesday, August 1, 2012 at 10:01PM
It's not a secret for those that have followed the WunderGlo blog since the beginning: my attitude has played a major role in my survival. If there is one thing that I could point to that has gotten me through all of the physical challenges that battling Stage IV colon cancer has dealt me, I would say without hestitation that it has been my attitude, my mental and emotional and spiritual approach to battling the disease. My positive, tenacious outlook has been completely natural, a gift far greater than my physical strength and youth could ever be.
I realize that I'm not "normal" in the sense that fear or anxiety or sadness never entered the picture when I was first diagnosed or ever since. I simply don't feel these emotions in the cancer context. I know it's hard to believe, and many of my fellow cancer warriors out there may think I'm full of you-know-what, but I swear to you all that it's true.
In the place of those emotions is confidence. Sheer and unabashed confidence. The type of confidence that Michael Jordan had when he shrugged after that huge game in the 1992 NBA Finals. The kind of confidence that Jay-Z has when he says that he's the "best rapper alive." The kind of confidence that Austin Rivers had when he sunk that buzzer-beater over UNC this year (you know I had to work in a Duke basketball reference). Boldness, swagger, faith, and an unswerving belief...belief in my doctors, my treatment plan, myself, and my Creator.
I remember someone writing on my Facebook wall early on, expressing sorrow at my diagnosis. I responded: "Don't worry. I got this." I remember after my first surgery when Dr. Ramos was still shell-shocked at the amount of cancer that he'd just seen in my body. I squeezed his shoulder and told him that it was all good. I remember Dr. Genyk after this most recent surgery in January, freaked out about the disease that had lodged itself in my intestinal walls which rendered me more or less inoperable. I gave him a hug and told him that everything was going to be alright.
Nothing can shake my confidence. Nothing can mess with my attitude. Nothing can get in the way of my focus. Cancer is going down and I'm going to enjoy taking it down.
And see? Here I am, very much so alive and kicking. I'm still in treatment, but I'm handling this disease and having a great time. I could have freaked out, shut down, and let cancer do its thing. But I refused to do that. Even when the chips were down, I refused to cede one inch of mental or emotional ground to the disease. It may have been thriving in my belly, but it's never had a chance in my mind and in my heart. Even when I was the underdog, I've always been the odds-on favorite in my mind and heart.
So what if things didn't work out the way they have? What if I would have died quickly? What if that original prognosis of doom and gloom would've been correct?
My attitude still would have made the difference between days filled with dread and days filled with joy. You, my dear readers, have been on this journey with me and you know how much fun I've had as WunderGlo. If this blog -- and my life -- would have stopped in December of 2010, or in April of 2011, or at the beginning of this year, you would have known that from the day of my diagnosis to that stopping point, I lived a happy and satisfied life. A life filled with love. A life filled with magical moments and beautiful people. You know it because it's all here on the blog. Even if I wouldn't have had quantity, I would have had quality.
And that's what "beating cancer" is really all about to me. Not letting the disease ruin your life or crush your spirit. It changes your life without a doubt, in big ways and small ways. It certainly has changed mine. I'm 30 years old and I'll never have children of my own unless I adopt. I'm 30 years old and I'll never hit the club, get wasted on vodka shots, and follow it with a late night cheeseburger. I'm 30 years old and I've got a plastic port in my chest and a footlong scar down my belly.
I'm 30 years old and I know that living to 50 would pretty much be a miracle.
But the fact that I'm here -- shooting hoops and lifting weights, running my Foundation and writing my book and working at O'Melveny, bobbing my head as I DJ a party, laughing my butt off with friends and feeling strong and happy and grateful -- is already a miracle. I'm into miracles. I like my chances. I really, really like my chances.
Because when you believe, anything can happen.