“Forget that our time is almost up, I’ll be alright.”

Folks outside of Facebook and Instagram have been asking me for an update so this post is a collection of some of my recent updates since late-November.

The psychological toll of dealing with cancer

I described the physical side effects in my past Medium posts but now there’s another front I have to overcome. It’s tough for me to admit this but I’m now also battling depression & anxiety, which I’m trying to counter with humor, exercise, music, and social contact.

Some of this change comes from how certain drugs in my treatment are actually lowering my serotonin levels — the “happy chemical” in the body contributing to wellbeing and happiness, and apparently cognition, memory, & learning as well.

Oh, man! I guess that explains why I’m sad that I can’t remember why I put the new book, “How to Raise Your IQ by Eating Gifted Children,” in the pantry.

*DISCLAIMER: I actually love children and hate cannibalism. I was just kidding, Johnny Law!

Kidding aside, the rest of my depression & anxiety comes from the gravity of my situation, my sense of mortality, & my fear of leaving my kids fatherless prematurely.

There are other contributing factors as well, including dealing with the compounding side effects of chemo, finances, the stress of daily life, being somewhat dependent on others, and putting my career & other aspects of my life on pause. Physically, I’ve been losing more hair, weight, and appetite, and I still deal with fatigue.

It’s been a challenge, to say the least.

“Dada, promise me you won’t die ok?”

Sawyer (7) & I came across a dead snake on the way to school one morning which prompted questions about death and dying.

Sawyer: “Dada, why does everything have to die?”

Me: “To make life more special & to make room for others…”

I think he’s also starting to get a sense of the severity of my condition because he then asked,

“Will your sickness kill you?”

That caught me off guard & was a tough one to answer to which I said,

“A lot of people are taking care of me & thinking about me so you don’t have to worry about that.”

The next one was even tougher to answer:

“Dada, promise me you won’t die ok? My Christmas wish is to make sure good people don’t die & bad people turn into good people so nobody will die. When I grow up, I’ll build a machine that will make good people live forever.”

Unfortunately, not dying is one promise I won’t be able to keep but I hope it doesn’t happen for a very long time. I’ll keep fighting my “sickness” to make sure I’ll be around for a long time. Fighting & living life to the fullest — That’s one promise I can keep.

And I think good people do live forever in anyone whose lives they touch; no immortality machine needed.

“I want to know that you are still there.”

This isn’t a flattering photo but I also thought it’s one of the sweetest. This is how I usually sleep with the kids when I’m on chemo.

Normally, when my wife is at work, I tuck the kids in by cuddling with them until they fall asleep. During chemo, I have a needle stuck to my chest 24/7 to pump the drugs and I’m also considered somewhat toxic so close cuddles with them are a no-no.

However, some nights like this one just requires contact. Sawyer didn’t want to be alone and insisted that I hold his hand to “know that you’re still there, Dada.” So, I sleep on the floor holding his hand until I fall asleep because, in a way, I also don’t want to feel alone when I’m at my most miserable moment.

I have had nightmares about me dying, and waking up holding his hand is reassuring. I, too, want to know that he and I are still here together and all is well again. The photo above is how my wife found us when she came home from work one night.

As long as it matters…

My other kid, Finn (4), asked me to play a song for him on the guitar a couple of days ago. Despite being a horrible vocalist, I decided to serenade him with one of my favorite tunes.

The song is by Gin Blossoms called, “As long as it matters.”

It’s such a fitting song given my battle with #cancer & how I’m fighting to stay alive for as long as I can for my boys. They are my life & the ones that matter most.

“All this is fine even as it crashes down on me…I’ll be all right, as long as it matters…As long as you’re here with me now. Forget that our time is almost up, I’ll be all right.”

This song is dedicated to my two boys. I wish they had seen me perform live all over when I was still in a band. Anyway, you can watch the video & sing along to the song here. Forgive my crappy vocals!

*YOU* my FRIENDS & FAMILY, are part of my treatment, whether you realize it or not.

Some of my co-workers met up with me for lunch right before I headed out for my 3rd chemo. I meant to take a group photo with them but forgot, so I decided to quickly photoshop each of them in IV bags while I was at the Infusion Ward.

The photo was meant as a joke but in a way, it’s symbolic.

*YOU* my FRIENDS & FAMILY, are part of my treatment, whether you realize it or not.

You are one of my medicines. I might as well photoshop all of you in IV bags. Every time, you reach out to me with your gestures, you are helping me heal & fight this #cancer.

When you meet up and hang out with me, take time out of your day to say hi, you restore a sense of normalcy that I have been craving, upping my serotonin levels.

When you send random jokes in the middle of the night, the smiles or laughter give me a rush of dopamine & endorphins.

Whenever you find a way to send help, drop off food, send gifts, or watch the kids, you are giving me & my family one less thing to worry about so I can focus on my battle.

Whether you are driving several hundred miles to visit or help, writing from several thousand miles across the globe, handwriting me letters of support and encouragement from wherever you are, you show me how vast my support system is and that is positively uplifting.

Simply reading some of the posts of your own journey, delightful trips, and even challenges give me inspiration & motivation.

Thanks for showing me you are there. You are the opposite of Bon Jovi’s “Bad Medicine”.

In fact, I just received another prescription from the pharmacy for “FAMFRIENDBISOL”.

The instruction states:

“Inhale 2 puffs by mouth 4x a day rectally.”

Whatever it takes, fam!

Techy, designer, proud dad, musician, lover of tech, travel, science, & the outdoors. Random fact: I’m not Batman. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, & Medium.