This past week has been amazing! It's been a time to adjust to our new surroundings but it has also been a time to renews our minds, hearts, and spirits as we press on and conquer a disease that so many fear. Yes there have been times where my mind starts the thinking game and plays mini movies of what I'm in for and what could happen...but immediately I start reminding myself of the great conqueror I am. The victory that awaits me. And the future that is in store for me. Believe it or not, times of excitement and thrill out number times of discouragement and fear by far. Often when I get interviewed my the media which still happens occasionally or get asked to speak at different events the question always comes about am I ever afraid my cancer will return or if I had to choose, would I do it all over again.
No I don't ever sit in fear that my cancer will return (even though it has) and I don't think the question is would I choose to do it all over again, the question is...would I do it all over again. And the answer is yes. I will still choose to press on and be victorious and choose to be a fighter...because losers aren't an option. But even more so, I will choose to embrace this experience once again and walk through with joy and peace knowing that this will build into my character, add to my story, and build a bond between Christa and I that will be so tightly intertwined.
Earlier this evening Christa and I went for a long walk at Fish Creek Provincial Park - an amazing scenic creation with hills lined with trees of all sorts of different colors and tones of greens, flowing rivers and ponds along side the pathways, birds whistling and singing along...the mood could not have been more perfect. But apart from the love story, as we were walking along Christa looked over at me and asked, "Are you afraid?" Which led to just one of many deep and passionate conversations we have had over the past few weeks. Of course I am not afraid but this isn't exactly how I thought we would be starting off. It's so easy to get focused on what's happening and how within days our world was rocked off it's course. It's so easy to get discouraged and pissed off at the world and blame anything and everything - but the truth is, it doesn't change a thing. It's so much easier to lock ourselves up and build ourselves our own personal jail - even though we are the guard and have the key we still choose to keep ourselves locked up. That's not the way Christa and I will live through this experience. How we handle this is a choice, and it's our choice. No one can choose for us. No one can give us just the right words or the sufficient amount of encouragement (though all those things keep us going), but in the end, we have to be the one's to make the choice. Are we going to sit here and allow this to get the best of us or are we going to rise up against it and choose to be fighters fighting with all we have. There is reality and there are facts...and we have both of those. So instead of looking at what could have been or what should have been we will look at what IS and we will embrace it. This is our story, this is our make-up, and we will not wrap it up and put it in a box hiding it.
Our minds have already begin processing and scoping out ideas of what could possible lead to another crazy and wild adventure when this is all done. Whatever it may be, form, shape, or size, we will pay it forward. Whatever we choose to do, big or small, I am excited to see us continue to inspire and challenge people beyond their comfort levels and beyond their wildest dreams...
On Wednesday (27) morning I had my consultation with the transplant team, met my crew of doctors and nurses, had a tour of the facility, and was given a quick crash course of what to expect. I never really did receive a full diagnosis. I knew it was lymphoma but wasn't sure of the type or stage. The doctor confirmed that it is stage 2 lymphoblastic lymphoma. We can almost be comfortable and call it stage 1 but because they found one extra little spot on my left chest area they had to bump it up to stage 2. I guess I can never be #1...I always come 2nd....ha-ha...kidding! Anyways, every time I go to the doctor the news is better and better. My initial visit was a bit of a shock as they shared all the risks and procedures and treatments. Of course they have to do that, it's part of the job. But I find it funny how even last time I had 97% cancer cells, wasn't expected to live through the night, and then things got a little better and I was maybe expected to have a few months, and then it just got better and better. And the same thing is true this time. At first the doctor told me that if I choose a certain treatment plan the percentage was only 'x' high and I would have 6-8 months left to live. I looked the doctor straight in the eye and told him, "I'm not ready to die man, I have a whole life ahead of me to live!" And again, on Wednesday the doctor met with me and told me how my lumps were going down and were now just the size of peas. He told me how my first course of chemo will probably not be too bad. I might be a little sick and tired but overall I will probably get some day passes and come home on weekends. We have a great team of doctors and nurses. I am so blessed to have this care...but I am stoked for the day when the doctors come into my room and say Tim...you don't have cancer...your just crazy and we can't figure it, and Ill say yup! Thanks for coming out...I'm gunna go ride my bike now! Cheers!
But all jokes aside, we have a great team of doctors and nurses who are working very hard on my protocol and treatment plan and are bringing the best of the best.
As I wrap up this last journal entry before I am admitted to hospital, I have to admit...tears begin to fill my eyes. Not tears of pain or tears of fear...but in a way, tears of concern. It's much harder to go through knowing that there are people (friends and family) who feel so helpless and feel terrible for the situation. But I want you to know that I AM okay and I WILL be okay. I will be a fighter. I will have to get sick to get better. I will have good days and bad days. And in the end...we will all party once again and pack my place with over 200 people...just like last time :)
Christa, what we did on Monday night was amazing. I can't believe that's it official and you actually got suckered in to being with me forever :) This week has been amazing! One of the best in my entire life. As I sit here and listen to 'feels like home' by Chantal Kreviaszuk, the song that you were supposed to walk down the isle too...I share my vows once again...this time for the world to see my love and promises for you:
I love you. You are the girl of my dreams - everything I ever wanted and desire in a friend, life partner, and wife. You make me strong when I am weak, you pick me up when I fall down, you lead me when I cannot see, and you hold my hand when I am afraid. You make my heart beat whenever your around, and when I see you everything else goes out of focus.
In the past few weeks you have amazed me by your love, support, loyalty, respect, and attitude to join hands with me and fight this battle together. When all hell breaks loose instead of giving up and leaving your spirit of determination was risen and we have grown closer and our bond is so much stronger. Words can never express how grateful and blessed a man I am. What God has brought together let no man (or Satan tear a part).
It blows my mind away at how much you just "get" me and support me in every single way. Your promises never fail, your passion is always high, and your love always increases.
From your painted toe nails to the shine in your smile, from your mind of wisdom to the beauty of your heart - I am so in love with you and cannot imagine life without you.
I promise to respect you and love you the way you desire and need - putting you needs above mine. I promise to submit to you as my wife and give myself to you and only to you for the days of my life. I promise to give you the gift of care, the gift of protection, the gift of honesty, and the gift of time.
Now - here's to victory my friends!
- Tim Harriman