12/6/14 – Two Years

Lost in the midst of this crazy couple of weeks with changing schedules and chemo and surgery. Off in the distance of hospitals, endless car rides to Philadelphia and Thanksgiving turkey I missed my two year Cancerversary.

12/1/14 passed and with it I became a two year “survivor” … er … What’s that word we use with an INCURABLE cancer? Ah yes …. a two year thirvivor.

This journey has been absolutely indescribable. Everyone has a different journey just as everyone has a different form of cancer. We present the disease differently, therefore we cope differently. Some of us are fighters – “TOUGH GUYS” – if you will. Some of us are reflective and thoughtful. Either way, I’ve learned an awful lot about myself and about cancer in general that I’d like to share.

First of all – cancer is PAINFUL. CANCER HURTS! We see in the movies people hooked into IV machines, or sleeping (because – yes – it’s tiring too) but there are some days the pain is so bad that getting out of bed would be a TREAT. These days, lately, are far too frequent.

Secondly, cancer is cumulative. I tolerated early treatments way better than current ones. I have built up an immunity to the effectiveness and the toxicity increases cumulatively with each passing day.

Thirdly, fighting cancer REQUIRES – no – DEMANDS – that you give up all sense of control you have over life itself. Your health comes first and somewhere along the way you have to allow for mishaps, surprises and snafus. When cancer decides it wants to fuck with you – because it can – it is YOUR job to stop everything, FIGHT IT, and then go back and finish whatever it was you were doing before. HEALTH first – because without that cornerstone – there is NOTHING else.

So … what does it all mean? I HAVE NO FREAKIN IDEA!!! All I know is that we walk separate journeys – each according to the hand and presentation we are dealt. BUT – WE WALK THEM HOLDING HANDS TOGETHER – each trying to fight until that elusive cure is found.

Cancer has left me in some of the strangest most vulnerable positions I have ever been in.

I have been stood up by appointments in the pouring rain on the Main Line in Philly, in which case I spent so much time trying to find a bathroom that I ended up sitting in my drivers seat soaking from the rain and peeing in my pants. What did I do? Went to my lunch appointment then went home for the day.

I spent an afternoon constipated in the Huntington NY Hilton thinking I was going to die because a tumor was blocking my poop from coming out. PAINFUL! SCARY! UNCERTAINTY! Two hours in that freaking bathroom!

Yesterday in this very hospital my day was a comedy of errors that left me at maybe my most vulnerable since this two year journey began. I woke up well enough. Helene had just brought some fresh sweatpants. You KNOW I love me my sweatpants. The nurse filled a nice warm bowl of water and soap in my bathroom sink so I could clean myself up – going on 4 days here NO SHOWER! That’s when it all went wrong. The fresh, clean sweatpants I hung on the hook fell into the wash bowl. STRIKE ONE! I got a new pair and proceeded onward toward cleanliness. I then blew my nose and I think half the insides came out in blood. My platelets are low so I don’t have normal clotting function. Blood is EVERYWHERE! STRIKE TWO! I tried to gather my composure, brush my teeth and get some deodorant on but the pain in the femur was so and I couldn’t do it alone. I stood at the sink, looking in the mirror, holding these sweatpants, completely NAKED, holding back tears, while my 85 year old stepfather dressed me. STRIKE THREE! A new low. I am 47 years young. My dad isn’t supposed to dress me! I’m CAPABLE! I’m CONFIDENT! I’m ABLE! Damnit! This isn’t supposed to be happening to ME!

This is the lesson: Cancer exposes you. Cancer puts you in a position where you MUST let others in. You MUST accept help – which is one of the hardest lessons for me to learn. I don’t like HELP. I don’t like to let OTHERS IN. But in those moments? You HAVE to cede control …. or you will NOT survive.

I don’t know what I would have done if he weren’t there yesterday. I don’t know how he kept it all together to be there for me in my moment. MOMENTS. MOMENTS of support, of love, of encouragement. MOMENTS in which nobody judges. It is what is is. We rose above it and got the job done TOGETHER.

I am grateful for that moment.

16 responses to “12/6/14 – Two Years

  1. It take a lot of courage to be that vulnerable. Your insights sound incredibly healing. Let the love in… it’s always coming your way. oxox

  2. You said in all, Bradley: you are strong, vulnerable and need to learn to accept help and go with the flow. What
    a journey. So glad your support network is strong and you are determined to fight through this nightmare. G-d bless.

  3. Wow, what an honest and powerful post. Your strength and clarity is inspiring. Cancer picked the wrong person to mess with.

  4. Sending lots of love and support from the Rosemans. Your vulnerability is a source of strength. We’ve always been awestruck by your resilience and courage; the way you rose above yesterday’s s-show just further underscores that. You truly are a role model to us and we’re really pulling for you.

  5. Your honesty, strength, courage, vulnerability….I cannot even imagine how difficult these moments are…your my superhero. So happy my outstanding uncle was w you. I love you.

  6. I feel your pain passion and support you
    I have been in your spot
    I am a 5 year guy
    I support your effort

  7. Hard to add much to the loving and insightful comments. Your courage, honesty – you keep digging down to find what you need to move forward. We are amazed and inspired and send all our love.
    Aunt Susan and Uncle Errol

  8. Brad, so many people love you and want to be there to help you whenever and however your are able to let us. Xo

  9. brad, i am in awe or your bravery, insight and huge heart. thank you for sharing your journey with us. xoxo gail

  10. I thank you for your honesty. Our daughters path with Myeloma mirrors yours in many ways. She always says like you “it is what it is. Now let’s deal with it.” I feel like she is slowly wearing down & disappearing on us but as Jim Valvano said” don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”I pray for you & hope your journey eases. You are an inspiration to us.

  11. Wow, your honesty is amazing. I remember being in the hospital when I was going thru my SCT, and having diarrhea and being so embarrassed. Well, actually since I was pretty much out of it with low platelets etc, but vaguely remember going wow, this is very weird. But, you are amazing and will get thru this. Sending thoughts of good energy to you. I’m not sure I could go thru what you are doing so, you are very brave
    To TJ and your daughter, my favorite line when I was in the midst of all the chemo, transplant, etc. was” it is what it is , what it is”..

  12. BC – I can’t begin to tell you how much we admire your (and HC’s) strength and courage and how much we cherish your sharing your inner-most personal thoughts and insights with us each week. Keep on fighting, one day at a time, and keep on looking for those silver linings as your doctors beat the cancer back into remission. And try to grab a cheesesteak from Abners before you head home from U Penn. We love you bud…

  13. Your unabashed humanity is amazing! It is something we myeloma patients have to accept as we go along with treatment but those of us who have family and friends are fortunate to be able to get the help we need when we need it. I always wonder about people in our position who dont have that support network. How did the weekend of chemo go? I hope it beat back the monster keep us posted thinking of you and praying for a speedy recovery!

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