Time and Chance

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

6 months ago today my life changed forever.  I lost a two glands, a vein, the ability to sweat on half my face, the ability to control my eye lid on one eye, the ability to breathe correctly, the ability to swallow correctly, and last but not nearly least my voice. I also lost a huge lump on my neck, that was the good part.

It’s been 6 months of ups, downs, and curves. Both the expected and unexpected happened that day and I continue to battle with these challenges that have been laid before me.  Eventually with time some things will become better, others I’ll have to accept that they’ll never be the same.

I’ve come find that one of the biggest challenges is the mental aspect. One cannot help but think, “why me?”, “what if…?”, “does it matter?”, “would I better off if I…?”. 

I’ve found that the last 6 months have taught me to be more compassionate and understanding of people that might be “different”.  You never know what they’ve been through or are going through, in a way they’re just like me.

I’ve come to realize how important a support group can be.  You’re able to share your experiences, while at the same time hear the experiences of others that have gone through a similar situation.  I’m glad I took that step, and look forward to those once a month meetings. I’m thinking about seeking out others just to gain more knowledge and maybe share some. 

I’ve come to realize how important it is to have a personal support team. You need to know friends are there if you just need to talk, or are able to go to an appointment with you just in case you might forget to ask certain questions.  I want to be able to share more, but I always feel like I’m whining or complaining.  I feel like ice always got to keep that strong public face, but when I’m home and alone I feel the complete opposite.

Last week has been especially challenging.  I received the results from my CT Scans and Ultrasound before my doctor could give me his thoughts. I immediately thought the worst.  Even when he sent me a message that said he was encouraged by the results, I was still convinced that the cancer has moved to my lungs.  That is still a possibility, but won’t know until several specialists from different areas of medicine go over my case again at their monthly ThyCa conference next Friday.  As hard as I try it’s tough to maintain a positive outlook.
The same day I got the results, I found out that my employer is switching health insurance providers on June 1st. As you can imagine this is not ideal for someone in the middle of their first year of cancer treatment.  I thought well maybe I can continue seeing my current team but pay more as they would be “out of network”.  Found out today that that is not an option. I’ve got to find new doctors and possibly go through more tests and hope that I’ll be able to get equal or better treatment.  This is not something I’m prepared to deal with.  I’ve got to figure out how I can get the Medialization Thyroplasty procedure done that was originally scheduled for August.  This is the procedure that will help my swallowing and give me a resemblance of my voice.  The one thing I’ve been looking forward to since I was told it’s an option back in January.  Not to mention the monthly cost of insurance is doubling…

Went to a couple cemeteries this weekend with my Dad and my 96 year-old Grandfather to drop flowers off for the family members, most I’ve never heard of before.  It was an emotional experience trying to locate them and looking at the various other headstones. People of all ages buried. 15 year-old girl, 22 year-old soldier, 90 year-old man along with his wife. Seeing all the flags there for all the service men and women. Sad, beautiful and touching.  I thought about dying from cancer and what would happen to me. Would I be buried or put on a shelf?  If I was buried, what would my headstone say? What would it look like?  Where would I be buried?  How does one go about deciding this sort of thing? Why should I even be concerned about it?  Aren’t I too young to be considering these things?

Time and chance.  This too shall pass.  Someday.

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2 thoughts on “Time and Chance

  1. I knew you were sick. But not Cancer sick. I hope you get better man, It's not easy, and I'm happy that you have your personal support there for you.

    Your ecuadorian Twitter friend -@Burritojohnson

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  2. Matt: You are always in our thoughts and prayers. In fact every once in a while I have a dream you are in (most seem to be me trying to get you to let me drive the Maxima). However, recently you've appeared slightly different in these dreams. Despite me seeing just one picture of your tattoo, you now have a survivor tattoo on your left forearm. (not sure what arm it is actually on) Cancer has certainly changed you, and not just because you now have a tattoo. It's made you stronger, but weaker, more vulnerable, more honest. Whatever happens through this journey you have so many people on your side, praying for you and supporting you. Thanks so much for writing and being honest in you writing. It really helps to know what is going on, and to know how this journey is effecting you emotionally. We'll be keeping you in our thoughts and prayers while you continue to get treated and have to transition to new care. (argh “transition to new care” sounds so impersonal and insurance like speak) I hope you can find new doctors that will continue the great treatment and also make you feel at ease and comfortable. Hang in there man. Love you. -Jeff

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