Chapter 1 of my chipping journey has concluded (2 Viewers)


Oct 18, 2021
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Happy New Year and good health to you. This certainly qualifies as a check in. I tend to overshare when I’m in the proper head space; I guarantee it in this post because I’m in the mood and at this precise moment there’s nothing more important to my brain.

I tried my best to ignore my 50th birthday last May but it was impossible because the day I turned 50 the wheels began to wobble and in short order they would fall off completely; I’ve had 3 surgeries in the past 6 mos. But first some background.

My ADD brain is quite special when I’m captivated, but when my synapses are misfiring I can actually feel it. At these times my brain runs heavy and it’s a labor to even think, much less speak a though into existence or, simply communicate with my family. Furthermore I often spend little time with my family because I often work long hours. I do this because my job is essential and it’s what’s required of me; anyone who works has a job that offers its unique benefits and challenges. I wasn’t diagnosed with ADD until I was a young adult, and although I always scored high on proficiency exams in school I was a poor student because school bored me. 6 mos after high school I had the extremely good fortune to get a job with the company I would spend the rest of my career with, 32 years and counting.

My spirituality is nature based and as a younger man I nourished my soul on backpacking trips. In 2006 I traveled to the desert to experience a vision quest. But as the years have gone by, with long work hours, a growing family and the realization that beach vacations are really special too, I’ve become detached from the very things that help to inspire me. In short, I had become old and jaded and had long ago given up on any meaningful spiritual life.

In June I had an anal fistulotomy, and if you don’t know what an anal fistula is, do yourself a favor and don’t look it up. I didn’t know, and you can imagine the discomfort I went through before I had to admit that it was time to have my asshole examined by a doctor. Surgery came and went and I’ll spare you the unpleasant details that arose and were a result of some poor choices I made even though I wasn’t actually aware I was making poor choices, live and learn. But I never regained my full stamina following the surgery and this was painfully evident during the fall salmon run when I just didn’t have the energy to go fishing. ‘Well this is 50’ I thought to myself many times.

During one 24 hour period in October I learned I needed another fistulotomy and I was diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer, and I thought: whatever part of the universe that’s trying to capture my attention has it. Now this all sounds very dramatic and even I have to admit that yes, it is indeed dramatic; however there isn’t a person on the planet more qualified to receive that diagnosis.

I was in the room with my dad when he awoke in a panic from his surgery. He was intubated and couldn’t speak, so I grabbed his hand and calmed him. We didn’t discover his prostate cancer until it had spread and as such his surgery was extremely invasive and it affected his quality of life for the rest of his days. His last years were indeed a higher degree of difficulty but just the same he never completely lost his zest for life. Living through the cancer roller coaster ride with him, and quite frankly too many of us understand it all too well, but I learned to let the doctors do the doctoring and you don’t know anything until you know it. I was completely unfazed awaiting biopsy results because either I was sick and we needed to know it or I wasn’t and life resumes. I was completely unrattled with the confirmed diagnosis because early stage prostate cancer is a best case scenario, and because what I would have to endure was an incrementally less degree of struggle than what I saw my dad go through. Like so many of you I know what it feels like to learn a parent has cancer. I was fortunate beyond description to go home and share with my kids, the bad news is I have cancer, the good news is don’t worry, I’ll be fine. Furthermore, it was sort of a relief to discover that it’s not ‘well this is 50’ but rather ‘I’m sick twice’ and after the hard shit I would have the luxury to recover to 100% health. This makes me so grateful, I mean how lucky can one guy be?

With a rock solid positive attitude I bought Embrace the Suck t shirts and focused on what my reality actually was: short term pain for long term gain. My surgeries would be 4 weeks apart; I surrendered to them completely and focused on the positives: I was going to spend the next couple months on the couch, Netflix, edibles and chill. This was special because I haven’t engaged with my special medicine in decades because of work, and it truly is special medicine to my add brain. I was going to be able to indulge every day. This is exactly the point where you all met me and it absolutely would not have happened if there wasn’t a minimum post requirement. Sitting in the couch it became evident that typing on my phone with one finger was the optimum speed for my brain and furthermore it became apparent that the process of writing is the straw that stirs my brain and triggers my creativity. And from there things really took off.

I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been through some weird shit and I don’t know if I’ll ever finish processing it all but it soon became apparent that 15 years later I was on another vision quest. Much later I decided that a more apt description is my medical timeout was the equivalent of 40 days in the desert. The prostate surgery was a much higher degree of difficulty to endure but my dad powered me through it. He passed in 2019 and I’ve never felt closer to him in my life.

Which brings me to the present and this is the time I’ve been anticipating: I’m no longer sick, I have no more surgeries scheduled, all that’s left to do is recover to 100% health. I have some new perspectives, like I have more than enough poker chips for my current situation and the brakes have been applied, at least for now. Just the same, PCF has played a significant role in this journey and I’ve had some significant chance encounters as well. Thanks for reading, blessings and good health to you all.

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