Hi, I’m still alive! Wow I am so sorry to anyone who was wondering what happened to me, I swear I feel like the last year has seriously flown by. I guess I totally skipped my 2nd year ‘Cancerversary’ so here’s to my third! I had my 3 year MRI on Monday and I am beyond excited to say I am now 3 years stable! I have had 6 MRI’s since my last check in and all remained consistent. I am beyond grateful for all the continued love and support from so many different people, many of whom I have never even met. I am beginning to understand that In some small way, I can help inspire other people out there that might be in the same situation that I am and I am determined to do a better job at keeping everyone up to date on my battle with the “little monster” in my brain.
Holy shit what a year. 2015 taught me a lot of things and in a lot of tough ways both good and bad. I can’t say I enjoyed 2015 all too much, it had it’s absolutely amazing, inspiring, bucket-list moments, but all in all I am beyond thrilled for 2016. I am not one to get overly excited about New Years, but I am beyond elated for what my 2016 is shaping up to look like!
Let me start by saying I am not trying to complain or looking for sympathy from things that happened this year, I am just quickly recapping my year as it occurred and like I said on the very first day I sat down and began digitally journaling (I just can’t call myself a blogger) my life to everyone- you get the good, the bad, the happy and the sad and every other emotion that goes into my life.
2015 in a nutshell: The year started off amazing, Had a great Christmas in Portland and on took a tour of the Oregon Coast with my family, I was introduced to rock climbing which has since become a slight obsession / passion, spent New Years withe loved ones and February brought my 30th birthday along with a trip to watch my pretty awesome friend Matt Slater play in and beat the Seahawks in maybe the best Super Bowl ever. It was a memorable and fun Winter, but Spring took a bit of a turn south. March began to see a bit of a decline… Natashia and I were together for over 6 years, we went through a lot of things many relationships never have to endure, and we did it all so young. We began drifting months prior, but the writing was beginning to become to clear to ignore.. Our relationship had changed and we both knew it. It is an indescribable feeling to love someone so much and know that you would do anything for them at a moments notice, but you know deep down it is broken. We ended our relationship, but we remain friends and try to talk as often as possible. It was completely mutual and we did a lot of talking. A couple things are certain: We will always be friends and in each others lives and nobody can tell the future.
The breakup was and is really tough, nobody likes ending long relationships, especially when there is such a huge shared connection and nothing that really ever caused any real meaningful fights. While trying to sort my life out and figure out my new living arrangements life decided to kick me in the balls. Maybe a week after our split I got the news that Tawni finally lost her battle to the same cancer that is currently in my blood as I type this. Seeing her go through the process of what my fate could ultimately look like was brutal for me to watch. Tawni and her family are amazing hero’s and inspirations to me. They went through hell together and though she lost her battle, she inspired so many countless other people and happened to raise a pretty phenomenal young boy as well. My life troubles and anxieties are to hard to even talk about when speaking of Tawni’s fight, they are minuscule in every form of the word in comparison, but maybe my life troubles and anxieties can put some perspective into some of the people’s lives who know me and read this. Watching Tawni lose her life was hard, unimaginably hard with the timing of the breakup and life was not quite done with me just yet. Maybe a few weeks later I call to schedule my next bi-monthly MRI and I find out I had been terminated from coverage, the reason… Still have no idea.
Long story exceptionally short, I lost my insurance coverage for 2 months while trying to figure why I was terminated in the first place. I went through appeals processes, probably close to 100 phone calls, letters, e-mails, you name it. I had people from Kaiser trying to help me figure out what was going on and even they could not find an answer. Then one day out of the blue I get a call the make a payment for the 2 months I was terminated to get back up to date. The next week I am able to have my regularly scheduled MRI. WTF! I was never once given a solid answer as to why I was dropped in the first place, other than a possible delinquency in payment (which never happened.) This on top of the fact that my company decided they want to cut back on overhead and began to phase out my position and transition me into a commission only employee made an already anxiety filled run turn into a borderline comedic tragedy. I have enough stress in my life and trying to depend on sales to survive was not a stress I ever imagined myself having to deal with.
For a good 3 months I was not in good shape, climbing kept me sane and my mind occupied, but I needed to get out of the negative mindset I was in. Negativity attracts more negativity and I the opposite is true and I needed to make the switch. I slowly began counting my blessings and appreciating life’s beauty much in the way I needed to stay positive through my cancer treatments. I found being grateful for what I have instead of longing on what is lost or what could have been made me realize I have so much beauty and hapiness in my life. I focused on things that made me happy and tried to force any negative thoughts away as soon as they entered my mind. With my new mindset I went up to Portland again for the Fourth of July and we rented a cabin up in Leavenworth, Washington. It was an amazing trip with my friends and family filled with laughs, hikes, climbing, rafting, relaxing and HEAT- it was 107 once day! I had some pretty amazing epiphanies while wandering the mountains in the North West Cascades and decided I needed to reset, much like my purge and reset after right after my diagnosis.
I came back with a new sense of passion. I had a lot of hold ups and I questioned myself often in regards to different things on the foundation I am working on. After Tawni’s passing I really began to question if I wanted to dedicate my life to something knowing that I will have to meet and see people that will most certainly constantly remind me of what my future has a tremendous chance to look like. I put stuff on hold longer than I wanted to, but the past 6 months I have been working to launch Be Your Own CURE. I have decided to go all in and dedicate everything I have to the foundation. I am leaving my job to be able to focus on BYOC and doing what I know can do to help other people in my shoes. It is a definite leap of faith, but I decided it is now or never. Every day that passes, my odds of survival get smaller and smaller. It’s an ironic joke they play of you in conversation, “So… Year 3 you are down to a 66% chance of seeing a recurrence this year.” Which is awesome and way better than the 98% odds I had at year one, but at the same time everyday that goes by is another day I step into a smaller percentage of people still alive. I don’t ask too many questions about anything in regards to my cancer anymore, I know all the answers I need to know and at this point every question I ask will have either be a yes or a no, and I am doing well enough now to not need to make the gamble and come back with an answer I did not want to hear.
And now, 2015 is ending awesome- I climbed all over Southern California in September and October Then November I spent Thanksgiving out in Joshua Tree climbing and photographing with some awesome guys, it was an amazing (and FUCKING COLD) trip and my first time in Joshua Tree which made it all that more memorable. I will be heading out to Red Rocks outside of Vegas for Christmas to do some more (cold) climbing and then the fun begins!
2016 is shaping up to be a great year. I have always been a fan of even numbered years and 16 just seems like a great number, oh and maybe because it is also my (2 months from now) day of birth! Within the next few weeks I will be fully launching the foundation and have some really exciting things that I will cover with everyone in a separate post. I will be sharing all of the things the foundation plans to do and events we have lined up with everyone who has been staying up with me and my story before the public launch as I want you all to be a part of it, and I think you will enjoy some of the things we will be doing! I want the foundation to be community driven and we have come up with some fun and interactive ways to get everyone in on the philanthropic spirit while learning some valuable insight. February I will be going out to visit my family to celebrate my sister’s 40th and my 30th birthdays (we missed my 30th last year so were comboing this year) and I will also be looking for a place to live! I plan on moving up to the PNW to be closer to my family, and make a change.
I will update you all very soon on some fun things coming up! Until then excited isn’t the right word, but the first that comes to mind!