Hello dear reader(s)!
Are you ready for a story? Because teacher has one to tell. Gather ’round in your semi-circle with your story buddy, because teacher is going to tell you all about gratitude.
I would not be here today without the generosity of so many people. Family, friends, Hannah (of course), and even people I hardly knew. So many people did so much for me to keep me going and relatively sane. Despite all of the bad things I hear about people in the news, or from those who like to focus exclusively on the negative, I can never believe that the majority of people are bad because I have been saved by the good in people.
This isn’t the story about how my mom let my wife and I live in her 2 bedroom condominium in Seattle while I was going through the transplant and the intense complications; all the while helping to support us financially. This isn’t the story about how my dad and my step-mother worked to get the house we live in livable, and are letting us live here, and moved us and all are crap in here. This isn’t the story about how Hannah spent almost every night I was ever in the hospital in a cot right by me. This isn’t the story of the friends who came to visit, the family members who gave what they could, the Team Josh shirts. Those stories will be told, but this story is about drumsticks.
Well, it is actually about my mother-in-law, a local legendary DJ, a band, Christmas, and one of the best single moments that I could believe could happen to me when I didn’t know if there were any good moments left to be had.
I was on 190 mg of Prednisone a day. For those of you who don’t know what Prednisone is, Prednisone is a steroid (not like a pump you up, Hanz and Franz type steroid), but a steroid intended to help with a variety of issues that arise from going through a bone marrow or PBSC transplant and all the complications thereafter. I was also on a lot of Morphine, Ativan, and a whole host of less mind-altering drugs that basically made me an emotional wreck. It was 10 days or so before Christmas, and I didn’t even care. I figured it might be my last Christmas, and so did those around me.
I got out of the hospital the day before. I was feeling awful, and knew it would only be a matter of time before I would have to go back in. I was miserable, and was at one of the few points during my entire cancer experience that I just didn’t care if I lived another day. Hannah got a call from her mom and suddenly we had to go down to FedEx to pick up the Christmas gift she had sent. It was already the afternoon and FedEx would be closing in a few hours. They were in the SODO area of Seattle (south of the dome, or south of downtown since the dome’s demolition) and we were up on the North side of town. I did not want to go. My mom, didn’t really want to go. Hannah, insisted that we go.
We go. We fight traffic and get lost a few times and my mom and I end up screaming at each other in frustration. I know I said we should forget about it and just go home, but Hannah was so insistent. We finally get there, about 10 minutes before closing, and I give her my ID as it was sent to me and wait in the car for her to come back with whatever was so damn important. She comes back with a bubble envelope from Canada. I open the envelope.
If you have ever read any of my posts, you know that I play drums and a little bit of music on other instruments as well. Being primarily a drummer, who loves music, it is only obvious that I think that Rush is the greatest band of all time and that Neil Peart is the best drummer on the planet. So I open the envelope, and see that, and I immediately start crying. My horrible day, my horrible week, month, and so on just became one of the single greatest moments of my life.
Sometime earlier, my mother-in-law contacted local Classic Rock DJ, and living legend Max Volume, and mentioned that I grew up here, was a HUGE Rush fan, and that I might be having my last ever Christmas. She asked if there was anyway that Max could use his connections to make something happen from the band to me personally. Rush is known for their humanitarian work and charitable causes, but typically, they do things on a mass scale as opposed to individually. (If they took the time to answer every individual fan who was going through something, they’d never have any other time.) But Max was able to call in a couple of favors and they sent me that card and those sticks!!!
And today, I got to tour the radio station where Max Volume broadcasts from. The greatest Classic Rock DJ of all time, a local legend, and just a really genuine, great person.
So every time I hear about the worst in humanity, I just have to think about all of the great people who have done so much for me. My friends and family, and people who were strangers at the time, were so generous. And there will never be enough words to express my gratitude.
But I do wonder what Max’s real name is, I bet I knew once, but chemo brain.