Hello dear reader(s)!
Today I decided to check my On This Day feature on Facebook. For those of you who do not know what On This Day is, it is a collection of your posts on this day from previous years you have made while on Facebook. Hence the clever name. Anyway, checking my On This Day feature this month is pretty precarious because this month has many bad memories. Still I check it, because I am apparently a masochist which does not make sense given that I hold a basement slave.
Anyway, I checked it today and found out that 4 years ago, I had the bone marrow biopsy that would lead to my cancer diagnosis. That didn’t come until the 23rd, but whatever, this is when all the minor things were ruled out and I was told to brace for the confirmation. This is when I knew it really was cancer.
Yet here I am, writing in this blog-type-thing, sitting on my couch after running errands most of the day. Here I am, after losing hearing in one ear, losing part of my immune system, losing a lot of function in my kidneys, losing vitamin absorption, losing hormone production, losing the ability to have reliable energy, and losing a reliable digestive system. Here I am after numerous infections, and PTSD, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and of course, watching the seemingly healthy woman who helped me to survive it all die before my eyes on our 3-year wedding anniversary.
When I was diagnosed, I was given an 80% chance of survival. When I had my evaluation for transplant, months and two bouts with sepsis later, that number was down to 15%. Over numerous times in the hospital after my transplant, when fighting the GVHD and two more bouts with sepsis, my family was told I would not survive. Once, my mom was told I would not even survive the night.
One more year, and I officially become part of the long-term survivor category. Hopefully I get there. Nothing in life is certain, but I feel pretty good about it. So do my doctors.
I am not some special invincible person or someone who feels like I did anything that would make me strong.
But there is one thing.
I don’t give up.
Right now, people are giving up. Not only are they giving up, they are taking innocent people with them. They use guns that shouldn’t be legal, or drive trucks through crowded events, or make bombs, or just hide behind some weapon and give up.
They are weak.
So many people are scared right now. I can understand. These are scary times.
But those fuckers don’t scare me. They can’t scare me.
Their little bombs may kill me. Their bullets may kill me. Their knives may kill me. Their trucks may kill me. But they can’t win. They are weak, and I am strong.
I don’t need to care about who you worship, or who you sleep with, or what you look like, or what language you speak, or what kind of car you drive, or what clothes you wear. I don’t need to. I don’t, because I am strong. They do, because they are weak.
I have faced death. I did it at a time when I didn’t believe in anything after this life. I didn’t need the promise of a heaven, or 72 virgins, or nirvana, or paradise, or anything else. I did it because I am strong. And they are weak.
I decided to try to live, not because of any fear of ceasing to exist, but because I didn’t want my Hannah to be left alone. I don’t fear death. I am strong. They are weak.
Hannah is gone, and yet I don’t fear life either. I am strong. They are weak.
I fought and won a war against the cells in my own blood and bone marrow. I had an army of doctors, science, and research help me win. I had friends and family. I had plenty of allies in this war, but I won. I didn’t need to give myself over to any hateful version of some judgmental asshole of a God who apparently runs a heaven full of really, really shitty people. I am strong. They are weak.
After Hannah died, I acquired a belief system of sorts. Is it real? I don’t know. I don’t care. I like it, and it doesn’t hurt anyone, or require that I convert anyone to it. I do not have blind faith and I most certainly would never kill or legislate against or attempt to harm anyone in any way for not believing as I do. Because I am strong. They are weak.
To those who do give up, and would hurt others in the process:
This is why you lose, you weak, worthless piece of shit. I am not alone. There are a lot of strong survivors. There are people who have survived the unimaginable. There are people who have experienced things that would make you piss your pants before turning your precious, little dick of a gun on yourself and pulling the trigger. They are strong. You are weak.
Terrorism only works when the people are terrorized.
I can’t survive everything, I know that. I’m not looking to die. Hopefully I don’t for a long, long time. But when I do, no matter how it happens, might I feel a moment of fear? Of course.
But I will never live my life in terror. I will never hate people who look like you. I will never hate people who worship like you. I will never push for the fearful, reactionary tactics that play right into your hands. I will meet people with open arms, and an open heart. And if I have a bullet put in it, then I leave having lived a life of love and bravery. Not one of hate and fear like you. I am strong. You are weak.
And we win.