I joined the Marines in 1996 as a testament to how much I hated college. I was first diagnosed with cancer from chemical exposure in my tear duct in 2006 but was able to remain on active duty through three occurrences. The side effects of treatment culminated in my early retirement in 2013. Last year I was diagnosed for the fifth time. We may have possibly, finally found a cure.
Survival is not a fight, it’s a swim. You drop in the water at night and take a moment to get your bearings. Pick a course quickly but not hastily, as each moment treading is distance wasted. You start swimming. As each stroke unfurls, you let go of your effort. The kicks become churns and your arms pull water. Your breathing is no longer on schedule, as our lips break the surface when it descends to us. The course now drifts responsibly; that destination is revealed merely as the hope this effort requires. Those are gone now. Pace or range for survival is impossible to determine but death is flying by as we let go of life. Something brushes the leg, and the sand crashes into the arms, shoulder, and head. We crawl up on the beach, turning to face our challenge. The ocean is fine. No win or loss occurred, we survived.
Swim is done, time to run!
The Quality of Life Foundation is running with us, as survival left us broke and happy. Can you imagine taking everything away from your own family five times for your own life and maybe still not making it? [Quality of Life Foundation] found ways to help my wife get our family back in order and most importantly allow us to return the focus to our kids and not me.
These experiences have changed me as a person, except I don’t think I’ve changed. I think I’m more of who I already am. When I dive deep inside myself, I love it. I love what I see. When I look at you, if I see any differences, I look further until the differences disappear, and I see the same thing inside you. I love you.
Let’s help the Quality of Life Foundation create moments for more people just like us.
From a Wounded Veteran enrolled in our Wounded Veteran Family Caregiver Program