Not long ago my life took a unexpected change of direction when I suddenly became drastically ill.
I was in my 30's in, in seemingly good general health, with a great outlook on life and only barely over a month until I was to be wed to the love of my life. I was lean, drug-free, debt-free, madly in love, finally back in my home-state after 26 years of waiting and excitedly looking forward to new business ventures.
Everything was looking very good for me after a lifetime of extraordinary challenges that I had faced and prevailed over and over. I was more than happy, I was finally, truly, content.
Little did I know, I was sitting on the "Silent Killer".
Exactly a week before Thanksgiving 2011 while having my fiance's parents over for dinner, in the early part of the meal I suddenly was overcome with nausea and had to excuse myself to the restroom for what was to be the first glimpse of the hellish test that was to come.
Years and hundreds of tests and procedures later I face my mortality daily with a multitude of overwhelming health issues. Yet I remain, defiant in the face of death, determined to make the best I can of every day.
At the time of this writing it's been 18 months since the night in the hospital where I was told by a far from compassionate doctor that I had days to live. A couple weeks at best. I have faced this scenario more times than I can recall now.
Unfortunately this has forced me step away from active full time business life and now I am generally stuck at home. If you have ever tried freelancing from home, you know it can be maddening trying to find regular or meaningful work.
None the less I feel blessed to wake up every day and to have such an amazing, supportive and loving wife, a modest but adequate home, and 4 wonderful rescue animals I get so much love and healing support from.
My wife and I (and occasionally friends and family so wonderful enough to come visit) try to make the best of this battle and frequently try to find ways to experience as much as life as possible while possible.
This is why I could really use a few more friends!
What is killing me is not who I am however, and I refuse to let it BE my life.
I have been lucky enough to get to go some games, special events and even finally got to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at the Hollywood Bowl just 9 nights before his sad departure from this world.
I have seen and experienced so much in this world on this long yet short journey but I'm just not ready to throw in the towel and doubt I ever will be. It's just not in my nature. I'm a fighter and an adventurer to my very core. Always have been and always be.
I'm not looking for miracles or fantasy vacations, just the ability to have a little more fun and spend more time with my wife, family, friends and community.
I want to build things, see things, do things, have new experiences. I want to put a working motor in an old motorcycle and finally learn to ride. I want to see if I can handle a wave again. I want to go back to see how much or little Japan has changed since I was there in the Navy in the mid 90's (where I met my future wife also a sailor). I want to take my wife on a real vacation (not just a day-cation) for once. I want to try and meet my favorite author and talk about mortality (he's been close too), I want to do something really memorable and smile-inducing for my sisters and mother. I want to see the sun rise on one coast and set on the opposite in the same day, I want to build a small community garden maybe even with a playground. And so much more ...
I plan on, if at all possible, going out with a smile on my face. Your generosity certainly will help!
Now if you like to help me ride out smiling I can only tell you that it would add so much joy in my life helping to overshadow the suffering and unknown, and that I would be eternally grateful, even if only in spirit.
Live every day as though it were your last. There is nothing more important the present moment. Make sure you tell those you care about that you love them every chance you get.
Live. Laugh. Love
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!