Life, Photography, The Family Circle

Maizy the Survivor: Beating Cancer One Dream at a Time

The mother of my child and love of my life has eluded death at least three times. Twice she survived breast cancer. She once fainted in a movie theater lobby from a pulmonary embolism, due to complications with a stent in her arm relating to the cancer.
The disease took her ovaries and her breasts. Cancer made her voluntarily poison herself with chemotherapy.

She even survived a roll over crash on the highway before cancer was even a part of the equation. It decimates everything. The body. The spirit. The bank account.

Despite all that, she still smiles and cares for others more than she does herself. She encourages us and provides the roof over our head and the food on our table. She is kind, loving, responsible and strong. She makes our world go ’round. Together we see these close calls and consider them a sign. The sign says: “Live you’re life and don’t hold back.”

We had a child together after many conversations of what our future as a couple dealing with the repercussions of breast cancer would be like. We had Penny and then Maizy decided to let them take her ovaries to avoid the very real possibility of cancer developing there. Then she decided to let them take her last remaining breast. Total mastectomy. I still think she’s the sexiest woman on the planet. Survivors are hot. She sacrificed her body to have a chance to live a longer life.

Maizy is amazing. For almost dying several times, the life in her bursts out and infects me. She gave me an amazing daughter and encourages me to follow my dreams. I’m glad she’s in my life and I’m grateful to her for fighting to live as hard as she does and choosing to spend that life with a bum like me. I’m The luckiest guy in the world.

What would you do if you almost died? Wouldn’t you want to live your life to the fullest and not regret an existence of apathy? Experience things you never have? Go places you’ve never been? Enjoy YOUR life. Don’t wait for a life threatening disease to give you a wake up call. Do everything. Find what you love to do and follow your dreams. That’s what I’m going to do anyway. You can do whatever you want. It’s your life.

We want to travel. There are many reasons, but a big one for me is getting Penny out there to see the world. Cancer runs in the family. Maizy’s mom had it, and there is a decent chance Penny could have the BRCA gene. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are harmful genes inherited from the mother or father.

A child of a parent with the gene has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the mutation. I hope it isn’t true but I’m ready to deal with it if it is. I want to try to instill that appreciation for life in Penny, not that she doesn’t already have it. The girl is a firecracker.

Extremely emotional just like her dad. Intelligent and strong like her mom. A 50/50 chance that she could have to deal with ovarian or breast cancer? That’s tough to deal with. We are going to teach her to live life. What better way to do that than by example?

The fact is: any of us can die anytime. That’s news to nobody. We already know this. So why do we spend so much of our time doing things we don’t enjoy? I’m not talking about doing the dishes or the laundry. I’m talking about careers and life choices and doing things we wouldn’t normally do. Taking chances, trying new things, searching for fulfillment.

We live in a world where a majority of people think it’s crazy to follow your dreams. We think those people are crazy. Maizy and I have served our time on the hamster wheel and we are jumping off.

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I keep waiting for something brilliant to just burst out of me, but all I’m left with is this. My damaged brain, still telling me there is two when I know in my heart there is just one. How can I trust my brain when it is always telling lies?

Seeing double is my reality. I have never seen the world any other way. If I open my eyes and relax the whole scene is repeating itself just slightly above the original image skewed diagonally to the upper left,

I see 20 fingers, 6 lights on a stop light, two stop signs, two screens, two keyboards, two shutter buttons, 4 eyes, 4 ears and 2 heads.

I see double. I see your alternate self when you see me in public. Eye contact is such a struggle for me, and double vision is a causal factor. I know how it looks to other people. It’s as if I am talking to air, similar to the way a person with a Bluetooth headset might fool you into thinking they were talking to you.

It confuses people when we try and have a conversation. It’s this whole other conversation I have to have before I can get to the point I wanted to make.

This fact has made me become increasingly less adept at social situations then your average straight eyed person. I think the repetition is what did me in. How many times have I had the conversation with drunk assholes about my lazy eye? How many self deprecating jokes about it over the years? I’ll turn 40 this February. That’s at least 35 years of struggling socially with my stupid eyes. It has shaped me into what I am today.

People have the capacity for hate just as much as they do for love. People will literally hate you for your imperfections. Some folks just never grow up, never mature. I have had grown men ridicule me about my eye The exact same way I remember it from the elementary school bullies.

It brings me down sometimes. I can’t help it. Being imperfect gives you x-ray vision. Ignorance presents itself much more frequently. Maybe that’s a good thing. The way I can see the worst in people before I really even speak to them. Early detection is key in avoiding assholes.

No matter how much I want to believe that most people are inherently good, I am always presented with evidence to the contrary. Nothing is shocking.

Virtual reality scares me, but at least here I don’t have to explain to you why I won’t look you in the eye. I’m judged by the words I communicate and not my weird eyes.

So that’s my problem. My eyes are a constant nuisance and distraction and I’m still hung up on that. We are social beings and I’m cursed with awkwardness in that area. It affects every second of every day that I am alive.

The worst of it is, I shouldn’t even be feeling this. I should be grateful that I can see out of my fucked up eyes. Some people are blind. Some people have disfigured faces, missing limbs, or life threatening illnesses.

I should be grateful for what I have, and I am, but I am only human.

I’ll end with this thought. It’s almost two in the morning. While typing this into my phone I can actually hear my neighbor snoring through the bedroom wall. I’ll take that as a sign it’s time to shut it down for the night.

I always say, why write a diary if no one is going to read it? And so I tell you these thoughts. Good Night.

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