Since I've arrived, on every walk I take, I end up dancing. Stupid crazy dancing. That wasn't who I was (officially) before this whole chapter in my life. But I've earned a reputation and the nurses and aids seem to look forward to coming to my room because they know I'll put a smile on their heart. Today was different. Up until 4:00pm, I had been my jovial self, but when I woke from my nap this afternoon, all of the weight of all of my friends and family's life "stuff" saddened me. They've got huge things happening in their lives. Most are thinking, "I can't bother Bob, he's going through so much."
I feel badly that I'm shackled here in my room, unable to be there for those who are hurting. I know that some of you have contemplated, if only briefly, the thought of ending your pain. You've thought, "If I ended my life, it's no big deal... and I wouldn't feel what I'm feeling now." Forgive my language, but that is utter bullshit. You have touched someone's life. You are touching people's lives.
I remember over the years many instances people being affected by the smallest of things that I have done or said and I had no clue. To me, those things were inconsequential. To the person I was affecting? Life changing.
I was practicing my techniques when I was in massage school student back in 1991 and had the opportunity to massage a friend of a friend. I'll call him Kai for the sake of anonymity. Kai was a quiet man and gentle in his mannerisms. He arrived that first night with his boyfriend, who I'll call Brody, who was much more loud and obnoxious in how he carried himself, almost controlling Kai with every word.
When I asked him what kind of massage he was hopping for, Kai simply said, "I just need to relax." I said, "Okay. I'm going to leave the room and wash my hands. Go ahead and undress to your level of comfort and get on the table."
When I returned, I simply gave Kai a great relaxing massage, barely saying a word to him, only asking if a certain technique was too much pressure or to tell him it was time to turn over. At the end of the massage, Kai said, "Thank you. So, next week... can I come on the same day and time?" I said, "Sure! See you then." That weekly massage continued for months.
As time went on, Kai began opening up, talking more during his massages, letting me hear about his life, until one night Kai said, "I need to tell you something."
"What's that, Kai?", I followed.
"You saved my life.", he said in a soft voice and his eyes down at the floor.
"How did I do that?", I said with my eyebrows raised.
Kai raised his head and looked me in the eyes and calmly said, "Remember that first massage you ever gave me? Well, that week I had made the decision to kill myself. I couldn't take it any more. But you were the first man that ever touched me that didn't want to rape, molest or hurt me. You just cared and wanted nothing in return. You gave me hope. Thank you for that."
Wow. I had no idea. I was just doing my job, fulfilling my massage hours for school and, oh by the way, I changed a life in the process. I was needed. I made a difference. You are needed. You are making a difference, even when you think you are not.
My life right now is the most stressful and mind-bending place I've ever been mentally... and the physical strain on my systems is over the top as well. THIS IS NOT WHAT I HAD PLANNED! Some people in my situation might contemplate ending it all... I know how selfish that would be. All I can say is, we are on this planet for a finite stretch of time. What we do with that time is up to us...Whether at work or at play, you have opportunities to make a difference in every encounter, every moment, every smile. Be a blessing for someone to count that night when they go to bed.
I had "the panel" of doctors review my case today and it looks like I'll have 7-weeks of 5x a week radiation begin in a couple of weeks. During my radiation, I will have 3 chemo sessions. One at the start, one in the middle, and one at the end. I'm worried about losing my soul patch below my lower lip, but it looks like I have a donor standing by, just in case if falls out...
Also, they are planning to remove my trache tube tomorrow! They will cover the hole and, apparently, the body just seals it up on its own with scar tissue. Pretty cool. I'll be available for party tricks while I still have the hole in my neck, by the way.
Also... First thing this morning, I video recorded my voice for you. Enjoy!