Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What would I be?

As a cancer patient your life is drastically different than the "normal" non-cancerous majority. For those who do not know, I have been fighting the cancer on and off for over 9 years now. I was 16-years-old at the time of my first diagnosis. This is during the years when most kids are knee deep in self-discovery. However for me, I was thrust into the identity of cancer patient.

I actually had a thought today about what I would do if my cancer went away for good. Obviously, I would be excited to not have to do chemo, and have my life revolve around hospitals and doctors appointments. But, for being a cancer patient for nearly a DECADE it has become a deep part of the internal fabric that makes up David Chalk (Yes, I know I did just talk in third person, but this is my blog and I can do what I want).

The real reason this thought popped into my head was because today I walked, yes walked for an hour straight. I did this because I noticed how complacent I had become. Previous to my diagnosis I was very very active and loved playing sports. My schedule was something to this:

6:15 to 7:05 a.m. Seminary, early morning church study before high school. ( I write this for my non-mormon readers who may not know what this is.

7:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. High School (This was my time to socialize and although not sleeping allowed for my body to rest...this will make more sense later).

2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Water Polo practice...I played however was not that great. I enjoyed just being active. I started my sophomore year of high school, although this was more attributed to the fact that we had 5 great players on the team, and since the coach was a family from my church he chose me to be the 6th guy.

5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Soccer Practice...I was on a city team and was the starting goalie. Of all the sports I played growing up I would say I was best at soccer. The main reason being that I was not afraid to beat up my body and therefore played the goalie position with very little reservations.

7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Basketball practice...I was horrible at basketball, but have pretty good hand-eye coordination. So , I usually started and played hard. Once again, I had little regard for my body, so I was always diving on the floor for loose balls, and whatnot. Hustle does pay off.

I would then go home do my homework and go to bed around 10:00 p.m. in order to not be completely dead the next day when I needed to get up at 5:30 in order to be at seminary on time.

Anyways so back to the reason I am writing all of this. From this schedule you can see how active I was and how sports was such a BIG part of my everyday activities. So when I was diagnosed with cancer my life changed drastically. I was not longer the overly involved sports player I had become a kid who was home schooled and would get winded just slowly walking up the stairs. Cancer changed my identity.

In contrast, I try not to let cancer be the main definer of David Chalk, but it would be naive to say that it has not played a prominent role in who I have become. So, I think that I would have a identity searching process if my cancer went away for good. I hesitate to call it a identity crisis become the word crisis has a negative connotation. The identity searching that I would have to go through, I think would be a very positive and allow for growth.

It is just that I have had certain restrictions placed on me because of cancer. I basically have no endurance. This mean no sports playing, which was hard to accept at first, but I have been able to adjust, adapt, and find new things that interest me and fill my time.

So if cancer left me forever, many new doors would open, along with the reopening of old doors. This is why I had the thought of....Who would I be if cancer decided that my body was all of a sudden not where the party is at.

If cancer left me I would maybe be able to run a marathon, or hike Mount Everest, or travel the world for long periods of time (because I would not have to worry about weekly Dr. appointment).

It would be fun to see what would happen, and how I would change as an individual.

Anyways, sorry for this random thought process blog. I just started typing and this is what came from it.  I have been doing a lot of reflective thinking lately, and this is just one of the many things that I have been thinking about.

Also from reading this I hope you get a glimpse into the very scatterbrained and random thinking that happens in my mind on a daily basis. I am just trying to make sense of my own thoughts. Sorry to bore you with randomness.

The moral of this thought process (I think) is the fact that as uncomfortable, scary, and life changing being diagnosed with cancer was. I think that after the past 9 years, returning to the non-cancerous David would be just as life-changing.

That is all. All is well this treatment I am on my second cycle of Rapamycin and return to San Diego in mid-February for my routine 3-month scans. So lets continue to keep the fingers crossed that the experimental drugs are working.

Let me know what you think....If you have any insights into my train of thought and would like to add a different perspective. I would love to hear it. I am a strong advocate of the diversity of thought.

You can comment on my blog, email me at cansirboi1986@gmail.com, facebook me, or send me a tweet @cansirboi.


Courtney said...

I picture you taking up sailing. The only thing I know about it is what I saw in that one Zac Efron movie (promising, I know), haha but I imagine you sailing with all your friends to some amazing tunes and loving life.
But let's be real. You're THE Dave Chalk. You can do whatever the heck you want and be amazing at it!

Liz said...

Dave Chalk, you know I love this.
As well as the fact that I couldn't tell you had any restrictions for so long. I feel like you have certainly mastered the art of living life to the fullest within the ways that you can, if that makes sense. It is beautiful to behold. Almost as much as when you dance with Cory.
My fingers are crossed for the drugs.

Chelsie said...

I seriously laughed out loud at Courtney's comment. I don't know her but I can totally see you as a sailing Zac Efron.

Well, if tomorrow you were cancer free, I think you would still have papers due in Dr. Bakers class... But you would probably frolic to class.

Kristin said...

dave, i have known you since you were this cute little kid with what seems the SAME glasses :-) its crazy to even think that you are an adult, but yet you are. makes me feel SUPER old. i don't really have any insight on your 'random' blog but i'd like to say that i love your randomness. you are hilarious and i look forward to your blogs and Facebook posts. like Liz said, you have lived life to the fullest within your capabilities, which is amazingly awesome. you are awesome.

michele said...

{nerd alert, nerd alert}
Remember the last scene of Lord of the Rings when Frodo ends up leaving with Gandalf and the fairies, instead of going back to the Shire. It seemed sad at first for him to leave his past life. But after all he had been through, things only he could possibly understand, there really was no going back to the way things had been before. And he knew it. Things change, experiences change us. The wonderful thing is that we can revisit our passions and interests, but now they are enhanced because of our expanded perspective. And at the very least, we are so much more grateful for them.
I think your cancer-free rediscovery of life would {will} be glorious.
(just my opinion)
<3 you

Caroline said...

Ah life with out cancer? while I haven't been in active treatment like you for so long I too wonder what life without cancer is like? I have never been an adult without that cancer thing hanging over my head. What would life be like without it? I will never know. Even if there is no cancer detected in your body, that cancer thought process never really goes away. I had 25 years from one diagnosis to the next and I can tell you that thought never really left. Sometimes it just hung out in the background but was always still around.

But then I never stopped living my life. I was told at 19 I had cancer and that I needed to take care of myself for life blah blah blah. I decided while I wasn't going to play in traffic I did what I wanted. I lived in France for six months a couple of years after my diagnosis. I traveled a lot. I had a career and spent a lot of time skiing, sailing, traveling, living, and more. I would go on ski vacations to Colorado, tropical vacations to the Caribbean. I didn't let cancer stop me from doing what I wanted.

So this is a very long comment but my thought is what do you want to do? Become a politician? Climb Mt Everest? Get on the US Olympic Water Polo team? Just do it.

During chemo
a friend told me I needed a hobby and I took up crocheting and knitting and now hope to start selling them online to pay for the yarn to subsidize my new addiction. Ten years ago I thought knitters were crazy people. Maybe knitting isn't for you but there must be something.

Kels H.M. said...

Not boring. inspiring.

(also, there is some stellar, if I do say so myself, chocolate cake at our house. stop by some night this week.)