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Posts from the ‘Cancer’ Category

The Stench of Self-Pity Part 1

Is there a better feeling than waking up to the quietness of a beautiful morning?  When the eyes are still closed, but inside you feel full of gratitude and love for all that is in your life?  Think I am full of shit? Few years ago, I would have agreed and perhaps even said that I was just trying to be a creative writer.  Yet, last year around this time is when I was still recovering from my brain surgery and prior to that, my wife’s illness and then before that a stroke  around the time a loss of a dear dear friend reverberated through  my soul. So I could say life was not fair. I could have whined, and been angry.  And honestly, I did. I cannot even read some of the stuff I wrote around that time because the stench of self-pity suffocates me.  I felt so sorry for myself that I engaged in soul deadening behaviors like avoidance, and pretending all was well. I stopped reading, writing or really doing anything that gave me true joy. I fought with people in my life with such a vengeance as if it was their fault my life was where it was.

I probably would have continued if some of the strangest things came together to salvage who I used to be. It began with a subscription to The New Yorker. I have been buying books all my life, and there are always piles of unread books surrounding my homes, but subscribing to the New Yorker was a new commitment for me. I had no idea that each week, a magazine that was extremely well written with VERY long articles would come to my doorstep.  Each and every single fucking week. So I began reading. Around the same time, a forwarded You Tube link of BK Shivani’s “Healer Within” caught my eye.  At first, I was uncomfortable with the Indian accents, but her words struck me into submission with their clarity and accuracy.  I also began doing Morning Pages from The Artist’s Way as well as doing Lumosity brain games while trying to learn Spanish (still struggling).

I didn’t realize at the time, but I had begun constructing a new me….

To Be Continued….

Almost There

 

by Jemal Yarbrough

 

The mural next to these words marks a strong contrast to the real world facing me outside: grey, dreary, drizzling enough so even the dog doesn’t want to go around and sniff aimlessly. Just paid all the bills and miraculously have exactly 11 cents to my name, well to our names to be precise, so I have plenty to frown about, but I am not.  In fact, seems nothing can get me down.

The heart is light, can’t stop smiling, and looking forward to the week ahead. It’s funny how certain things don’t matter as much when so much has happened.  Friends who you cared about deeply barely a bleep, strangers who you ignored now dear acquaintances, but you know over all, that you matter a lot to many out there, and that’s enough.   Each one in our lives contributed the way they could, or better yet the way they were meant to.  This was our battle, and they were just the small break shops that give you water and food so you have the strength to keep going.  Blaming those for not running with you was not only realistic but completely unfair.  True, the damage is done but I know my friends, they will bounce back since those who know me well know that I hold no ill will.  More like, it was a cry for help but I managed to push some away and for that I will always be sorry.  The choice to continue is really up to them because although I am sorry, I am not going to be a slave to regret for the rest of my life.

I finished my first short story in years, and while I am tempted to share it here, I know it still needs to be tightened up more.  Who knew in the whirling days of chemo and radiation, an idea would be born. On this dreary day, my heart shines, smiling at the thought of her being almost done.  Nothing else matters really.  All the old accusations, decisions, bad thoughts, put away to stand clear for the finish line.  Who knew that in a matter of weeks, we will put this saga behind us and while the results are not 100%, they are good enough for me. Can/t worry about what’s not there or has not happened.  Actually, that’s not true. It is 1005 over in a week, and what will come next, I cannot worry about.  For now, I have her to love fully, full-time, and always. Also  my dear friends and family who are always there.  We are almost there, thank you for coming along this bumpy ride.  Hope I didn’t scar you too much. :)

 

Almost There

by Jemal Yarbrough

The mural next to these words marks a strong contrast to the real world facing me outside: grey, dreary, drizzling enough so even the dog doesn’t want to go around and sniff aimlessly. Just paid all the bills and miraculously have exactly 11 cents to my name, well to our names to be precise, so I have plenty to frown about, but I am not.  In fact, seems nothing can get me down.

The heart is light, can’t stop smiling, and looking forward to the week ahead. It’s funny how certain things don’t matter as much when so much has happened.  Friends who you cared about deeply barely a bleep, strangers who you ignored now dear acquaintances, but you know over all, that you matter a lot to many out there, and that’s enough.   Each one in our lives contributed the way they could, or better yet the way they were meant to.  This was our battle, and they were just the small break shops that give you water and food so you have the strength to keep going.  Blaming those for not running with you was not only realistic but completely unfair.  True, the damage is done but I know my friends, they will bounce back since those who know me well know that I hold no ill will.  More like, it was a cry for help but I managed to push some away and for that I will always be sorry.  The choice to continue is really up to them because although I am sorry, I am not going to be a slave to regret for the rest of my life.

I finished my first short story in years, and while I am tempted to share it here, I know it still needs to be tightened up more.  Who knew in the whirling days of chemo and radiation, an idea would be born. On this dreary day, my heart shines, smiling at the thought of her being almost done.  Nothing else matters really.  All the old accusations, decisions, bad thoughts, put away to stand clear for the finish line.  Who knew that in a matter of weeks, we will put this saga behind us and while the results are not 100%, they are good enough for me. Can/t worry about what’s not there or has not happened.  Actually, that’s not true. It is 1005 over in a week, and what will come next, I cannot worry about.  For now, I have her to love fully, full-time, and always. Also  my dear friends and family who are always there.  We are almost there, thank you for coming along this bumpy ride.  Hope I didn’t scar you too much. :)

Run This Town

Rocky IV

Image via Wikipedia

 

by Jemal Yarbrough

 

Cue “Run This Town” by Jay Z from his Hits Collection Vol 1, put it on repeat, flash to another waiting room, another place where nurses don’t look at you or can’t remember her name, surrounded by some smiling, others crying, some just blank and others just there.  Time ticks.  The music goes on and the heart expands, and in those 4 minutes, you look around the dreary room and say “we gonna run this town tonight.”  Flash to the car, hitting 100 miles an hour, feeling like 200, and you keep the song on repeat, nothing else will do, this song, this Anthem, gotta break the rules, I don’t care, I am gonna run this town tonight.  I pledge the allegiance to her, this is almost over, a small bump, blip in the radar of life, we got this baby.  Almost there.

Time becomes meaningless, only the music remains, the thoughts only her, willing her to hear your heart, almost there babu,  the finish line is coming up.  All your love, all your work, everything you got, give it to him now (quoting Rocky 4, Duke’s speech to Rocky in the last round versus Drago), and then another line hits me (He’s cut, you see, he’s a man, he’s not a machine.  He’s hurting. No pain, no pain!) and suddenly Cancer is our Drago, you ain’t so bad. We are coming to the final around soon, and your are cut, and guess what: we run this town.  No pain. All our love, all our happiness, all our dreams, all our hopes, desires, just around the corner.  We have just begun, we didn’t pick the fight but we are going to end it with a knockout.  The only way to live baby because we run this town.

Living for Today: My New Blog Post

 

by Jemal Yarbrough

 

A beautiful morning, sun bathing the room so much so that I wonder if I have ever seen it like this before. Then it hits that the sun is lighting up what’s inside me, and I smile.  And I smile some more because the external radiation and chemo are done.  Gone is the not knowing, the fear, the constant ache of “will she be ok?”  Don’t get me wrong, I am not looking past the fact that she has internal coming up, but Cancer cannot make us ignorant or scared anymore.  The big bad wolf has turned out to be a mere shadow that we magnified in our mind.

I cannot help but soak in the sun, letting it breath into me more strength for her.  The burden has gotten lighter, we are beginning to see the end of this trial, and for once can actually discuss the future rather than future appointments, can actually look forward to the weekends as a real break rather just something to give her some breathing room, can plan to run a household rather than worry if the house is poisoning her somehow.

Still, I cannot get rid of some of my hurts, while looking forward to the new joys.  I miss some greatly while others with a tinge of regret wondering where it all went wrong, and others just not ready to be there for us, and that’s fine.  I love them all, but I am also cautious, I know now that some were unfairly put on high pedestals and some pushed off too swiftly.  So I sit here and learn while the sun continues to fuel me, make appreciate what I have and love, and I know of only one certainty and that is today.  What is it that I can do today that represents, us, and our family.  What is it that I can do in the next moments to just make it a little easier or fun for us.  So I sit here, smile and feed hungrily off the sun waiting for inspiration, oh wait, the better word would be knowledge or perhaps just accept that it was meant to be that my car came back the same day the major part of the treatment ended.

All that time worrying just really wasted because what was meant to happen, did, and what wasn’t just  resided in the endless loop of thoughts in my head.  So I breathe out slowly, the worries, the fears, the not knowing, and revel in the moment, just enjoying the day, the moment, the realization that we will get through this, that we already have, that what I needed was always there, I just didn’t want to see it that way.

However, (is there always one)  I know that there is much to be done, much for us to do, to travel, perhaps finally get on a plane together, but more than that for me to get back to work.  That’s really the strange part, I miss it, and finally know what I am meant do there.  I never thought I would say that, but looking at myself through my family’s eyes made me realize that I can be general counsel, and the fears and doubts (particularly the lact of confidence) were my own creations.  I was my own hurdle.  I had convinced myself that I would never learn but worse that I couldn’t learn, but the previous months of reading and writing made me realize how much I miss the law, and why I fell in love in the first place  I also know what kind of lawyer I cant stand, and there are many attorneys who exploit California law to just make money for themselves while claiming to be consumer attorneys.  I no longer will let my ignorance be the reason, my business suffers.  No more.  It’s time to discard the uniform of “I don’t know” and don on “I will get back to you on this.”

Funny, what a few months of cancer can do to you.  Instead of sapping us of our energy and will, it has renewed it. So thank you cancer, for making me realize what is truly important.  I owe you one but I wont ever like you, and one more thing: fuck you.  Sorry, but your just really not forgivable.  Besides, it’s you who gets my negative emotions or others, and I choose you.  You are my big bad wolf, my enemy, my bad versus good.  So deal with it.  I will be celebrating when you die, and I will dance on your grave.  You maybe “the emperor of all maladies” but you have no clothes.

 

Prayers, Friends and Family

Goodenough, PhD

Image via Wikipedia

 

by Jemal Yarbrough

 

In the fading light of the day, I say a small prayer for my friend’s father who passed away 2 nights ago.  The house is quiet as usual, and she rests uneasily but expectantly for the nausea to follow.  A friend had just visited, the  worry lines creased deep into her forehead due to the recent seizure experienced by her little brother. 2011 seems to be foreboding, and I wonder if more bad news is to come.

But that really is the easy way out.  What is it about a series of bad events that makes us believe that we are unlucky or somehow cursed?  I close my eyes and see my family, and nothing but joy gratitude and loves comes into my soul.  There is not a single relative that I don’t love with all my heart and soul.  It almost seems like heresy to believe that I have the perfect family.  I know my love for them is imperfect because I do not thank God or revel in my blessings of having a truly amazing family enough.  I would daresay that my family is worlds better than the ones I hear about in fictional novels.  I have the ULTIMATE FAMILY, and their wondrous love and prayers are the reason I can sit here clacking away while she struggles with her pain.

Their thoughts and prayers are the reason I know with all my heart and soul that this too shall pass.  That this stupid Cancer is merely a minor bump on the long road of life.  And I pray even harder.  Pray for my blessings, pray that I am at the unfortunate cross roads to hear about friends parents dying, sibling suffering uncalled for pain,  and it makes me ache for my mom and dad who are merely a block away from me physically but always reside in my heart.  I fall in love each time my sisters come over or her brothers do.  Her mom’s pain reverberates in my heart, and I wish I could inhale all their worry and fear.  So I thank God yet again for joining us with them.  For giving us real soldiers so we can mercilessly kill the killer.

And then I come to my friends.  I always thought I had a few good friends, but this recent adventure of ours has introduced me to an amazing soul:Biba, who has selflessly given her time and energy to heal the love of my life.  She made the chemo session seem as just a routine doctor’s visit and I do not think I can ever thank enough.  And then there are others who think they can achieve comfort by merely texting or leaving quick voice mails.  Don’t get me wrong the concern is real but it’s minuscule as if the disease she’s batting is minor or one that can fit in 140 characters or less.   The sad part is that healing her takes nothing more than their physical contact but it’s treated as if  she’s not worth that.  And it hurts.  But we move on because we have to, and we will remember.  They are the past, and the future we have looks brighter due to the shining souls in our life.  The rest of them can take their indifferent asses back to Facebook, Twitter and texts, and become as irrelevant as the social media horse they rode in on.

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