I rarely stray away from hoop topics on this blog but please indulge me this post as I celebrate a personal milestone today.
Ten years ago today I spent about eight hours in surgery as Dr. Stephen Freeman and Dr. Scott Hackett saved my life by surgically removing cancerous cells which were detected in my mouth. Needless to say, while it was one of the best days of my life, it wasn't pleasant. Among the blurry memories I have was a comment I heard when I was transferred from the ICU to a regular room a couple of days after surgery. I was wheeled into a temporary room where a patient in another bed was talking on the phone. When he saw me he said into the phone, "Holy #&%@, they just wheeled a guy in who must've been in a car wreck." I wish.
A few months later, I healed enough to endure radiation treatment under the care of Dr. Frank Peyton. After nuking the area around the surgery for six weeks I was declared cancer-free and have remained that way to this day. Thanks to the care of Drs. Freeman, Hackett and Peyton, along with many nurses and other care takers I hold in great esteem, I've had the ten best years of my life.
While the Docs made the ten years possible, my wife made them the best. She spearheaded my recovery and always pushed me to move my life back to normal. I have yet to find a way to thank her properly, although I'm not sure it's possible. With the support of incredible family and friends and the addition of two very special boys, I now consider myself lucky and grateful to enjoy a different perspective with regard to the the little things in life (as I mentioned in this post).
Not a day goes by that I don't think about February 12th, 1999 and shudder at some of the memories. But as the years go by the positive memories I've built up since that day dwarf those painful thoughts and allow me to appreciate the doctors, nurses, family, friends and most importantly, my wife each day, as well.
This is why I stop to celebrate today.