Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Chance encounters.

The road I am on is rapidly becoming more and more interesting.  What began as a shocking and devastating blow to myself, my family and friends has somehow morphed into something that I thank God for everyday.  Being diagnosed with a 'terminal' cancer turned out to be the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.  Allow me to explain.

Through all the white noise and chemo, something has emerged from the dust like a phoenix rising from ashes.  A part of me died on December 17th, a part that needed to die for me to properly live.  I was living a lie and had been since my mother passed away nearly a decade ago now.  I knew what I wanted to do with my life the moment my mother passed away.  I wanted to dedicate myself to helping others who are fighting a terrible and debilitating illness- cancer.  I tried finding jobs in the sector a few times and every chance I had I would attend any type of fund raising event that could help others, especially breast cancer events.  I slowly started turning away from that path as I was being let down by job inquiries and the realization that working in the non-profit sector almost certainly meant a life of little to no money and most likely more closed doors than welcoming entries.

The day I was diagnosed I had two thoughts.  One: I'm not going to make it past 27.  I never told anyone this up until very recently, but I was thoroughly convinced I was going to die at 27.  In my life I have known about 8 people who have died, my mother included.  The vast majority of the others I knew all died at 26 or 27 of different and absolutely random things.  A sprained ankle, turned blood clot that travelled to a heart, a heart attack, a deadly allergic reaction to a prescription drug, a car accident and a suicide to name a few.   The people around me who died at 27 had no common thread in any manner other than me.  None of the people had mutual friends and I knew each person through different groups of friends.  6 of the 8 people I knew personally died at age 27.  I was diagnosed with a mass the size of a baseball at age 27 with 4 months left until my 28th birthday.  The day they told me I had the mass I accepted my early fate and I felt as though my deal was sealed.  I was living in fear from the day I turned 27 and I felt like my diagnosis was my cue card for the beginning of my end.  My second thought was, No.  I am not going to die, in fact I am using this as a springboard to start my new life.  I made it to my 28th birthday and never looked back.

I am now on a road that will allow me to do what I have always wanted, no needed to do.  I have met some of the most amazing, inspiring, motivating and loving people through this.  It is absolutely amazing how many people are in this world that truly want to help other people no matter what the cost.  I was seriously doubting the direction this world was taking and since being diagnosed I have fully restored my faith in humanity as a whole.  You just have to look around and you will find people who want to love and help you.  Sometimes they get blurred away by the evil and darkness the media feeds us, but I assure you they are out there.

Before leaving for Portland I went and had a Vitamin C IV.  Upon entering I saw a couple younger men around my age, which was a shock because I was so used to entering TLC and seeing only older and semi-sick people.  These two young men turned out to be in town just doing an IV as a preventative and health conscious way of being proactive.  One of the men turned out to be an NBA athlete and the other a sports manager of sorts.  We had a long discussion about life, religion and why we are where we are in life.  For nearly an hour we talked and swapped stories.  It was a chance encounter, a 1 in a billion chance encounter that introduced me to two amazing humans.  This is just another example of how the sequence of events leading up to and post diagnosis have given me new faith not only in God, but a purpose for my life.  After their IV's ended they departed, but no before exchanging information.  This morning I received a text and hopefully it is the beginning of another part of something that will help some people who need help at their most fragile time.


I am now on vacation in Portland typing away on my sisters computer.  I never realized how imperative vacations can be for de-stressing.  This is the first vacation I have had in almost a year.  I had to get away from my cancer life, if only for a week it has been the most relaxing and fulfilling vacation I have ever taken.  My nieces and nephew light me up with their energy and my sisters smiles bring me back to my childhood when we all lived in our little 3 bedroom mobile home in Anaheim circa 1990.  The outdoors in Portland are unreal and my brothers have taken me to some amazing places, including an awesome white water river rafting trip.  (COLLLLLLLLLLLLDDDDDD!!!!)

I will be back to real life as of Monday and chemo starts up again on Tuesday, this round will be a milestone as upon completion I WILL BE HALFWAY THROUGH CHEMO!!!!!!!!!!!

This bible verse was sent to me by my new found friend this morning and it resonated immensely with me:

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made PERFECT in WEAKNESS."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my WEAKNESS, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in WEAKNESSES, in insults, in HARDSHIPS, in persecution and in DIFFICULTIES.  FOR WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN I AM STRONG.

2 Corinthians 12:9

Ryan Coffelt

Can't stop smiling.  60 degree water and rapids!

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