Tag Archives: Dusticular Cancer. Leukemia

My Birthday: Putting 31 in the Record Book

I turn 32 today. Four years ago, I wrote about the ubiquitous silliness of birthdays, but at 32, I feel differently. As Malin Akerman’s Billions character says, “If we don’t mark the milestones, we’re just passing with the times.” I have no interest in passing. So, for posterity’s sake, here are some things that happened while I was 31:

  • Chicago Cubs won their first World Series since 1908
  • Donald Trump was elected President.
  • I was diagnosed with leukemia and KT and I had to postpone our wedding

  • The effort of friends caused both Bill Self and Roy Williams to write me get well letters (note KU game on iPhone in pic…true fan!)
  • We lost a James Bond and a Batman…and eventually the Tom Petty
  • KT and I had to put down Otis the dog, then we started chemo
  • There was that weird Oscars fiasco
  • KT’s grandpa, Bebop, passed away.
  • Bill Self’s Kansas Jayhawks were the No. 1 overall seed (unsurprisingly losing early)
  • KT and Roy Williams’ Tar Heels won the National Chamionship!
  • KT and I FINALLY got married (BEST DAY EVER!)

  • KT and I went on an amazing honeymoon (BEST WEEK EVER!)
  • KT turned an incredibly youthful 30 years old!
  • Little Brisket the dog came into our lives!
  • I finished chemo!
  • KT and I finished building and moved into our first house together!
  • I was declared cancer free!
  • I went back to work!

There’s a lot more stuff. Too much for a b-day blog post. In some respects, it’s easy to look back at 31 as a heartbreak of a year. But I don’t know if empty hearts can break. I’m lucky enough to have never been empty. I do know that a heart needs to be broken before it can heal, and healing—physically, emotionally, spiritually—is maybe the greatest miracle God gave us, right up there with life and love. You know, it’s also easy to see 31 as the very best year of my life.

Alright, that’s enough reflection for a birthday. The milestone is marked. Like Tom Petty sang:

It’s time to move on, time to get going
What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing
But under my feet, baby, grass is growing
It’s time to move on, it’s time to get going

KT and I love you all for all the support during 31. I greatly look forward to growing with you all during 32.

Love,
Dust

Advertisements

Dusticular Can—Dusticular FORTITUDE!!!, Wednesday Afternoon, April 26

Here’s a fact that everyone knows and is still weird: there is no cure for cancer. But, maybe, I’m going to be cancer free one day. Maybe I am right now.  Doctors will tell you that ATRA and arsenic are not a cure. It’s a classic observation from the other side, one million is a statistic, but one is a tragedy. Here’s my take on cancer numbers, if you care, but this is not that. This is an examination of the cure.

Zac Glover is a guy I went to college with. I’ve only seen him a couple times since we graduated, but there are some people you click with, a kind of inexplicable tether that you can feel but not know. I’ve told the story of him as a northern Montana local news anchor a hundred times to random people. Long story short, it was cold and cheap and hilarious. He sent me the shirt in the picture, and despite my pensive visage, I LOVED IT!

No one on the planet is capable of telling me how I got cancer. It just happened. I won’t defy the science behind my treatment because, well why would I? But I’m convinced, with every passing day and every passing gift, that getting well is in the thing that science hasn’t named yet. Why does a nurse smile when she sees a new sick person come in the door? Does a hug relieve headaches? Did that doctor research his thesis with compassion?

My favorite part of The Amazing Spider-Man starring Andrew Garfield (yeah, I had one) was this:

“Put it on. Put the mask on. It’ll make you strong.”

It’s not real, right? It’s an obfuscation, a trick. Maybe faith and friendship and prayer and family and everything that makes you think you’re so happy to be getting better is just a construct, a made up fix for a dire experience. But it seems to me that it’s better than anything science can tell me. And this t-shirt isn’t made up.  It’s real. And whatever made it is real too. Thanks, Zac. It’s Glovely.

Have a great Wednesday. I love you guys.
Dust