don’t count the days, make the days count

Manifest what you want out to the world.

A couple of years back I purposed to my fiancé. Impulsive but rational impulsive decision, here the thing I just got my clean bill of health and with that, I knew that death was near and that what I once lived for was now all put behind. Every year I would make a false promise or fake new years resolutions. Whether it was quitting smoking or losing weight. I would always fail because after Jan 1st my hope for change was gone because life started to become normal. One year, losing weight and quitting smoking came by force. It didn’t come by choice but came with the desire to live. One year, I wanted to quit so bad, and instead of doing it the normal way, the universe showed me that false promises get you nowhere. Lying to yourself gets you nowhere.

I remember my first ever new years back home from the hospital after I was given my clean bill of health. Extremely tired that night. I remember that night just like it was this year’s new years. I remember the jackpot of the mega millions was the largest ever. That day I had 20 dollars to my name and bought me 20 tickets. I knew that my chances were slim to none but I had a really real feeling for that quick minute. I tried for a second to plan out my life with all the money and what it would do for me. It made me want to push really hard to work for a future to payback the people that gave me everything. My first time ever really keeping a new years resolution tradition started 3 years ago.

In 2016 I almost lost that same very pretty green-eyed girl that I have plastered all over. In 2016 I learned that I took adverting of people that loved me. I was getting too comfortable living in the cancer stage that I never really saw tough love. This got really hard when I started seeing everyone as an enemy rather than a person that cares. When you come from a place of hurt and put out of your norm, you begin to experience things that make no sense to you. A perfect example is one summer, my family and I were driving up to the Poconos, but I was feeling so disconnected from the very people that sat with me by my bedside. I just felt so much hate and anger towards the smallest things. Also, in 2016, cancer wasn’t the problem anymore. That same year, I made a promise that in 2017, I would try and figure out all of my lost emotions. 2017 was probably my greatest year in just figuring out who I am as an adult, as a man. My whole life I was impulsive, but 2017 was impulse mixed with anger; leading to figuring out how to slow it down. Sometimes it takes breaking down to your core to reshape your whole perspective and realize that you’re the problem. The world won’t change for you, but you can change the world. I had dreams that were once valuable to me taken away and it brought me to an unknown world – the cancer world where I learned that everyone experiences similar things.

What ringing in this year taught me is that you don’t have to wait for a new year to start the “new me” mentality. When you wait for a certain date to take action, you’re setting yourself up for failure. This world’s rotation is what keeps you grounded, so you trying to stop that or change that just wouldn’t make any sense. I also just want to say embrace the people that love you and if they impacted you, make sure to tell them that. I have learned that time is very limited and cannot be reversed so really start implementing change now for that tomorrow may never come.

Rest In Peace Amanda, Jeremy

Thankful for Everything

[2015] Thanksgiving

Two days before Thanksgiving, my counts were rising up while my self-esteem was falling. The moment I was waiting for – after being isolated in a room just to myself and my thoughts – I was finally going to be able to see freedom again. I was super excited for turkey and it was extra special because my mom usually doesn’t make turkey but she agreed to this year because of me coming home. See, all I really thought about was going back home. I thought I defeated cancer the second I walked out of that hospital but so many more emotions hit me. I didn’t feel happy; I felt scared. I felt that the further I was from the hospital, the further I was from home and that something bad would happen to me. The only instructions I got at discharge was to make sure to keep my environment clean and not to eat outside food for 3 months until I get better. They promised to check on me from time to time. The only thing they didn’t give me instruction for was how to hold back my feelings.

The following day, I was home and I remember feeling like everything was overwhelming – a bunch of lost faces showing me lost emotions that they never felt before. It was a bunch of emotions that people can’t fake. People took my opioids, trying to hide them while I was in pain because of their own fears. This led me to being very protective about pretty much anything & made me try to reject a person (and their desire to help) before they had the chance to reject me. I have fully accepted everything about me. I crave human-human interaction but I’m fast to dismiss because I just don’t want to get hurt anymore.

That same Thanksgiving, I almost died. I was rushed back into Mount Sinai’s ED due to complications of not eating and being dehydrated. I remember the day vividly – I was watching the Eagle game and could smell the stuffing of the turkey roasting, hearing the excitement of my mom’s voice downstairs. At the same time, she heard me downstairs vomiting and complaining. I was, instantaneously, no longer spending Thanksgiving eating turkey but was in my first ever ambulance into the city. Picture this: your field of view includes just a small window of the back door of the ambulance while your strapped down to the stretcher. You’re imagining everyone living their life and enjoying their day while you’re throwing up stomach acid. Pretty shitty feeling.

So, at Mount Sinai, instead of eating Turkey as I said before, I was being treated for non-stop nausea. I had an adverse reaction to the new anti-nausea medication they tried on me. This is where I felt like I was dying… my fiance was sitting across from me and nothing she was doing or saying was making sense to me… I felt so confused. I remember questioning everything that was happening, not understanding what was going on. My neck jolted one way while my hand went the opposite. I couldn’t speak but on the inside I had enormous energy trying to escape. There was 5-6 faces that came to mind that I felt like I was going to miss – telling me that if it was my time, I should have spent more time (with them). This was also the first time throughout my whole cancer treatment that I saw her break down. She never showed fear until that day and it looked very scary.

[2017]

This Thanksgiving

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Here are all the things I’m thankful for: I am thankful for life, for health, for every single person that sat there and heard me cry, laugh… and I’m also extremely thankful for every person that told me “sorry”, that felt bad for me, that showed me pity, that ran away from their feelings, that tried to dismiss me as a broken kid because they are the reason I have my voice today. They are also the reason I am very thankful for life, but also want to change life. I feel that we should be thankful every single day: for opportunities not to repeat yesterday’s mistakes and simply being able to breathe air. There are so many things to be grateful for.

This Thanksgiving was completely different. I was home with the people that matter the most and we shared chicken (not turkey this time) which is fine by me because at least this time, I got to kick it in my room at the convenience of my time, writing out my thoughts. This is something I really enjoy doing. If I don’t write, I don’t know where I would be – probably just another statistic to a tragic loss. Always remember to show empathy and be thankful everyday, not just on a given holiday.

MY HARDEST FIGHT

My Hardest fight|BONE-MARROW TRANSPLANT

Night Before

Halloween night 2015 was a weird night… while seeing the whole

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city celebrate,I remember thinking if it was really going to happen the next day. As the fear grew stronger,I felt a feeling of reassurance knowing that I will make it through.

To quickly get my mind off thing she offered us to have our last date for a while.. going into a transplant i was told that i wasnt able to eat anything for three months.

                                                           PREP DAYS

11/1/15

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The day was Sunday.. I didn’t even have to look at the calen

dar to remember that. A very, very gloomy and grey Sunday. The weather fit my mood perfectly. I received the phone call from the administration team saying that my room was ready. I packed up a suitcase full of clothes, and my X-box, and was on my way. With out wasting any time, they put my port in as soon as I arrived.

                                                       Day Negative 9

11/3/15

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One of the scariest moments of my life.. On this day, every single cell in my body died and at the same time, my old self died. I was extremely scared. The night before, I had the worst sores in my mouth which stopped me from eating my favorite burger which I ordered in from Joy burger. That was one of my favorite go-to chemo meals. I was super pissed that I wasn’t going to be able to eat that anymore for quite some time. Ha… Think about what I just said.. I was fighting for my life and there I was, more worried about the burger. I guess I didn’t know what was to come

                                                    

     Day Negative Eight

11/4/15

My energy level was still semi-okay. I remember playing Madde

IMG_0033 (1)n.. I was getting super frustrated because I was losing and when I get angry, I grab my hair/ rub my head. As I rubbed my head this time, my hair started to fall out. I s

creamed for my mom to show her my hair but I wasn’t scared… I was more happy to see that

the medicine was working. I was, however, scared of what my life was to become. I called the nurse in and told her what happened. She explained to me that it was normal and offered me a haircut. $20 later and this person I once knew vanished so quickly/ and I started to turn into a cancer patient

Day Negative Seven/Six

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Pain level was extremely high. I didn’t understand who or what I was anymore. Just the year before, I was this completely “normal” person and here I was laying on this death bed that I always thought belonged to someone in their 80s+. Life started to get real and I asked myself questions of what I was doing with my life and where I wanted to go from here. These two days taught me a lot about myself because I was left in isolation. For the first time in my cancer journey, I was too sick to be told what to do or even fight for what I thought I needed to do. I just let the world spin just like it’s

supposed to…

Day Negative 5

I was in and out of sleep… Earlier in the day, Ana (my fiancé) was busy getting

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pictures together to start making my wall. She wanted to give the hospital room a piece of something that felt like home, knowing that I was going to be spending the next month in there. I remember waking up very briefly and looking up at all of the pictures of us. It gave me some really well-needed energy. This girl gave up her life and also killed her DATs all while making me feel like I was the only thing that mattered. The idea of death never once crossed our minds.

                                            Day Negative four to zero

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These days I wouldn’t even wish upon my worst enemy. I had C-diff and I’m really sorry for anyone that knows what that is, and happy for anyone that doesn’t. I was in and out of the bathroom like no tomorrow because of an infection I caught from being hospitalized. I had to do a stat CT scan had to warn the tech that it might get messy… which it did.

                                                             DAY ZERO

63115cc8-056d-441e-b2ef-7da66c49f7d8Words can’t explain this day. It was so unreal. A huge frozen fridge full of my cells was brought into my room which was when I knew I was closer to returning back home. Since they just killed all my old cells, they were replenishing my body with these. I had this amazing nurse that gave me back the cells I previously harvested. Strange, but they tasted like garlic as it was pushed through my IV. There was no pain and all I felt was gratitude.l

                                                               Day 1 -7 

I got better with time and was discharged a day before Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving day (a day later) I watched the Eagles play in the morning and then had to be rushed back to the ED because of some complications.

                                                          Day Current. 

After a year’s worth of some really bad complications, from me losing over 150 pounds, to people just not knowing what the right thing is to say… life has been HARD. When I got back home, I forgot what it was like to be a person. This month of me fighting for my life taught me how strong I was. There wasn’t going to be anything or anyone telling me how I should live my life going forward. This kind of threw people off. They didn’t know how to act around me because the empathy I thought they were giving me was in fact sympathy. Even after I told to them how I felt, they still chose to do/ say what they feel is right. I let go of a lot of people and a lot of hurt in order to really find what my happiness it

This was my first, and also mine and Ana’s 7 year anniversary. Don’t lose sight in where you came from.  Don’t lose your story because one person failed to understand you. Follow me to a world of empathy and allow us to share each other stories, and what we want to become, rather then to be judged and lost in what society or people don’t understand. This is my cancer story and this is why I am the way that I am. Life told me to give up in so many ways and I fought through them all. Love yourself so that others can love you, too.

A LETTER TO AN OLD FRIEND..

Why did you think that you could just come and did what you did? Who the fuck do you think you are? Let ME tell you something.. you made me heartless. You made me turn into this monster that no one wants to be around.

Continue reading “A LETTER TO AN OLD FRIEND..”

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