My journey battling epithelioid sarcoma that has taken more than 12 years of my life, now comes down to the last few days of life barring a miracle. The disease progressed too far, too fast and now my body hungers for air at the slightest bit of exhaustion. A simple act to urinate, defecate, or even stand, leaves me sucking in oxygen. Instead of trying to cure these symptoms, the health care professionals are trying to manage to make me as comfortable as possible with drugs.
I’m 37 years old, just a few weeks short of my thirty-eight birthday, my twentieth high school reunion, and my 15th wedding anniversary. I leave behind my soulmate Kim, someone I met at the age of 18 as a kid and managed to hold onto through the ups and downs of life, which included traveling throughout the world, and living in the Pacific Northwest, LA, Baltimore and back to Seattle. In that time we grew careers and homes, friendships and angels, pug dogs and three thriving children. These children have become lights of our lives and treasures for our families. I’ve found myself blessed with not only a beautiful nuclear family but an incredible extended family of siblings on all sides with my brothers Marc, Dave, and Alan, and sisters Shauna, Suzie, Sue, and Sharon, devoted in-laws, and two nieces and a nephew. I also have family that extends around the world from the US, Canada, England and Israel. What’s more is I’m losing the love and companionship of deep, sincere friendships formed from early childhood, through high school, college and beyond. I’ve been blessed beyond imagination by a community that includes my synagogue Congregation Beth Shalom, children’s school Seattle Jewish Community School, and place of work at Microsoft. Through these connections and as I see the resounding support from those who have already heard this news, I am grateful to have been touched by so many loved ones, so many caring souls.
The mourning that is to begin for my loved ones in the days and weeks ahead started for me two and a half years ago when I learned about this latest reoccurrence of disease. I could speak of it as a blessing having the wisdom to know how valuable life is when you know the outcome is likely certain death. But it was trying, to say the least, to get the emotional and psychological bearings around this major head trip, and to deal with the continued bitter aches and pains from surgeries, chemotherapies and radiation, to the minor pokes and prods. Not to mention the strain it puts on relationships with those you love most. But it gave me time, more time to be here. And I’d still take more if I could, I‘d take as much as I can get even as I suffer immensely.
Perhaps in another space I’ll wax more philosophical about the meaning of this suffering and what I’ve learned. Perhaps I won’t blog again. I don’t know what the days ahead entail as my lungs continue to weaken and I get more and more sedated on drugs. I hold my faith close to my heart that I’ll be reunited with loved ones in a world to come. Meanwhile, I do know this is the best life I’ve ever had. I’ve been blessed and I truly believe it. And I’d live this life all over again.