I spent a great part of today being welcomed home by members of our community. I cannot easily describe the feeling. After such a long and potentially permanent absence, coming home is the warm touch of summer sun on winter's heart.
"You look good..."
I may even come to believe it. It is a welcome sound to a soul still on a journey from darkness to light, one day at a time.
Leukemia hides inside and steals away the unmistakable glow of my life. It weathers away the lightning in my bottle and steals the thunder in my soul. Passions, desires, even hungers whither away, leaving only the taste of ashes. Chemical cocktails capable of eating a hole through the floor of my hospital room burn through my veins, destined to destroy part of me, scorched earth to slow my secret enemy, my invisible demon of death. It is a hidden battle, a secret war, whose devastation only slowly leaves its mark on my crumbling countenance. Eventually, my vessel is so damaged, I consider abandoning ship. It would be so easy just to fall asleep...
Love of life, love of family, loving prayers and the good will of friends, fanned the embers of my will and warmed the smallest kernel of faith -- light and heat to make it grow, to make it glow and give lie to the descending darkness. Through the gift of life from a loving brother and God's gift of each day's dawn, a willingness to fight on is born. Through the art and science of medicine, the ravages of that war are controlled, and healing begins. Through the long hours of self-doubt and silent fear, the loving presence of my caregiver is both anchor and redoubt.
The hard scrabble climb from the precipice to each plateau taxes my body and tires my spirit. Chemical crutches support my wounded body until my spirit heals, and the glow from within is visible again, and my friends and family say, "You look good."
I know it was hard to see, behind my mask, but each time I heard it, I smiled. Despite the drudgery of protocols, the paranoia implicit in each and every restriction, and the incredible mixture of medicines, it is good to be alive and even better to be alive at home.
I am a thankful man. I am a lucky man. And yes, I look good, thank you.
Thank you for your prayers and good thoughts, your welcome home, and your patient presence on my journey.
God bless and good night,