The Big 4-0. After Wednesday, I can no longer call myself a 30-something. Yes, I'm getting older … thank goodness.
Last December, while lying in a hospital bed at Marin General Hospital, I wasn't certain I would see my 40th birthday. I was naturally scared after I got the initial cancer diagnosis. I had to wonder how much time was left on my clock.
Once I got over the initial shock and depression, I stopped trying to count the days I had left and started counting every day I was alive. That number stands at 336 days and counting after two major surgeries and a continuing course of treatment.
On Day 365, I plan to celebrate my Birthday-Plus 1. Two birthdays? Sounds like a dream for every little kid who loves cake and ice cream.
December 6 is the day cancer changed my life forever. I don't want to remember this as an anniversary of a day of misery, so I'm going to enjoy a birthday with my family and friends to celebrate a new start to my life.
My wife and I had no idea what was wrong last year when she took me to the emergency room at 5 in the morning. I was vomiting and in intense gastrointestinal pain. We thought it was food poisoning, but doctors quickly ruled that out. They thought it might be an appendicitis, but scans showed something they couldn't quite understand at first.
Dr. Jonathan Levin and his team took me into the operating room to open me up and "take a look around." What they found surprised everyone. A carcinoid tumor had wrapped itself around part of lower intestine and was affecting my appendix. In fact, doctors said we caught it just in time or the appendix could have burst and the carcinoid could have spread to the liver.
There are few words as frightening as "Cancer." It was scary to think that I could have died that night if we hadn't gotten to the hospital. It's scary to think that I could have missed out on so many wonderful things that have happened since that night.
• I took this wonderful job as the editor of the new Larkspur-Corte Madera Patch, allowing me to return to my roots as a Marin native. By the way, our Larkspur-Corte Madera Patch site will celebrate its first birthday in a few weeks, so I hope you'll join the party. More details on that to come.
• Tracy and I enjoyed our dream wedding in front of our family and closest friends at Infineon Raceway.
• And I've had the chance to meet so many wonderful people and to share our stories of survival.
Cancer will always be a part of our lives and I understand there's a chance it could come back, but I'm doing what I can to make sure that isn't for a long time to come.
We plan to celebrate a lot more birthdays.