Paradise Awaits, One Day At a Time


I'm keeping hope alive that eventually, we'll get through the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic. One day at a time like anything else.

All year long it's been waiting patiently on the calendar: a weeklong Tulum vacation to celebrate the destination wedding of my close friends, as well as my 35th birthday.

I'm typically so caught up in the demands of fighting cancer that it's hard to embrace vacation-mode until the very last minute. During some trips, the buzz kicks in right as I'm stepping off the plane, while other times it can even take a few days… this one, however, felt special and I have to admit, I'd fantasize about it often.

As someone quartered at home on medical leave, my lifestyle focused on healing can get lonely and depressing at times. But this year, whenever I'd feel a rut coming on, I'd just close my eyes and picture being surrounded with friends on the beach, all of us having the time of our lives like in one of those cheesy Corona commercials. Having trips to look forward to helps me balance out the fear and uncertainty.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, after a brutal episode of Scanxiety, I was blessed to receive good news on my health. In "Party Time", I discussed how it took a few days to push through the letdown period, but eventually, I felt the excitement building. Vacay time was just around the corner and I was ready. Put me in the game, coach!

Unfortunately, the world had different plans. Suddenly, a different, much, much worse brand of Corona took center stage of my attention along with everyone else's. And just like that, Mexico was no more. It didn't matter that I'd fought so hard to get here and just wanted my release - just wanted to feel free, happy and alive for a week… It didn't matter that I'd already had to cancel my bachelor party and wedding a few years ago due to cancer. Or that I've been battling through multiple recurrences. None of that mattered. Coronavirus couldn't care less.

And the tough part was that even I beat myself up about feeling bad about it. I didn't think I had the right to be upset. I had just received extremely encouraging news with my health and that should be all that mattered, shouldn't it? There are so many others who are so much less fortunate - who would do anything to trade places! But eventually, I realized that I don't need to be so hard on myself. It's OK to be grateful about my health while still feeling upset over the loss. It doesn't have to be a zero-sum game.

The reframe helped and ultimately, we don't know what's going to happen over the next few years. This is all unprecedented territory. But so was facing a rare and deadly bone cancer when I was first diagnosed. I've been pushing through one grueling challenge after another and lately have received inspiring results. Along the way, my wife and I ended up rescheduling our wedding (best day of our lives) and right before that, I had a blast in Nashville for my bachelor party. In the same spirit, I have to believe we will persevere and reschedule Tulum.

Eventually, we'll get there, one day at a time like anything else. I'm keeping hope alive that paradise awaits.

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