Monthly Archives: November 2012

Day 124: Grandpa and a Very Bad Word

“Cancer” is such an ugly word. Yesterday when the doctor diagnosed my grandfather with bile duct cancer, my family’s hearts collectively dropped. Grandpa had been in and out of the hospital for months, so an announcement of this magnitiude wasn’t totally unexpected. He had successfully beat prostate cancer at age 66, and now in his mid-80s, he’ll undergo another surgery in an attempt to remove the new cancerous cells. The prognosis reveals that Grandpa’s chance of living for at least another five years is a meager 15%.

For as long as I’ve known him, my grandfather has been a man of few words. Although he’s soft spoken, the things he does say have a lasting impact. As a young girl eating dinner together, he’d tell me, “Take all you want, but eat all you take.” His message never failed to give me pause. Would I be able to finish that extra scoop of rice? Did I greedily put too much chicken on my plate? This was Grandpa’s way of expressing his generosity while reminding me not to be wasteful. He’s also a gifted piano player who can listen to a song then play the entire melody back by ear. When I was child, my elementary school had special “Show and Tell” days. While my classmates showed off their furry pets and shiny new toys, I brought in my grandfather to play the piano – no sheet music required.

Recently, Grandpa met N at a family gathering. As we departed, he shook N’s hand, looked him in the eyes and said “Take care of her.” I was slightly embarrassed at the time, but I’m thankful to have such a loving family member. My grandfather’s new bout with cancer is a reminder of the cold, hard truth about mortality. We can’t prevent certain diseases from taking hold, but we can determine what state our bodies are in if and when we’re affected. My focus on healthy eating and exercise will hopefully set me up to have the best chance later in life. I’m a pragmatist and the concept of death doesn’t frighten me. I’m at peace with the fact that my grandfather has reached old age and led a fulfilling life, surrounded by wonderful people. Even so, that doesn’t mean I’m ready to let him go.

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Day 122: Anticipation and The Knock

It had only been four days, but it was four days too many. Don’t get me wrong; Thanksgiving was enjoyable but I found myself missing N more than I had anticipated. The weekends are usually reserved for us, and the lack of couple time had thrown me off balance. Luckily, N planned to visit when I returned to Los Angeles. During the flight home, I imagined swinging open the front door and coming face-to-face with him. My hormones would be firing and my smile would be too large to conceal, no matter the attempt.

I sped (probably too fast) on the freeway, wanting to get home as quickly as possible. Once inside my apartment, I began to tidy up. I gently fluffed the decorative couch pillows and arranged them in a neat fan shape. I wiped down the bathroom mirror so its reflection was razor sharp. And yes, I also cursed myself for not doing all of this prior to leaving for my trip. I’ve always valued presentation and firmly believe that the details matter. With that in mind, I slipped into a curve-hugging tank top and applied a fresh coat of body lotion (the scent that N loves). When my primping and preening concluded, I sat on the couch, anxiously awaiting N’s arrival. I was excited to see him, hug him… feel him. Then suddenly, a sharp sound interrupted that thought and my lips curved upward into a smile as I heard a familiar knock at the door.

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Day 116: N and Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving totally snuck up on me this year (wasn’t it just October?). Aside from noshing on delicious home-cooked food and spending time with loved ones, this holiday is all about appreciating what we have. My list includes the staples: a successful career, good health, incredible family and friends. This time around, I’m excited to add a new item to the list – my relationship with N.

N continues to fulfill me in so many ways. Beyond being my boyfriend, he’s my best friend, confidant, partner in crime, and much more. It’s an awesome feeling to have someone in your corner. Someone who supports your evolution and personal growth. Someone who wants to experience the unknown journey with you. That’s something I’ll never take for granted. Nearly 11 months later, our chemistry is still alive and I continue to be enamored with his quirks and unique personality. Okay, his devilishly handsome face doesn’t hurt either. Simply put, N makes my life better. And I don’t know what I could be more thankful for than that.

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