Walking along the street, I see people building garden beds with seats and fountains. I see fathers teaching their kids. Even at home, it’s delightful to watch my father-in-law teach my son, Moby, how to build and maintain a garden, especially since I can’t do it myself due to the complications from cancer. It’s wonderful to watch my wife teach Moby how to play guitar. I can’t wait to see him groovin’ up on the stage someday.
When adhesions formed in my bowel, the doctors removed 30 centimeters of it. This caused me to regurgitate meats, fish, and other foods that are hard to digest. I moved to a vegetarian diet and made sure I chewed thoroughly to make it easier to digest, so I wouldn’t throw up. Strangely I don’t crave the foods I can no longer eat. I have accepted that my life has changed and that I may never be able to eat those foods again. I thank my parents for instilling this ability in me at an early age. I’ve moved on quickly and quietly. I recognize that a vegetarian diet and chewing my food more thoroughly is healthier for me. Acknowledging these additional benefits helps me deal with the loss. I’m now a slow eater, who likes to chew a lot. I lost my sense of smell and my sense of taste, but slowing my chewing down allows me to appreciate food much deeper. So despite not being able to taste food anymore, I can still greatly enjoy it because of how it makes my body feel. It’s no longer about food being delicious, it’s about it being nutritious. I think that since I lost my primary senses of smell and taste, my other senses have been heightened, so I’m much more aware of everything. I no longer just look, I see. I no longer just hear, I listen.
By far the worst side effect from my cancer treatment was an acquired brain injury, caused by bacteria from one of my surgery wounds infiltrating my brain. This resulted in short and long-term memory loss. I have no memory of the time I contracted cancer, or when the symptoms arose, the diagnostic stage, the treatment stage, or even my first admission into hospital. I don’t remember being released or any time I spent at home.