Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My American Eagle Tattoo

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I've been avoiding blogging and answering emails since my diagnosis. Truthfully it would be nice if there was a neat answer to why. I could some up in a clever little sentence, but none comes to mind. We all know that life and emotions can be complex, so anything I write now might not do justice to how I feel or felt.

The course of our lives have several moment of truths that we grapple with and try to comprehend. After THE CALL one of the greatest blessings was to have an out pouring of love, support and prayers and fasting. Old friends emailed, called, and dropped by. Some family bonds were renewed and strengthened. People I don't know super well sent over cards, notes, meals, even a book and something beautiful to hang on my wall.
I tried to get Myrtle to pose with it: REBALKIN families are forever
The oddest part of it all wasn't who reached out, but who didn't. Of course I know that no one owes me anything, people have their own life, problems, etc.. There isn't any grudge within me against anyone, but there has been some sadness when people geographically close have been emotionally far away. I didn't expect anything, but also didn't anticipate nothing. Sometimes people just don't what to say or do, and perhaps I simply wasn't as close to some people as I thought I was.

You and I cannot control the intentions or behavior of other people. However, we do determine how we will act. ...we can choose not to be offended. ~ D. A. Bednar

Does this sound too "woe is me"? I hope not. That's just life, people can disappoint and it's not even their "fault".  How I have felt isn't unique, we all have wondered why so and so didn't call to congratulate me on my Nobel Peace Prize, comment on my weight loss, yada, yada, yada. I'm very certain that I have unintentionally neglected, offended and put off more people then you can shake a stick at.

Wrapping my mind around my relationship with the world at large hasn't provided a dry spell in writing, rather a pause. I knew that with my diagnosis then prognosis I was being given the gift of life, something that I took for granted before.  This new lease on life, a second chance had me questioning every aspect of my life.

I have questioned and reevaluated everything. My faith. Where I want to live. My role as a father. Being a husband. Academic pursuits. Music I listen to. Career path. Who I spend time with. What has true value and what has none.

THE CALL addressed my fear of death. Hesitantly I can say I don't fear it anymore, and regrettably I believe it was a fear because I didn't truly embrace life before - I was just going through the motions.

Now my biggest fear is that I become complacent and fall back into the rut that I didn't know I was in.

So now that's off my chest, what have I been up to? Well for starters I got inked. Yup, that's right I have tattoo's. I explained to my mom over dinner that sometimes when going through a life altering chapter one needs something to remember it by. I had fun messing with her, as I'm not a tattooed sorta guy.

Two weeks ago I had a CT Scan to map out where to do the radiation. The "map" was marked by tattooing three small dots on my hips and somewhere below my belly button. I asked for an American eagle but this is what they came up with...
In the center of the red X by my freckle is a small black dot, my tat.  Left hip.

The American Eagle. My right hip.
This will be the only time you'll see my tattoos, well unless I have very short shorts on or am in a tiny Speedo®.

Today I begin my radiation at 8:30am. I will blog about it. Certainly I'm a tad antsy. Last night it was near impossible to fall asleep and I welcomed and relished in Myrtle waking up at 11pm, I needed the company.

I'm only on 3 hours of sleep, so hopefully my mind will allow my body to nap later today.

Myrtle saying hello while I'm doing this blog. She said to ask you to pray for her Daddy today.


  1. Ruban, I really admire you attitude. I pray that all goes well today and that you feel well this evening. Good luck with the keeping out of the rut thing. Every time I climb out of one, I tend to fall into the next one!

  2. glasses must be interesting to her! I love your blog. best of luck today:) PS I'm home now, on sick leave. Maybe we should be lazy together!
    Love you guys

  3. tell Myrtle and Dad that we pray for you everday, multiple times and will most definitely continue to do so <3 we and many others love you very much and hope the radiation does the trick, without making you feel too awful in the process. As far as some not reaching out as you might have thought, be assurred that they are thinking of you and doing the prayer and crying thing. The problem is that it scares us the whole death, cancer and saying the wrong thing...sometimes we get so concerned we do nothing. Admittingly the most probably selfish kind of thing. When you are going through something so difficult. I think someone said going through those most very tough times in life helps us to better know how to reach out to others who have been in some similiar difficult situation. I know I have had times when I wished I had the courage to reach out to someone going through something difficult and did not reach out. There probably are no good excuses. I shouldn't need one. Me and they will hopefully do a little or a lot better next time :( . I remember going through something that was very difficult for me and the people that did reach out helped me so very much. Their action did help our friendship. The people who didn't, didn't. I only know that most people do the best they know at the time and when they know better, they try to do better. Hope you "stuff" goes good today. I also know that I bet what you and Faith are going through will help you be amazingly sensitive to someone else in similiar circumstances <3

  4. WHAT?!?! You have a Nobel Peace Prize!!! Holy crap! Congrats! :)