Sunday, June 5, 2011

♪ At first I Was Afraid I Was Petrified ♫

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Umm, I definitely intend on joining the Brotherhood. Shoddy journalism again HuffPost.
Apparently today is National Cancer Survivor Day, why am I always the last to find out? Maybe because I'm not technically a survivor. After further thought of two seconds, maybe it's just a USA thing. Okay, I just checked on Wikipedia via Google (as if there was another way) and here is what I read:
Yup, those Americans know how to be the first. Seeing that there is a National Cancer Survivors Day and today is that day and I have cancer and I have a blog, I felt it was apropos to express something.

One of the worst things about this blog and people knowing I have cancer is I'm that "guy with cancer." People say "Have you heard about Ruban?" Other person shakes head and says "Who's that and what happened?" "Oh you know Ruban, the bald guy with bad posture. Well anyways, he has cancer." "Yeah, that's right, I did hear about him, he's that cancer guy. Isn't he penniless and nearly dead?"

What's so bad about that? Nothing really. It's just odd being the one talked about. Don't get me wrong, if I hear that you had cancer I'll be saying "Did you hear who has cancer?" Later you'll hear "Ruban told me you have cancer." Then you'll say "Bald Ruban? Cancer guy? That's odd, I thought he was dead."

One day I won't be cancer guy, I'll be that cancer survivor guy. Will that mean I"ll have to wear the yellow bracelet, put a plasmacytoma awareness ribbon on my car (just Googled to see what one looks like and there isn't one, yet), or grow a mustache for Movember? Social protocols can be a jungle to navigate. 

The best thing about the blog is I have an opportunity to share my story, my "aha moments". (Side note: Who keeps on reading in Nigeria, Malaysia, Finland, Germany, South Korea, etc.? This puzzle keeps me up at night.)

Life has defining moments and moments you thought were defining at the time. Seeing my first concert in Grade 7, Young MC of 'Bust a Move' fame, I thought was a life defining moment. Years go on and life becomes more complex. Watching beautiful Myrtle being born; now that was a life defining moment! After her birth I felt guilty to going to sleep, afraid to miss her awake or her needing me. My life had more value than I ever imagined and I viewed the world differently. 261 days later a tumor is found on my hip. A month later I find out it's cancer. A month after that I find out what kind of cancer and that it is the kind that can be cured (50/50). 

Falling down the stairs yesterday was one too. I thought only the old and infirmed did that - I was shocked I did that. I know I walked too much, but chasing Myrtle on the beach with crutches isn't practical. It was a reminder I'm mortal and that when you fall you get back up.
Family day at Witty's Lagoon
In the past three months and few days I've cried more than Myrtle, reevaluated what has real value, prayed more faithfully, hugged tighter and say "I love you" more. Which reminds me, I love you. Aside from my love for you, what does this all mean to survive cancer? For starters, many have and had worse cancers and treatments, I'm very, very, very lucky and am very aware how lucky I am. For me to survive cancer is to not live like I'm dying, rather to live like I'm alive. Hold no grudges, be open to friendships and pursue my interests and dreams so my daughter can feel at ease to pursue hers.


  1. hey rub. so glad you guys could come last week. it was nice to hug and visit! if it makes you feel better i have fallen down the stairs about 4 times in the last month and i think probably 50%of the stair cases (with carpet) ive ever walked down. it's slightly humiliating, but hey i have to keep the chiropractic practices open somehow!! much love to you and your family!

  2. Great Post! Ruban - Your last statement could be a Silver Rule to live by!


  3. I can answer the South Korea question - it's me, and I wouldn't want to keep you up at night! You need your rest! Finland might have been me as well since I just got back from a trip there. Yes, I check your blog while on vacation.

    Anyway, my good friend Jane Low turned me onto the blog. I suppose it might be weird to know that someone you have never met is reading your blog regularly but there you have. I have found your outlook and spirit to be absolutely inspiring. I keep coming back to see how you are doing and to hear about whatever new wisdom you have gleamed through your experience. Should I ever face a serious trial I hope I can handle it with half as much grace and positivity as you are.

    Thank you.

    Your internet friend,

    1. I'm glad we're still internet friends. I think you handled your serious trial with nothing but grace and positivity.

  4. Hi Ruban,

    I guess am the person that reads from Nigeria! My husband was diagnosed with plasmacytoma on his D3 last June after radiation all was well until recently he started walking with a limp. Also complaining about hip pain, I have my worries, anyways I decided to read up plasmacytoma and see who else might have it. Though he hasn't being diagnosed with that yet so next week he goes off to the hospital to beginning another round of diagnostic investigations.

    You and my husband would definitely be cancer survivors.

    We haven't told too many people about his health. In Nigeria say you have cancer and from the stares you get from people you know that they have probably ruled you as a dead man walking. So we kept it silent and try to stay positive about the whole thing.

    Sorry about keeping you up late at night it is very much daylight here!

    1. Hi Amanda,

      I was thinking of you today and am wondering how you and your husband are doing. Feel free to email at

      :) Ruban

  5. HOW did I miss this blog post? It's awesome! I just kept nodding and chuckling to myself. I love how when you write it's like your saying it right out loud.
    Thinking of you!