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Live Today With My All Series

Prologue

On Sunday evening, I had a very hard, extremely painful conversation with my 3 best friends. First the first time, I realized the true extent of how my diagnosis has affected them and how much pain they’re in. We spoke about words are how little they mean in the grand scheme of things. It tore me apart to realize how difficult it is for them to see me like this and hear me say, everyday, that I’m okay even I’m not. I realized that in trying to protect them from this, I’m actually making it more difficult. It was tough!

This morning, I heard a song by one of my favorite artists, Brandi Carlile. Although I've listened to this song a million times, it has never had as much meaning and it never touched home quite like it did today. After the weekend’s conversation, the lyrics cut like razors. The song’s called Again Today. These are the lyrics…

Broken sticks and broken stones
Will turn to dust just like our bones
Its words that hurt the most now isn’t it

Are you sad inside, are you home alone
If I could just pick up the phone
Maybe you can see a better day

and you won’t waste away under my watchful eye
Because I’m your hero and you’re my weakness

who’s gonna break my fall when the spinning starts
The colours bleed together and fade
Was it ever there at all or have I lost my way
The path of least resistance is catching up with me again today

I’m broken down, not good enough
The broken promises add up
To twice their weight in tears which I have caused

Until I’m afraid to sink, I’m afraid to swim
I’m sad to say, I miss my friends
I know that I’m supposed to step away

but they need me to stay and keep a watchful eye
On all my heroes and all their demons

But who’s gonna break my fall when the spinning starts
The colours bleed together and fade
Was it ever there at all and have I lost my way
The path of least resistance is catching up with me again today
Not today, not today

Was it ever there at all or have I lost my way
The path of least resistance is catching up with me again today

Oh, broken sticks and broken stones
Will turn to dust just like our bones again today
I am broken down not good enough
The broken promises add up again today, 

Was it ever there at all and have I lost my way
The path of least resistance
Is catching up with me again today, again today

I am so blessed to have my big 3, my “mines”, in my life and I am unbelievably grateful for every moment with them. They truly are my heroes and I need to be here to watch over them.

The strangest thing about this journey is the discovery. Every day I learn something new about myself, about the world and about life. I find new limitations and new challenges, I find strength and inspiration somewhere unexpected and most importantly, I realize that even though my life has changed dramatically, and I’ve had to make some pretty drastic changes to my lifestyle, I am still me, I am still Eric. It’s so important that all the people in my life, especially my angelic friends, remember that. No matter what happens now, no matter where this journey leads, I am, and will always be Eric.

I draw my strength, my courage and my inspiration from the people around me and I am amazed everyday at how lucky I am to have so much support. One thing you need to realize, no matter what journey you’re on, is that you cannot walk alone! No matter how, tough, stubborn or independent you are, you need that support. Take it, use it and be thankful for it! Trust me,  you will be amazed to see how many people will hold you up when you cannot stand.

I should have a new ‘medical’ update for you tomorrow, but as of today, I’m feeling good. There is quite a bit of pain and I’m struggling with fatigue but, I am still here, I am strong and as of today, cancer has not beaten me.

I must tell y'all, once again, how much I appreciate all your emails you guys sent me. It really does help to hear from you. The point of this blog is to, above all else, inspire and it means the world to me to have your feedback. If this blog inspires you, let me know, if you think it could inspire someone else, send it on. The more people who see this, the more likely it is to help someone. If you have any questions, Please feel free to ask. I would be honored to take part in your journey as you are in mine, so, talk to me… no matter what journey you’re on, I’d like to walk with you.

Thank you for holding me up when I cannot stand, thank you for inspiring me and most of all, thank you for taking this journey with me. As long as you’re walking with me, I know I will never walk alone.

Wishing you all the most awesome week.

Live Today With My All.

Chapter I : Back To Where It Began 

OK, so let’s take a few steps back… to the very beginning of my cancer journey. I’m going to get the background down so we can move along. I think it’s important, especially for those of you in the same / similar situations, to know what this did to me initially so that you know you’re not alone and anything you feel, think and decide is okay.

I am most definitely no stranger to hospitals or doctor’s rooms, in fact, I’ve spent most of my life in either one or the other. I’ve never been the healthiest of people. At the tender age of 26, I’ve lost a kidney, and been diagnosed with quite a few conditions: Hepatitis, Fibro and Peptic Ulcers to name but a few. My metastatic cancer diagnosis and prognosis was definitely not the first time I’ve been told I might not make it. The point is, I’m still here! and it has already been 7 years 2 months and 13days as of today. I am still here.

Down to the details…

I’m going to omit all the dates, medical terms, names and all the “technical” details… purely because I can’t really remember them… I don’t want to remember them. I’m going to concentrate on how it felt, how it happened. If you’d like to know the other details, let me know, I’d be happy to go through it all with you.

I first started really noticing symptoms when I had blood during stools and a horrible burning pain in my stomach, primarily on the lower side. There were a bunch of other symptoms that I’d experienced for quite a while but never took any notice of, there was always another explanation. Being an ulcer sufferer, I took the normal antacids that I was used to. I woke up one morning feeling incredibly nauseas; I started vomiting excessively and noticed a large amount of blood. A day or two later, I noticed more blood in my stool as well. That’s when I really started to worry. I rushed to my GP and, to make a long story short, I was referred to a Gastroenterologist with a suspicion that my peptic ulcers had perforated. Cancer never crossed our minds!

The Gastroenterologist took one look at me and I could see by the look on his face that he was worried. He was honest and open about his suspicions that I had cancer and sent me straight for a series of tests. None of these were enjoyable… especially the stool sample. When I left the doctor’s office that day I made a decision not to talk about it, to keep it quiet and wait it out. When I arrived back at the studio, I saw a picture of my now "then"- partner and I couldn’t do it. I called him up and cried like a baby. It was so difficult to talk about. I swore them all to secrecy and the long wait began.

I didn’t do too much thinking in the days that followed. I just carried on. I didn’t know anything yet. I refused to freak out, I just wanted to wait it out.

A few days later, after the first batch of tests, the doctor called me in and gave me the initial diagnosis… I have colon cancer. I was told that more tests had to be done to determine the stage and that would take a few days. I didn’t react, at all. I think, at that point, I didn’t believe it. I was in pain but it wasn’t that bad. This couldn’t be real. You’d think that with my medical history, I wouldn’t really panic. Well… I did, silently, in my head, I freaked out.

Telling my family was the single most difficult thing I have ever had to do. I couldn’t handle the thought. I remember driving back from the doctor and the only thing going through my mind was, “how can I do this to them, they have been through so much.” I kept my game face on, I didn’t cry, I didn’t panic… not on the outside anyway. Inside I was broken.

I changed my mind a million times in the following days. At first, I stuck to my guns… I didn’t want anyone to know. I had my immediate family sworn to secrecy and I was adamant, that was it, it had to stay that way. I also decided that I didn’t want to know any more. I didn’t want to see the doctor again; I didn’t want to know the stage. I just wanted to forget and carry on living. Those decisions changed a million times over the following few days and eventually, after quite a bit of encouragement and some tough love, I agreed to see the doctor and tell “certain” people. The more I spoke about, the more it hurt and the more “real” it became. For the first time in my life, I felt real, gut wrenching, fear and I couldn’t stand it. Those were the longest few days of my life. I did everything I could to make sure I stayed strong on the outside, I wore my brave face. I only broke down when I was alone with my partner, where I felt safe, comfortable, at ease. We broke down together and I think our relationship grew in strength by over 1000% in those few days. I researched my heart out, I spent every waking moment on the internet reading everything i could. It kept me sane, it helped me understand and it made me feel a little less alone.

The final, official diagnosis came on a Friday afternoon. I was in the car, driving to New York for a weekend away with my family when the call came through. I begged for quite a while for the doctor to tell me over the phone as I couldn’t get back to see him. Eventually he gave in. I don’t really remember the conversation, but I clearly remember the words “Stage Four”, “Metastatic”, “Colon”, “Cancer”, “Spread”, “Blood”, and “Central Tissue”  I know I asked a few questions and I remained calm. I also remember the phrase “Throughout your body” and “cannot be cured”. We agreed to discuss treatment options a little later. It took me a few minutes to absorb what had just happened. I refused to talk about it. I needed time to myself. The truth is, when that phone call ended, I gave up. I stopped believing in anything and I went numb. To me it felt as though my heart had already stopped beating, it was too late, I was already dead. All I wanted to do was crawl into a little hole and wait for that moment to come.

My bestie Cow grabbed me outside a cafe in Manhattan and insisted that I tell her when we arrive. Somehow I guess my family knew she was the only one could talk to me and gave her a heads up about it. And I did. She has been my rock since that moment. She told me, there and then, in no uncertain terms, that I will fight this, we will do whatever we have to do and we will win. She reminded me of my commitment to the American Cancer Foundation and how much the cause means to me, he reminded me of how stubborn I am; what a hard-ass I am and how much strength I have. Unfortunately, at that point, none of that was enough; I didn’t want to hear it. It stuck with me though, in the back of my mind and deep inside my heart.

Throughout this process and the beginning of this journey, there have been a number of feelings and thought that have taken me by surprise. I remember feeling dirty, violated. There is something inside of me that shouldn’t be there, something has intruded into my body, my personal space and I can’t get it out. The more people I told, in the beginning, the more exposed I felt. I was embarrassed, humiliated and shy. I felt that I needed to be strong for everyone else; no one could see me down, upset or sad. I couldn’t cry and I couldn’t talk about it in front of anyone else. I kept saying, over and over, to everyone, “I’m ok, I’m fine, everything’s going to be fine, don’t worry.” I smiled and kept my guard up. On the inside though, I was broken… I am broken.

Although I have made the decision to stay strong, be positive and fight with everything I am, I still struggle with these feelings, I still think about death but I am not afraid of it but I am afraid of what it would cause to those I love around me. I don’t believe that to be a bad thing. I think it’s important to feel these things, as long as they do not consume you. I am no superman. I don’t want to be. I will feel as I feel and I will travel this journey as I need to.

So… that’s the background and here we are. I hope you will travel with me. It’s a long road and I don’t want to walk alone. I will help to carry you if you will help to carry me….

Live Today With My All


Chapter II : Moving Forward

Before I get started on the warm and fuzzy stuff, I suppose I should give you an update on where we are now.

I’ve experienced a “new” kind of pain over the past month, a crippling pain on my left side, a little higher than usual, it shoots down into my left feet at times too. I went for some more tests and the results have come back. My spleen is dramatically enlarged, that’s where the pain is coming from. this horrible parasite has found its way into my organs, my spleen is infected with cancer. It’s not good news, but, it does not mean that cancer is winning, I am still very much in this fight! As far as a treatment plan goes, we’re not quite there yet and nothing is set in stone. rest assured though, I will do whatever I need to do.

If there’s one thing I’ve realized since I started this journey it’s that no two days are ever the same. I expected there to be good days and bad days but I had no idea how many levels of good and bad there are.

There have been many mornings when I wake up and I don’t want to get up. I feel the pain as soon as I open my eyes and the tears come almost immediately. I tend to look around the room and think, I just want to stay here today, I don’t want to see anyone, I don’t want to speak to anyone, I don’t want to work. I don't even wanna to write my music. I just want to take another pill, pull the duvet over my head and hide from everything and everyone. There have been one or two days that I’ve actually did it. It lasted for about 5 minutes. After a stern pep talk to myself, I get up, wipe the tears away, take a good long look in the mirror, remind myself that I am still alive, I need to act like it and I get going. I convince myself that if I don’t, if I stop, even it’s for one day, I will lose my mind. I make myself believe that I have to keep going, I have to carry on as usual.

Today was different though. I woke up this morning, a little earlier than usual, and I just couldn’t stand the thought of functioning. I looked next to me and all of a sudden I missed my sons (A German Pincher and a Shiba Inu) and my besties terribly. For some reason I felt like I will never see them again. It was the most horrible feeling. A new kind of fear rushed through me. Then from this, it triggers me to miss someone who is in my life. I grabbed something (Well, we don't have to go there) he once gave to me and held on so tight, for so long, I don’t think anything could get that thing away from me at that point. I thought of all the things I haven’t said, everything I haven’t done, but most of all, I thought about how absolutely amazing he is in every way and how I don’t tell him nearly enough how wonderful he is and how much I love him. But I knew he knows how I feel every day. Checking up on me on alternate hours and so on. Well, I guess it is just something for me to know myself what is this little battle is about. The war is more important to me right now.

When I finally managed to calm down, I was exhausted. the pain was worse than it’s ever been and I just couldn’t do it. I tried the pep talk, it didn’t work, I reminded myself of everything I had to get done today, that didn’t work either. I just lay there. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so alone, so scared or in so much pain.

An hour passed and I was lying there. My head was filled with horrible, negative thoughts and I couldn’t think of anything good. At that point my phone beeped and I mustered up the strength to look at it. It was an email, someone has just left a comment on my blog. Suddenly I remembered how much support I have, how overwhelmed I’ve been by all the messages, calls and comments and how absolutely blessed I am. I thought about my music, and how hard I’ve worked to get it to where it is and I told myself,
“Eric, get up, this is not going to help. If you just keep moving forward, you'll amaze yourself” 
I reminded myself to be grateful for all these things and I smiled. The pain started to ease up slightly and I could finally get up.

Needless to say, today hasn’t been the best day, I’m more tired than usual and the pain’s pretty bad today, but, I’m carrying on. I’m strong. I have my brave face on and I’m ready for whatever else is coming my way. If nothing else, I am a hell of a lot more positive than I was when I woke up this morning.

The point is, no matter what road you’re on, it not always going to be easy, it not going to be possible to be positive and happy all the time. Sometimes you just have to let go and allow yourself to feel what you feel, think what you think and just be. The tough part is knowing when enough is enough and it’s time to pull yourself together and get moving again. Bad news will come, there will be pain and you will feel like it’s not okay anymore but in the end, once you’ve dealt with your feelings and thoughts, you have to get up again, you have to keep going. You can do this.

I believe it’s important for me to cry, even though I’m an “Ice King”, I believe it’s important for me to feel, even though I’m “One Tough Cookie” and I believe it’s important for me to think about everything, even though I’m positive. I believe this is all a part of the fight, my fight and in the end, I will win.

Cancer you may invade my body, you may have control of my spleen, but you will NOT beat me.

chin up, game face on, let’s just keep walking

Live Today With My All.

Chapter III : Inspiring Letter With Love

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has many many supporters around The States and anyway in the world. Behind this Cause are a few people who run this massive engine, from marketing, admin, organisation and one of these Angels is a young man by the name of Eric Carter H. He has dedicated massive amounts of time to the cause and become a vital part of what we do . Not for money or prestige, but for the love of helping others and spreading the ACS message. Over the last 7 years he has spread the message to countless people, trying to help them and at the same time try and understand what they go through. As the saying goes “life does not always take the turns we want “ Eric tried so much harder to understand this disease to try and help others , unbeknown to him or any of us that he would soon find out he is a lot closer to it than any of us knew . A couple of months ago, my sister Jessy, found out she too has Cancer. It has been a hard few weeks for us as a family.
His friends and us as a ACS Team. The shock and sadness that another of our loved ones has become a target for this evil has been a bitter bitter reality to come to terms with. It has been especially difficult for me personally because of the very close relationship I have with my him. But he said something very true to me “now is the time to practice what we preach!!” Eric has made the vital decision and taken the 1st step NOT to give up, but, TO FIGHT. and all of us, his friends and ACS family will support him through this journey and have the faith and belief that he will come out a victor . Eric has also decided as we would expect to take it a step further, he wants so share his story and journey with others, in the hope that he can help and inspire those who need it. Once again he selflessly gives of himself in the hope of making a difference. ACS will therefore be adding yet another section to our site, Eric will be sharing a blog with us, detailing in absolute honesty his journey. We love you Eric, and we will get to the top of this mountain together. ACS always. 

Love Alfred J and the ACS Team


I came across this post on the ACS New York & New Jersey Facebook page and wanna to share it.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart to my ACS Family. This always does keep me wanting to go on fighting this fight.

Much Love
Live Today With My All

Chapter IV : A New Start - Part One (New Zealand)

I’ve done a lot with my life and hit many walls. Nothing compares with the fear that hit me with my diagnosis. In many ways, cancer was a big eye-opener for me. You find out who your real friends are, and you get a new found respect for life. I went from being a guy who didn't have a lot of direction, to someone who is going after everything he wants. I was into a lot of bad things, and my life was in a bad way. I flipped it around after treatment and found a new lust for life. The experience changed me completely.

I did three months in the hospital straight, and four rounds of chemo. That put me to the test; I have never been so afraid in my life. Needless to say, it was very emotionally challenging and physically demanding. I don't need to tell anyone who has gone through this what it’s like. Without help from my friends, family, and fantastic nurses and doctors, I would not of made it. These people gave me strength I did not know I had.

I wanted a new start. I wanted to have a new place to fight this war. To cut the story short, I wasn't a goodie two shoe kinda kid when I was doing my Masters in Berklee College of Music in Boston. My grades were exceptional, cuz I know music is part of me. I was top of my year. But, I wasn't those kids who goes by the rule book. Besides my music, I have no direction at all in life. I was heavily abusing drugs, and living a life that seeing it passing through. But I was blessed. I will just name him SY. He was my only source to keep me sober. And with everything that had happen, I was kinda giving up when my bad days were more than my good days.

SY came up one day and told me that let's us move. Leave Boston and start new. My career just started to soar that time. it was in 2008 when he suggest we move out from the states. I can still do my music by focusing just being a writer than a producer. It kinda bought me over somehow as starting new and fighting this war somewhere new.

If I was honest about that period of time, I kinda gave up on fighting cancer. I gave in. I was just somehow waiting for time to come. I didn't wanna do anything else more. Somehow, that was a big mistake I made that I am now paying the cost of my decision that time. My lifestyle wasn't what I was suppose to live. I just let it be. Maybe leaving was a good choice after all. And New Zealand was the pick. Before we went over, I took a short trip back to Malaysia to spend some time with my family. 

Honestly, New Zealand is one of the best thing that ever happen to me. I really wanna thank Fiona and Mark for putting up with me. You two were just like my angels. I am forever in debt with all the love and care you both gave to me. 

It was early autumn when I arrive in Auckland. It was refreshing, and it was calming to me. I get to start everything new here. No one knew I was a cancer patient. No one knew much about who I was. It was really a good start for me. The only thing that was hard was visiting the hospital from time to time. I was living with Mark and Fiona that time. I really didn't want anyone to see me differently. I have to come up with excuses that I was heading for 2 weeks holiday or sometimes longer. It wasn't easy but somehow, the not knowing made me feel a little easier to go on with everything. 

I was working with Telstraclear a few months after I arrive in Auckland. It was one of the most amazing thing that had happen to me. That time, Eugene was still around. I remembered knowing this awesome soul Dorothy. She is from Malaysia too. Honestly, she is just inspirational. I could be as crazy as I wanted when I am around her. She honestly helped me a lot in ways that no one could ever imagine. From work to things in life. Well, if you were reading this girl! A BIG SHOUT OUT TO YOU! Thank you for everything!!! I know there are a lot more people I gotta thank here. Everyone of you plays a significant part of my life. Making it easier. Especially when I lost Laine. Without you, I will never ever make it through that period.

Well, life is a mystical thing. We can't never predict what will happen next. Somehow, when good things happen, the bad will balance it up. But the bad seems to have it's way, the good will fight back. My good days were more compare to the bad ones. Life started to be a lot easier. Until September comes. Somehow, the cancer has spread to my liver. Chemo is due. I check-in to Auckland Radiation Oncology near Mountain Road, Epsom. Not for from where I was living. I was still feeling alright that time. It was not until they handed me the paperwork of the chemo when I was in my hospital room that it really sank in. Seeing it on paper made it very real. I had my first break down in New Zealand, I cried for the first time in years, lost my breath in a downright sob. I felt very alone at that time, yet something happened I will never forget. The women visiting her husband in the same room pulled open the curtains came running towards me and embraced me in a hug. She had tears in her eyes saying, "You are never alone, we are family now and in this together." This random act of kindness will be with me for the rest of my life. This women I had never spoken to called me family, hugged me, cried for me, and lifted my spirits more then I could have ever asked for. The kindness of strangers.

Somehow life still was treating me good. No matter how bad when things can be, somehow it will always be a blessing somehow. When I left New Zealand after that, I was a totally new person. I somehow realize, with what I am facing, I should start giving back the kindness to many out there that didn't have it. I didn't know who the hell was she when she came over and hugged me. But that gives me strength to keep fighting on. It gave me a new meaning on how to live my life... A big part of me come to accept what and how cancer has changed me through out this years. Why I still believe in every bad, there is still good left in every single person. 

But somehow, when you have a little too much of good, I started to take life for-granted yet again. That happen when I move back to Malaysia and to Singapore. Well, I guess I will have to continue that on my next part when I move back to Kuala Lumpur and to Singapore later. I wouldn't say I am proud of what had happen during that next 2 years back then. It was really one of my darkest moment in life. Living at the edge of everything. But well, I guess it is enough for now. Shall continue on the next chapter then. 

With much love,

Live Today With My All

Chapter V : A New Start - Part 2

Well, I am not gonna go into details on what really was going on with my life at this point. I guess I have mention it in many of my past post. For some reasons, this period was really tough in some ways. With my personal life crumble, I gave in to depression. I was admitted to psychiatric ward in Kuala Lumpur General Hospital for 4 days. I stop responding to all the meds. I was at a point of giving up totally when everything was a mess. My life was a mess. It was hard for me and my family. But at that point, I really didn't care much at all. 

The whole journey for me fighting cancer wasn't at all a consistent one. I stood strong to fight one moment, I fell and gave in to it. But somehow, I have to say, this whole journey really help me a lot. Especially in my career. As most of you will know, I’ve lived my life to music. I have a song for everything and I express myself best through music. It’s been such an important part of my life and I’ve never heard a quote so true as the one I have tattooed on my foot – “When Words Fail, Music Speaks”

Being an artist ( As in artist artist. Not celebrity kinda artist ) Expression is one of things that I feed on daily. Everything I feel were convey through my music. As much as I could deny this, but the truth is cancer really bring out everything I have to the table. Being back here in KL to Singapore and again in KL. this whole period was about 2 years. And the fact is I was fragile when I thought I was strong. It’s time for the progression assessment… I get to go through all the initial tests, all over again. We’ll be able to see from these, after a considerable wait for test results of course, whether and how rapidly the cancer has progressed, if and how far it has spread, if and how the chemoradiation has worked and finally, a new prognosis. I’m really nervous about these results, in fact, I’m terrified. I’ve tried to stop myself of thinking about it too much, but at the same time, I’m trying to prepare myself for whatever happens. At this point, I’m not incredibly enthusiastic about having more chemoradiation but, you never know… I honestly can’t tell how I’ll react to whatever news I get. It hits me right on my face and I finally realize I need to stop wasting my life. And also a big part was when Mr D came back into my life after so many years. Well, that will be another story.

I finally remember that I have a family and friends that are as traumatized by this as I am and spending time with me is important to them, especially now. It’s important to me too, I love spending time with my family and friends, and I don’t want to interfere with that time. I don’t understand how I can change anything considering that. Decisions are really tough nowadays… how do I decide what I can or can’t do, who I should or shouldn’t make time for? Where I should or shouldn’t go? For me these are impossible questions and at this point, they seem to be adding quite a few kilos to the load I’m carrying.

It helps to know that there are so many people carrying his load with me, walking with me, fighting with me. It’s so inspiring and uplifting and I am so grateful but sometimes, especially lately, my load seems to be getting increasingly heavy and I find myself getting really lonely even though I’m very seldom alone. It’s getting hard to make it through a day and I hate that feeling.

I’m so afraid that I’m going to miss something, I’m terrified that I’m going to run out of time and I’m going to lose out on all the things that I still want to do. There’s a big, wide world out there and I’m so scared that I’m never going to get to see any more of it. Having said that, I know that I have had a wonderful, full life thus far and I am so grateful for the things I have seen and the experiences I have been able to go through. I’m just not done yet, I’m not ready for it to be over yet and so… I have to keep going, as difficult as this is, I have to keep moving.
I don’t think there’s an easy way to handle cancer, I don’t believe that there’s a right or a wrong when it comes to this journey. Cancer does some very strange things to a person, not only physically but mentally and emotionally too. Cancer is confusing; it’ll make you believe that you should be selfish but then attacks you with guilt for not considering everyone else. It motivates you to be positive but then fills your head with morbid, painful and sometimes sickening thoughts. It teaches you something new every day but then makes you question everything you think you know. Most of all, cancer makes you fight… willing or not! You have to fight the disease, you have to fight the side effects that come with it and you have to fight everything and everyone that tries to pull you down, and then, just when you think you’ve dealt with anything and everything it could possibly throw at you, cancer chucks in a curveball and makes you fight against yourself. You have to fight your mind’s urge to give up, let go and just stop. Trust me, that urge is there and it is very, very real. It takes an unspeakable amount of strength to fight that. You have to fight your body’s natural reaction to things like chemotherapy and radiation. Basically, you have to tell your mind and body not to do what comes naturally. Nothing could have prepared me for this fight and something tells me I haven’t seen the half of it yet. You may fall off the wagon now and then, but eventually, when you get hit hard enough, you will wanna keep fighting on. For yourself and also for your family and friends that loves you.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about death… I’m sure that’s quite normal considering I have a disgustingly horrible parasite on board that is quite insistent on taking over my body. I have no doubt that everyone that has been faced with a disease like cancer has thought about it at some point. I don’t believe it makes me negative though and it doesn’t mean that I’m giving up on anything. I suppose it’s just a part of this journey and something that we all, at one time or another, have to consider, face and deal with. I will talk about it in another chapter perhaps on how I wanted my end to be.

Every time we hear about someone passing, we think about their loved ones. We have sympathy for the grief and hurt they feel and we apologize for the fact that they will miss that person. What about the person that has passed though? Do they grieve for the life they left? Do they miss the people they will ever see again? Do they even remember anything or anyone? These are just more questions that no one on earth can honestly answer. Crazy isn’t it.

That being said… the fight goes on and although I change my mind daily about how well I’m handling this, I will keep going, I have to. The journey is far from over and as long as I’m breathing, I’ll be fighting, As long as I’m moving, I’ll be walking. No one ever said this was going to be easy but in the end, it is most definitely going to be worth it! I may not always take the calls, respond to the messages or reply to the mails but I really do appreciate all of them. Sometimes I just really don’t want to talk. Sometimes I just need silence. I do love hearing from you though and I promise, as soon as I’m up to it, I will call you back, respond to your message or reply to your mail, so keep them coming, they mean the world to me.

I apologize if this post has been a little ‘all over the place’, I had so much to say and putting it all together in a way that is even slightly legible has been tough. It’s not easy to deal with so many thoughts and emotions, all hitting me at the same time; it’s even harder to put them all into words and correctly structured sentences. Hopefully you’ll find something of use in here.

Live Today With My All


Chapter VI : One Of Those "I Miss My Life" Days

I’ve avoided my Facebook, my email accounts and even my cell phone like a plague. As much as I know they are so many wonderful, incredibly special people waiting for updates, sending mails and messages and even calling; it’s just been too hard. I really haven’t felt like talking or writing. Every time I convince myself to post on my blog (On myself) or reply to all the emails I find myself procrastinating…. I never procrastinate! It’s so frustrating.

I suppose I was silently hoping that if I put it off for a little while, something would change and I would finally have some good news to share. There’s been so much bad news, reading through my earlier posts I realised that every single post has been sad and filled with bad news. I so desperately want to give you something positive to read, something to lift your spirits and make you smile. Even as I sit here now, I’m heartbroken and fighting tears because I know that I don’t have any good news for you and I still can’t tell you anything that will make you smile. Unfortunately, today is not that day and I don’t have any good news for you but I can’t wait any longer. I miss hearing from people from my world, it always makes me feel so much better to know that there are people out there, all over, who take the time to read my blog and send their prayers my way. I thrive on your contact and your support.

I’m having one of those ‘I miss my life’ days today. I miss my hair, my energy and my brain. There are just so many things that I miss about my ‘life’, especially today. I miss being able to handle almost anything without losing my head, not forgetting absolutely everything, being able to keep up with my besties, not hating my phone and most of all, I miss not dreading every single day, not because I don’t want to live it but because I know it’s going to be hard, probably harder than the day before and because I know that there is a very good chance that I won’t get through the day without crying and an even better chance that I won’t get through half the day without getting so tired that I simply cannot carry on, no matter how much I may want to. I can’t handle situations the way I used to and I hate that. The tiniest, most insignificant little things stress me out and I actually can’t remember the last time I didn’t feel completely overwhelmed. That’s really not good news, especially for a music producer… I always handled stress pretty well, got angry, screamed and shouted but I dealt with it, it’s different now though, I’m not handling stress well and that’s not a good thing. I make sure I still go to work every day, I may go in later or leave earlier but I’m there, I still attend meetings in the evenings or over weekends, no matter what, I’m there. If there’s one thing I will not let cancer take from me it is my music I have worked so hard to build empire. The problem is I’m not as effective as I used to be, I can’t do as much as I used to. I’m so afraid of that. I suppose I just generally miss the way things were. I miss the person I used to be.

Cancer changes everything… don’t think, even for a moment, that you can live a normal life with cancer or that you will still be the same person as you were before. Trust me, you cannot live a normal life and you are not and will never be the person you were before. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just a different thing and it really does take some getting used to.

I made my ‘big decision’ on Thursday last week after a nice, long, and very informative chat with the doctor. I decided to take the plunge and have another round of chemo. Although it was a really, really tough decision to make, I finally came to the conclusion that I have to try. I promised to fight and so, I must fight. Even though the odds are stacked against me at this point and the chances of it actually working are not great and I spend a good hour or so sobbing my heart out every morning knowing that I have to go through it again, I just have to do it. As long as there is still a chance, no matter how small it may be, I have o try. I suppose this is my way of saying, “Hey Cancer, guess what… I’m not done yet! I’m not giving up and I’m not backing down. I know it’s going to hurt, I know I’m going to hate it but… HIT ME… I’m ready!

And so, for the next 6 weeks, 5 days a week, I will drag myself off to the hospital and allow them to pump my body full of poison. I had my session of full on, hardcore chemotherapy two weeks ago and it has been hell! They call it the ‘red devil’ for a reason. There’s no radiation this time around, just horribly high doses of chemo. It’s not fun and I despise every single moment but I’m getting through it.

A lot of people have been baffled by the fact that I have to go every day when most patients only go once a week or even once every few weeks. Well, it’s actually pretty simple… Because my ‘case’ is so far advanced and has spread so rapidly, the dose I need to get to have any chance at all is extremely high and because of my other ‘conditions’ and my size, the doctors are not confident that I would be able to handle that dose all at once and so they have split the dose into 5 smaller doses.

I haven’t had any tests since we started chemo so I have no idea if it’s working. All I know is its horrible and I absolutely hate it. The nausea starts during treatment and gets progressively worse through the day. I’m at my worst in the evenings. By the time I go to bed, I can barely lift my head, I’m completely exhausted and everything spins wildly from nausea. Food is almost impossible to even think about and sometimes I battle to keep even a glass of water down. It really isn’t a pleasant experience. The only thing that motivates me to carry on is the fact that I am not ready to lose this fight, I cannot let cancer win and I am absolutely not ready to die. It is not my time.

I’ve been having a bit of trouble dealing with the effects my decisions have had on the people I love. I’m never going to be able to please everyone, I understand that, but it’s so difficult to see how hurt the people closest to me are because of how I’ve decided to go about getting through this. When I was first diagnosed, I made the decision to do things on my terms and get through this in my way. When I sat my family down to tell them that I have cancer, I made my decision very clear and I made them all promise, even my ex-husband, that they would respect that decision, understand my reasons and not fight me on my terms. I can only imagine how difficult it has been for them to sit back and watch me go through this with their hands tied.

I decided that I wanted to handle the doctor’s visits and treatment on my own at first. I don’t want anyone with me and I don’t want to go into too much detail about what is said and done. It’s not because I don’t think that I need the support, I know I do and I appreciate it so much. It’s not because I want to hide the prognosis or the pain or the bad news, I don’t, it’s simply that I feel better when I’m on my own. I don’t have to worry about anyone but me, I know I’m not supposed to worry about anyone else in that situation but I do, that’s just who I am. If I’m alone, I don’t have to talk; I can cry if I need to, laugh if I want to or simply just sit in silence and think. Being alone also gives me the opportunity to focus on the fight, no distractions, just me, willing the cancer out of my body and putting every ounce of my energy into helping that chemo poison do its job. This is just something I want to do on my own and I have a million reasons for this decision but I do understand that it’s difficult to accept and it’s even more difficult to respect. I am so grateful that my family have been so understanding and supportive in this decision, even though it tears them apart. I am so unbelievably sorry that this is causing so much pain, I wish, more than anything, that I could limit the hurt to just me and somehow protect the people who I love so dearly from going through this too. I am overcome by guilt every day knowing that there are people hurting, there is sadness and there are tears because of me. I don’t know what to do, I feel completely helpless.

There are so many things to deal with. I was one of those people who thought that the hardest part of having cancer was the sickness. I can tell you now, from experience, that’s definitely not the case. There are so many aspects of this disease, the physical illness and pain are such a small part of what a cancer patient has to face. It’s terrifying and completely overwhelming; you have to treat so much more than your body. As long as you can stay on top of these aspects most of the time, you can get through it. I believe it’s all about balance; you have to put as much energy into fighting your thoughts, your fears and your emotions as you do into fighting the physical pain. You have to focus on ridding your mind of the ever-present urge to give up while pulling your body through another day. I honestly believe that the trick to fighting cancer is to make sure you have all bases covered as often as possible. It’s not easy, not at all, but then again, nothing worth doing ever is. At the end, the reward will outweigh the sacrifice… you have the ability to save your own life; you just have to put your head down and do it.

There are so many tough days, millions of tears, I cry all the way to the hospital in the morning and all the way to the work when I’m done, it feels as though every day is a little more difficult than the one before and sometimes I miss my ‘former’ life so badly that I battle to breathe; but I continue to search for that balance, I continue to do my part and I lean on your support to get me through the impossible times. I don’t think you will ever truly understand how much I rely on your support, how often I read your messages, and emails and how grateful I am for every single word. I would not be here if it not for these.

This is difficult; there are no 2 ways about it. It’s horrible and I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy, but, I am carrying on and I am fighting. I’m still on this journey and I’m still doing it my way. I honestly believe that at some point, I will have some good news for you, I will be able to say something to make you smile and I will be able to lift your spirits, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but sometime soon.

Much Love

Live Today With My All

Chapter VII : Medical Update. A Quickie

I promised a “medical” update today, so here it is…

I start my radiation treatment 3 days ago. At this point, we’re not exactly sure how many sessions I’ll have but it’ll be at least 10, so…. basically, I have a session every day for the next week at least.

I’m feeling pretty good about it. I have such an amazing medical team who have prepared me, motivated and stood by me so far. They’ve explained everything in such detail. I’m so grateful for them.

I’m nervous and a little frightened but I think that’s natural. It’s all surreal now.

I promise to keep you all updated as often as possible!

Much Love

Live Today With My All

Chepter VIII : Never Underestimate The Nausea

This morning I got an text from one of a wonderful followers from Iowa asking why I haven’t posted on my medical updates, they thought I’d fallen off the face of the earth. I thought that was so special. I’m so happy to hear that this blog series is getting out there, it is so motivating.

I’m still here… I’m sorry for having been quiet lately; it’s been a tough few days. The chemoradiation treatment takes everything out of me… so much so that even posting on my blog has become an effort. But I promise I will post the medical updates once I have the news.

I had my fourth chemoradiation session this morning. I wish I could give you an inspiring speech about how it’s not that bad and how it’s so much easier than you think it is. The truth is… it is that bad and it is as, if not more difficult than you’d expect. People react very differently to chemoradiation so I can’t tell you what it’s like for everyone but I can tell you that, for me, it’s a horrible experience.

Last week, I had a catheter inserted into my arm which was supposed to stay there until I’ve completed the treatment course; it was a very uncomfortable experience. On the first night I managed to damage the catheter in my sleep and woke up in a pool of blood the next morning. Since then, we’ve tried moving it to my other arm, my neck and my chest…. my body refuses to have it! So, the unfortunate result is that they have to make a new hole and put in a new IV with each session… I look like a pin cushion and I’m pretty sure that anyone that gets a glimpse of my arms and hands is convinced I’m a junkie.

The worst thing about this treatment is, without a doubt, the nausea! For me, it’s pretty much instant. As soon as that fluid enters my bloodstream I am overwhelmed with nausea and it lasts for what feels like forever. I have formed a very close bond with the toilet lately, for the first few hours after my sessions, we are inseparable. It’s amazing how the body can still find something to throw out, even if you haven’t eaten for days. Fatigue is a very close second to nausea, sometimes I’m too tired to lift my head, I find it impossible to function and I often need help with small, mundane tasks. The funny thing is… no matter how tired I am, how severe the fatigue is, I’m never too tired to be nauseous and although I struggle to do almost anything else, my body always seems to find the energy to spend quality time with the loo.

I noticed a change in my facial hair today… I wasn’t looking forward to that moment. Although it’s not quite noticeable at this point, it’s definitely much more dry and brittle than it used to be. Although I haven’t noticed it falling out throughout the day. They say this may be the worst of it. I may not lose all of my facial hair; I may just notice a change in its texture and thickness. I’m really hoping that’s the case. Although it’s the side effect most commonly associated with cancer treatment, it doesn’t happen to everyone and the intensity of it varies from patient to patient.But it seems like a rather small price to pay. Besides, who knows right?! (Keeping positive)

I’ve had a few questions about whether my case is curable and exactly how bad it is…. I’ve been trying to avoid this one but I guess the prognosis will only make the victory that much sweeter, so here we go. Medically, no, this is not curable. My case is extremely advanced and, from what we can tell at this point, it is spreading rapidly. The treatment I am having at the moment is palliative – basically that means it’s supportive, to help me with pain and ease some of the symptoms. The doctors do not believe that there is any hope for me…. but that’s just because they don’t know me. They have been wrong all these years so far. I have been given a ‘time-frame’ but that’s my little secret. I don’t believe that there’s any point on discussing that because it’s not true. I will be sure to let you know when it’s lapsed though. I believe, with all of my heart, that I am going to beat this thing and although my medical team are amazing, they’ve got it wrong and there is hope for me… there has to be… I’m not ready yet, I’m not done yet. I will fight, no matter how bad it gets, no matter how painful it becomes, I will keep going and I will win. I am 29 years old, I’m not going to die now, I am most definitely not going to die like this.

A huge part of dealing with this journey emotionally and coming to terms with where I am and what is happening to me was having my 7th tattoo. Although my mother is horrified, I am so happy with it. There is no feeling quite like being tattooed… I find it soothing (unless it’s on the chest… I didn’t enjoy that one). It was an emotional one for me… the artist, who is also a very close friend, put together an amazingly special design for me and I had a lot of trouble holding back the tears when I saw the finished product. Each and every one of my tattoos has a meaning but this is the one I cherish most. This piece will remind me, every time I see it, that not only am I strong enough to get through this but also that as long as I take it one day at a time, I cannot be beaten. It is a tribute to the cancer fight and a symbol of all the amazing people on this journey. I didn’t do this for myself alone, this tattoo is also my way of showing support for those who are walking the cancer journey and honoring those who have lost the fight. Every time I look at it. It’s big, bold and very visible and I am absolutely 100% proud of it.

I get rather frustrated with people’s comments when it comes to tattoos… for me; a tattoo is an expression of my creativity, my individuality and a map to my life. I don’t believe that my tattoos have any effect on my ability to run my work or enjoy success in my career. Having tattoos does not mean that my body is not my temple; it simply means that I have chosen to decorate my temple differently. I am not ‘rough’ or disrespectful because I wear my art on my body instead of hanging it on the walls and I am most certainly not evil or part of some ridiculous cult because I have chosen to display my creativity on my body. Being inked does not make me any less of a person than anyone else, if anything; it makes me more of an individual and I wear my ink with the greatest of pride.

I’ve never been very good at conforming to any specific stereotypes or ’boxes’ as I so affectionately call them. I’ve always done things in my own way and I can be horribly stubborn at the best of times. I’ve never been very good at taking orders or conforming to any standards that people may have set for me. I change my mind a lot and I’m completely unpredictable when it comes to how I handle things. That’s just who I am. I either couldn’t be bothered with what people think or I care too much, I can be as cold as ice or the most loving and affectionate person you’ve ever known, I can hold a grudge forever in certain situations or forgive effortlessly in others… I have no idea how it works or why I was wired this way but what I can tell you is, I have always and always will do things in my own way. This may or may not be the ‘correct’ way of doing things but it works for me and my cancer journey is probably the strongest example of that. I can’t tell you how I’m going to feel from one day to the next and I may change my mind a million times but one thing is for sure… I will keep fighting, in my own way, on my own terms.

I understand that my appearance is deteriorating quite a bit and it’s starting to become quite noticeable that I’m sick. I know that’s concerning and I know it’s tough to see me like this. I meet up with someone I care very much few days back for the first time in just over weeks and, although he tried very hard not to show it, I could see the shock on his face. That is probably what I hate most about this journey, as hard as I try to convince everyone that I’m ok, my face seems to give me away. I know it’s difficult to see me this way and it’s even more difficult to pretend that you don’t see it… so don’t. Please don’t feel like you need to hide anything, or that you have to pretend that you can’t notice. You can see it, I can see it, and it’s okay to talk about it. I’d be pretty surprised if I didn’t look terrible, wouldn’t you? I don’t expect to look like a supermodel! I don’t ever want you to be afraid to show how this is making you feel. You don’t have to be strong for me; you don’t have to wear the ‘brave mask’. We’re on this journey together and I understand that you’re walking too, I am fully aware that it affects you too and it’s hard, you’re allowed to feel that, and most importantly, you’re allowed to talk to me about it.

I’m doing my best to leave the ‘brave mask’ off as much as possible, I’m finally starting to understand the importance of allowing people in and talking about my feelings. I’m not very good at it yet, it’s really difficult to let my guard down but I think I’m getting there.

There are no rules in this game… there’s no instruction manual and there’s no normal. There is absolutely no right or wrong way of dealing with this and unfortunately we all just have to take it as it comes. Every step is a process and nothing comes easy but as long as we take it one day at a time, we’ll get there.

Much Love

Live Today With My All

Chapter IX : Words Can't Speak

Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives meaning to it.
My emotions seem to running away with me today. I’m battling to fight the tears and my heart is full it actually aches. I’m exhausted with emotion and I just have to get it out, it feels as though I am going to explode if I don’t. I have so much to be grateful for, so many blessings. I have to tell you about them, I have to let you know, there are still good, pure people in this world, there are still angels in our lives.

I’ve never really been a person that struggles with words; it’s never been a problem for me to express myself, especially in writing music. I may not be able to say the words sometimes and I tend to seem a bit hard in person but when it comes to putting my feelings down on my music or on paper, I’ve never really had to put much thought into it.

This seems to be yet another thing cancer has changed about me though. I finally got to sit down and read through all the messages, emails, etc and although I had every intention of responding to each and every one, I just haven’t been able to do it. For the first time in my life, I cannot find the words and I simply don’t have the strength to search for them. I cannot believe that there could be so much love, so much support for someone like me. I have spent countless hours trying to figure out what I have done to deserve so much love and support and I can’t find anything great enough to make me worthy of this. I wish that you could see how the tears flow like rivers while I read all the words of support. I wish that I could give you insight into my soul, I believe that only them would you understand how deeply touched I am.

I look at my brothers, at everything they’re doing, the worry on their faces and the love in their eyes and I have to turn away to stop the tears. I have always had a very special relationship with my brothers and they has always been my rock, through everything they have been there and protected me from anything and everything. Ernie has made it his mission to drive the cancer awareness cause and he has put his heart and soul into supporting me. He has always been my hero, my role model and the one person I have always aspired to respect but since my diagnosis I have found a new respect for him, a new love and admiration on a whole new level. I couldn’t do this without you, I wouldn’t want to try. Not a day goes by that I don’t notice and appreciate you, I see your heart and I know your pain, I know how hard you try to be strong for me. I need you to know that you don’t have to be, you just have to stay close to me and we can be weak together. I love you more than words. You inspire me every day and I get so much of my strength from you.

I have the most amazing family. I wish that I could find the words to tell them how grateful I am for them, how much they inspire me and how lost I would be without their love and support. I know how blessed I am and how fortunate I am to have them in my life. Seeing the pain on the faces of the people I love so dearly is so difficult and so motivating at the same time. Knowing how this is affecting my family makes me fight harder and find the strength when I’m weak. I love you all, so much. Thank you for every moment, I will never, ever forget.

To a special someone out there. You are the most amazing gift I have ever received and I would not survive a day without you. Even though you are fighting this battle with me and it is as hard for you as it is for me, you are so strong, you give me so much support and you remind me every day of why I’m fighting so hard. Thank you for keeping me going, for making me smile and for staying by my side. Thank you for crying with me, for me and for wiping my tears. You are the most amazing person I have ever known and you deserve the best. I love you to the moon and back. And also Leo, even you are that far away, you have always been my source of keeping sane. I know this part maybe many won't understand what is going on. But our little "Keping" conversation and making sense into "Bencis" and "Niey". Honestly speaking, I really wouldn't know where I would be without you Leo.

There is a very, very special person, I have mentioned her before but she continues to amaze me and so I must make mention of her again… Kel, you are truly an angel and I will never cease to be amazed at how you have taken me under your wing. You have raised me up and pulled me out of the trenches so many times, without even knowing it. You have inspired me, motivated me and reminded me of everything that is good and pure about this world. You are a legend and I am honored to call you friend. Thank You! Everyone should have a Kelly in their lives, I am so proud to know you and to be touched by you and your voice personally. With your voice and my music, sometimes, I just call it a perfect fit.

The support I’ve received from the American Cancer Foundation goes beyond any support I’ve ever given them. The ACF has been so close to my heart for so long and I’ve always loved the cause, its amazing founders and all the fantastic people who make up the foundation but I never thought I would come to rely so much on them. I’ve seen the ACF message spread so far and wide since my diagnosis and it makes me so proud to think that I inspired some of that. We’ve seen so many new donations, awesome sponsorships and most importantly, people are taking notice, not only of the ACF Foundation but of its cause. I am so proud to be associated with an organisation like this, with people who actually care about the cause they promote. The ACF merchandise is selling at an unbelievable rate and every time I see a someone wearing a ACF T-shirt, my heart melts and the tears flow purely because I know that the proceeds of that piece of clothing have gone to helping someone like me. I am not a ACF ‘employee’ and this is most certainly not a sales pitch, I simply have to tell you about something that is affecting my life, my journey and most definitely assisting in fighting my battle. I would seriously suggest that you have a look at this cause and offer your support.

There are so many things, so many people; I could never mention them all. I’m sure that I don’t even know about half of them. I am so unbelievably grateful for all of them. Thank you to all the people, all over the world who have shared my blog, spread my message, held me up in prayer, researched so much and even shaved their heads to show support, you are all my angels and I love you all so very much. Thank You.

Much Love, Many Tears & a Heart Bursting with Gratitude

Live Today With My All.

Chapter X : Underestimate The Aftermath Of Running Away

The last few weeks have been a real challenge for me, I have been at war with my body and unfortunately, I haven’t won, not yet. Physically, it has been hell, I have never experienced pain like I have in the last few weeks, I’ve never been more tired or weak… to put it bluntly I’ve never been so full of cancer. Dealing with the physical and medical side of this monster has taken all I have to give but it’s nothing compared to the emotional and mental stuff. I avoided my blog like a plague out of fear that if I began writing, those emotions and thoughts would all spill out and I’d be forced to deal with them.

The physical fight has taken so much out of me that I haven’t had much left to deal with what’s going on in my head and in my heart, I’ve tried so hard to push everything else in the back of my mind, promising to deal with it later. I needed my strength and all of my energy to fight physically, the emotional side was just going to have to wait. I’ve pushed back the tears and dismissed any thoughts and feelings I believed I couldn’t deal with. Although that’s what I believed I had to do, it was probably one of the biggest mistakes I have ever made. It backfired on me in the most horrible way. Keeping everything locked up in the back of my head in a little box labelled “To-Do… Later” may have been what I’ve needed for a while but the problem is, that little box is only so big and sooner or later it was bound to overflow.

Late yesterday afternoon, that’s exactly what happened. After weeks of dismissing thoughts, denying feelings and pushing back tears, my little box exploded. I’m not going to get into the details of what and how, there’s not much point to that, but I completely lost control. I felt like a teenageer who had just had his heart-broken for the first time, I know, that doesn’t side so bad but if you’ve ever been a teenage girl and had your heart-broken for the first time, you’ll know that at that point, in that moment, there is nothing worse in the world and the pain is absolutely unbearable. With age, we learn that there are bigger things to worry about and there are things that hurt more but at the time, it is literally hell. The truth is, it’s really my own fault, I should have dealt with a lot of things a lot earlier and I should never have let me guard down, but I did.

It’s so easy to believe that when you have cancer, you’re somehow exempt from the world’s problems, that somehow, having cancer means that the world owes you a break and that no one will hurt you, stab you in the back or try to break you… why would they, you’re already broken. What kind of person would take advantage of a person suffering with cancer? On paper, that seems like a pretty naive attitude to have and in reality, it is, but trust me, it’s very, very easy to fall into that mind-set and when someone or something proves you wrong and shows you that regardless of your situation and / or circumstances, people can be hurtful and you are still vulnerable to getting hurt emotionally, when it happens, it hurts like hell and all of a sudden, you realize that, dying or not, you’re human and the people you trust most are the people who can and will cut you the deepest.

I’ve been tested on every level in the last few weeks, my strength, my faith, my patience, my spirit and my mortality… all of these have been pushed to their limits and I have been left lifeless far too many times. It’s been a real wake up call for me. I’ve seen so much of the good that this world has to offer, I’ve been overwhelmed by the love, support and selflessness of the amazing people around me and I’ve been overcome by the actions of people who give so much of themselves to helping others. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen the other side of the coin. I’ve seen and felt the hurt that people can cause. I’ve been betrayed and taken advantage of, I’ve been disappointed and stabbed in the back , I’ve lost respect for the people I once had so much for and most of all I’ve been reminded of why I possess such high walls and why I never, ever let my guard down. I am so unbelievably grateful for the handful of people who have carried me through these few weeks, I have taken strength and support from people and places I never considered and found comfort in the strangest situations. For those you are true, I will never be able to repay what you have done for me and I am eternally grateful. I owe you my life, thank you. There are those people who check in on me every single day without fail, who motivate me and support me. Those people who go out of their way to give me strength and hold me up constantly, those people are the reason I am still here and the reason I am able to fight, as weak as I am. To those who have betrayed me, taken advantage of my weakness and broken my heart, I forgive you, I understand your desire for self fulfillment and I will not hate you for the pain you have caused but I will never forget. Life is too short for hatred and I believe with all of my heart that one must forgive. I do forgive but I have also learnt a valuable lesson.

As a result of all of this, I am weak, I am tired and I am sad. I would love nothing more than to tell you that all is well, that my treatment is working and I’m strong but I’m not, not today. Today all I need is to scream. I need someone to hold me tight and say, “I know you’re not okay and that’s fine.” I need someone to see through the mask and cry with me, I need someone to make it better. Today I am bitter and angry and I don’t want to be. Today, I just want everything to be normal and it’s not.

Medically, I’m afraid there’s still no good news. My body is still not absorbing ANYTHING and the pain is almost unbearable. My body does not react to the strongest pain killers or even sleeping pills and I still have no reaction to food or liquids. Basically, I’m doing cancer cold turkey at the moment. I am weaker than I have ever been and at the moment there is nothing anyone can do about it. In August, I will start a very dangerous, very controversial treatment which scares me to death. It’s not something that just any doctor will do and it doesn’t have a very high success rate, in fact, it doesn’t have a very high survival rate but it’s a chance, my only chance and I have to take it. I’m told that it’s not approved by any medical council because it’s too dangerous and far too painful and there is a good chance I won’t survive it but if I do, it will work. It’s an incredibly painful process; apparently chemo and radiation are a day at the spa compared to this. I have to do it. I promised that I would try anything and everything and I would leave no stone unturned. I gave my word to fight with everything I am until the very end and that’s what I’m doing. Cancer may take my life but it will have taken a hell of a fight to do it.

The concept of having to say goodbye, not only to my wonderful family but to my friends, my music and my life haunts me constantly in ways that I can’t even begin to describe to you and although it saddens me, I know that if I have to go now, it’s because that’s how it’s meant to be. If I have to go now, I will go, with the biggest smile and a spring in my step knowing that I’ve done what I needed to do here and I have fulfilled the purpose that in place for me. I know I have so many angels to carry me home and wave me goodbye. In the end, if I have touched one life, if I have played a part in helping a single person to win their fight, whether it be against cancer or anything else, I know then that I have succeeded and I have beaten cancer, maybe not in my own fight but in someone else’s. That’s enough for me. There is a saying, I’m not sure who said it but I believe it is so true and I have lived my life to this”

“You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”

If I have managed this, I have lived, I am complete and I am grateful. People may take the credit for this, they may find their limelight, but at the end of the day, no one needs to know, as long as someone somewhere got the help they needed.

I will continue this fight, I will keep walking and no matter who or what tries to stop me, tries to break me, I will keep going. I may get discouraged, I may beg for an end but I will keep going. So listen up cancer, I’m not done! I will fight you each and every step of the way and you will not break my spirit, you will not take my soul! To anyone who thinks that my journey is an opportunity to get your 30 seconds of fame, to anyone who believes that because I am fighting cancer I am weak and you can take me on, BRING IT! I may be weak, I may be ill but I am still Eric Carter H. and I am still a force to be reckoned with. In the end, you will not win. So, to cancer and to anyone who feels the need to use my war with cancer against me… I’m ready for you; I am up for this fight.

Thank you again to those wonderful and amazing people who are standing by me. I know that I am difficult lately; I know it is getting hard to watch but I appreciate you. You keep me going. I love you dearly.

Live Today With My All.


Chapter XI : One In A Million Odds

Unfortunately, I doubt this is going to be one of my most inspirational posts. The last few days have been incredibly taxing on me and I think it’s safe to say I’m not in the best state of mind at the moment. Hopefully you will be able to find something useful in here. Maybe you could do the inspiring for today.

On Wednesday morning I went for what was supposed o be a series of systematic radiation sessions. These sessions were said to be an integral part of my palliative plan. Because my cancer is so dramatically advanced, the doctors felt it was the best and possibly only option to control the symptoms in combination with the medication they are giving me. Well… it really didn’t go according to plan. It turns out that my body doesn’t like or appreciate being nuked from the inside out and having radioactive liquid injected into my blood stream. In fact it outright rejected the whole idea… completely. I was violently ill during and after the session… instant side effects! The doctors say it’s as if I’m allergic to it…. allergic to radiation… have you ever! Apparently it’s extremely rare but it has happened… of course! My Mom said it best,

“Nothing is ever simple for you is it. When given one in a million odds, you always end being the one.” 

Long story short…. radiation on its own is not an option anymore. Thankfully I have a fantastic medical team. They came up with a new plan which involves mixing systematic radiation drugs in with a chemotherapy cocktail. It’s dangerous, it might not work and worst of all, it could make things worse. The doctors suggest that we try it because there aren’t any other options at this point. I wasn’t thrilled about it but I promised to d whatever it takes, so, let’s try it.

I’ve been going through 7 kinds of hell inside my mind since then. I think the combination of feeling absolutely horrible, not being able to sleep despite the awful fatigue and the sleeping pills, and realizing the fact that I might not be ok after all sent me into turmoil. I felt fear like I have never experienced it in my life and at one point, I found myself on my knees, weeping and begging to take it away. Since my diagnosis, I was sad, really, truly sad. It was as if I was mourning for my life, as if it was already over. I thought about everyone and everything that I’d leave behind. I thought about my music and what will happen to it when I’m gone. I missed my friends, my family, and my love. It felt as though I would never see any of them ever again and that hurt like hell.

Yesterday morning, I had a semi-permanent chemo catheter inserted into my right forearm which has to stay there until I’m done with chemo. It’s pretty uncomfortable and quite restrictive. I’m hoping they will be able to relocate it tomorrow. The actual session wasn’t great… well, it’s chemo, of course it wasn’t great. The nausea came as soon as the liquid entered my body and it hasn’t gone away yet. The worst part is, the nausea and the fatigue don’t mask the pain or allow me to forget about it, they actually just add to it. I’m pretty sure that the combination of my current state of mind, the sadness of my soul and the way I’m feeling physically is quite dangerous. I’m finding it very difficult to be positive and even more difficult to be strong. I just pray, with everything I have in me, that this will work. I don’t have many options now and I’m terrified. I’m also hoping that this depressive state of mind will disappear so I can go back to being Superman.

I cannot tell you that the way I’m feeling now is acceptable. I can’t tell you that’s its normal. I honestly don’t know. I would imagine that these moments are inevitable for anyone on this journey and so, my opinion is…. let nature take its course, feel what you need to feel and then pick yourself up again and carry on. Keep moving, one day at a time. Just do not allow this to consume you or push you to the ground, push yourself up. You can do this.

I’m trying so hard to be brave and strong and positive because I believe, with everything that I am, that those things are so important for me to get through this. I need to be okay, I need to inspire others to be okay and I need you to be proud of me. That’s why I’m here, that’s why I’m doing this. I believe that we’re only given as much as we can handle and there’s always a deeper purpose. I believe, to the depths of my soul, that I was given this burden; I was chosen to fight this battle and travel this journey to help others carry their burdens, fight their battles and travel their own journeys. I believe that I was meant to inform and inspire not only fellow cancer warriors but anyone who is dealing with something difficult. For that reason I will fight for the courage to be strong and brave and I will continue to document my journey in the hope that someone somewhere finds peace. I will do my best not to fall apart and I will keep walking, no matter what.

The scariest part is… I am actually as stubborn, tough and hard-headed as they say I am and I don’t like to admit that I need help or that I’m not doing so well. I am really good at wearing my brave mask, making sure that no one ever sees me fall apart and playing down the details so that it doesn’t sound so bad. I go for my chemoradiation sessions alone and I don’t talk about my conversations with my doctors. That’s just how I’ve chosen to handle this. This blog series is really the only place that I let go, even just a little. I need you to know, even though this is how I am, that does not mean that I don’t need or want anyone to support me and be there for me. The truth is, I need your love and support more than you will ever comprehend and even though I may not let it show, you strengthen me by being there for me. I cannot do this alone, this journey is long, tough and scary, I really need you here to hold my hand.

I wish that I could find the words to describe what an impact your support has on this fight. It amazes me every single day. I know it may seem like yours is just one of many comments or messages or calls… trust me… it’s not! Each and every word is taken to heart and I cherish them all. Hearing from you means the world to me; it makes me feel like I can take another step, I can keep climbing this mountain. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Much Love

Live Today With My All

Final Chapter ; Life, Death and Cancer.


After months missing in this series, I guess it's just time for me to finish up this final chapter. To all the survivor out there, you will never be alone. Reach out, Celebrate, Fight and Remember. The last chapter will be about Life, Death and Cancer. Sounds something dark and gloomy? But I can pretty much say it isn't.
"I’m once told my family that I don’t want anyone pounding on my chest or putting tubes down my throat if I stop breathing. I just want to go naturally.”

It’s usually not the act of dying, but the quality of dying that’s the biggest concern at the end of life. Most people who come to accept dying as a natural and normal part of life do not want to prolong the process when it won’t really change the outcome. But thinking about a good death is not something most people do. Some people want to stay at home and have hospice care there. Others choose to go to an assisted living center, a nursing home, or an inpatient hospice program. Some are in the hospital and want any treatment available to keep them alive as long as possible, no matter what their condition might be. Again, you should make the choices that you feel are best for you, your family, and your situation.

The goal of any cancer care is to give you the best possible quality of life. This is a very personal issue. There are ways you can be sure that your family and your cancer care team know what’s important to you and what you want to be able to continue to do.

At this point think not only about how you are going to live the next few months or years, but also try to think about and prepare for how you’re going to die.

If you are someone who has experienced or is experiencing a disease for which there is no definite cure yet, like colon cancer, sometimes you have to make some of the toughest life choices that there are. You really have to rethink a lot of things and examine just how much your life has been changed by the blow that was just dealt to your by fate.

You may curse at whomever you want and blame all sorts of entities for your sickness and wish that someone else got the damned condition that you are now suffering, but the reality is you have to face up to what has now become your life and you may need to revalue a whole lot of things. Things like how you go about your daily activities and how it is necessary for you to make sure that you would have a longer life than the complication would initially give you.

You may also have to let your vanity go, especially if you have qualms about losing your hair to chemotherapy or getting scars that may not really look well when you go to the beach if you undergo a surgical procedure to have the tumor ailing you removed. If you look good but you're going to die in the process then that is your choice and no one will begrudge you for it. It is, after all, your bed and you will have to lie in it yourself. However, if you want a shot at living and if it means that you have given up aesthetic beauty to do it, would you rather live without hair then die with your gorgeous hair. Meds that make you bloat. Up to 70% of your initial weight. But it could drastically drop within days. You will always be in that position where you always see yourself and hating what you are going through. But could we really let go of vanity? Truly letting it all go?

You see, it all comes down to what you want most in life. A thing like this radically changes a person's life. It turns all of their plans inside out and throws a really big monkey wrench in the whole thing. In the event that you do get it all out of your system, you might suddenly find yourself in the midst of a relapse of the disease.

Well, I am not saying this is the worst thing that can ever happen to someone. But base line is I have seen far more worst than mine. Why am I writing all these? Cause somehow I am forcing myself to face facts that I am running away from. Somewhat glad you flew in to be with me again. But practically, I am starting to feel that the wave of emotion tsunami is coming somehow. I am just trying to get myself ready. But how long have it been now? Years and years, and still, accepting this is always something I am running away from. But the least I know for now, I don't have to do it alone.

There is one strong thing I believe that I have to say here. To all the surviving ones and those who are still fighting with cancer. There is one thing I've learn in years is that death isn't a thing we human can make that decision for. Yes no doubt there will come to a time when your doctor will tell you how much time you may left. But one thing I learn from it is they are human. They are predicting what will happen and prepare you for what is going to come. But do remember this
Live your life they way you wanted and don't give in a second to what those words are. They are not the one who will tell you when you will die. As a survivor all these years, one thing I learned is life is something worth living and worth fighting for. When your time is up, there is only one person who can make that call. And we all know who. 
There will always be your up cheery day, and there will be the gloomy once. But everything will rise, and it will eventually past. Don't let anything define what life is about for you. Define your own path, and walk your life the way you want it to be.


The End.



Before I end this Live Today With My All Series, I really wanna say this, without the cancer team and family at ACS, my family member, my love ones, I would never take this step to finish up this. No doubt it is hard, but it is something worth fighting for. Don't give in to cancer. Stand tall and tell the world you are a survivor. You guys were my inspiration and strength all these while. I really hope you will not give up fighting too. And to all the ones that kept me company through out my journey, thank you. (You know who you are) With all these support and love, I know I wouldn't need my mask anymore.

Much Love

Live Today With My All

2 comments:

  1. Your blog post is truly truly inspirational. I'm glad I found your blogpost and spent time going through what you want to share. I don't think I whatever I say is important but you should know that you have caused a positive ripple effect to the people who've read your blog, your story, your life!!

    Remember to celebrate life everyday, every hour, every minute, every second when you have the time to do so.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you are sharing this. I could never understand what was going through my partners head while he was diagnose with Melanoma Stage 3.

    You made me understand the will and patience I have to hold on for myself and for my partner. Thank you Eric. It is really inspiring.

    ReplyDelete

 

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Live to love and love to live. The motto that I held on my entire life. Just a regular guy who loves what I am passionate in life. A song writer and producer. Living life on the move. From Malaysia to The States, New Zealand to Singapore. With the companion of great people in life. In and out from the music industry. Taking everything one step at a time. 
Eric believe what Eric says~ Cuz Eric is God~