Post On Kent's Facebook Page: I am so blessed. I have been given a perspective of appreciation that I never, ever thought I would be afforded. I don’t feel guilty. I don’t feel sorry. I don’t feel angry. I don’t feel “why me?” (I do feel loopy sometimes because of the drugs though that’s for sure).
The quick background: Dr. Brian Nehad and his surgical team removed a brain tumor the size of a small baseball from the frontal lobe of my brain, and most of the secondary smaller pancake lesion in the middle of my brain on Monday, June 1st at Mass General Hospital after I have gone into the ER at South Shore Hospital on Friday May 29th (I will save the anecdotal stories leading up to finally going to the ER, the transfer, etc. for another time). They were able to remove almost all of the major sized tumor and most of the secondary lesion. I spent two days in the ICU and it was arguably the darkest two days of my life. The minutes felt like hours and the hours felt like days. During Covid times, no outside visitors are obviously allowed so being alone for those long stretches of time without being able to see loved ones and/or family is one of the toughest part of the Covid 19 pandemic (I heard and felt this from almost every nurse and doctor I met along my journey). I was moved to a neuro floor at the end of the day from the ICU and then released into the possession of my wife and father in law at the end of day 3. It probably seems like this all happened so fast in the outside world - and relatively - I guess it did. I have been in the care of my wife and immediate family for days at home now and we assess each day as it comes and each day has checked more good boxes so that is great! Quick background summary over.
Now - the important stuff. Change.
I feel so blessed with perspective. I feel whole even though physically I am not. I feel blessed to finally feel human again after the hardest 4 days of my life. For me, most would think feeling human would be not being in pain, getting more than 2-4 hours of sleep at a time, eating normally and using the restroom normally and without assistance, waiting for bouts of clairvoyance to express my feelings and clarity outside of the hours of 2-5 AM, not having 50 staples and 5 titanium screws in my head, not driving my amazing humble wife (or sister in law who also happens to be an oncology nurse at Dana Farber and my brother in law crazy every 20 minutes with another patient request or question that I have already probably asked 5 times, and the list (probably) goes on and on. However, feeling human for me means being afforded an alternate perspective on life - one that without my experience - I would not have otherwise received. I will continue to say I am blessed. This perspective has inspired me and driven me.
My immediate family has a very important meeting with our oncology team this coming Thursday to discuss my plan of mitigation going forward. So far, we know the surgery was aggressive and safe (according to the neurosurgeons - the perfect match). Modern medicine, technology, research and science has given us so much information to work with and troubleshoot and I say with confidence the team we are working with are some of the best lifesaving superheroes and supersheroes in the world. I have never looked at, listened to, and been moved by people who literally save peoples lives for a living in this way in my life. Rest assured when I tell you I am blessed by this.
After our meeting this Thursday with our team, we will get ready for the next comprehensive plan of attack and keep fighting.
In the mean time, the amount of love and support and compassion has been overwhelmingly beautiful. Honestly - it’s what makes us human. The compassion and love and selflessness I have seen expressed in the last 8 days shows what we are capable of as a group when we work together toward a positive and humanitarian effort. You cannot stop the power of love and compassion. It’s what everyone needs. Everyone needs love in their life. Everyone just wants to feel something positive. Everyone wants to have positive relationships around them. Unfortunately we don’t always, however again, I am SO blessed and inspired. I hope you’re starting to feel that for me as we go along here and I express these things. I would so much rather have you be inspired than feel badly.
This new perspective is my fuel and my tenacity and my sustenance right now. However I would be egregiously remiss if I didn’t admit there is a massive driving force behind this movement...this growing feeling of blessing and passion for life I am constantly shaping from this experience. My indefatigable immediate family (most especially my empathic wife Kaylene), my selfless bands and clans of other families, friends and neighbors from afar and close, coaches, teachers, support systems, my Norton family of colleagues, students, athletes, parents, alumni, and administrators, my Mass Track and Field family, my Bay State Running Family, and everyone else in between, on the periphery, or anywhere along this plane of existence.
My heart is full. I am ready to turn this around and pay it forward in any and every way that I can and use my experience as a vehicle for social change and emotional change. I am inspired and eager. At the risk of being redundant - I feel blessed with perspective and I hope you all do as well! I love you all. I will probably be even slightly more annoying and garrulous and “huggy” when I see you again because I will not be able to contain my excitement to see you (which comes close to potentially being able to sleep on my side again in the foreseeable future). I still have my memories and faculties and know who I am and where I am going and where I need to be and am excited to make so many more memories with all of you. Remember - perspective! Carpe Diem!