Originally, when I thought I’d like to do public speaking, I was thinking about brain injury, my story, and my recovery. In 2016 I began to speak locally, and once in Halifax at Dalhousie University, and it was good, proceeding at a modest pace, but proceeding nonetheless. In the spring of 2017 I was thinking that if I was able to speak a few times that summer, I could find my voice and hone my speech.
As I wrote on my Patreon page, my plans were derailed in June 2017 when I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer (thanks to Lynch Syndrome). A surgery to remove the tumour (and most of my colon) was successful, however it also led to a bowel perforation and another surgery. By October the wound in my abdomen had finally healed and I was able to enthusiastically start chemotherapy.
My enthusiasm for chemotherapy was not as robust as I had predicted, and, as anyone who’s gone through chemo will tell you, it sucks. It really beat me up, made me feel like garbage, and led to two forced breaks. Now, those 18 rounds of that particular chemo are behind me. In fact, I haven’t been on chemo since mid-August 2018, so now I have another experience to talk about.
Optimism can be found in experiences that are seemingly devoid of positivity, possibility or even hope. I have recently been reminded by others that they see me as an optimist. I don’t know that I found optimism in either my brain injury or cancer experience, whether it grew from some place in my mind because of those experiences, or if it’s always been part of me.
As I’ve written before, both of those experiences are part of my life. So is how I perceive them. This is what I want to talk about.