1 Year Later, I got 2 words for Cancer

FUCK LEUKEMIA.

Yeah, I said it.

What'd you do today? Oh you know. Just rode 6 miles in 100 degree weather 6 months after my transplant. NBD.

What’d you do today? Oh you know. Just rode 6 miles in 100 degree weather 6 months after my transplant. NBD.

I think the above picture sums this whole mess up pretty well.

Cancer can go ahead and suck it.

Honestly, the list of people I have to thank is basically endless. If I start now, maybe I can repay the kindness by 2020. Maybe.

First of all, my entire family is just straight up ridiculous. Aunts, Uncles, cousins, second cousins, just god damn everyone. Hell, my baby cousins that probably don’t even understand what cancer is still want to send me cards (and have!) wishing me to get better. I wish I was as awesome a kid as all my little cousins are. There are too many of you to name, but fuck it, thank you Kathy, Tony, Lauren, Mason, Aunt Margie, Auntie Anne, Aunt Patti, Uncle Doug, Uncle Arnie, Uncle Lenny, Steve, Joanne, Patti, Julie, Julie, Grace, Lenny, Peter, Roseanne, Tina, Bob, Dawn, Mark, Jenny, Chris, Doug, John, Joanie, Robbie, Missy, Linda, Dean, Steve, Matt, Christine, and then holy crap this is going to test my memory, Isabella, Nicholas, Sofia, Ryan, Christian, Abigail, Tyler, Paige, Summer, Brody, Robby, Emily, Olivia, Brianna, Jilian, April, Deanna, Michelle, and Jenny. If I forgot anyone, or misspelled any names – blame my memory, not because of any intended slight. I love all of you, and I couldn’t be blessed with a better family.

My parent’s have a ton of friends who have been amazing as well, and while I can’t name all of you, just a special shout out to Uncle Spoons and Auntie Momo, the entire Brandy family, the Annunziata’s, the Clemente’s, the Breslin family, the Fasses (now with 1 more!), the Vitales, and just so many more. My parents always forward on your well wishes, and I am eternally grateful.

Additionally, my Dad has about a bajillion friends who are always asking after me, as well as just about all of his customers. I hear about it, I’m grateful for it, and every time, it puts a smile on my face. In particular, I still remember the homemade pasta from Chef Lenny, and I hear every week about how Chef Kevin is asking after me, and eagerly awaiting my next blog post. I know you guys both follow my blog, and so you two in specific get special mention.

I’m not too sure how many people from the PRIDE group follow my blog, if any, but in case any of you do, know that I heard all about how many of you wanted to see me at the last conference, and when I show up to the next one, the first round is on me.

One of the things writing this blog has given me has been the connection with some truly wonderful people, who were otherwise complete strangers, and because of their own blogs, I got some insight into their struggles, sometimes different from mine, but always inspiring to read about. And while I can’t mention all the awesome people I’ve met through this, I did want to mention four who write their own blogs, all of whom are terrific writers, all of whom make me feel weak – not because of anything they said, just because I am in awe of their strength and perseverance. If you have time, these are four blogs that you should definitely check out. Be prepared to cry, exalt, and cheer, though.

First up, we have Jessica. Interestingly enough, I actually went to college with her brother, though he and I were just fairly distant acquaintances. She kicked the crap out of Ovarian cancer, and she’s just a general bad ass. Read about her stuff here: http://jesssultaire.wordpress.com/ Honestly, she makes my struggles look like child’s play. As she and I said, post-Cancer Jess gives zero effs. She’s pretty cool, in other words.

Next, another amazing lady named Nikki. She is currently on day 38 post-transplant, and she’s already walking around with ankle weights, generally just being a beast (that’s a good thing, in case you’re not “hip” with the lingo). She’s out in seattle, craving great pizza, and is super open and honest with the whole cancer business. She has PH+ ALL, but it’s remarkable how much our situations paralleled. Read her story here: http://niki4acure.wordpress.com/

Third, we have a great writer, dealing with a totally different treatment regimen than I, but we both commiserated quite a bit during our mutual hospital stays. She’s a poet, a writer, and just generally a sweet, awesome lady. Read more about her here: http://emilyshead.wordpress.com/

And finally, I honestly think this was the first person to follow my blog, or comment, and to date, after me, she has the most comments of anyone on my site. We deal with totally different things, but she’s a young lady dealing with chronic disease with dignity, honesty, and a candor that is absolutely admirable. Read her shpeal here: http://chronicallyreal.wordpress.com/

I’d also just like to shout out the Farrell clan. Just…all of you. I think single handedly, with Christine’s influence, the Farrell family boosted the national marrow registry by at least a full percent. In like 1 week. I have never known another family to care so much about such an insignificant person such as myself. I owe a great debt to all the Farrells, and like most people I’ve mentioned, I have no idea how to begin to repay you all. Other than to say that I love you all, and consider you guys and gals to be my second family. And Dennis – we will be bike riding soon. As soon as I can get some legs underneath me so I don’t embarass myself riding some of those monster hills in Rye.

Finally, the last group of people to whom I am eternally indebted to are my friends. I’ve always thought that I had an amazing group of friends, but I really never understood just how outstanding you guys all are. There’s no way for me to express my love and gratitude to all of you, but you can be damned sure that the rest of the time I have on this stupid green and blue orb is going to be spent trying to show you all just how much I love you people. The books, food, visits, cards, messages, calls, texts, emails, pictures, just never stopped. People I hadn’t talked to in years not only checked up on me, but visited whenever they could.

I honestly don’t know how I didn’t cry basically any time any of you showed up.

The most ridiculous part, is that every friend found some way to do something that touched me, in their own way, in their own manner, and I just…can’t explain how much it meant to me. I will do my best to name you all, because I know some of you all get a kick from seeing your name on the interwebs, but please don’t take offense if your name isn’t present. I have a really bad memory, and I will try to update this if I think of anyone I forgot, but there’s a god damn lot of you to thank. That being said:

Jessie, Brit, Christine, Dan, Tiffany, Walter, Ben, Zach, Jess, Maya, Amanda, Dylan, Gabriella, Pat, Nate, George, Moki, Chuck, Cody, Brandon, Jake, Gareth, Andrew, Shannon, Jenna, Kris, Katy, Lauren, Caitlin, Stephanie, Holly, Claire, Anne Marie, Kaitlin, Stephanie, Brittany, Jillian, Anna, Margaret, Rachel, Dennis, Adam, Evan, Nick, Matt, Numi, Sierra, Greg, Peter, Jeff, Kristy, Jaclyn, Jason, Tiffany, Maggie, Ashley, Gabi, Suzer, Alex, Alex, Liz, Katie, Kim, Marusca, Belma, Kyle, Emily, Emily, Cara, Mitu, Junho, Mark, Victoria, Laura, Deb, Debbie, Debrah, Emma, Julie, Sonia, Brad, Stephanie, Brad, Todd, Herrick, Julie, and basically everyone else that I can’t currently think of. Like I said, there are an awful lot of you, and know that if you’re ever around me, you may or may not find the bill covered without you realizing.

It has been quite the year. I know that my family has gone through a bunch of things that they didn’t keep me in the loop for, but know that I love you all nonetheless, and just everybody out there that has wished me a speedy recovery, included me in your prayers, sent positive vibes my way, kept me company on gchat, facebook, text, email, phone calls, liked my posts, followed my blog, gave book suggestions, gift cards, or donated blood or joined the registry in my name, know that I couldn’t have done all this without all of you helping.

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22 comments

  1. Elizabeth Breslin · · Reply

    Most excellent blog! Ride on!!

    1. Will do 🙂

  2. Melissa · · Reply

    You got to leave the house?! And go for a bike ride?! Congratulations! That’s terrific, fabulous, and amazing. Does that mean your test results came back ok? You might gain some weight from burgers in that case. I fully plan on going this week because summer classes start.

    1. Hah! I totally forgot to mention the test results! Whoops! Yeah, everything came back as expected. 100% baby marrow, immune function recovering. I’m allowed out without a mask on now! Though…I only ever wore one when I was going to the hospital…shhhhh. Don’t tell!

      I still don’t think they’d approve of me eating a medium rare burger, but I’m going to ask them this week. If you do go – make sure you get the Black Label burger and the chocolate souffle if you have any room left over!

      1. Melissa · ·

        I won’t tell. Your secrets safe with me. That’s great, I’m glad your tests came back good. But boo to not being able to eat a burger yet. I will try to save room for some chocolate, its my favorite after all.

  3. YAY…You are out on your bike again! I’m so happy for you!! Thanks for the kind words too. I hope that even when our posts are fewer we remain in touch and maybe even meet someday.

    1. Thanks! And that would be pretty cool 🙂

  4. Congrats on the great ride! What away to give the big middle finger to leukemia on the anniversary of your diagnosis 😉 you have SO totally kicked ass! haha
    Thank you so much for your shout out, and very sweet comments :). Following your story has been a big learning experience for me; it’s also been very touching, inspirational, and humbling, but funny at the same time. Being able to look back at this whole year of your life is amazing – you’ve come so far, I can’t even put it into words without it sounding trivial.. Even in the times you struggled, you handled every situation with such strength and the best attitude.
    I can’t wait to hear more as you get more of your ‘freedoms’ back (foods, exposure, etc). Take care!

    1. I hope you watch Arrested Development, so this reply is more than just a four letter word:

      Same.

  5. 1.) FUCK YEAH YOU BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF SOME CANCER! Zero eff’s given always.
    2.) So honored for the acknowledgement. We are connected in a pretty rare, unusual but very special way. You always just “get it” and I am eternally grateful for your support.

    Triatholon, Half-Marathon, signs ready.

    1. Lovin’ this reply. And signs? I’m bringing the A game. T-Shirts AND signs. Whaaaaaat.

  6. Tony, continued success. You, your parents and family need a nice vacation!

    1. Truer words may have never been spoken.

  7. This is awesome news!! I just wanted to share that the Team in Training teams from Westchester have been sharing your blog and your story and rooting for you during our team training sessions! If you would like to, you are always more than welcome to come to a spin, an outdoor ride, a swim, etc!

    1. Thanks! I would love to hop into a training ride at some point…once I get some strength and endurance back under my belt. Soon!

  8. Melissa · · Reply

    Hey,

    How are you? I finally went to Minetta Tavern last night. The burger was pretty good. definitely one of the best I’ve ever had. But, I gotta say, when the cheesecake factory still had their tons of fun burger it would be #1. Unfortunately I can’t tell you to go get one. I wish I could, though. Oh yeah, my new psychiatrist is laughing about the autism thing by the way. He says no way. He said if there were 50 diagnoses he had to pick from it’d be the last. He seems to think that if I had a form of autism I wouldn’t be in there talking to him. At first he thought i was slightly bipolar, but now he has come to think I just have anxiety. This is not really news to me, but i just thought it was funny that one could be mistaken for the other. Anyway, I’d like to somehow get involved with it even if i don’t have it. I’m just not sure how. Maybe I will check a website and see if they do walks or something. If you have any ideas, I’m open to suggestions. Can you eat burgers yet??? Id be so excited for you.

    1. Hey Melissa,

      Do you mind if I email you? I definitely do have some ideas to help with Autism, and it’s probably easiest to share them via email. Let me know if that’s cool!

      1. Melissa · ·

        That’s totally fine. Do you need my email or did it send it to you when I commented? I know it asks for the email. I’m not sure if you get to see it though. Thanks a lot, I appreciate it!

  9. Hey Tony! It’s Erica – i was your favorite nurse when you were at MSK lol (the one who would rub lotion on your arms lol). I’m soo soo thrilled to see you’re doing so well and getting back to normalcy! Tell your family I said hello!!

    1. Hey Erica!

      I’m glad you found me! I have to say, having to moisturize myself is much less fun than your hilarious comments on it.

      I’ll be able to visit soon, I think! Hope everything is great on your end!

  10. I love your attitude. I love your undauntable faith and I love that you are doing so darn well. Here’s to eradicating all ninja leukemic cells permanently …. no ifs ands or butts.

    1. Thinking about you a lot, and I hope your struggles start to get easier and easier. You are a baller, no doubt.

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