Am I finally noticing my mortality?

Blogger's Clip Show, Bowling, Injuries, James family, Reno, Uphill (both ways), West Allis

Sometimes my blog posts are for fun.  Sometimes they are to prattle on endlessly about nothing much.  Sometimes I'll post something that I may find interesting, but you couldn't care less about.  And sometimes, its cathartic.  This may one of them.

I know that I am overweight, and have the requisite high cholesterol and hypertension.   All tied into the overweightedness is my lack of exercise and lousy diet.  But my weight never really stopped me from participating in life's pleasures, like bowling, following sports, parenting, etc.  Should I have been taking care of myself for the past too-many years?  Certainly, what a silly question.  But the reality was that in those moments, it wasn't prohibiting me from doing stuff, so I paid it no mind.

In October, one of my best friends (a couple of years younger than me) was diagnosed with cancer.  He had a lump on his left forearm which he had checked out, and was given an extensive course of chemotherapy.  This was repeated in three-week intervals until the end of December, then what seemed like endless trips to doctors and specialists ensued.  It metastt, metos, mettstt, got into his lungs.  He has been through surgery and when the pathology came back, another round of chemo was ordered... as a matter of fact he is in the hospital today for Round 5.  All of this over the last six months, and according to my buddy, the doctors still don't have a handle on what it is.

From what anybody can gather (and he has been more evasive, understandably, the past couple of months, but I respect him too much to force more info out of him) is that it doesn't look good for him.  He's gone from "I'm gonna kick cancer's A$$" to "Baby steps, my man".  When another friend went to visit him recently, he had been getting his house in order.

This is freaking me out.  I've never had anyone close to me under the age of 80 pass.  Even those grandparents and aunts and uncles that did go hadn't been the people I had known, so I was able to justify it as "their time"... which may well have been true as God should have been happy with their earthly accomplishments.  My friend may or may not be terminal, and if so he may or may not come to peace with what is happening, but I am a long, long ways away from it (I flip flop between denial and depression). The guy is only 39, and acts about 22.  I am not going to eulogize him, but to think of all the stuff we've done....  he already has his plane tickets to Reno for Nationals, were we've been four prior times.  He may not be able to bowl, but if he can get on that plane, we've got four days to make whatever time is left (be it six months or sixty years) a time to remember.

So it came as a shock on Tuesday to hear that a friend and classmate at Hale of my wife's son, Grizzly, died over the weekend at 16 years old.  I did not know this young woman personally, and Grizzly seems to be doing pretty well.  But this (combined with my buddy's cancer) kind of has me going in circles.  I got the story of this girl's death about third-hand - passing through at least two teenagers - but it seems clear that it wasn't anything related to drugs and that it was as natural as a 16-year old dying can be.  Does it not disturb you that you can go to bed at night and wake up to NOT have a loved one wake up too?

Makes my little knee injury seem so damned insignificant.  On January 31st, I was bowling a tournament and midway through the last game it got stiff and sore.  I finished up my bowling and went home and iced it for hours and hours.  I've been to a handful of doctors, gotten X-rays and an MRI and it turns out I've got a partially torn ACL and somehow a bone chipped away from the top of my tibia.  I haven't picked up a bowling ball in five weeks, and I hope to be back in a week or two.

When I had my elbow problems and surgery a couple of years ago, my physique wasn't an issue.  It may not have been an issue with hurting my knee, but the rehab will be hampered... no question.

So now I've got my weight preventing me from participating in more than one of my favorite activities (if you know what I mean), my best friend my be dying, and a teenager's death touching our family.  All of this has me looking back over towards the top of the hill, wondering at which point I started going over.  Now I am at a crossroads.  Do I accept that I am getting older, and if I don't start to take care of myself I will be getting older, faster, or do I just start backpeddling and work my way back to the top of the hill so I am no longer over it?  I think I know the answer, and if anything else, my buddy's cancer and this girl's death may be my motivation.

With my luck, however, I'll drop 75 pounds, cholesterol under 180, BP at 120/80 and will get crushed when I am walking down the street and Bugs Bunny drops a grand piano out of a window while aiming for Elmer Fudd.

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