I think we're at home now.

I went in for my third and final surgery on Friday. I went to sleep at about 8:30am and was out to recovery around 10:00am. The "takedown" as it's called is notably the easiest and quickest of the three.

Once I woke up, I had a couple of IVs in my arm, some pain meds and hydrations. I looked down and was also minus a colostomy bag. There was just a small bandage covering what I would come to realize were 7 stitches holding me together. I thought I would be more emotional about it - losing that little part of me - but I wasn't. I did, however, feel really really great.

Within 2 hours of waking up, I walked myself to the toilet to pee. When they finally rolled me up to my room at 14N, I ended up taking 2 laps around the floor before tucking in for the night. They never really let you sleep at the hospital - every few hours they're either poking you with a needle, taking your temperature, blood temperature, or asking you questions.

On this last surgery, they look for a few things to happen to show that you're healing correctly. The first, and most important function they would like to see your body do is to pass gas. I was on a mission to fart.

As ridiculous as it seems, I knew that farting was my ticket to freedom.

And that happened midday on Sunday. I had a few visitors and I hollered from the restroom, "You guys! I farted!"

"We heard."

Later that night, I got a clear liquid diet (broth, Jello, tea) and Monday started on solid foods. By the time Dr. Michelassi did his rounds around 3pm, I was prepared to make my case for going home. I had all my ducks in a row. Fortunately, he didn't put up much of a fight...so home I went.

And here I am. Home and healing.

little things

Itโ€™s funny how itโ€™s the little things in life that mean the most.
— Zac Brown

It's easy to get swept up in life. Work. School. Friends. Family. Pets. Ya know...life! We're taught to not sweat the small stuff and to look at the "big picture."

BUT.

The small stuff โ‰  The little things.

Today as I worked with my boss on some small details for a large project - I took stock of where I was (a city I love), who I was with (people I love and respect), and what I was doing (a job I love to do every single day). When I left my meeting, I had a skip in my step as I sipped my favorite flavor of Gatorade and listened to Kelly Clarkson's Christmas album for the 100 bazillionth time. The little things make me happy.

It's the little things that keep the big things from being so damn overwhelming.

Six months ago I was diagnosed with cancer. Boom. Big thing. I underwent two surgeries that floored me. Boom. Big things. I've got another surgery in 4 days. Boom. I'm expecting it to be a big thing.

But yesterday I got to enjoy a holiday party with 60+ people that I love. A little thing.

The little things also teach us a lessons about life.

I have a dog...perhaps you've heard. He's on a schedule. He has a personality. He's also the love of my life. That little thing has taught me so much about life, love, responsibility, discipline...you name it. Knowing that I can come home to a fluffy four-legged friend makes my days so much more exciting.

The little things can lead to big things that might be the most important things to happen in your life.

I came to visit New York on a whim for Halloween 2010. I fell in love with this city and decided then and there that I would move here. I found a job and it happened in 8 short weeks. My life has been changed ever since.

On Friday, I will go to the hospital for my final surgery. When I wake up from surgery, I will finally be on my road to recovery. My colostomy bag will be gone. I will have lost a little thing - but honestly...good fucking riddance. That's one little thing I will be happy to give up.

It's funny - this little thing - this microscopic cancer - has changed my life in ways I don't even understand yet. And that is something that I cannot wait to explore!

Giving Thanks

It's Thanksgiving. A day dedicated to giving thanks and showing gratitude. A day that gives us an incredible opportunity to reflect back on the year gone by. A day like today - as we sit with our family and friends - it's easy to point to the things that make us grateful. Love. Health. Happiness. Friendships.

Unfortunately - Thanksgiving only comes around once a year and many times, gratitude remains elusive. When shit hits the fan - as it always does - one of the last feelings to come is that of thankfulness. It's hard to be grateful when your world is crashing down all around you. But that's when we need the strength, optimism and perspective to get through the hell. When thankfulness is needed most - it's the most distant.

What's to do?

Instead of looking at the "why this? why now? why me?" as a bad thing...be grateful for it. Take this incredible opportunity to be grateful for the life you already have. Do you have somewhere comfy to sleep at night? Do you have the means to leave your home, travel safely to a job, feed yourself, drink clean water...the list goes on! Once you've understood that where you are is exactly where you are meant to be at this moment in your life, it is then and only then that you can begin to fuel your fire to develop into the next best version of yourself.

It all starts with gratitude.

"Everyday, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can." - Dalai Lama