(17) My “Survivor Army”

They say if you surround yourself by positive and motivating people you will become a better person yourself. I could not agree more and that’s exactly what I did when I was in the fight for my life. This group of family and friends where what I like to call my “Survivor Army”. Now of course the general’s driving this army to victory was my mother, father and step father, because without them I would have never been able to just fully focus on beating this disease. They took care of my job, bills, transportation and the trip to the medical marijuana facilities.

Now lets start with my mother and stepfather. Both are very amazing parents and done so much for me not just when I was sick but as a whole. No matter the time of day I could call them and they would be right next to me in a heart beat. With this I felt like I was not alone in this war, and they assured me that they would fight hand and foot with me until the very end. The hard part for me was seeing my mom so upset and to see her have to care for me after she herself had been through two major back surgeries at this point and time. For her to put up with my sickness and with all the late night porcelain god praying (throwing up in the toilet), I tip my hat to her and am honored to call her my mother. My stepfather really stepped up to the plate not only for my mom but also for the both of us. He truly loves and adores my mother and fills her life with happiness. This I see, which made me want to live more, so I could find the same love in a partner that the two of them share for each other. I truly consider myself very lucky to have him step into both our lives, because he supports most of my decisions and will always be there for me in a time of need.

My father and I have had our ups and downs, but I truly believe that once I became sick and needed him, our relationship grew ten fold. He was so involved in my recovery and never hesitated to offer a helping hand in any way sort or kind. I remember one night at 3am; I called him and said I was hungry. Now during chemotherapy you are not always hungry, so when that urge hits you need to act on it, because you don’t know when that will happen again. So with this in mind, he came and picked me up and took me to McDonalds. We were driving around for a good 30 minutes trying to find a 24hr one. Even though to some this might not sound like a big deal, but this is truly when I felt like my dad and I had that relationship that would forever be unbreakable. If this was not enough, that night he asked me what I wanted that could help me through all of this, and I looked at him and said, “I could really go for a pug”.  Long story short within the next few weeks I had my very own pug puppy and named him Mr. Bentley. This dog never left my side from the moment I first laid eyes on him until this very present day. He kept me company on the days I was alone by myself, and put a smile on my face when I needed to be cheered up. I could not thank my father more for what he has done and given to me throughout this fight and my life.

All of these great memories of my parents played a big part in my survival, and most of all my drive to succeed in life. I always emphasize to others around me that parents are so much more than family, but yet they are your backbone and driving force into the success of one’s life.  Now my parents were the general’s in my army, so what about my infantry? Could never have asked for a better group of friends and family members to go into battle with. The story’s we created when I was sick are absolutely priceless and need to be shared.


(16) Drop dead Fred!

Music was filling the air, girls dancing all around me and I was a cancer survivor with a new mission in life. Even though I was changing myself inside and out, I forgot that others would not change around me. So here I am walking around this nightclub with my friends enjoying the night, when I get this sudden grab to my right shoulder. I turn around, and there Fred is with a big shit-eating grin on his face and the smell of cheap vodka as he opened his mouth to talk to me. At first I was expecting him to say something like “I haven’t seen you in a long time”, or “dang speed bump, you have grown”. This guy thought making fun of me was cool amongst our old friends, which is why I’m no longer friend’s with this person.  But I think I would have much rather him make fun of me than the comment he was about to make. Conversation went a little like this:

Fred: Speed bump…

Me: Oh hey Fred how you been?

Fred: Wow I’m really surprised!

Me: Surprised about what?

Fred: That you’re still alive! Thought the cancer would have killed you by now.

Me: Wow Fred, can tell you…

Before I could even get out another word, two of my very close friends pulled me back and stepped right in front of Fred’s face.  I was in complete shock that someone could say something like that, and also the fact at what had happened prior to this night with Karen. All I know is that at this moment I felt like I was in slow motion walking toward the back of the building, while behind me there was loud arguing going on followed by punches thrown by my friends. This all seemed surreal to me, like a scene out of a blockbuster movie. I found myself sitting in a chair crouched down with my hands on my head and a few tears slowly rolling down my cheeks.

Now some would say, why is this guy crying at a nightclub? But I don’t think anyone that has not gone through what I have could understand that feeling of emptiness that had just been brought upon me. The fact that someone could be so heartless and say something of this nature to a person that fought very hard for his life.

Like an angel from heaven, this woman sat in front of me and gently put her hands on my knees. I looked up and made eye contact, and had no idea who she was. She calmly said, “Forget about that guy! Remember all of the positive people and memories in your life that helped you beat this disease and forget about the rude and negative insensitive ones. If you need someone to talk to I will gladly step outside and talk with you.” At this point I thought to myself that this woman was an absolute sweetheart, and that there are people out there that really do care.

So what positive memories and people did I have that helped me beat this disease and live to see another day? As soon as I got home and into my room, I found myself hitting the rewind button once again, but this time it was a pleasant trip down memory lane.

(15) What Ego?

After becoming a cancer survivor, I thought to myself that nothing else in my future could ever crush me nor come close to what I had gone through. So many times when I was sick did I think to myself, “yeah this is the lowest point in my life, and I don’t think I can take another hit.” But I had come to realize that at this stage in my life, if you keep worrying about what possible bad things could happen to you in the future, that you would live the rest of your life in fear and caution. Thankfully I took this into my next encounter with girl number two on the apology list to put a little bit of padding on my heart.

Girl #2 (Karen)

Coming off a great encounter with the previous girl, I thought to myself that this was easy and should have done it sooner. So with this in mind I had tracked down girl #2’s phone number and gave her a ring. This conversation went from nice to down right evil in 3.5 seconds. Phone conversation went a little like this:

Karen: Hello?

Nick: Hi Karen, it’s Nick

Karen: Nick who?

Nick: Nick Leland!

Karen: OH WOW! What the fuck do you want you big pile of shit? Come to tell me how much of a loser I am? Or have I found anyone yet to put up with my bullshit? Is this why you called? Some nerve you have!

Nick: Karen I just wanted to apologize for my past behavior and actions. I never meant to…

Karen: I could give two fucks about your apologies. You can’t patch up what has already been done by you. So fuck off and loose this number!

The click of the phone hanging up felt like a bullet piercing right through the middle of my soul. I started thinking to myself; “wow, what the hell did I do and say to this girl that got her so pissed off that even time or my apologies couldn’t help?” This phone conversation made me feel like the biggest pile of shit, and really set me back emotionally.  Now of course, this I believe is the pain that Karen wanted to inflict on me emotionally, and boy did it work.

After this conversation sank into my head for a few hours, I started to go into analysis mode and try to figure out why exactly this played out the way it did. No matter how many times I replayed the conversation in my head, I came up with the same conclusion. Which simply was that I was a complete jerk, and said very hurtful things to push women away that started getting close to my heart.  I did not want to end up beaten and broken hearted again, so I became a very ugly man when it came to relationships. Never again would I let another girl do what Robyn (evil ex) did to me emotionally. But this was no way to live a second chance life, especially after knowing that life comes and goes fast.

While finding the strength to keep pushing on in this journey of redemption, I discovered that this person I used to be no longer existed and that I was the new and improved Nick trying to make a positive change in my life. I was done with letting the shadows of my ex loom above my head and keep me from finding happiness in a future partner, and that it was not her I was running from but yet myself.

With this conversation on my mind, I found myself in a little bit of a slump and according to my friends, I needed a night out with the boys to shake it off and show the world the new Nick. What a great idea this turned into and the night out with the boy’s was a much-needed outing, of course until we ran into a guy name Fred. The things he said to me, and the hole he burned into my heart was the last thing I expected that night. But as they say expect the unexpected right?