This is going to be a bit more personal than you are used to seeing from me, though I suspect you have all figured me out pretty well because of the connections we've made in our written interactions over the years. So maybe this won't be all that new to you after all.
But here goes...
I don't want to make a series of these articles because this is a baseball blog, but at the same time, you have all become like a family to me. The respectful, intelligent discourse of this community is a great source of pride for me. It restores my faith in humanity that we sometimes forget is in all of us. Here we are all Cubs fans and we all want the same things, even if we sometimes disagree on how we, or rather the Cubs, should do them. In the end, we are a community that truly cares about each other even if many of us have never met in person, though I have had the great pleasure of meeting many of you so far and hope to meet many more over the next several years...
I will continue to write as I can with the help of this fantastic, talented Cubs Den staff. They've been doing a great job juggling so many things and I am hoping to see them branch out with some new things and new growth in their own writing. I know we'll see some even more great things from them.
But, yes, I will write too. It brings back a sense of normalcy for me as I fight.
The thing about me is this: My appetite for all things in regard to knowledge, passion, love, as well as the things that appeal to my eyes, ears, nose and palate... my artistic and aesthetic senses... is insatiable. That is what defines me. The great enemy for me is not cancer. It is idleness. My mind is forever unstill and to try to make it still would take away the very spirit which keeps me moving forward.
That the cancer is invading my brain is a great assault on my very identity and I am taking that on as a formidable challenge. The crack staff of doctors here at MD Anderson are in the fight with me, offering me alternatives to not just preserve my brain just as it is now -- but nurturing it even more. And if this cancer wants to fight me on my strongest battlefield, then bring it on. I'll be more than ready to hold my ground and strike back with everything I have. Doctors are supplying me with whatever I need, even their sometimes cryptic medical journals, so that I may fully understand what I am up against. I have been pouring over them to stay as informed and prepared as possible.
One thing I learned from last time is that as much as I pride myself on my inner strength, I could not have gotten through this the last time without my beautiful, strong wife, who has been a rock. Here she is telling me I'm number #1 after busting me trying to take a candid shot during my last birthday lunch in April. She has been an incredible source of strength and support. putting in long, grueling hours to keep everything and everyone together. She keeps me grounded and has helped make me a better person than I ever thought I could become.
My parents flew in from Chicago after hearing the news, after just having arrived from their own wonderful trip to Peru. Their love, strength, patience, and perseverance has helped shape the person I am today.
There is family and friends, both here and back "home" from my days in Chicago that keeps me nourished: mind, body, spirit, and soul. I cannot thank them enough.
There is Vivi, of course, who can dish out and receive more love than any 18 pound fur baby/French Bulldog should be capable of storing and dispensing. Tremendous surplus love value here. We are forever in her debt.
There is the Cubs family themselves and by that I include all the staff, the players and their families, writers, fellow fans, even "rival" scouts who have been so supportive. I've heard of staff saying things like "We consider John to be a part of the Cubs family" or as one player recently told me, "You are just as much a Cub as any of us". Imagine that! Sometimes it's words like these, sometimes an appreciative gift, a "good to see you!", a fist bump, a hello or just a familiar smile or nod. That simple human connection can come in so many little ways and it can mean more than we may know at the time. They help make the ballpark my church. It is my sanctuary for the times when the world around me gets so noisy and needlessly complex that I cannot see or hear the simple things and wonderful people that are right there in front of me. Baseball always brings me back to center. Back to clarity. It makes me whole again. I cannot thank them enough for their inclusion. And so yeah, I am going to go ahead and say it. My family won the World Series last year. Ha!
But I will write. I have to write. I have to be nourished via my mind, body, spirit, and soul continuously and I thank all of you for indulging me in this relentless grind that I trust will always get me where I need to be. Thank you for letting me share this passion with you. I appreciate you all for joining me all along the way and wherever this team, this community...this family takes us next in the many years to come.
Your continued support and commitment is nothing short of outstanding.. It cannot be said enough. After this piece, we're back to baseball, back to my sanctuary. The next article I plan to write on this subject will be to share with you when I -- make that we -- achieve the next remission.
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