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“Serviam!” – I will serve.

Dear family and friends,

Apparently some neighbor kids are reading my blog.  I got a ride from a friend to infusion #3 today, and I parked in front of their house.  Some other friends of ours live right next door.  So some of them apparently got the idea to decorate my car while I was gone and leave handmade cards on the windshield, which was fantastic.  Made my whole weekend.

There’s a terrific rendering of our family, complete with my glasses and that tie I’m always wearing.  There were some inspirational quotes from the greatest Marine who ever lived, Chesty Puller.  There was also a dynamite greeting card jingle that Hallmark should offer to acquire, “We’re so enthused that you’re infused!”  There were references to auxiliary snacks and a Mr. T reference I very much appreciated.  After all, I pity the fool that is cancer.  Can’t you just hear Mr. T rocking that public service announcement?  Didn’t know Mr. T made PSAs?  Keep this one handy for next Mother’s Day.  You’re welcome!  Serviam. 

Since the cards the kids left on my car also brought up the topic of “great veins” (these kids must really be into the blog), I figure I’ll mention them one more time.  I found a way to work on vascular humility and detachment.  For my pre-infusion labs on Thursday, I was presented with the…opportunity…to have a student phlebotomist draw my blood for her very first live needle stick.  So I figured I should jump at the chance because otherwise she’d going to get some grandma with veins as thin as the needle.  That won’t do any good for anyone.  It was great.  Her trainer was pumping her up, saying, “Oh wow.  He’s got great veins.  You’re going to do great.  A guy like this – you barely go with any angle at all.”  She did great.  Right down the middle of the fairway.  And I found a new way to serve the community.  Serviam.  You’re welcome, future patients at the UCLA lab.

Treatment 3?  Oh, that went fine.  It is remarkable how unremarkable the treatments are and how I’m feeling.  I just feel regular.  A lot of local friends can likely attest that even when they corner me and ask me how I’m REALLY feeling, they’re just not picking up on anything being wrong with me.  I’ll admit that this is weird thing, but it’s the truth.  I’m not sure if I mentioned this, but the next round of scans are 7/27, so that’s when we’ll know a lot more about how the first two months of treatments have gone.

Chapter 978 of having a wife who’s kind of a big deal: one of the medical assistants went out of her way today to tell the nurse, who wasn’t around to meet Kendra when she came on the day of the first infusion, that my wife is…(here the medical assistant has a moment of speechlessness, gesticulates and makes facial expressions in attempt to help her regain the ability to talk, the letter “G” gets stuck in the back of her throat for a while, then is able to blurt…) GORGEOUS.  Then she looked a little mad, shook her head, muttered something about Kendra having delivered 9 kids, and then had to leave.  I sincerely don’t want anyone to be envious of anything, but this was pretty great.

To get serious about “Serviam” for a minute, I thought I’d share that it’s the way I start every day.  Any of these habits I’ve written about or developed are stolen from people I’ve admired along the way.  So a friend once told me that the way to start a day off right is to throw myself out of bed at the first sound of the alarm.  The snooze button is the first defeat of the day, so hit the floor before you can hit snooze and say aloud, “Serviam.  I will serve.”  It sets the tone for the whole day.  The family needs my service, my employees do, the patients we’ll care for need it, and I should just assume (and act like) everyone I meet needs it.  I actually need to repeat it many times throughout the day when I’m tempted to procrastinate on something, when I want to knock an easier task out before a harder, more important, less pleasant one, when I feel like getting mad at some other driver, when I want to connect something that will require hard work with the reason I’m doing it, or when I am inclined to escalate conflict in any one of dozens of interactions during the day.  Now, there’s intention and then there’s execution.  I never seem to do it as well as the other guy I admire, but I haven’t given up yet.  Praying for all of you is an easy one, and sometimes it helps to just go back to the basics.  Serviam.

Serviam fortitudine et orationes,