About a month ago, Jaimie went through all the pictures of my computer and ordered hard copies of about a hundred of them. They arrived yesterday, and we sat on our couch and looked through them.
Now full disclosure-I’m totally one of those “anti-taking pictures of everything” snobs. When people are constantly snapping pictures I’m the person sitting on my high horse thinking, “Ugh, just be here now.” But looking through those images of our life over the past four years, I was so glad I had stepped out of life for a second and recorded what was happening.
We looked like babies. At least I did. I’m not sure Jaimie has aged a day in the past decade. But me, I did look younger back then. My face was a little rounder. Skin was brighter. There wasn’t the streak of grey hair that has formed in the middle of my head.
I can’t look at pictures from the recent past without thinking about what was going on inside me at the time. Apparently the kind of cancer I have is slow moving. My doctors think it probably started five to ten years before it ever showed a symptom.
I find that so interesting. A tumor, a malignant mass of cells, was growing inside my body, and I had no idea. As I was acting and teaching and running and sitting on the beach and listening to the Cubs games and worrying about money and jobs and trying to buy a house and moving apartments and leaving New York and auditioning and listening to podcasts and cooking dinners and calling my parents and taking walks and hitting on girls and breaking up with a wife and a girlfriend and writing plays and taking naps and laughing and arguing politics and going to the movies and binge watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and going to church and meditating and bartending and waiting tables and performing my one person all over the country while these cells were forming and mutating and organizing and multiplying and metastasizing right there inside my gut.
And I had no idea it was happening.
Which is a major malfunction with our body. We need to write a letter to someone, because my body freaks out over little things all the time. If I ate a bowl of granola with milk from a cow, my body would for sure send me signals. I get a little cold bug and my body shuts down for days. Hell, I can’t walk outside and take a whiff of pollen without my body being like, “AHHH!!!! MAYDAY! MAYDAY! SNEEZE! COUGH! WATER THE EYES! WATER THE EYES! TREES ARE EJACULATING ALL OVER ME!!! GET IT OUT GET IT OUT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GET. IT. OUT!!!!”
But for a tumor in my colon? Nothing. Just me, living my life, falling in love, nothing to see here, move along, everything is fine.