Friday the 13th

Seventeen months ago today I found out today that I had cancer. Technically, the following Monday the lab tests confirmed the adenocarcinoma but who is counting. Words are hard to describe the feelings, thoughts, and emotions that I have encountered along the way. You really cannot capture it all. I did write in a journal for the first 6 months or so and then got too lazy to finish the drill. I have recently started writing in it again and it is amazing how therapeutic it is for me. Let me clear about this…it is a journal and not a diary so keep your smart aleck comments to yourself.

You know, part of me wishes that I had been diagnosed sooner. What do you mean?! I do not think there is ever an opportune time to be diagnosed with cancer, but it has made me a stronger man of my faith, a stronger husband, and a stronger friend. I really feel like that it took me 31.5 years and a cancer diagnosis to mature.

My soul, body, mind, and spirit have been completely been torn apart and rebuilt with something much better. My perspective on life is so much different. I have clarity. I dont’ sweat the small stuff (ok, I am fibbing a little bit…I cannot tolerate blue tooth earbuds), I could care a less about traffic on Peachtree, and I could care even less about people complaining about their “case of the Mondays”. I was most certainly that guy pre 4/13/12.

I have learned to love deeper, to laugh more, to be less judgmental, and to appreciate life and everything it has to offer. And trust me, life has so much to offer. Another day above ground is always a good one! I continue to work out 5-6 days per week, ride my motorcycles, and spend lots of time at Chastain Park contemplating life and walking. If the doctors would clear me to run, I would probably run to Florida and back. I refuse to let cancer slow me down. Seriously, cancer can take away a few things from you, but you cannot let it run your life anymore than it already does. The tiresome treatment schedule, nausea, and paranoia are enough!

As far as my health updates are concerned, I had a not so favorable meeting at Johns Hopkins about 4 weeks ago. It seems there is a small pocket of fluid in my abdomen that may be cancerous. All of my other organs are still stable, but, JHMI was more concerned about it that than the previous doctors. Most thought that it was basic fluid retention from the prolonged chemo (side effect). We have not completed a biopsy to confirm that it is cancerous so I am really not worried about it. When I have my next scan in a few weeks, we should know more. If the area of fluid has enlarged, than it is more than likely cancerous…if it has not, it is just fluid. Again, I am not worried about it. Whether I have 5 months, 5 years, or 50 years left on earth, worrying about it will not change the desired outcome.

I continue to have chemo treatments every other week (next Tuesday) and my hair is growing back, although it looks kind of weird (think steven seagal).

Enough already about the “c”, I want to thank everyone again for the endless support and love that has been shown to my family and I. We could not have made it this far without you all. Have a great weekend and Seize the Day!



25 thoughts on “Friday the 13th

  1. Such a beautiful message, Hayden. We can all learn something from this. Giving you, as always, all of my love, strength, and prayers. You are my inspiration and my hero. I love you, little brother. I could not be more proud of you.

    • Hayden you inspire us all. I am so proud to know you and your family. Your mother is one of my dearest friends and I keep you all in my thoughts and prayers each and every day. You will beat this thing.

  2. DItto JB, HB— I have never met you in person, but I am a friend of your sister—and have been praying for you and your family for more than a year. And what exactly do I pray for? Well certainly outright healing, and that the Lord is glorified in the process. But also for your faith to grow in every bit of this experience—and your above post is true evidence that THAT is occurring! Your attitude is primo and an excellent example for all of us….whether we’ve met you or not.

    ROCK the day!

  3. Hayden; I am glad that you find the writing theraputic (SP?) because you write like an accomplished author and I would hold the thought that you could likely find offers to publish your words. They are worth reading and would be a help to others who have cancer.
    So much for the commercial! You and your family are ALWAYS in my prayers at home , in church and sometimes just during the day. Hopefully we will be seeing your Mom for dinner very soon…i love her (Russ too) and you guys.
    I wish you as little discomfort as possible in your fight togain good health.

    Reply ↓

  4. Hayden you are amazing and I am so happy to read about your complete positivity. God is so good and I am so happy that you are able to grasp that! You, Shell and Baby Blanchard are constantly in my thoughts and prayers. Love you all!!!

  5. Always inspiring to read your updates. You lead by example and we are proud to say we have you for a neighbor. Door is open (if not you have a key)…Pool is ready for you 🙂 🙂

  6. Think about you every day my friend and actually chatted about you today at a board meeting when asked about your wristband. Keep up the fight bro. You constantly live your life like we all aspire to do and I would do anything for you. Thank you.

  7. Awesome post and very inspiring HB. I will be down in the ATL in a few weeks and it would be great to see you. Keep fighting and know you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  8. Hayden,

    The entire Smith family from the pool days way back when are praying for you every day. I used to call you HAY-TEN back then! We all love you a whole bunch and are all pulling for you. Your courage is enormous and you have a wonderful family and friends supporting you! We are here for you !!

    Erin, Katherine and Colleen all love you and are praying for you !

  9. Hayden, My husband and I are high school friends of your mom. We have been following your journey and praying for your health daily. We have 3 sons close to your age and can only begin to imagine the roller coaster ride that you and your family have been experiencing. We will continue to pray for total recovery!

  10. Hayden, you were a student at NSHS when I was teaching there. I work with your mom now at NHS. Know that you are prayed over constantly. You can do this.

  11. Hayden, what a powerful and thought provoking message you shared. Please know that our family think about you often and pray for and your family.

    Jennifer and Bob Hooper

  12. Hayden,
    My mom and I are continuing to keep you and your family in our prayers. Your spirit is amazing and inspirational!
    Karly & Phyllis Wilson

  13. Coming from a bald man, I think your hair looks good… It was great seeing you the other night. Stay strong and positive and you will get through this.. You and the family are always in my thoughts and prayers.

  14. Just now reading this. YOU ARE AWESOME!!!! Thank you for writing this. You are so inspirational and you have such an amazing, incredible attitutude. Keep rocking that bald head & ripped abs and we’ll keep praying for you!! Lots of love to you & Shell. Thank you for your friendship.

  15. This is really beautiful!!! Happy belated birthday- what a day for celebration!!! I can’t imagine your perspective on life now…you are truly winning your battle!! Keep it up!!! Continued love and prayer,

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