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Two Months In
Journal entry by Michael March — 3/5/2016

Today is March 5, it is was 2 months ago today I was told the cancer had spread and I had 6 to 12 months to live.

"How are you doing?" is the question I hear the most. The answer to that really depends on the day, and sometimes the minute of the day. But overall, I am okay. I am still 'healthy' and the effects of the cancer in my lungs is slowly starting to catch up with me. My breathing is getting more labored, my endurance is non-existent and the pain is increasing. However, that is not as bad as it sounds.

I have been silently dealing with most of these issues for almost a year. People may have noticed since I came back to work on February 2, 2015 I had a bit of an edge, or a standoffish demeanor. Well, now you know why.

In July 2015 up at Skirmish with the Scenario Team taking part in the Country's Biggest Paintball Event, I noticed my breathing was a bit off. But I chalked it up to the amount of dust in the air from the over 4,000 players taking part in the event. Then again in September the Scenario Team went to SplatBrothers near Richmond, VA for their Big Game and almost totally passed out standing up. With the heat, my gear, and the dust in the air, I started to tunnel and had to get off my feet. It was rather scary to be honest. Then on January 3, 2016, when the Gaggle Of Noobs Paintball Team went to Skyline to play, after the first two games, I was gasping for air, and struggling to get a breath.

I had enough evidence at that point. The cancer was back and it was going to kill me this time.

Kevin Linn asked me at the tables at Skyline how things were going, and I told him I was heading back to Johns Hopkins in two days. He asked something like "How do you think it will go?" and I simply replied, "I think the cancer is back, so I'm either getting ready to go through more chemo and radiation, or I am a dead man walking." Turns out, I am a dead man walking.

So, I have known, or felt like I have known I was on borrowed time since I was "healed" of the HPV Cancer on October 13, 2014.

That is probably one reason I kicked up trying to get more folks to join the Gaggle of Noobs, and desperately trying to get others involved with the Gaggle Leadership to take things over once I am gone. But every now and then, I will stop and stare into the distance and remind myself I have a limited amount of time left, and I start to stare at my belly button and for a moment I get depressed. But only for a moment.

There are still things I want to do. Mainly to find a way forward for The Gaggle of Noobs. Although we started off only wanting to play paintball, then shifting to finding a way to make it cheaper for the players and ending up where we are which is raising money for charity. Paintball and the other things we do are secondary to what the Gaggle of Noobs is all about now. Which is where my mind is turning to with the Gaggle. I have been looking in the wrong place for what comes next for the Gaggle. I have been looking for people to do what I want the Gaggle to do, and has been doing for 2 years, which is raise money for charity.

The result is the Gaggle will be handed over to folks that are already raising money for Charity, and will continue to raise money, and the Gaggle of Noobs name, alone, will be an asset for them. The Paintball Teams, the Laser Tag games, Flag Football, Basketball, Volleyball, etc., will continue but will no longer be what matters most. Memberships and Supporters will continue to help the Gaggle Raise money, and play the Gaggle Games as well.

So, 2 months into my 6 to 12 months left to live, I have refocused my slowly ebbing energy on still wanting to help others and at the same time, help myself. If I quit trying to help, trying to build the Gaggle and trying to just stay busy with things like this, I will understand just how awful my position is. How sad it is knowing my life has been cut short, and just how angry that could make me.

Instead of being a bitter person, or someone mad at God or those around me, or just life in general, I much rather go out swinging for the walls. I have not let the lack of tomorrows get in the way of my today's. And my yesterdays have been filled with trying to help others, and trying to get others to help others. Sadly the number of people that actually help others has gone way down while social media compassion has gone up. I am sure that is being studied by some professionals somewhere. If not, it should be.

I have noticed I have started to mentally drop friends out of my life. I used to seek people out and talk with them, and spend time, but now I find myself not doing that much anymore. It's not that I dislike people, it might just be I have given up on trying to convince the inconvincible. I always pounded and pounded but now, I really don't want to waste my time on stuff like that.

I think that is a healthy way to spend the last few months of your life. So, that is where I am at 2 months into the last year of my life.

Weird no? But then again, what does it matter?

Mike
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