My Five-Year Mark

June 1st, 2015

June. It’s been a long time coming, but June is finally here.

This is the five-year mark. Five years ago I got the lousy news that my blood and bone marrow had secretly been invaded by a stealth force of leukemia. After teaching a morning class, then golfing nine holes, my doctor called me into his office and dropped the bomb on me. Until that afternoon I felt fine. The next day I was in the first of three hospitals for what was the beginning of a six-month odyssey.

Cancer sucks. It was the showpiece of my Three June Hell. The previous June I was forcibly divorced from my lifelong journalism career. The June after cancer, I was back in the hospital for complications from my cancer-cure treatments: my heart lining had become engorged with a liter-and-a-half of fluid. Heart juice I called it.

Darrel Ellis snapped this photo of Leslie Ellis, who raised money, awareness and my spirits.

Darrel Ellis snapped this photo of Leslie Ellis, who raised money, awareness and my spirits.

Forgive me if I stopped looking forward to June for a couple of years. I think I actually dreaded it, having nightmares as I reported a few years ago.

But now.

But now things are different. I’m back to freelancing, both with my photography and my writing. I’ve been back in the classroom several times. And with the extra time I’ve had on my hands, I’m putting the finishing flourishes on my new novel: it’s destined to become a bestsmeller. This is my first fictional attempt and it’s a novel about Detroit, relationships, baseball and the funny things that happen when you throw a bit of mystical “Hope” into the mix.

I’m taking back June. It’s a fantastic time of year. A good friend just ran in my honor in a leukemia/lymphoma fundraiser. That brought tears to my eyes. But these days, I realize the tears have a healthy dose of joy mixed in too. I’m clean. I’m cured. I’m happy.

And that’s the best part: I’m happy. I hope your June is as incredible as mine’s about to become.

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