I wanna tell you guys something, put a bee in your bonnet, tug on your coat a bit…

I walk slowly down the passageway with a careful eye on the people who pass me from behind and the people who pass me the same way that ships pass on the open sea, going opposite directions. Everyone is flying their colors. It’s kinda an unwritten rule that. To identify yourself when you are in the building – kinda helps to break the ice, kinda serves as an unspoken introduction, kinda helps you find your peeps.

The place is full of veterans. I see WWII vets, Korea vets, Vietnam vets, Desert vets from the clashes in the Middle East. I see Navy and Army vets, Air Force vets, lots of Marines and even a couple of Coasties. Today I wore a simple watch cap with a submarine insignia patch sewn on the front.

I see vets of every race and gender, homeless vets, disabled vets. I see vets from all over the country, all over the world. We all have some things in common:

Obviously, we are all veterans and; although it’s not always obvious, we’re all sick.

I haven’t talked about it here but it’s time for me to bring it up. Last September, I was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. In early October I had surgery, and in November began chemo. I’m still doing it, too. Have about 8 more weeks to go. I have great doctors and wonderful support at home. The prognosis is good and I am convinced that 20 years from now I’ll be telling stories about all this shit.

It has taken a big bite out of my life though.

I don’t have a lot of energy, I sleep a lot, I don’t write as much as I would like.

I’m still working but I’m working shorter days.

I used to be invulnerable. I will be again!

I don’t regret this bump in the road – I am celebrating! I haven’t become spiritual; or embraced any new, or forgotten, gods – but I am learning. I think I might even come out of this a better person.

Maybe more tolerant, maybe more empathetic, understanding, patient, accepting…

New and improved?