“I believe in everything…”
Dateline: Comes Belief
I believe there are dragons in the clouds …
“¦ and elephants, and faces and candy canes.
I believe in a fat man with a white beard, wearing a red suit “¦
“¦ and leprechauns, and unicorns and a bunny that brings eggs.
I believe in peace “¦
“¦ and handshakes, and hugs and kisses on the cheek.
I believe in love …
“¦ and spouses, and children and families that extend.
I believe the unknown knows us “¦
“¦ and leads, and cares and cradles us in a gentle embrace.
I believe in you.
…and I believe
in the voices out here”¦”
I have always wondered why it was I was sent to write about something I don’t do – fish – and something I really never liked – the outside.
But in the last few months I believe I have learned why, the real why, of why it is that I am here.
You the readers.
But especially, you the anglers.
The Elites and your families.
The universe knew what was this way coming to me, knew that on the outside I would be calm and cool.
Knew that inside, where the real me lives, I would be scrambling to hold on, losing grip, falling through the dragons in the clouds.
Next week at this time, I will become someone I never thought I would be.
Next week at this time, I will become “¦ a cancer patient.
I will become the other guy, the guy sitting over there, the guy with the Big “C.”
As it is when I type my name into Google, the first thing that comes up is this: Don Barone Cancer.
Of all the stories.
Of all the adventures.
Of all the success.
The Scarlet Letter I now wear is “¦”C.”
…telling me to hold on
but let go of my fear”¦”
For the first time ever, I have to leave a regular season tournament early, have to get home and “prep” for the Prostate Cancer procedure this coming Tuesday.
Next Wednesday, I join the ranks of Cancer Patients.
Next Wednesday, I become radioactive.
Next Wednesday, I will understand mortality like I have on no other day.
If you can have cancer, and be lucky, I have cancer and luck. My prostate cancer was caught very early, and because of that, I have “a very favorable outcome.”
Meaning I will probably survive this.
I believe in everything.
Believe next Tuesday was circled in ink on my calendar, the day I was born.
I believe, in fact, that it was next Tuesday, that I was sent here for in the first place.
I believe every word that I have ever written was just practice for next Tuesday.
I believe it is why I was born to write.
For Tuesday comes.
“”¦I believe in what I can’t change”¦”
Ever since I first disclosed several months ago that I have Prostate Cancer, a strange thing has happened.
I have become not a stranger.
The faces I see in the clouds have become the faces that come up to me in crowds.
It always starts simply.
Starts like this: “Ah”¦db”¦”
And in that pause after “”¦db”¦” I know I am standing face to face with a brother in cancer.
With a sister with cancer.
With a mom, with a dad, a grandmother or a grandfather “¦ with cancer.
I know instantly, that I’m face-to-face with an angler, with cancer. It has happened at EVERY tournament I have been at since the first words I wrote about having cancer made the Internet.
And Google found them.
Bull Shoals – a man and his wife came up to me. The man just went through having his Prostate removed. They came up to where I was sitting on a picnic bench checking my email on my ‘droid, and they just started talking. He about being cut open “from here to here” as his hand swept across his belly. She talking about her fear, “of losing him.”
I heard of children.
I heard of grandchildren.
I heard of 42 years of marriage.
I never say much when this happens, don’t think it is what I was sent here to do, talk, what I believe I was sent here to do was to write “¦ and to write this:
I am db.
I am Don Barone.
I am not db the dude with the big “C,” that is not who I am, what I am, nor is it what the guy at Bull Shoals is”¦
“¦or the guy at the Palatka Event”¦
“¦or the guy and his wife at the Lake Okeechobee event”¦
“¦or the woman who came up to me at the Central Open registration in Branson”¦
All those people, and dozens of others just wanted to talk to me, talk to another human being”¦not as a patient”¦not as a survivor”¦but as just a human to a human.
And if you don’t believe me read this”¦an email sent to me by someone I don’t know, never met, but listen to what the person says:
“One specific sentence in your story stood out to me: “But those checked boxes don’t define me “¦ don’t define anyone who has to fill them in.” This is something that I have struggled with since I was diagnosed. Being from a small town, I was constantly referred to as “the girl with cancer.” I have worked so hard to show people that I am not the same person I was at 18 (yes, my outlook on things has changed quite a bit), but parts of me have not changed and cancer is not the only part of who I am.”
In part, this is what I wrote back:
“Offer life, no box to box you in. Back when I used to fill out applications for jobs and things I would pencil in my own box on the form … and it would be simply labeled “Human” and that would be the only box. In life, ask no one to answer a question you wouldn’t want to answer yourself. Be humble to the most needy, stand up to those who take the most. Question everyone, but believe in yourself. Laugh every day, cry every day, ask for comfort and give comfort. Go to war for peace. Stand up and be counted as the one to make a difference”¦”
Offer no box, to anyone.
That’s what the people who keep coming up to me want”¦they just want to be Betty”¦they just want to be Doug”¦a dude”¦a chick”¦righteous or raunchy”¦sandals or boots”¦troutmasters or bassmasters”¦
“¦they deserve no box, to check.
I am db
I am Don Barone
And I believe I was sent here to give a loud voice,
to the whispers I hear in the crowd
“”¦in a hard lesson learned
and the strength from my pain”¦”
I believe in the three.
Barb, Ashley and Jimmy, sent to me because of my circled Tuesday.
It is their faces I see in the clouds.
It is their embrace, that holds me up. Their love is what sustains me.
I believe in the 99.
The Elites, their families, and the family of B.A.S.S.
When my Tuesday comes, it will come with a crowd. I could not get through this without them.
Without their hugs.
Without their words.
Without their love.
Look at the photo’s for this story”¦you can read it on their faces, you can see it in their eyes.
I was put in this place, this time, because when my circled Tuesday came, whoever drew the circle knew I would need a lot of support”¦
“¦and sent it.
With, The Family, Elite.
And then, there is, The Family, Of Us.
Your Facebook messages.
Always caring, never technical, straight from the heart.
I am humbled by them all.
I am honored you think of me with and in your prayers.
With and in your thoughts.
And I ask you this:
Please think the same of all of us who now have to check a box.
Please think the same of all of us who carry a new label next to their name.
Please think the same of all of us who’s Circled Day has come.
And for you guys, GET REGULAR PROSTATE CHECKS.
Get the PSA done, don’t listen the government/insurance companies, they are the ones drawing the boxes, listen to the whispers you hear when you look in the mirror, look into the eyes of your loved ones, and listen to their hearts. ????
A simple PSA test may have saved my life, if your insurance won’t pay for it or you can’t afford it, EMAIL ME and together we will find a way to get it done.
I believe there is a cotton candy sea.
I believe the mountains are made of chocolate.
I believe, sweetness flows in the rivers.
I believe in everything.
I believe that love, has no boxes.
I believe that love, has substance.
I believe that love, has form.
And that form”¦
Here, for us all”¦
“¦when your circled Tuesday comes.
“”¦a childhood imagination
has been my salvation
one cloud at a time.”
I Believe (In Everything)
JJ Grey & Mofro
See you in a few weeks,