The Author

My Name is David Michael Como Jr. At sixteen, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease, in a late stage, just three months following a car accident during a rain storm, with my best friend. I was the driver. He went into a coma from head trauma. The guilt of that event and a deep imbalance in my life, at that time, I believe, left me vulnerable to cancer. At the same time, I let go of my first love. It was hard as I battled this thing trying to kill me. My mother-a nurse, became my closest support, but I always felt that it was my responsibility to defy this threat. I nearly died several times before ending up in an isolation unit with an extreme case of disseminating shingles. Barely eighteen, and down to 107 Lbs. from 150 Lbs., I was weak and emaciated, and yet, unwilling to give up. To my family, the future appeared grim. In my mind, my resolve stayed wicked. My doctors were telling my family that I was not going to make it through the night. At this point, for my mother, her prayers became desperate. My body was fighting cancer, shingles, and a hospital contracted systemic blood infection-all at the same time. My temperature reached 105 degrees, while my entire body was covered with shingles. The end, to everyone, seemed inevitable; yet somehow, a light of hope deep within me, still glimmered. I hung on for dear life. It was then that something happened extraordinary. I experienced an "acute,massive, immune response. All at once my body strove to survive in a last ditch effort to overcome death. One week later, I walked out of the hospital with no signs of cancer, the shingles-completely retreated, and the blood infection had passed.
In the years that followed, I encountered many setbacks from the awful effect of therapies given to me earlier on-to combat the initial cancer. This placed me in and out of the hospital most of my youthful years, I lost much time and sacrificed so many of the the things we tend to take for granted. My life was anything but normal. I then ran far from the stigma of having cancer. But distance wasn't able to calm my spirit. There was so much conflict within myself. I lost who I was and what I had become. There were many ups and downs that took so much to overcome. On one hand, I felt explosive vitality; the kind of vitality that can get you through anything, and on the other hand I was so hard on myself when I didn't meet my expectations-of healing or anything else that I aimed for. Often I pushed my body faster than it had time to heal; it pushed back even harder. I fell so many times. It was about this time when a wonderful young woman I saw on the television came into my life. Her name was Charlene. She was battling breast cancer for the second time at age 27. Her situation was dire. But Charlene showed the world that there are intangible strengths beyond the physical; she was brave. She stood alone against her adversary, but was in no way lonely; I knew what that meant.
We became friends for the next two years while she fought hard for her life. I was there; I witnessed. Knowing Charlene made me realize that I could not run from who I was. Knowing her made me see many things about myself that I wasn't able to see without her. Charlene eventually succumbed to her cancer at age 29. She was my hero.
Before Charlene passed, I promised her that the world would know who she was beyond her cancer; that the cancer would not define her. I'm trying to keep my word to her. I wrote a book that tells our story. It is called, "Defying Goliath".
This story then takes an unexpected turn. After my book was published, the girl that I referred to as my first love earlier in this letter, read the book and realized what she meant to me, from my words to her, scattered throughout my book. I didn't know that Linda had felt the same for me after all these years away from her; thirty years to be specific. I hadn't seen her for this long. She never knew until reading about herself that I had always loved her and regretted letting her go. I never knew that she loved me; that she didn't want to die without being with me again. We were just teens when love came to us; it came way too soon to appreciate it. Yet for some reason our love didn't die in time. It stayed alive-waiting for us, until we were ready. Neither of us really understood what had held our hearts captive to each other for so long, or why we were drawn to each other while living two separate lives. Something was tugging us back together, something much greater than ourselves. I thought that I would never be forgiven by life, or by Linda, for squandering such a precious gift of true love. But I was forgiven. Life forgave me; Linda forgave me. I was so far from home; there was a guiding light. It was as if we both stepped back in time and retrieved this forgotten love-cast away by me so long ago. Linda saved me from the perils of regret; a thought that can tear at your will until you can't bear it any longer. This love somehow managed to remain without nurture or notice. When all was thought lost, because of what I had been through, and how far from home I had drifted, I had been given a second chance in life, and now of true love; my first love! I've found that life rejuvenates, that some things are retrievable! I've found so many things to be true that many of us are unaware of. I want to share them. I want you to be strong-beyond your idea of what strength is! I can help to achieve this for you. Stay with me while I get my message together; it will be worth your patience-I promise.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Defying Goliath

I've always looked at life as if it was a living heartbeat. Good and bad times and everything in between, give us the familiar up and down waves you can see on a heart monitor. It signifies that we are alive. If there were no ups and downs but a steady line, we would be flat lined--dead. Our Goliaths are our hard times, our fortunes are our joy in life; neither is steady, both are necessary in very dynamic ways. Some experience more, sometimes much more hardship than others; this is the way of life, with no guarantees before us.
Our perception of this balance, or imbalance, can make all the difference in the world in how we live through each adversity as it comes to us, and it will come to us. There are many ways that we can perceive what happens to us, but I think the most effective is taking on the attitude that one must defy these intrusions on life, with every breath of will that one can muster. It really doesn't matter much, when your life is at stake, blaming this or that, or thinking that life has been unfair to you. This will not strengthen you. It may distract you from the posture you should adopt in these times. Instead, stay focused. Let go of the fear; it has no place in your spirit. Determine to be defiant. Remember, something is trying to deny you of your life, and one thing stands in the way of this--you. Take hold of your senses and never give in to your Goliaths!

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