Cancer Didn't Stop Me From Laughing
Alex Vasileski, 35, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (first at 17-years-old - stage 2b and again at 25 - stage 3b) and is a stem cell transplant recipient. He has embraced his path and his journey to launch his mission in fighting for overall health and wellness for all those who want something better each day. As a business owner Alex is the owner of AMBTF and Senior VP at Chi24. Both organizations focus on implementing change and sustainability inside and out. Holding his doctorate degrees in psychology and orthopedics, Alex has pushed for a new way of approaching cancer and health and wellness, taking it to corporations, individuals and communities.
Many of us think or hear the word “cancer” and we feel it like no other word in the English language. It is often times something that is avoided or only briefly touched upon. I decided awhile back to own it, own the whole experience. Good, bad or otherwise it was up to me to be the owner of my story and how it shaped me. A sleeve of artwork that describes the ups and downs of life as a battler adorns my left arm as my skin has become a canvas to the trauma and triumphs. I have it on display as if at the Metropolitan in New York City for all to examine and question as most have no problem asking someone about their tattoos but find it quite difficult to ask about cancer. Although cancer sucks in many ways and the pain is real, it doesn’t take long before the tears turn to laughter. Sitting in a hospital bed is never fun for whatever reason you are there but to be there because your body is failing you and you need soo much from the outside to help you is a difficult bridge to cross. Cords, tubes and wires everywhere all critical to your survival, you feel like a science experiment IF that science experiment came to life (even is its zombie-like) and had to cart their IV line with it pale ass hanging out! It wasn’t long before I looked sick as I lost all my hair and even my eyebrows (reminiscent of a 6’4” glow worm without the cute little outfit) which made it hard to look into the mirror and know that I looked as bad as I felt! On one afternoon my nurse came into my room to flush my pic line and port… I had some major issues with my port as it had to be moved a few times as it kept falling out, till they finally found a good place in my groin! Anyway, that day she came in and I moved up in the bed to potion myself better and when I did the tube came disconnected from the port and started spewing fluid like a miniature firehose under my gown. Now I will say that having the port in my groin was awkward enough but now having it bounce around under my gown I knew I need to do something! As I reach under my gown to try and grab it it kept slipping from my hands and it looked as though I was playing pocket pool under my gown! The nurse said ALEX! What the hell is going on? I started to explain but quickly realized that I just had to let it go and say nothing. I told her “ I would look just as shocked and appalled as you but you see I have no eyebrows so I can’t show disgust or surprise as I look like this regardless!” I’m like the Mona Lisa, no one has any idea what the F*ck she’s think ever because she looks as if she has no expression at all! This and many stories comprise the overall experience of fighting cancer and prevailing over the negativity through laughter. To share one little anecdote is a pleasure as it brings my back to an emotional place both happy and sad but precious nonetheless. P.S. the laughs are important but if it wasn’t for my amazing nurses the laughs would have been silenced.