StoryCorps at SHC: Kevin and Jason Moss
Suddenly it was like we were just two human beings in this room, going through this crazy thing together
Jason Moss (JM): One of the things I've realized over the past few years, as I've emerged from my own journey through treatment, was that there were all these people around me — my family, my friends — who were all having parallel journeys of their own and going through situations that were traumatic and difficult in so many different ways. And so I'm curious, what was it like for you when I was first diagnosed?
Kevin Moss (KM): As a parent when you watch your child go through this, it's very hard because you always want to fix things, you always want to take care of things. But this is a tough one because your emotions are so strong, and so it clouds how you think about things. But I knew the best thing that I could do is help make the right decisions. And privately I cried a lot. I stayed up a lot of nights thinking about what I could do. But when we were around you, we tried to be positive and supportive and really focus on you and what you needed along the way. But there are a few memories I have, like when you were going through your stem cell replacement therapy, seeing you for the first time without eyebrows.
KM: I never thought about eyebrows, like what they mean as a person. Because I'd never seen anybody without them. And I remember thinking that this treatment has gone so deep and so long. Looking at you, it was like a different person. So it was hard, but it is nothing compared to what you went through.
JM: I remember when I was going through treatment, I tried to do whatever I possibly could to make a human connection with every single person I met, because I was so resistant against the idea of being seen as a set of vitals and a chart. It's so easy to feel like you just lose your humanity when you're going through it. And so I tried to remember, what are the names of their kids? When you go back in my phone, there are all these notes, and they're all like the names of the nurses' kids or what they like to do as hobbies or something. And it was a way of getting through that wall. But this one woman, we were talking one night — this was while I was going through my transplant — and she told me that her brother had just been diagnosed with cancer. And there was one night we were just there, and she was taking care of me. We were just talking about her, and then suddenly it was like we were just two human beings in this room, going through this crazy thing together. I think those moments where the playing field is kind of leveled — it's not, there's a doctor and there's a nurse and there's a patient. It's just like we're all kind of trying to deal with whatever this is together. I think those are the moments I cherished the most.
KM: So I think we all took something away from this. For me, it reminded me how important family is. I don't take anything for granted, Jason, whether it's your health, whether it's your happiness. And I think your experience helped teach me that. And you know, Jason, I don't tell you a lot, but I'm really proud of you. Everything you went through, the person that you've grown up to be, the values that you have, and how through that challenging experience you've been able to take it and try to turn it into something that is more positive in a way that you can help other people.
JM: Thank you. I'm super grateful that we could have this conversation.
KM: Me too.
JM: And I'm grateful for you, dad. I really am.
KM: Thank you.
Sound Editor: Carolina Correa