My assumption has always been that other people got Cancer. Cancer was always something more conceptual than real. We donate money to causes that help other people with Cancer.
But more and more people that I know either know people, have family members or even have had cancer themselves.
But NOT ME! That’s just inconceivable.
And then the fragile hair holding Cancer’s Sword of Damocles at bay broke and it became personal for me. I was told I had Stage IV Colon Cancer. And as if that wasn’t enough, there were also metastasis in my lymph nodes around the tumor and several small nodes in my Liver.
Fortunately, the pain killers helping me recover from the radical surgery to remove the tumor in my colon numbed my response to the news…but that was just the first week. As the pain killers wore off, the emotional roller coaster ride really kicked in. I was emotionally brittle, finding myself bouncing between anger, sorrow, fear, anxiety and other states I can’t quite put in words.
I also found myself questioning everything about my life. Was I a good dad? A good husband? Was this or that a mistake? Should I have done it differently? Did I waste years of my life? What about my plans for the future? What if I only have some few years instead of decades?
People post memes on facebook with pithy sayings all the time. Sayings like, “Live every day like it’s your last day.” Well, what does that really mean? All of a sudden, I was seriously asking myself all kinds of questions like this. My last day? Might that be a lot sooner than I thought?
When someone tells you that your plans for another 30 or so years of life were grossly in error, and that you maybe have just a few years in stead, it redefines the definition of “surreal.”
The first 30 days or so I felt like I was walking around in a bad dream. I just could not wrap my brain around it. When I tried, the emotional roller coaster took another wild turn.
I learned the hard way that the strand of horse hair holding Cancer’s sword over our heads is too easily broken. Life is as fragile as that strand of hair. We all need to accept this and look at our lives. Take stock right now.
I’ve learned that cancer is something that we all have in our bodies since we were born. It’s just that our immune systems have grown weaker over time… as we don’t take care of our bodies over time. At some point, we are stressing our systems beyond our ability to deal with the normal cellular mutations that we normally would just seek out and destroy. At the cellular level, it’s a complicated series of chemical reactions. But the result is the same – cancer.
If you can know this, as I know it now, then you have the chance to make some changes that can literally save and extend your life by decades. I’m writing this blog to help and inspire you to make better choices than I did before January 10th. The choice is yours, so choose wisely.