Owning Your Cancer: Courage vs Fear

Courage vs. FearIt’s been 3 months since my diagnosis.

My first reaction was, “damn, that sucks.” I had no context for any significant emotional reaction, at first.

I studied cancer for the next six weeks seeking a cure. Then I met with my oncologist, who gave me some emotional context in the form of his telling me, “if you do nothing, I’d give you 12 months to live – if you do Chemotherapy, I’ll give you 30 months.” How’s that for context? My oncologist said that part of his job is to instill a sense of urgency in me.

Mission accomplished! Now I was scared silly, filled with fear of cancer with his two choices and my own 6 weeks of study. Well, doors number 1 and 2 from my oncologist are completely unacceptable. But my own door number 3 was looking better and better. All the cures I’d been reading about had much better cure rates than my oncologist. So, door number 3 it was.

Having decided on my cancer cure, I began my treatment in earnest, following Bill Henderson’s modified Budwig protocol. I’ve been doing that for a couple of months now with high hopes for a good outcome.

Last Thursday, I went for my second MRI, but I still have to wait until Monday to get the results – to see if my Liver is much improved.

Do you remember the Heinz Catsup commercial, “Anticipation… is keeping me waiting….”  Well, I didn’t realize how much I’d been bottling up while I “cheerfully” went about making my shakes in the morning and eating well during the day and exercising. Deep down, I’ve been harboring this nagging fear, “what if it does not work?”  I didn’t realize, though, just how this anticipation and trepidation were feeling inside of me until I made a simple phone call.

bill-sarineOn Friday, the day after my MRI, I called my friend Bill Sarine. Bill is one of my favorite people, a mentor and a good friend. Bill did not know about my cancer diagnosis before the call. So, I called him to tell him about it.  Before I got to tell him, though, he got to telling me a story.

First you need to know that Bill is a great story teller. He’s lived a life so rich in experience that his stories echo with sage wisdom.

He told me a story about a man named Pedro that he helped find a job many years ago. At one point in the story, Bill told the man that his time was his own and he should not waste a moment of it.

Since a cancer diagnosis typically includes a significant lifespan reduction, Bill’s story took me right over my emotional edge. I found myself crying on the phone with Bill asking me what was wrong?

What was wrong was that I’ve been on the razor’s edge teetering between courage and fear – and I just had not been fully conscious of the extent of my true feelings of fear.

On the one hand, I made a choice to follow a non-traditional course of treatment. I had to trust myself and the treatment. I had to have faith and believe that a good outcome was not only possible, but inevitable.

On the other hand was the fear and uncertainty that was there all the time since the diagnosis. I had been trusting and believing in my chosen path, all the while sitting on a nagging fear that it might not work.

Make no mistake, I do feel that I’m on the right path. I do feel better. I’ve had an MRI to verify that my treatment is actually working and healing my liver – and I won’t find out the results until Monday, a wait of 4 days, or, more precisely, 8 weeks and 4 days!

For 8 weeks, in cooperation with my oncologist, I’ve been running my own little clinical trial of one. This MRI will prove that I’m not crazy. It will prove that I may have been inspired.

All the while, I face every day with my courage battling to win over my fear. No matter the way I feel, the evidence of healing, my outward demeanor, my telling people that I’m healing myself and feeling fine, there’s an underlying primal fear of dying that can not be ignored.

My surprising awakening came right in the middle of my friend Bill’s wonderful story about Pedro. I am so thankful for that. Serendipity comes to us in many ways. Sometimes it’s just a phone call away. Thank you Bill! 

After Bill’s call, I realized that fear of cancer does not have to rule me. Having a little fear does not mean I will fail to heal myself. It’s human to have concerns. But we deal with them. Every business person understands Risk – calculated risk. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I have to venture a probable cure against a certain death.

By the way, Bill is allowing me to reprint his very moving story on this blog for your enjoyment. That’s why I’ve not told you much of the story here. I want you to hear it from Bill in his own words.

I’ll end with the promise to let you know as soon as I get my results on Monday. I’ll also be posting Bill’s story next week and will let you know when it’s available for you to enjoy.

Just remember, when you are afraid, it’s not real, even though it sure feels that way. Go ahead and look your fears right in the eye and acknowledge them. Then, ask them to step aside so you can move on and do what you have to do.

After that, it’s up to you. Set your goals and make one better choice at a time, every day.

Until next time ~ Robert