A Survivor’s Scars


Many of you know my daytime job is in the health field. Physical therapy. And many of you also know I’m a cancer survivor. Colon cancer.

Sometimes these two worlds collide to remind me of my own mortality and the fragility of life.

A few months back I treated a lady who had battled colon cancer six years ago. And won. She did everything the doctors told her to do. Had the full course of treatment, all the follow-up tests. For six years she was clean. No sign of anything. Then one day she developed a cramp in her side, a cramp that wouldn’t go away. A couple doctors later she had a biopsy done of her liver and there it was. Cancer had metastasized to her liver and she once again found herself in the heat of battle.

That shook me. Really shook me. They tell me I’m clean. My tests all come back negative. No cancer in me. At least not that they can see. At least not that the tests can detect. But the reality is that I do look over my shoulder wondering if I’ll suddenly develop a cramp that won’t go away.

Then this week a patient I’ve been seeing, a different woman struggling with cancer, took a turn for the worse. She isn’t going to win this battle. It’s heartbreaking to watch. I hate cancer.

Being a survivor carries with it certain baggage. Any survivor will tell you the emotional scars remain, the memories, the fears, the questions. Over time, I’m finding they diminish and fade some, but I still think about cancer every day and wonder if it will come back. I wonder if some day, in some way, cancer will be the thing that claims my life. I wonder if my family will sit by my side and helplessly watch me waste away.

So what can I do? I can continue to live and make the most of the moments I’m given. I can pour my heart and soul into living, into my family, my ministry to others, my writing. I can try to make an impact on other lives. I can pray and plead and pray some more. I can do the things all of us should be doing every day and leave the rest to God.

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About mikedellosso

Mike Dellosso is an author of wide-eyed suspense. He writes stories that not only entertain but enlighten.

Posted on November 11, 2010, in Cancer, Christian Living, Life in General and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. I can try to imagine, Mike, but I’ll fall short. I experience a faint echo when a sound, a sight, a slight twinge reminds me of something I experienced in my early 20s, and my immediate reaction is “it’s happening again.” Sometimes I have to deliberately calm myself down.

    Your post is a reminder to all of us to be sure we are always there for those who need it, even if it’s a thousand miles away and we can be there only in prayer. And I’m praying.

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    • Glynn, thank you for your prayers. You’ve been such an encouragement to me from the very beginning of this whole thing. If I never meet you in person on earth, you have a big hug coming your way in heaven.

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  2. Mike you are a very remarkable Christian man.I am moved by your open thoughts these are thoughts that other people dont have the courage to talk about.A man that works for my family just found out he has a tumor in his rectum and it is stage 3 cancer.I dont think the outlook is very good but our GOD can do anything please pray for him his name is Bob Cook.Also is there anything that I can share with him from your experience that will help?

    Thanks for all your dedication ,Blair

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    • Thanks, Blair. Bob has already been prayed for. My cancer was stage 3 as well. The surgery is rough and I assume they’ll give him a temporary ileostomy; the chemo is a nuisance with all it’s side effects. But the whole course of treatment lasts about 7-9 months and then it’s over (and least, that’s the plan). I can’t say it’s a walk in the park, it’s not, but God is faithful and He is near to those who suffer. His grace is sufficient.

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  3. man, that is rough…… but remember you have God on your side – let Him watch over your shoulder, and keep encouraged

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  4. I’m wondering something, Mike. When you say “metastasized” are you meaning that the cancer on her liver was the same cancer from her colon and that it had never actually gone away? Or is this a different cancer than the one from the colon? I ask this because I have heard of both kinds of instances and I wanted to make sure I understood what you were saying here.

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    • I meant the colon cancer migrated to her liver. Different cancers have different places they like to metastasize to. Usually, the first place colon cancer goes when it hops on the bus is straight to the liver.

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      • Okay, I was just making sure. Now I understand your concern even more. Definitely keep trusting God as people have said on here, and in all things give Him praise even if it comes back somewhere else at some point in the future. In the meantime, rejoice in that you don’t have it at this point and let it stand as a testimony to others that they can survive too. Be encouraged, my friend.

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  5. As a cancer “overcomer” for 17 years who is not fighting my second battle with it, I know exactly what you mean. While cancers are not all the same–some treatments are “worse” than others, and I feel I’m going through a regimen of the “better” treatments–cancer is still an enemy to be fought on all sides, but the most important thing to remember is that God is bigger than cancer. Thank you for being such an inspiration, Mike. I’m blessed and honored to call you my friend.

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  6. Elizabeth Fisher

    Mike, I just continue to be in awe at the many ways the Lord has used your struggle and trials for His glory. He knew before you were born, into this world, exactly the day and time of each struggle and He promised to be there to comfort you. He has done that and more. I pray that you will be in the percentage of people who fully recover!!!

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  7. Mike – This touches me deeply. Cancer is a battle fought many times in my extended family. It is a shadow that casts its shadow upon my future.

    Yet less than 24 hours ago my son and I collided with a deer – glass exploding into the car – a sudden and abrupt interruption to our evening. We could have easily been killed. Yet we were spared. I am all too aware how brief life can be – especially at this moment with the accident so fresh. The car can be repaired, but I am so very thankful our lives were spared.

    Bottom line – none of us know how much time we have in this life. Every day is important and every moment we can share Christ’s love with others is priceless.

    I admire you so much! You are a sweet testimony of God’s grace and mercy!

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    • Wow, Kim, that’s really scary. Praise God it only damaged the car. You’re right, it’s times like those that snap our focus on the brevity of life . . . and how precious our time here is. Thanks for the comment 🙂

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