Reflecting on My Cancer Battle (Part 6: Celebrating 3 Years)
Our first visit with the oncologist left me with that familiar punched-in-the-gut feeling. He was very kind, very professional, very personable and spent more time than he needed to explaining things to us and answering our questions, but he scared me. He said the five year survival rate for colon cancer was 60%. Sounds good right? Until I thought of the glass as half empty. That means 40% don’t make it.
40%. Four out of ten husbands and wives and daddy’s and mommy’s don’t beat colon cancer. It’s better than most types of cancer but it’s still four out of ten!
And while that may be a respectable and even encouraging number among oncologists, for the patient it’s a big number. If someone told me there was a 40% chance I’d never make it to my destination every time I sat behind the wheel of my car I’d stay home. As far I was concerned, those numbers weren’t good enough. Not acceptable.
Would I be one of the four or one of the six?
From April 9, 2008:
Alcoholics Anonymous has a great motto: One. Day. At. A. Time.
It’s easy to let this cancer thing overwhelm you. It’s not a rash that’s a mere nuisance and will go away on its own given time and a little salve. You can’t ignore it and pretend it’s not there. You can’t just rip it out and let things heal over. It’s a killer in its own right and it attacks from the inside. The treatment is long, involved, and taxing in every way: physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially.
If not kept in check, it can easily take over your life and be that proverbial 800-pound gorilla sitting in every room you enter, waiting around every corner, hiding in every shadow.
But to keep it in check, to take it one day at a time, is a daily battle, a constant struggle. And I’m finding that it’s a tiresome battle. It feels strange to go on with life as usual, life as everyone around you is living it, while fighting this silent battle.
God’s Word helps. You see, the mortal part of me, that flesh and blood that everyone sees may waver and shake and quake over this thing, but the spiritual part of me is clinging to the Rock of my salvation and His Word has never been more alive to me than now.
Yesterday I was reading from Psalm 103. Here’s a few excerpts that particularly lifted me:
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits–Who forgives all your sins, and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
From everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear Him . . .
Good stuff. Saving stuff. Words that keep me focused and help me take this journey one day at a time.