5 Years a Survivor . . . Take That, Cancer!
Five years ago I sat at my desk at work, phone to my ear, while my doctor told me the biopsy was positive, he was very sorry but I had colon cancer. That was a little after lunch. I called my wife, told her, and finished my work day. When I arrived home our pastor was already there, ready to pray with us and offer some words of encouragement and support.
I have many memories of that battle, the surgery, the chemo, the doctor visits, ER visits, the depression, the fear. Most are bad, some are good. I lived through much I’d never want to revisit but I experienced many blessings as well.
It’s funny how time affects your memory. Some of it I relive as if it just happened last week. Some of it is fading, becoming fuzzy and harder to dig out of the recesses of my mind.
But even now, five years later, I think about it every day. Several times a day. They tell me five years is the magic number, that I’m cured now, but I still worry about it returning, still glance over my shoulder wondering if, when it will sneak up on me again.
I know I shouldn’t, that I should focus on living the life I’ve been given. And I do. Cancer teaches you a lot of lessons and one of the most important is that life is precious, that each moment of life is precious, and that not one should be allowed to slip by. Life should be celebrated, enjoyed, lived to the fullest. Sometimes that makes for some tough decisions but if kept in perspective regrets will be far and few between.
Three months after I finished my chemo and just two months after having my ileostomy reversed I ran a 5K in Philadelphia. After the run we walked over to the Museum of Art and my daughters accompanied me as we ran the same steps that Rocky Balboa climbed. I raised my hands above my head, Rocky-esque, and in my heart stuck my finger in cancer’s face.
I’m still relishing that victory, enjoying every day, and praying God gives me many more.
I want to squeeze everything I can out of life, make the most of it. I don’t always succeed at that but I’m sure trying. And I’m trying to inspire others to do the same.