Cancer changes people. The disease transforms one's physical apperance, mental state of mind, and outlook on life.
Dark brown hair becomes gray. Long hair dwindles away with every chemothearpy treatment. Pounds sheds off once full hips. Voices become deeper. Arms become weaker. Eyes become darker.
The mind becomes a new world. Thoughts of death surface daily. Prayers and encouragements ease in from the love and support of others. Should-have-dones and what-if lists fill the empty spaces that were once focused on the t0-do list. Days become sadder and the hours become shorter. Of course, this phase doesn't always last forever; the important part is to remember "this too shall pass."
Life becomes a different journey. Goals, experiences, and obligations all change. Sky diving becomes a better option than going to work. Traffic jams just really don't matter. Spending time with one's family sounds more pleasing than a business meeting. Why does it take getting cancer to realize the way one lives each day?
I don't have cancer. But I have interviewed patients with the life threatening disease, all of which made me cry as they opened up about their deepest thoughts and darkest moments of their life.
A man who lost his wife to breast cancer and his daughter to brian cancer was diagnoised with prostate cancer three years ago. His inital doctor told him that it didn't matter what kind of treatment he recieved because his chances of survival were the same, slim. He was a 9 out of 10 on the Gleason Scale, which meausres the risk of reoccurance of the cancer based on the biospy. After treatment at the Saint John's Cancer, a combination of chemothearpy and 52 radiation treatments, he is cancer free. Driving his hot rod car, so fast that his cheeks wiggle up and down, reminds him the rush that one recieves when we really live life.
Another man diagnoised with colon and rectal cancer reminds everyone that cancer is not automatic death sentence. Cancer gave him a reason to live. The hopeful man shares his story with others reminding them about the importance of maintaining a healthy life style and prevenative health screenings. "Cancer and death-," he said then paused. He looked around the room and starred back into my eyes and said with confidence, "I have no fear anymore."
My best friend's dad just found out he has esopogual cancer. He starts radiation on Nov. 9. Blood test will indicate if the disease has traveled to other parts of his body. His health and her family haven't escape my mind. I believe their faith and treatment plan will be crucial to his battle with cancer. He is a fighter and a believer, a perfect combintation to overcoming cancer.
My biggest thought from this blog is that we shouldn't wait until we get cancer to realize what we should have done and where we should have gone. Cancer shouldn't be the reason we call someone just to say, "I miss you." Every single day should be lived with our best intentions. We should remember to follow a path that leads us to our hopes and dreams.
Remember- life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to the events in your life.
Choose wisely what matters to you.