7 Things I’ve Learned from Cancer

Eight years ago today, On May 6th, 2003, I sat in Dr. Pate’s office waiting for him to come in and tell me, “the little lump is nothing, go home and don’t worry about it.” I was SO sure that those were going to be his words, that I had told Lea to just drop me off for the appointment and she could go run errands. I didn’t feel I even needed her there. Those words from Dr. Pate never came.  Instead I remember vividly him saying, “You have cancer!  But you’re young and healthy; you should be able to beat this thing.” Everything from that point on was a blur. I wasn’t sure what shocked me more, the “You have cancer” part or the “You SHOULD be able to beat this thing.”

Dr. Pate told me to go check at the hospital because the first of two surgeries would be the next morning. A few moments later I stepped outside and called Lea. Not a pleasant phone call. Within the next two weeks I would have two surgeries. One of the surgeries was a major surgery so I spent the rest of the summer trying to recover from being gutted like a fish.

I’m not looking for sympathy today, I’m simply reminding myself of some things that I learned from that hard summer. Simple things, but things that are too easy to forget.  I learned things like…

  • I’m not indestructible. I’m not guaranteed 30 more years …  3 more years or 3 minutes. Each and every day is a gift so make the most of every day.
  • It’s impossible to have any sort of self-dignity in a hospital gown.
  • I learned that God still answers prayers.
  • I learned that it was okay to be scared and even ask God, “Why?”
  • I’m blessed to have friends and family that surround me with support and love.
  • I learned I have an amazing wife and the care-givers of cancer patients don’t get near the credit they deserve. I remember asking Lea as I lay in the hospital, “Are you heading back to Childress today to take care of the boys?” and her response was, “No sir, they are taken care of. You are my husband and I am your wife and I’m not going anywhere!”
  • I learned that real love, not the stuff you see in the movies or on soap operas, is my wife telling me I look “great” to her, even when I was pale, skinny, sick, throwing up and too weak to do a thing.

Today I celebrate 8 years … and I’m reminded once again just how blessed I am.


Now I know what a gutted fish feels like. :)


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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
21 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Duane Scott says:

    Great observations.

    I want a cool scar like that on my tummy.

    I would say things like this to my kids, “I used to be a Care Bear teddy bear, and some little girl who didn’t take good care of her toys, ripped me.”

    Um… also… you need to update that awesome looking Honduras button on the right there. It says 2010. :)

    • Trey Morgan says:

      Duane … it’s a cool zipper looking scar. I like to tell the kids, unzip it and you see my insides.

      An updated Honduras button would be awesome. :)

  2. […] 4. Trey Morgan often blogs about being a cancer survivor, and I love the list he put out this week. It’s simple, but uplifting. He shares “7 Things I’ve Learned from Cancer.” […]

  3. Greg England says:

    Got any cool pictures of what they removed? :) So glad for your survival and your attitude toward life. I learn from you all the time.

  4. Terri Ivie says:

    Trey, I’m so glad you are here to celebrate 8 years of life. I was diagnosed with uterine cancer at age 22. With a great team of doctors, my faith, God and a positive attitude I was able to have a baby when every dr said it was 100% impossible. But, God will always have the final diagnosis. My sweet baby girl turned 11 back in December and my life was forever changed the day she was born. God blessed me with an angel, my little miracle baby with the sweetest soul and the biggest heart. Now, at age 43 the cancer has returned and FINALLY I’m having surgery Tuesday the 10th to have a hysterectomy. I’m not worried, scared or anxious….just ready to remove it and put it behind me. I, too have learned many of the same lessons you have learned and for me cancer was a blessing because at age 22 I wasn’t following God’s plan for me…I was in charge of my own life. At 22 you think you know it all. Or, at least I did. Boy, did I have a wakeup call. I don’t take one second I have here on Earth for granted…my life isn’t my own, it’s God’s and He continues to bless me everyday. The main lesson I learned is that I’m NOT the one in the driver’s seat…HE is. Ultimately we go where He wants me to go now that I’ve learned to ask his Fatherly advice and He shows me daily how much love He has to give.

    • Trey Morgan says:

      Terri … you’ve learned a lot. I love your story of your miracle. It’s invaluable that in good times or bad, we pick up the lessons that make us a better person. I prayed for you this afternoon. My God bless your surgery next Tuesday … as I know he well.


  5. Jess says:

    Thank God for his everlasting loving-kindness, and for answering prayers. Reading things like this makes a persons faith grow; I can’t begin to imagine how much more living through it will do for faith.

    Speaking of lists (kinda off-topic), did you see I put up my first top ten post?

  6. Rob says:

    I read a response to something recently that I wish I had come up with:

    “Stop telling God how big your storm is. Tell the storm how big your God it”

    I have appreciated your perspectives. Thanks for sharing


  7. Lura says:

    I can relate to getting “C” word news. It’s like something sucks all the air out of the room. Recovery was a matter of going to a place in my mind where nothing was happening. Having the love and support of my wonderful husband and our children and of course my faith in God got me though it. I just kept repeating over and over….All things work to the good of those who love the Lord…

    I learned that I am a wuss
    My husband is a rock
    God is amazing
    Life is good
    Living one day at a time is all I can handle
    You can’t love or be loved too much
    I still haven’t conquered the ‘worry’ habit

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

  8. mmlace says:

    I’ve read your story before, and i love that you share it here often!

    But I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that pic before? Ummm…thanks for sharing??? :)

  9. Patrick Aquilone says:

    “There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the ‘present.'” – Kung-fu Panda

  10. Gary says:

    Nicely done, Trey. At 70 the return of the sleeping midget, Prostate Cancer, to “advanced 4th stage” creates a different tone to the awareness, the calculations and planning, and, especially, The Walk forward. He said, “Love Me more and better, love your life–mate more and better, love your kids and grandkids more and better.” With a very full life lived in unearned Grace behind me, this assignment in the “finish well” leg seemed more like Holy Retirement. Nope. In http://www.Gendads.com I just described “Our Story.” Not a swan song, but a call to all my comrades to lean fully into the plow until the day is done.

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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Trey Morgan
Husband, father and cancer survivor & Senior Minister for the Childress Church of Christ. Tweets about life, marriage, Texas Rangers and randomness.
  • good list. Don't forget Nickelback, OJ, ISIS and beer-throwing Blue Jay fans.
  • He was pretty tough to listen to as well.
  • As crazy as it might sound, Chris Collinsworth just might be worse to listen to than the song Christmas Shoes.
  • Please remember that some Christmas music is incredibly offensive to people with grandmothers who actually were run over by reindeer.
  • Unfortunately, not a great night for "bobcats." :)

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