Five years ago today, my jaw dropped as I sat in a doctor’s office and heard the doctor say, “You have cancer.” So much of that day is still such a blur in my memory. The only things I remember about that day were hearing the words, “It’s cancer,” and calling my wife to tell her what I had just found out. It was the very last thing I expected the doctor to say. And it totally changed my life.
I had my first surgery the very next day. Wanting to avoid chemotherapy, I opted to go with a second major surgery about three weeks after the first surgery. The second surgery required a one-week stay in the hospital. It was not fun.
I’m reminded of what cancer has taught me: The only
things that really matter in life are my faith, my family & my friends.
- I learned that my illness brought out so many friends I didn’t even know I had. I had over 250 cards sent to me (I still keep them in an old shoe box). Many cards and prayers came from people and churches I didn’t even know. I was over whelmed with love and support.
- I learned that there are no “do-overs” in life, so you should make the most of every day.
- I learned all over again that my wife is an amazing woman, as she supported me through tough times.
- I learned that it’s impossible to have any sort of self-dignity in a hospital gown.
- 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.
- I learned that it was okay to be scared, and that it was okay to ask God, “Why?”
- I learned that in 2003 God answered prayers and that prayer can change anything!
- “Remember me, cancer? My friends kicked your butt with prayer.”
Every morning when I rise I can see the two scars that remind me that I have had cancer. But today on May 6th, I celebrate my life being cancer free. Having cancer has changed me in ways I could not imagine or predict. And, I’m reminded again today of the most important lesson I’ve learned from cancer: “The things that really matter in life are simple … my faith, my family & my friends.”