I thought that the initial shock of being told I have cancer was going to be the one and only high hurdle I would need to clear and come to terms of acceptance with. I was wrong. There have been different (and many) levels of acceptance. Just when I felt I was fully accepting of the fact that I had this disease growing in me, the next doctor appointment would have me reeling all over again! The Doctor that first diagnosed me, told me I was barely in stage 2 and had a lot of time before I would need to treat it. “Monitor my levels” was all I was expecting to need to do for the time being. A second opinion about a month later at the more advanced James Cancer center at OSU put me at stage 4! Both Doctors were looking at the SAME blood work and bone marrow biopsy! How could 2 Oncologists look at the same numbers and come up with drastically different diagnosis? Another hurdle; another ‘bomb shell’ to swallow. Now I was facing treatment in a matter of months rather than years.
It’s kind of like owning a BMW and something goes wrong. Sure, you could take it to the local mechanic. He could tinker with it and maybe get it working pretty well with parts that fit ‘pretty good’ and for a reasonable price. If you took it to the BMW dealer however, they would have the tools and training to properly diagnose the mechanical issue and the exact parts to fix it. The same holds true for your body! Unfortunately we don’t always have the luxury of choosing or going to the best doctors and hospitals due to the mess that is our health insurance system…but that’s another topic for a later discussion.
Breaking the news to family and friends about this ‘new development’ was yet another hurdle. To acknowledge something, makes it real. To talk about it and face it made it real. Something as dark and nasty as Cancer is hard to accept and nothing I ever wanted to be real. My brother had Leukemia, not me! I knew the battle from watching his battle. I saw his physical battles as he became a human pincushion, getting stuck with needles to have blood drawn for endless testing. Now I would become that pincushion? Steve didn’t talk a lot about his inner personal struggles. I knew he had them but I had no idea just how many nor how deeply they ran. Steve was a brave man and I deeply admired how he always put on a brave face in public and never wore it on his sleeve. My goal is to be a Positive example of someone living with Cancer much like he was! After all, I have an amazing, supportive loving wife and I am going to the best possible cancer facility available!
Although this can seem like a huge mountain to climb, I choose to focus on one step at a time and revel at how far I’ve come, not how far I have yet to climb. I will focus on the beautiful surroundings and spectacular view from the summit and not the possibility of a slip and fall. A positive perspective is just as much a key ingredient in my treatment plan as the drugs I am prescribed.
Countless times every day we are all faced with the choice to be negative or positive. Stuff happens that sometimes gets under our skin or sets us back. Our knee jerk reactions are rarely the best response. Next time, try doing something opposite of what you first feel the need to do. Often times, this little shake up can open you up to a domino effect of a change of heart or behavior in critical situations. I call this ‘God’s little test’ for us. “What would Jesus do”? Love. Put simply, do all things with love. The universe gives back what we send out. Send out love, receive love. Send out hate or negative statements, get the same in return. It’s your choice!