My very first memory of cancer was waking up on the recovery table after my colonoscopy. With one eye cracked open, I could see the doctor hugging my wife as she cried and I knew something was bad. Shortly thereafter, I heard those words for the first time ... "Stage III Colorectal Cancer." I thought this couldn't possibly be correct. I am a healthy guy who is never sick, ate healthy, exercised daily and had no family history of cancer. I was suddenly launched into a whirlwind of treatment, uncertainty and fear.
While in the middle of treatment, I was once again struck by lightning when the colorectal surgeon advised me it was highly recommended the rectum and part of the colon be removed to lessen the risk of recurrence. The idea of a permanent ostomy frightened me more than the cancer treatments. I continued with all the ups and downs with my chemo treatments and ended up with severe chemo induced neuropathy. Wearing shoes, standing long and walking caused such pain! After treatment, surgery and neuropathy, I struggled a lot and felt lost desperately trying to figure out my new "normal" and live again. My depression was not even the cancer I had beat, but the life Cancer left me. I felt like I was reduced from a runner who never missed a day at the gym to a guy with a bag attached to him that can barely walk.
Not a single one of us picks cancer. Why would we? This thing that has decided to take up residence in our bodies robs us of so much. Do we let cancer take our lives after the battle?
I did indeed find the courage to fight my challenges and never looked back! I found my way back to LIFE with the love and support of my family.
I now spend my days watching the beautiful sky, the trees blowing and the birds chirping from my boat under the warm sun and there is LIFE everywhere.