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Many of you may or may not know that in September 2013, I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma Cancer. And let me tell you, that it was a shock to me—because I only found out after falling from my bike during a 17 mile bike ride. Subsequently, after having xrays of my ribs done, a tumor was discovered in my chest. Over the course of a year, I underwent a regiment of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Thankfully, after a year of treatment, I was given a clean bill of health and have been cancer free since 2014. When I share my story, I do not exactly disclose every detail; but the tumor never completely dissipated—and what was left was small residual tissue that needed to be monitored regularly.
Unfortunately, in November 2018, during a routine check-up, my oncologist noticed something peculiar in the Exam. Apparently, the residual tissue that was left in my chest appeared to be growing again.
I do not think that a day passes, when I do not contemplate the possibility of the cancer returning. I have spent a lot of time educating myself on secondary cancers, in order to make the correct life decisions as it pertains to my diet, as well as any on-going treatment. (That really is not the point though) The point that I am trying to make is that once you have experienced something like cancer, you do not view the world the same.
There is not a day that goes by that I do not appreciate waking up to the sound of the annoying alarm clock—because I have the privilege to go to work daily. You will never hear me grumbling about bills, because I have the privilege to still be alive to pay them. Nor will I ever complain that I don’t have the latest iPhone, drive a Mercedes Benz, own a two story house, or have the latest and greatest material possession—because I learned to see and value the beauty of the simple things in life—such as the radiance of a glorious sunrise or sunset. Why? Because I’m alive.
Recently, I have mediated on those things—given the possibility of having cancer again. So over the course of the past few months since having discovered that my tumor was growing, my oncologist ordered many blood tests, scans, and finally a PET scan to determine if in fact the cancer returned. Alone. Silently. I waited. I didn’t disclose this information to anyone. You want to know why?
Because it’s a difficult position to be in—because when you are faced with uncertainty about life—you immediately become vulnerable. And moments that bring instant sobriety and clarity, should cause us to evaluate the things in life that are important. It should compel you to re-evaluate how you are using your personal energy and efforts, and how much emphasis you are putting on things, people, problems, and general situations that have zero value in your life. Because in the end, we must maintain a sobering mindset that life is short and precious.
Today, at approximately 5pm, I sat in the room of the oncologist’s office anxiously waiting for my result. With my heart pounding and my hands perspiring, I sat quietly, just hoping…and with the small faint voice in my head I talked to God. Maybe I was pouring out my heart. Perhaps I was clearing my conscious. Maybe it was my way of coping with the insurmountable pressure of looking cancer in the eyes again. Whatever it was, it made me feel small and weak.
You see, I am writing this today, to remind you that it’s going to be okay.
Not because things are okay, but because it’s life.
And whether or not my cancer returned or not, I know that I need to learn to let things go. I need to develop a discipline in my life to love and forgive. I need to learn to accept failure and allow the process of life to shape me. I need to recognize that we aren’t perfect, and that life is a mixture of failures and victories. It is just part of the process. Today I learned that I do not have cancer and I do not think I have ever had more of an appreciation for life.
I am grateful for the gift of emotional and spiritual sobriety.
I am thankful for friends and family who are ever so present in my life—willing to share my burdens.
I am thankful for new opportunities.
I am thankful for new beginnings.
And I am thankful that I have experienced these lessons—because it has saved my life.
Honestly, I believe that in some way, I experienced death today.
I may not have died of cancer,
but I died today of humility.
Love and peace family.