Cancer Changed My Perspective
How the approach of my cancerversary helps me focus on what really matters in life.
Cancer changed my perspective, no question about it.
It seems funny but I remember the date of when my cancer started as my cancerversary, rather than my “all clear” and the chain of events that put me in a Life Flight helicopter bound for Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
It all started when I felt sick while watching Superbowl XLII. I checked into the hospital and later a doctor officially diagnosed me with Burkitt’s Lymphoma. My situation grew dire and the doctor asked me to call my children for the last time, as there seemed no hope of slowing the soft tumors that were causing my internal organs to shut down and suffocate my lungs.
You can read my full story, Back From the Edge.
Long story short, I began an emergency chemo treatment that shrunk the tumors and kept me alive. After several week-long chemo treatments, and then six months later, I was notified the cancer was in remission. A year after that, my medical team declared me cancer free!
Reflecting on my journey
And now, more than a decade later, every February 4 continues to be a day of reflection for me. I pause and take stock of my status in life, where things are at with relationships, my spiritual, emotional, and physical health and basically, what I am focused on.
I often catch myself taking things for granted, or worrying or getting caught up in the fast, often meaningless pace of life. Fighting cancers puts it all in perspective. All the dross is burned away and you are left with the gold, a changed perspective. Only the things that have true and deep meaning in life matter, and relationships are at the very top of the list.
For those of us who have received a blessing of healing and recovery, we may be doing an injustice to God and to our healing to neglect gratefulness and reflection on where we have been, and that there were many days we did not know if we would survive another day. We owe it to God, ourselves and our caretakers, to go back there, to take the mental journey back and feel our dependence on God for every breath of life, and remember how much our friends, family, nurses and doctors cared for us in those darkest of moments.
The blessing of cancer is that we have been given a glimpse, a peek into how the Creator views life. Once, we were a slave to the Tyranny of the Urgent, rushing through life, fretting the small stuff, tossed around by the cares of life. Cancer changed my perspective and revealed the truth. Our lives are a blip in time. What really matters in our life is our relationship to God, for that is eternal, and our relationships to our family and friends. My cancerversary is a key reminder of this truth.