Updated: Jun 9, 2021
Instinctively, the rhythmic rise and fall of my chest stops upon receiving the news that the cancer has spread to my lungs; succumbing to the inevitable fate assigned with this horrific news. Not letting me off the hook that easily, the cacophony in the recovery room breaks me away from my peaceful reverie, bringing me back to life for the immediate future. Within a week I realize I have a decision to make, take the easy way out and give up, die. Or meet this beast head-on, take charge, and fight to survive.
In order to win this battle, I need to hear that others have beaten the odds and miraculously survived. Desperately, my mind needs this in order to be able to ignore the reality of the statistics so I can fight effectively. Like my lungs need air, my mind needs to know that hope exists.
Connecting to survivors, knowing that a cancer diagnosis does not have to be a death sentence, and learning how these survivors overcame the odds is what I needed when I was staring cancer in the mirror.
I knew that if the cancer in my hand spread, I would most likely die. So when this news was whispered in my ear, I gave up. With a 5% five-year survival rate, the odds were against me. There was a 95% chance I was going to die within 5 years. Accepting the statistical prophecy I resigned myself to a deadly outcome. Somehow, in the depths of despair, something inside me clicked; exchanging my attitude of defeat to that of a fighter after thinking about someone who is alive despite the high odds of deadly, metastatic cancer. If he could do it, then so could I.
Right there, at that moment, I decided that this was not going to beat me.
I educated & advocated for myself, and took control of what I could. Determined and armed with tools, I decided that I was going to win.