Imagine sitting and waiting to hear the news. The news about having something you were pretty sure you were going to have at one point in your life. Imagine you are 37 and about to turn 38. Imagine having been waiting to have this conversation for many years due to an auto-immune disease that makes you more likely than most to have it. Imagine you are told you have cancer.
Imagine when you hear the words 'I am sorry to tell you Daniel, you have colon cancer'. I don't have to imagine, that was a conversation I recently had with my doctor. I looked at him and said, "Okay, what next." For me this is something I expected. I have had my run ins with cancer before, but never like this...still I was not afraid. I knew that I had the most curable type of cancer.
I came home after the news and decided to not tell anyone until I had dome my own research on treatments. I went to a friend's to dinner and it took everything for me to not blurt it out to her. But, I didn't. I didn't know how saying it out loud would make me feel or how I would react to saying it out loud. So, what did I do?
I went to work, kept my normal schedule and did everything the same. Except when I got home. I kept researching different treatments; what would work for me and my auto-immune issues. Finally after having enough of WebMD, I had a couple of people over and let it out. It felt good! After a third or ninth bottle of wine was opened, it was decided I would shave my head as to not let cancer take my hair. I will control that, thank you very much! Afterwards I decided to "go public" and Facebooked my diagnoses. Still, I was not afraid of any of it.
A few days later (the night before I was to go back to the doctors and talk about treatment) I was able to talk to my mom about my diagnoses. I needed this conversation more than anything...as she is a breast cancer survivor. We talked about the possibilities, the importance of having a strong support system, and so on. The most important this we discussed was having a strong support system in place, which I have; I have some of the most amazing friends in the world! Coming from such an amazing woman, I knew that this would be nothing...her strength runs through me. So I went to bed feeling invincible.
Waking up this past Monday, I still felt as if I had nothing in life to fear and this was going to be just another small hurdle. That was until a friend called. He asked what I was doing today and I replied, "meeting with my Oncologist" WHAT THE FUCK? Did that just come out of my mouth? I am meeting with "MY" oncologist? Since when is this normal conversation?
As I got ready and headed to meet this person, I tried to remember all the support I had and how curable this is. As I sat there and the conversation regarding my treatment started, everything went silent. All I could hear is the beating of my heart...so loud I thought my eardrums were going to rupture. Every times I tried to make eye contact and engage, there was white noise. I cannot be the one having this conversation, this isn't my life!
But it is. I have cancer, and as scary as those words are, they are many more. Inoperable. Terminal. Irreversible. Life threatening. Metastasized. Death.
These are words I have not heard in regards to my cancer and my treatment. I know I will survive this as I have many things in my past. I am lucky, I know the signs, I have great doctors, a loving family and amazing friends.
I am lucky and I am no longer afriad.