It's Been 15 Years Since I Heard The Words "You Have Cancer". Happy Cancerversary To Me!

Today is my “CANCERVERSARY”. The day that I heard the 3 words that nobody ever wants to hear, “You have cancer.”

I shared these thoughts last year on this day. It’s amazing how many emotions this day brings up for me.

There are many commemorative days in my 48 years. Some have stood out and impacted me more than others. November 6, 2001 was one of those days. That was the day that I heard the words…

“YOU HAVE CANCER. We couldn’t get the scope past the 2 tumors in the colon. We did a biopsy. We don’t have the results yet but I am telling you now that it’s going to say you have cancer.”



So much has happened since that day that it’s hard to remember who I was before hearing those words.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

As I reflect back on hearing that I had stage 3-colon cancer, the surgery that followed, and then the 6 months of chemotherapy, now being 14 years cancer free, I still ride the roller coaster ride of emotions.

A day doesn’t go by that I don’t hear or read the word “CANCER.” I find out about people’s friends and relatives getting diagnosed. Sometimes, I get asked to pray for this person or that person, which I am always blessed and honored to do for them. Sometimes, I get asked to talk to someones friend or relative who just got diagnosed with cancer.

Some days I have survivor’s guilt. Ok, most days I have survivor’s guilt. I have never understood why I am still here while others did the exact same thing I did but are no longer here. I guess it’s one of those things that I might never know.

What I do know is that they didn’t “lose their battle with cancer.” I hate that term. I wish our society would get to the point of not using the phrase. Don’t belittle their struggle or their life here being cut short or me being here by a “win or lose” scenario. They live on through us and I will continue to honor them every day.

Stop Using The Phrase “Someone Lost Their Battle With Cancer”

So today I will celebrate hearing those words 15 years ago “You Have Cancer.” It changed my life. Sure there have been rough patches. There have been hard times too. There have also been many people brought into my life that I would not have met had I not heard those words that day.

I have also finished 24 marathons and an Ironman. None of those things would have happened if I didn’t go down this cancer road.

Honestly the most important thing that has happened to me since hearing the words “You Have Cancer” is making the decision to follow Jesus Christ. He has saved my life in more ways than I can list on a page. My purpose every day is to glorify God. Some days I do better at that task than others but I will never stop trying.

So, Happy Cancerversary to me! To God Be The Glory!

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.


Steve DeLuca is a 14-year, stage 3 colon cancer survivor, acoustic neuroma brain tumor survivor, 24-time marathon finisher, 2007 Ironman Wisconsin finisher, happily married father of 4, and a follower of Jesus. Not all in that order.

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