Friday, July 1, 2011

The story of a cancer survivor

I learned that I had cancer on June 23, 2011.

Although I had experienced some troubling symptoms for a number of months, I wasn’t too concerned about them because I really hadn’t felt any pain. After a little prodding from my wife, I finally called the doctor’s office at the local hospital, and set an appointment - and I’m glad that I did.

Within minutes of going into the office, my doctor told me that I definitely had cancer, and he took a biopsy on the spot. A week later, he called me to tell me that I had basal cell carcinoma, which is the least dangerous form of the three types of skin cancer.

On July 14, the nasty spot on my back will be cut out, and a short time later, the “pre-cancerous” spots on other parts of my body will also be taken care of.

There are a dizzying number of cancers that we can become victim to. Not all of them are fatal, but ALL of them should be a cause for concern. A fair number of them can be attributed to environmental conditions, and some are caused by “lifestyle choices:”. Nearly 50 years after the Surgeon General issued a warning about the dangers of cigarette smoking, there were 157,000 deaths in the United States last year from lung cancer.

John Crosby, a friend from my college days, died at the age of 42 from pancreatic cancer, roughly six weeks it was first diagnosed.

A little more than two years ago, a friend from high school died from stomach cancer.

Sharon has been free of cancer for more than 15 years, but her ordeal was a frightening experience for all of us in the early 1990’s. Fortunately for her, she discovered The Wellness House in Hinsdale, Illinois, early in the whole process., and it made a world of difference. None of the women at The Wellness House were happy that they had cancer, but all of them were thankful for their experience there because it helped them focus on the things in life that were REALLY important.

Overnight, having the biggest house, or the newest car, or the best job, suddenly became totally irrelevant. As always, family and friends are the REAL treasures that we have in life. The guy that dies with the most toys usually ISN’T the winner.

None of us know when we’re going to take our last breath. However, if we take reasonable precautions about our health, and see our doctor on at least an occasional basis, we’ll be able to keep the “grim reaper” at bay for a long, long time.

Live each day as if it were your last one.

At some point in time, it WILL be.

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