Recently, when I was starting to write the rough draft of a new blog, I got interrupted by an alarming phone call. To make a long story short I found out that my dad has had part of a cyst removed from his bladder and that they found two different types of cancer cells. In addition to that, more extensive testing is required due to the previous test results being inconclusive. Cancer has decided to strike my family once again. This reminds of a time when I was in my teens and I found out that my maternal grandmother was diagnosed with colon cancer. She underwent aggressive chemo treatments and was able to beat cancer and became a cancer survivor. However due to high intensity of the chemo treatments the side effects were extremely harsh on her already weakened body. Sadly, she ultimately died of a heart attack as a result of the harsh chemo treatment received. I think she was in her 70’s when she passed. Now my dad is pending to get more testing done to determine the type of bladder cancer he has and what course of treatment (including operation) will be needed. At the present time from what he has been told, he will probably need to have another operation done to remove the remaining part of the cyst and then “some light chemo”. Yes, those were the exact words used, “some light chemo” as if he was choosing a diet coke, vs. a regular coke “some light chemo”. I know what the doctors mean because I had an aggressive chemo cocktail and some of my fellow cancer warriors had chemo for one or two one-hour sessions and that was all. At the moment, we don’t have all the details, once more testing is done, then the exact type of cancer will determine the course of action that will be taken. This sounds all too familiar to me. I told my dad that he will join me in the cancer warrior group. I also told him that he needs to take it one step at a time, to try really hard not to stress and to take care of his immune system because he will need to be in optimal shape if he does end up needing to undergo chemo treatments no matter how “light” they might be. My step-mother is trying to distract him so he can remain positive and not think too much about what is to come. I thank God that he has his wife who will be his caregiver in his cancer battle. I pray that all of our support will help him through the process.
Now, I use the phrase cancer survivor to describe my status in battling cancer, but cancer does not define me. Cancer will always be part of my life. Yes, the lingering side effects do like to not so kindly remind me on a daily basis of the difficult battle with cancer, but I must continue to live my life by moving forward. I cannot stand still or live in the past during the time of my cancer battle because life continues to move forward. Every day that I wake up, despite how challenging it may be, is another day that I am blessed to be alive. It is also another opportunity to make my hopes, dreams, and goals become a reality or just simply enjoy precious moments with the people you love.
We must remember that life like so many other things is unpredictable, we may here one minute and gone the next. Therefore, I must continue to try to live the best life I can today. I know we are living in very difficult times and some days, we just want all the pain and suffering to end, but we can’t give up. We must try to wake up each day and focus on all the positive things in our life and be thankful for today because tomorrow is uncertain.