Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

A Survivor – A Living Metaphor

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I think it is safe to say, no one, who has ever had to battle cancer, wants to have their life defined by cancer.  But the reality is, and doctors need to be more up front about this, cancer will always  be a part of our lives when it does happen.  But it is how you live your life in spite of cancer that makes the difference.

Sure, initially I spent my early days of remission worrying daily about the return of my Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  And as time went by, the worrying faded.  Days became weeks, weeks became months, and then years.  But the fear of recurrence faded as the time went on.  Unfortunately, like many others who are in their decades of survivorship, we have had to face quite a bit more challenges in our survival, due to the late developing side effects from the highly toxic and destructive dosages of radiation and chemotherapies.

And with everything I have had to deal with health wise, I still do not live in the fear of my cancer, or its effects.  Quite the contrary.  I take what I have learned in my survival, and apply those lessons to anything negative or challenging in real life.

The Diagnosis

We are given the bad news, the challenge that we must face.  It is going to be difficult.  Statistics will not likely be on our side.  But from the moment we face the “cancer”, we must do all we can to not let that “cancer” beat us.  And I am not talking in the physical sense of loss, but the spiritual.  We cannot let any “cancer” take away who we really are.

The Prognosis

So, is it going to beat you?  Or are you going to do everything you can to get through it?  You know it will not be easy.  As the saying goes, “quitters never win, and winners never lose.”

The Team

Surround yourself with experts that know how to help you get through the ordeal.  Accept support from those that care.  Ignore those who think only negative or that it cannot be done.

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The Treatment Plan

The next days, weeks, months, and in many cases, years may not be easy.  You may have a good day, and the next two or three days may be horrible.  This cycle will go back and forth the entire duration.  But as you get through the bad times, you not only become tougher, but you realize that you actually can endure.  You start to look to the future as a realistic goal.  Survivorship is at hand.

The Fight Concludes

It is done.  You have made it.  It was not easy.  There may have been times that you felt like giving up.  But it was not in you.  The truth is, it never has been in you.  And once you have the taste of what it takes to survive one fight, you know that you have what it takes to survive the next one, and the next one.  And every day, you know that what you are fighting for is worth it.

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