Today is World Cancer Day, established back in 2000. It is a day that many cancer patients and survivors take time to recognize, that they are not alone in their fight. It is a day of hope for awareness and support.
I am approaching my 31st year in remission of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma next month. I am the lone survivor of cancer of four other family members, who faced other forms of cancer.
In my decades of survivorship, I have been blessed not only with longevity in spite of cancer, I have met literally thousands of other cancer survivors in one form or another. I am even fortunate to know of other survivors who are decades ahead of me in lifespan.
I have witnessed the progress of diagnostics, treatments, follow-up protocols, as well as the increase in rates of survivorship. In less than 30 years, my modes of treatment are considered obsolete.
I have faced my share of health issues that are caused by my treatments from long ago. But that has not stopped me from living life. I do what I am able and I enjoy it. Sure I miss many of the things that I used to do, but I have found other things to do instead.
But my biggest blessings are my daughters, my reason for every tomorrow I get to experience.
I have not only gotten to become a father, I have been able to watch them grow. And now, I prepare to witness their next phases of their lives. I never take this for granted.
I have also experienced my share of sorrow as I mentioned multiple family members I have lost, but also friends and other acquaintances.
No matter where you are in the world of cancer, a patient, a survivor, a caregiver, or if you have been someone fortunate to never have been touched by cancer, please keep everyone in your mind and hearts, not just on this day, but every day. No struggles are the same, and successes are not necessarily guaranteed. That is why we have to capitalize each possible moment we have with each other. Because it can all change with three simple words… “you have cancer.”
In closing, I found some inspirational quotes that I would like to share on this day, that I found on the web site, IndiaTVnews.com:
“Working out is my way of saying to cancer, ‘You’re trying to invade my body; you’re trying to take me away from my daughters, but I’m stronger than you. And I’m going to hit harder than you.” – Stuart Scott
“There’s no one way to tell how our experiences change us or shape us. Not all transformations are visible. What I’ve learnt is to never let it hold me back. I’d rather dress up and show up!” –Sonali Bendre
“Time is shortening. But every day that I challenge this cancer and survive is a victory for me.” – Ingrid Bergman
On this day, those who are now facing cancer, perhaps just diagnosed, you can get through this. For those who are close to completing treatments or have done so, YOU DID IT! For those in remission, I say this, a popular expression I have used over the years, “as I continue down the road of remission, I will keep looking in my rear view mirror to make sure that you are still following me.” And for those who have longevity greater than mine, you are my true inspiration for not only lays ahead for me, but drives me to want that as well.