Over. It’s back to reality today, January 5th, 2015. Back to work.
It is exactly 48 years since my first close encounter with cancer. My grandfather died from esophageal cancer on January 5, 1967.
There would be too many more.
A high school friend, Barry, lost a leg to cancer, and shortly thereafter, his life. Not many people remember Barry, but I do. I can still “see and hear” Andy, my golf partner. My father. My mentor, Al. I can still hear the roar of my buddy Brian’s Harley most Saturdays when he’d stop in for what we called “The Brian Visit.” And there are others.
They are why I have never been fazed since I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. They have been my strongest support group. No matter how hard they fought (or chose not to), they never had a chance to survive their cancers.
They made me strong. Because of them, I don’t feel like a “cancer survivor,” because I knew how treatable prostate cancer is, detected early. Because of them, I had the best possible attitude, which is just as important as having the best possible care.
They were great company over the past five weeks, even if the conversations were all one-way.
But there was no better company than that of my wife. Anyone who knows her knows she’s a saint, but she was also my hero. We never know what we’re capable of until we actually have to do it. And she did it.
The five weeks actually went by quickly, thanks to friends and family who came calling. If this was a book, they’d all be named in the “Acknowledgments” section. But it’s a blog post, so we’ll leave it at “they know who they are.”
And to all the social media supporters: thank you.
I have noticed that whenever the word “cancer” is part of the conversation, there is a certain stigma attached. I have been out and about, and at first, it was a bit disconcerting to hear, “Hey, you look like yourself,” or, “You really sound good.” I get it and I appreciate it.
But as I said on my Facebook post on December 3rd, “Rest assured, I’ll be the same as ever, which some may find disappointing.”
And I am the same as ever, minus one prostate.