Three words that can change your life forever!

I have now just passed the fifth anniversary of receiving my diagnosis and prognosis. I know that as the doctor told me those three words, I really didn’t comprehend the full impact that this would have on my life. Mr Lewis, ” You have cancer “, was not what I was expecting to hear. After all, I thought I had only gone to get my throat checked out after a routine removal of my tonsils.

I had previously never had any health issues, and anyway, I am a lucky guy, so it can’t be that bad! ‘Tumours’, ‘Incurable’, ‘at least a year to recover’, were all things I recall, but I was in such a hurry to get out of the hospital, the news hadn’t really sunk in. I was talking about work and my wife was crying! It really felt so strange, that I thought I would wake up and it would all be over.

It wasn’t, and a new chapter in my life had opened. In the space of a 15 minute meeting, my life had changed forever. I still wonder today, just how many people that doctor had to give similar news to, in a days work.The contrast in my life now, just couldn’t be more different than it was.

 I went to lunch with my ex work colleague this week, and we were recalling some of our more memorable moments.I remember doing those things, and having such fun, but it almost felt that we were talking about a different person. The people that I work with now, just would not believe how I earned my living.Due to the vast contrast I mentioned earlier, I am still trying to adjust, and there are still flashes of the old me that come out!

I have chosen this subject for today’s post, as this week, I met a lovely man, who was having some treatment for the first time. I am an old hand, and have been having it for 7 months, so I was talking to him to explain what was going on. As the session went on, we started exchanging stories. This seems to naturally happen when I am around!! Apologies to my fellow patients who want to have a restful afternoon.

This gentleman was 3 months out of his stem cell transplant, and was beginning to get some of the side effects that I had already faced. He was a big strong guy, and he mentioned that he had a tough manual job, but had just been made redundant, due to his illness! He was worried what the future would hold for him. He was 40 and looking forward to a long and happy life with his family.

It reminded me about my early feelings, although he was 10 years younger than I was, and they told me that 50 was young to get the disease I got! I was lucky in many respects as my children were grown up and working, and most of my mortgage was paid, by the time I was diagnosed.His problems are tougher.

For everyone hearing those three words, there are many common emotions. Fear, isolation,  confusion, bitterness and financial worries are just some that spring to mind.Most people ask, “Why me?”  Some people I talk to actually expect to hear it, as their parents were affected. But once you have been given that news, how do you make a plan? So many things start happening that are out of your control.

Therefore that steady path, you thought that your life was taking, has been re routed, into uncharted territory. It certainly feels like someone has taken away the steering wheel, and is driving for you. It can be a very uncomfortable place.Even after 5 years, I find that I am unable to plan too much, as my health can be so up and down at times. It is difficult to live this way but I have just learned that ‘Que Sera Sera, whatever will be will be’. Bring on tomorrow!!

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