14 January 2017

Year one ends with cancer

My first year in England is nearing an end in a fashion I didn’t really want. It was two years ago, that I was leaving a hospital for the last time before I returned to work. In no time at all I regained my strength and the depression of hospitals and clinics left me.

Now instead of returning to work I am leaving work. And instead of being out of work for two months, I’ll be unemployed for at least three months. And for the first time in my life, I’ll go from caretaker to patient.

Two years ago, when I got sick and was told something is wrong, my worst fear was that it was cancer. In fact one of the reasons I avoided doctors for so long was that fear. I almost felt a sense of excitement and relief when I found out it was my heart and not cancer. That’s right. I was happy to learn my heart was the problem and it wasn’t cancer.

Fast forward two years, my heart is strong and healthy. My stamina and endurance is back, but now I have been diagnosed with cancer. Cancer of the tonsil… a form of throat cancer. Actually, it couldn’t happen in a better way.

My heart surgery showed me how strong I was mentally and how I could cope on my own, with keeping appointments and managing my medications. When I first left the hospital I was taking over a dozen different medications that were given at different times of the day and night.

I also have witnessed what cancer can do to others, so I feel halfway prepared for what lies ahead. The good news about it is that the cancer was caught early. The oncologist said, “there is no evidence that it has spread.” So, while I’ll have chemo, once a week for seven weeks, it won’t be as bad as it could have been. And during this time I’ll also be having six weeks of radiation therapy.

A new adventure in my life. One that I have said in the past that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy is now part of my life. The advantage for me, which at times makes me very grateful and other times makes me feel sad, is that I won’t be doing this on my own.

I have a strong wife, who already has shown her talents for being a great caretaker. Besides being loving and concerned, she is showing her ability to be strong and strict and not letting me become a victim.

All in all, a new walk in my life. A new challenge and a new adventure. One I wish I didn’t have to experience but now that it is upon me I’ll attack it with all I got and defeat it. Cancer may be in me, it may be a part of me, but it will never be me.

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