It was in April of 2006 that I found out. I wondered if my life would ever be the same. Cancer? It couldn’t be. It had to have been a misdiagnosis. But it wasn’t. It was reality and it was not going to set in fast.
My mother’s side of the family had cancer running ramped though it. You would think that I would be somewhat familiar with the disease. But I wasn’t. I wasn’t very close to them so I never took the time to find out about it. It was always on the news, in magazines and newspaper articles. Millions of people have it and live with it everyday. It was just one of those things that you heard about, but the topic passed you by like a thief in the night. I mean why would I pay attention to it? It was not a part of my life.
But now, it is, in every way possible. It was new and I would learn everything I could about it. I watched news stories on it, read magazine and newspaper articles. Because you see, cancer had now entered my life forever. It also entered my dad’s. His diagnosis of kidney cancer would be the knock on our door that opened our eyes to life, reality, and time.
We have always been close, but since the day that I was told he had cancer, we have moved into another chapter in our relationship. I talk to him every other day because I feel I need to keep up with his health and every day living. Some people would think that “it’s not your cancer, it is his.” But I feel that I share this with him. I can’t be there to take away the things that the chemo pills do to him. I can’t take the cancer out of his body. I can’t be with him each time he gets a little down. But I can be his friend and his coach, routing him on the whole way, giving advice, cheering him up, and letting him know that “we” are not giving up.
Since this new chapter has entered my life, I can’t pass up a donation to anything related to cancer. If a convenience store wants a buck for cancer, I will give it. If Bed Bath and Beyond is selling pink M & M’s, I buy them. If the school I work at is selling sandwiches on Fridays for Relay for Life, I buy one. I know that this money is going toward helping find a cure for cancer. And now that I am in this fight, I have to help any way I can. I am afraid if I pass it up; somehow I am letting my dad down.
Cars pass me by and I immediately notice the ribbons on them. Anyone wearing a cancer pin on their lapel gets a smile from me. This thing that has always been in the background has just taken center stage in my life. It has rudely pushed itself into our family without even a word of apology.
But this thing is not going to win. My father is fighting it and he is going to make it to the 12th round, the 18th hole, the fourth quarter. He is going to beat this thing. We are going to beat this thing together.
Cancer has changed my life. The only positive thing that has come from this monster is my relationship with God and the faith that I live by everyday. I am more aware of our time, and how little we seem to have of it. I am aware of the realities that we all face each and every day. Life is not a guarantee. Pray, live, love, laugh, and let go…………. But most of all, pray.