When I first wrote my original post in this thread, I was broken, but I didn't know it. I was in the ditches, struggling with the side effects of a very aggressive, life threatening cancer and it's treatment.
And yet, I wanted to help you. I wanted you to know that you can beat it. That things get better. And they were.
Every year things got a little bit better, but I wanted to write today and tell you two things that I think are very important. If you're grappling with a new diagnosis, fumbling for some kind of anchor, some kind of hope to hold onto - then I'm writing this EXACTLY for you. I was there, and it was horrible. I hope you find something helpful in what I have to say:
1) You can not just survive, but one day, you can THRIVE. I swear. It's possible to get through this horrible experience and actually come out the other side BETTER. I don't mean that in any "ra ra, I'm a cancer warrior!" way, but rather, if you do the work, look at death head-on, unpack the experience, you can get to an end point where you are a much finer, more compassionate person, who is more in touch with (or less in control of - haha) their emotions. That's available to you. Your life doesn't have to be in decline from this point forward. You can bloom again.
2) If you're a bit dim like me, that's a slow process. Be fiercely protective of your mental health. Value yourself. Don't allow the chronic health problems that can manifest after cancer grind you down. I did. For about 4 years following cancer, my main focus was my kids & my wife. I figured that if time was short, that was the absolute most important thing - above any other - to be there for them as long as possible, and to love and nurture and cherish them while I could. BUT - I made a mistake. By not focussing on my own hope, my own healing, I drifted into existential limbo. I was under-performing as a parent. Still doing a great job compared to most (I reckon, haha, I'm great!). But yeah. I allowed myself to become broken and didn't see hope over the horizon. Dont' make that same mistake that I did.
So if you've seen a younger me telling you "This isn't the end". Those words are true, they're honest, and I realise NOW they've even more vital than I thought before.
YOU MUST KEEP YOUR HOPE. NEVER, EVER, ALLOW THAT HOPE TO DIE.
Mine almost did, it went down to a tiny little flicker. And now ... oh my god ... I tear up as I write this ... because ... it burns in me so strong, I know if I keep tending that fire, it will blaze for the rest of my life.
SO yeah, using that metaphor -- hope is like a flame, it burns inside you. It's a basic human need. Cancer tries to extinguish it.
Anyway, I made a video for you. I'll update it in a couple of months (I'm already down to 89kg, from like 137.5 in December). Cancer wrecked my thyroid. Gave me a heap of other problems, some pretty serious, some insidious (like the damned tinnitus). But I laugh at them. I'm fine. 100% absolutely fine. I've found my hope and my strength, and the absolute, vital message I want to give you is this: YOU CAN TOO.
If you've just been diagnosed, I'm so sorry. It isn't the end. You're still alive. We, none of us, know how long we have. I hope you have a solid chance to fight. And I want you, please, to fight for your hope and happiness at the same time that you fight the disease.
So this is me, walking toward hope: https://youtu.be/1UTpafavA04
And this is what I'm doing now. My travel insurance business collapsed with the COVID border closures, so I'm using a year to completely fix myself physically. Rebuilding physically, psychologically and spiritually, and then going on a 3 month pilgrimage across Australia. (For the Kids Cancer Project)
But yeah, that stuff is just to illustrate that you can come alive, as I have.
THIS ISN'T THE END.
Wow! Thank you for your inspiring words! Truer words have never been spoken. I'm not afraid of my cancer. I have plans that I WILL see to fruition. I've been given 5 years at best. And I'm going to make the best of the time I've been given, whether it's 5 years or 15 years (I keep telling my doctor I won't be a statistic, I'll be a miracle). As you said, we could be hit by a bus tomorrow and die. But we don't let the fear of something like that rob us of our joy like cancer does. I for one refuse to let cancer rob me. Instead, my cancer has made me realize that life is not only precious but it's beautiful, hopeful, joyous, and something to look forward to every morning when I wake up. I haven't given up on long term goals or projects. A positive attitude and determination might not be a cure but I believe they can get you further than most doctors predict.
Thank you for a great post. Quite inspirational🌝
I'm pinning my hope on improved diet after therapy, that is mindful of all the research done on anti-cancer and anti-angiogenic foods. It can only help! And it feels on the right track🍅🥑🍓🥦
Thank you both for your kindness. Yep, mine was an invasive, stage 4 head and neck cancer. 6 months to live prognosis with a 40-60% chance that chemoradiation could eliminate the disease. And I got lucky. Anybody struggling with cancer could take heart from that: it's not over.
I think cancer has a crippling effect - it's a mental and spiritual attack just as it is physical, and many of us probably put that to one side and focus only on the math of survival.
Having come through the tunnel, I realise now, 100%, that it's hope that matters most, above all things. Even without cancer, having a heart filled with hope for the future will enrich your life immeasurably.
I've searched my heart, and the thing I want most is to be able to tell people that. Keep your hope alive. You can get through this. All those people who were lost and struggling, without an anchor, as I was, just diagnosed, no idea what to do, grieving, scared. I was in that situation, and I'm here today. Take a spark of hope from that. Nurture it.
And then the broken people who lost their hope along the way - it doesn't even have to be cancer, it can just be that all-time-heavy-weight-champion LIFE. It can have a tendency to punch you until you fall over. But you have to have the heart to stand up again. The main reason I made that video (aside from trying to help the Kids Cancer Project) is in the hopes that even one person, broken as I was, can see it, realise that it's a pathway available to them, and slowly climb back to their feet and take flower.
I'm actually kinda excited to complete the video as the year progresses. A broken old man strutting out to show off his brand new shiny ABS, I think that will be hysterical 🙂
I like where you're coming from. Me, I pin my hope on food as medicine, its got to do some good in stopping new cancers. After all, medicine cures (sometimes) but does not 'heal' as such. Only the miracle of the body can heal, and right nutrients and long walks can support that. That's what I feel😀🍎
Please post the link to your video again... I saw it somewhere but can't remember where
Hey Hey -- you're probably right, and even if you're wrong, eat good foods means FEEL GOOD, and that's worth pursuing.
But yeah, I think the science is heading toward immunotherapy, and there are super-foods that are supposed to boost the body's autoimmune response. Problem with cancer is that it's a mutation that bypasses the body's normal internal defenses. We have these hunter-killer genes that respond to bacterial infection etc by going all kung fu on it .. burning it out .. whatever it takes. BUT .. apparently they don't notice cancer - although there are some fascinating autoimmune therapies and natural agents that some scientists say help this inner army to 'see' cancer.
Yeah, I vote 100% stock up the pantry with paw-paw and all that good stuff.
Oh yeah, and for those videos I made, you can find them both on here:
Or here are the individual links:
About my BIG WALK: https://youtu.be/rYRsXsRpRzQ
Walking toward HOPE: https://youtu.be/1UTpafavA04
Thank you CaptainAustralia. Your message is so inspiring and yes that Asian Doctor needs to know about life and believe in God while being a professional doctor. He has to remember that he is one of the Angels in this world sent by God to heal people not to scare them off. There are a lot of Asian Doctors now scared of 'Corona Virus'. My dignose was delayed because my Doctor was meeting me in the car park of his premises. He should hang his coat and give up being a doctor. You cannot live in fear. I am in the 4th week of my treatment both 'Chemo and Radiation'. PMac staff have been brilliant and very helpful in giving hope. I personally thank God for brining me so safe this far. I am 70 years old. I have had other health challenges such as 'Aortic Stenosis' - this is all not very accurate science I am told. They wait for clinical findings. But this has to take a back seat for now.
I have had to live with abnormal cholesterol levels and this has done nothing to change me. I was worried in my 30's when I discovered it and then a Maori said to me: 'In front of you there is lion chasing you and you start running until you reach a cliff. There is death in front of you and there is death if you jump down, but a person noticed that there was a shrub with fruits just at the edge of your cliff. What do you do? I said I would eat the fruit. He said exactly..............Enjoy the fruit provided.
In this journey a lot is revealed, your friends who are no longer your friends, your loved ones who are no longer loved ones because they just come for better and better not worse. I have a few friends who know that I am a good friend but my new friends at the hospital are the best.
Love you all
Firstly, thanks Captain Australia - I always enjoy your posts.
Livingwithhope - Is the surgery you're talking about the Ivor Lewis procedure? How is your partner doing now? I had the procedure on 14 May and while I came through the surgery quite well, I'm now struggling with eating.
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