It amazing how an anecdote related to you at a young age sticks with you your entire life. Nearly 40 years ago when I was a sixth grader, a lesson was taught to me about always being thankful for what I have in life for no matter how hard you have it someone else has it rougher. I got diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer recently. There is no Stage 5. While this might sound odd to some, I actually was thankful for the diagnosis. While I was momentarily stunned, a classic out of body moment if you will, my next reaction was what do we need to do next. My condition is very serious, however, the silver lining to my cloud is that I am able to pursue opportunities for treatment, brutal as the chemotherapy is and hope to get to remission in a few weeks.
I believe you always reap what you sow and then some. It is often said that you find out who your friends are when adversity hits. I found out I have a ton of people who care deeply about me. I was overwhelmed, humbled and honored by the number of visits, phone calls, e-mails and get well cards. It dawned upon me that I must have done something right over the years.
Sometimes late at night tossing and turning in bed I think what an incredibly lucky man I am. I am thankful for a great ride of 50 years, a great family and great friends. What more can a guy ask for? If all this ended today, I would still leave this planet a happy man. My only regret would be that I did not get to see my children finish college and get happily settled in life. A few more years with my wife would ice the cake. I have not accomplished all that I wanted to in life yet, still working on that Great American Novel wanting to come gushing out of my word processor, still have to learn how to play the piano yet and maybe learn to speak Spanish properly so I do not mortify my daughter in public with my ‘Spanglish’.
Sometimes as Americans we lose perspective of how good we have it in life. There are millions of people on this planet that do not have a fraction of the medical care, conveniences and comforts we take for granted every day. It sometimes takes a shock to the system to appreciate what you have. Of course this has been a roller coaster ride of emotions. As a 30 year veteran of the trucking industry, I am what they call ‘old school’. No matter how bad the situation, you play the hand you are dealt and wade into whatever swamp you need to get the job done. All I can do is fight this cancer to the best of my ability and let the chips fall where they may. I am at peace with that.
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