BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Three years ago this week, I heard the three words that no one wants to hear "You have cancer." It hit me like a bomb. In recent years, I went on a serious health kick, losing more than 120 pounds, and hitting the gym several times a week. I thought I was indestructible. I thought wrong. "You have cancer."
At first, I didn't know what to think. The doctor said I had kidney cancer, and they wouldn't know the full extent of the cancer until surgery. For just a moment, I thought about death. But only for a moment. I mostly thought about beating the disease. Those who have been diagnosed with cancer know exactly what I'm talking about. It's ironic that I'm writing this Blog this week, because Camp Bluebird just ended this past weekend. It's a very special camp for cancer survivors to get support and share their experiences. The support and love of my wife and children, my in-laws, and brother and sister helped tremendously. Not to mention all the support from my friends at WLOX.
It was time for surgery. The operation took almost five hours, and doctors removed my right kidney, and explored the rest of my mid-section. The news was good, the cancer was contained in the kidney, and taking it out took out the cancer. I was very lucky. Because kidney cancer is so deep, radiation and chemo would have been risky and possibly ineffective if the cancer had spread. My prayers had been answered.
It's now been three years and I'm still cancer free. I have to undergo a battery of tests every year just to make sure, but that's a small price to pay. But the psychological games that cancer plays on your mind still come up every now and then. You get a strange pain, and you think, oh no, maybe it's cancer. A small lump on your back, it could be cancer. It sounds kind of silly, but again, those who have had cancer know what I'm talking about. Fortunately, everything is fine, and I'm in good health, and hitting the gym like a warrior. I feel very lucky.
And my outlook on life has changed, Pre-cancer, I took the small pleasures in life for granted. I worked hard and I deserved them. In other words, I was a bit selfish from time to time, as most of us are. Post-cancer, I thank God every day for the blessings in my life, however small. And I pray for all of those who have had cancer, and all of those who will in the future. But keep your head up, and tell yourself, I'm going to beat it. It's the only way to go. Trust me.