Thursday, February 4, 2010

I Get Coached by Clyde

In my most recent posts, I have decribed how hard it is for me to be over-joyed with the news that Clyde, at the moment, is living cancer free. Don't get me wrong. Clyde's current health is thrilling news but I can't help but look "over my shoulder" waiting for Doctor Longo to drop the bomb that the whole procedure was for naught.

In the last week or so I've been starting to see the light. The fact is that people living with cancer have to possess a different mind-set. No one can describe the thinking better than someone that's lived with it for more than two decades. What follows is an email I received from Clyde a couple of days ago. This pretty much says it.

Hey Chard

I just read your most recent post last night. . .whether you
know it or not, what you have described (if I may be so bold) is the
feeling that every cancer patient feels every day after being diagnosed
with the disease. There's always the sinking feeling of "when is the
other shoe going to drop?" I've felt that way since 1988. But, what I've
also learned since 1988 is that you don't look forward and you certainly
don't look back. Each day is its own and needs to be seen that way. I
know that's easy to say but you really need to believe it, or the cancer
has won.

There is an incredible loss of control that the disease brings on.
However, no matter what you're doing in life you always have a choice. The
options may not be good but you can still answer every question with a yes
or no. Even cancer can't take that away from you. So what's the answer?
I've decided to accept the fact that I can't control the disease. If the
doctors could tell me to use a certain shampoo (let's pretend I have
hair), don't eat certain foods, walk a mile every day or anything else to
avoid a relapse I'd be all over it. But they can't. So my options are to
dwell in self-pity or live the day. Seems like the choice is pretty easy
to me. I'm not saying that every day I wake up in a fabulous mood, laugh
all day, have the ability to do whatever I want, whenever I want or
anything else so corny, but I can't (and won't) sit back and wait to die.

Next Tuesday Dr. Longo may not have good news to share. If that's the
case, we'll deal with it. We'd listen to the options and say yes or no.
It's funny that when the news is good we have a tendency to worry about
when the bad news is coming, but when the news is bad we don't
automatically wonder when the good news is imminent.

I'm afraid you've entered the "world of cancer" by your incredible
participation. It's a dark, scary place. Don't get lost in it. We've
won and will continue to win. Believe it.



Be well.