Make Your Life Spectacular
(Or, Live Each Day With Purpose, For You Are Going To Die)
I have the best news to share! Without a doubt, this news is some of the best of my life, just short of my wife saying “I do” and the birth of our four beautiful boys. But in order to know why it’s the best, you must understand why it was nearly the WORST news of my entire life.
How is that possible? Read on …
In December, I finished my year-long cancer treatment regimen. Going forward, CT scans will routinely occur and be the primary way to keep tabs on my health.
On Wednesday 1/11, I went in for the first post-cancer scan, and then met with my Oncologist the next day to review the results. Vivianne and I both expected that it would be a non-event — the doctor would smile and say, “All is clear, see you in 3 months”.
However … we heard these words: “I have some tough news to share. We found two spots on your liver.” The doctor went on to explain that, despite the fact that I had just recently finished chemotherapy, cancer had spread and taken root on another organ, now categorizing my affliction as Stage 4 cancer (the worst). She then mentioned that she’s never known of anyone who truly recovered from this type of cancer. Sure, chemo, radiation, and surgery could suppress it for awhile, but it would continue popping up until my body finally succumbed … “and then you’ll die”. [Silence] “If you’re a planner, you should look to get things in order”, she said. [Silence] The next steps were for her to consult with a group of doctors on Monday and report back with their recommended treatment plan.
I felt like I got punched in the gut. I struggled to process what had just been said. How could this be?!?!
That weekend was the longest, most depressing one of my life. Every time I looked at my four boys, I began to weep. Would I be around to see them grow older? Would I see them play sports, build robots, excel in school? How about high school, dating, driving, graduation?! Hell, would I even be around for another holiday?!
Numbness crept in. Although I had maintained a very positive attitude during my first diagnosis and treatment in 2016, this felt different … way different. When I told a few friends and family this news, they’d frown, pause, and eventually try to reassure me, “Well, it doesn’t have to be a death sentence”. Their words fell on deaf ears. I couldn’t shake the darkness — it did feel like a death sentence. The insult to injury of it all is that the quality of our lives would be horrid. It would mean more harmful and debilitating (and expensive!) treatments, accompanied by awful side-effects. It was overwhelming.
Monday finally rolled around, and the call came from the Oncologist. “I have encouraging news, Dave … “ [huge sigh of relief] “A Radiologist who reviewed your case dug up a CT scan of yours from a few years ago that shows at least one of the spots in the same location — it seems to be a Hemangioma, a harmless benign tumor.” HOPE! I quickly shot back, “What’s the likelihood that the other spot is also benign?!” It’s possible, she said, but to be sure, she scheduled an MRI (a more detailed) scan of my liver later that week.
The MRI results? BOTH SPOTS BENIGN! My wife and I were (and are still) beyond overjoyed!! I feel like I have a new lease on my own life.
[File under: Best news]
Our minds, at their deepest levels, are wired to protect us from danger and keep us alive. The great part is, well, that the human race continues forward. The not-so-great part (albeit psychologically normal and healthy) is the shield it creates to protect us from the reality that our days are numbered. We are going to die (yes, you). Who really wants to think about this? Nobody!
Let my experience, described here, be a reminder to you (as it was/is to me) that our days are measured … our days are precious … our days are a gift, each and every one. Take steps, even if they’re tiny and seemingly insignificant, to live the life you really want and align your actions with your thoughts, beliefs, and desires. In the end, you’ll be glad you did.
Make your life spectacular.