I cannot help it but every time I hear about someone who has died from cancer, it takes a toll on my spirit and knocks me down a notch. I hurt for the person, for their family and their friends. I also hurt deeply for myself, because I know that I too may not survive cancer.

Despite cancer always being present in my consciousness, I mostly live each day as if I am invulnerable. I live each day with an outlook of promise and hope for survival. But, I am very aware that each day people do die from this disease. I also cannot escape my belief that many of the people who have died from cancer must also have shared the same outlook at some point during their journey. It is good that we are able to have this outlook of promise and hope because without it we would not be able to get out of bed and live our life.

However, I also know that often something happens, treatment fails, tearing away our hope as well as our future. It too will happen to my family, my friends, and me – that is what scares me.

Joel T Nowak MA, MSW