A man at one of my support groups asked if I could go back in time would I repeat my journey with cancer? I first thought was this a stupid question; of course, I would not. Why would I want to repeat this experience? Who in their right mind would elect to again walk on this path?
I would choose a different path, one which did not include cancer. Why would I consider a walk on a path that included surgery, drugs and side effects? I could easily do without the hot flashes, chemo brain, neuropathy, incontinence and of course impotence.
I would find a path where my family would not have to hear that I have cancer and then spend their energy worrying about me. Honestly, I could also do without thinking about my death.
In a heartbeat, I would choose another road, a cancer free road. Nevertheless, I did come to recognize there are some things I do value about my trip down cancer valley. There are important things that I discovered along the way.
I learned about myself and I learned about the many inner strengths buried inside my soul. I know that I am capable of dealing with great adversity with grace and dignity. I have come to believe in myself.
I have learned how to communicate better with my wife who has proven repeatedly to be my best friend and ally. I realize that life has its priorities and little unimportant things should stay little and unimportant. What is important is today and then maybe tomorrow. Yesterday is one of those little unimportant things.
Joel T Nowak MA, MSW