August 10, 2013
An Amazing Lesson in Perseverance
Despite the physical ups and downs of this roller coaster journey, my soul is growing and learning so much. My heart is swollen and aches as I meet my new cancer friends and hear of their struggles. I wish I had a magic wand that I could wave and wipe all the pain and suffering out of their lives.
This week a friend from way back in my High School daze, Mike McKenna, reached out to me. I have fond memories of chasing him down on a country road for a friend of mine (she will remain nameless but I believe the initials were KK) and I ended up ditching my mom's Impala. I digress …. anyway Mike learned through Facebook that I was now part of the colon cancer club and he was kind enough to share his cancer story with me. He's a true cancer veteran. Not only has he gone through treatment once or twice but three times! The biggest lesson he shares is "don't give up." I told him if my cancer came back I'm not sure I'd do chemo again, it's such and ugly process and so hard on your body. He said the same thing but when cancer came back a second time his family talked him into it and I'm glad they did as he is alive and healthy today! He also said the second time the cancer came back, his oncologist said it was time to get his affairs in order. That pissed him off enough to seek out a new doctor a few states away who put him on a different treatment regime. Another good lesson, doctors are not always right!
Mike was kind enough to share a beautiful letter his daughter wrote about him. He is allowing me to share this and said if it can ease one person's pain, then it's worth it.
Thank you, Mike. Your perseverance is amazing and a great life lesson to all of us! HUGS!
"Your dad is sick with cancer." Those are the words that made my heart drop into my stomach. As I took a deep breath in, tears splattered from my eyes. As a sixth grader, I wasn't sure exactly how to react or what to think. I had heard of cancer before, but when my family sat down to discuss the illness I realized life wasn't going to be the same.
I am the middle child of three kids and had to grow up quickly. When my father was diagnosed with cancer, my whole world changed. The treatments for the cancer took my father's energy away and made him get sick often. As much as he could, he kept my family in good spirits, trying his hardest to come to every single baseball game my little brother played. The baseball games were hot and made my dad nauseous, but it meant the world to my brother for my dad to be there, so my dad would sit under a tree and get sick into a garbage can. My dad always tried his best to be there when he could. No matter how different my dad's body felt he wanted to show us that a person can be strong through anything.
After my father found out he had cancer, he quit his job of 20 years as a lawyer. My father's cancer was in remission, and he found another job. Not too long after my family lost everything due to a terrible house fire.
The cancer has come back two more times, but my dad continues to work and support my family. Throughout my dad's battle with cancer, my family has struggled with multiple medical bills, replacing our belongings from the fire. Growing up, my outlook on life has changed because I have learned to move forward from struggles and overcome any obstacle in my path. With every setback, I have been more determined to work even harder in school with a schedule filled with advanced classes. While working part-time, cheerleading, and studying, my life is advancing to the next level.. It is my present and past that has made me into the strong and determined person I am today.
There isn't one moment in my life worth regretting or dwelling over. Every experience I have encountered has become a life lesson. In life there are thousands of reasons to cry, but there are millions of reasons to smile. With my experiences I have learned to live life appreciating that I have the people around me to keep me in good spirits through any obstacle. With so many chances in life to lose someone you love due to an illness, I've learned to value everyday with them. Life is about appreciating what you have and being grateful for everyday you have to appreciate it.