Tuesday, September 10, 2013
September 10, 2013
[Pastorgraphs now online at ChristSD.com]
One of the most significant milestones almost slipped by without my notice. (No, not my wedding anniversary or Anita’s birthday.) This Sunday, September 15, will mark the fifth anniversary of my prostate cancer (PC) surgery. The fact that my “C-Day” almost slipped by is very good news. It means I’m not dwelling on having had cancer. I have “moved on” with my life, and at five years post-surgery am most blessed to have been touched by some great physicians and The Great Physician.
I belong to a prostate cancer support group, and know not all men are as fortunate or blessed as I am. Two of my closest PC survivor-friends are in daily hand-to-hand combat with this disease, and their long-term prognosis is not good.
Prostate cancer will strike 1 of 6 men. It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men. This year over 250,000 men in the USA will be newly diagnosed and 144,000 will died from the disease.
Take it from me, PC (like any cancer) changes a person’s life. Having had radiation following surgery, each day I deal with minor to moderate pain or complications (especially fatigue). But it is my “new normal”, and I am so very thankful to be alive and in remission.
My journal contains this entry on September 2, 2008 as I prepared for PC surgery:
“Being born on June 22 made me a “Cancer the Crab”. (No, I am not going New Age, and never read my horoscope.) I never felt good saying “I am a Cancer” when on those rare occasions someone asked me “What’s your sign?” But it is now a bit ironic. Why couldn’t I have been born under the sign of the eagle, or a bulldog; or better yet, a catfish or oriole?
Having dealt with the knowledge I have cancer for a few months, a few things are beginning to sink in.
1. You learn you have cancer, but cancer does not have you (unless you let it). Self-pity isn’t worth the effort.
2. You learn getting cancer is not a death sentence; it is a declaration of war! I am a survivor, not a victim.
3. You learn some folks are very uncomfortable and withdraw when they discover you have cancer…and that’s OK.
4. You learn some folks (often the most unexpected ones) draw closer, and perform amazing acts of grace and kindness.
5. You learn a cancer diagnosis allows you to reconnect with family and relatives, childhood friends, classmates, and colleagues from the past in a way that might otherwise have never happened.
6. You learn not to sweat the small stuff…even when your favorite football team starts the season with a loss.
7. You learn to celebrate the milestones; even Flag Day, and the little reminders that every day is a precious gift from God.
8. You learn it’s OK to cry; but even better to laugh. And you discover that there are some funny things about cancer; as serious as it is. (Example: Now that I am on hormone therapy, I will finally get to sing in the soprano section of the choir!)
9. You learn that long range plans are necessary; but short term plans are essential. Get on with doing those things you were saving up for retirement.
The calendar has finally rolled over to September, and in a few days, with God’s grace, I will fight and win an important battle in this war. With the help of so many people, especially Anita, I am ready!
And you know I cannot stop short with nine lessons. So here is the most important of all:
10.You learn that you ARE NOT cancer; and that “your sign” is an Empty Tomb, where Jesus so loved you, more than your closest friend or brother, and won the ultimate victory over sin, sickness, suffering and even death.”
My C-Day came, and by God’s grace I fought and survived. Five years out, I do not dwell on it. I’m too busy living, loving, and doing my best to serve the Lord. Anything less would be wasting the precious gift of life that every day offers.
Devotedly, Bill Jenkins
From the Quote Garden:
“Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
~ Psalm 90:12 ~
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