Happy June 4th! (v. 4.0)
Today is my fourth cancerversary – my first diagnosis of colorectal cancer (CRC) was June 4, 2012. I have already talked about my upbeat feelings on cancerversaries in previous years’ blog posts and letters to friends & families, as I gratefully celebrated another year of living after a lot of unknowns (!) at the time of diagnosis… so I won’t repeat those again today. I invite you to read a complete summary of my feelings on cancerversaries in general & how I celebrated them in past years in a post I wrote exactly one year ago, appropriately entitled Happy June 4th (v. 3.0) 🙂
It has indeed been a very meaningful year since that v. 3.0 post – with many life changes & events, a majority of which were thankfully good. But I also won’t repeat listing those again today – I invite you to go back & read my blog’s posts describing everything that has gone on this past year – it has been a year full of experiences & full of life!
Overall I am amazed at where my life stands 4 years out from my cancer diagnosis. It is a life I never would (or could) have imagined 4 years ago. I’m feeling good, I’m upbeat and excited for the future, I am truly thriving. A current life of excitement that was partially summarized in a column I was invited to write for the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper that published yesterday.
Me, invited to write for a major newspaper about my own life? Once again – another life event that I never imagined ever happening when I overheard my doctor tell my wife “Your husband has colon cancer” four years ago today.
But here I am, alive and feeling good…
This year’s cancerversary, although very positive, has been filled with a lot of reflection on the path I have followed, especially this past year. I celebrated yet another year of LIFE and FEELING GOOD (well except for chemo days!) by running a 10k this morning at the crack of dawn. I ran a slow pace but I finished the 10k without any breaks and without losing my breath – take that you ~10 inoperable lung tumors!
It was perfect running weather at about 6:30 AM this morning. There was a deep fog and temperatures were in the mid-60’s. As I ran my route along the Point Loma peninsula, the normal ocean views were completely obscured. I settled into the pace of my run, my mind relaxed into a zen-like state.
Focused and relaxed I thought through the path I have followed since my last cancerversary – which I celebrated with the incredible Colon Club last year in Tennessee. I wondered – had I made the right decisions this past year? Were my various choices really the best path for me to follow?
I looked up and allowed my eyes to focus and I saw the running route ahead of me. It was completely obscured on both sides by fog and I could only see a short distance ahead of me. There was only one clear path – directly in front of me while I ran. Maybe it was tricks of fog water droplets swirling in the air or it was a mental trick of the diffuse light but I saw a swirl of light spots in front of me dancing in the air – as if leading me forward between the walls of fog on either side.
I immediately thought back to the path I have been running along this past year in my cancer life. Most of the time the sides of this path were very obscured and I could only see a short ways in front of me. I have followed what I considered the right path I should follow based upon hunches and instincts – a deepness of feelings I can’t fully express in words. As if led by an equivalent of those small dancing lights in front of me on my run. I am simply amazed at the cleared path I have ended up following this past year, while other options and alternative paths I could have chosen seemed to remain obscured.
So here we are, now starting year 5 of my cancer journey. Some survivors don’t like the “journey” phrase but I do, so I’ll use it. Readers of this blog know exactly my current planned (and clear final destination) of this cancer journey!
Where exactly will my journey take me during year 5? While I have some good & exciting ideas of the possible path as my personalized immunotherapy research ramps up (we had GREAT preliminary data last week by the way – very exciting!!) – in truth my view of the coming year 5 is as fog-surrounded as my run this morning. I currently can only see a small ways in front of me clearly – I have clear plans for my cancer journey pretty much a month at a time. 🙂
But I am OK with that. I feel great, I’m having fun and I have faith that like those swirling lights on my run this morning, through hunch, instinct or something else – I will travel the path I was meant to travel. And I think that will be a very exciting and always interesting path indeed.
Happy June 4th! To Life!
PS How did I spend my cancerversary afternoon this year? Playing in our new pool with the girls – followed by poolside blog writing & watching the #ASCO16 twitter feed for breaking CRC news. Yep, I think that was a pretty appropriate way for me to spend my cancerversary!