This story is special to me because I remember convincing myself that I will NOT fall under this statistic.
Back while I was still recovering from the surgery, I was still in the waiting process to get the results from my pathology report of the tumour.
The news I got was not the kind I wanted to hear. I was told that it was a Malignant (Grade 3) type tumour. Although the scans were clear of anything of it left, I was told that there could be some small cells left unseen to the human eye and any scan. If any of these cells were still there, they would have a high chance of regrowth. I was recommended to take a treatment combination of radiation & chemotherapy together to help kill whatever cells that would be left. They gave me the information of what both are like and some of the possible end results. One of the last things they said was that the decision was all up to me. I told them that I need a day to think about this as I just got the news and was still emotional.
I talked with my family and told them the news. I told them what kind of treatment was recommended but they also said that the decision would be all up to me. They said they will support me no matter what. The way they described how the radiation therapy worked was pretty straight forward, it was just like taking an X-Ray. It was painless and would be real quick. What I was most worried about was Chemotherapy. I’ve seen outcomes of chemotherapy from family members who have gone through it. Although mine would be considered a mild treatment, I would only be taking pills, also painless, however the side effect would include nausea and dizziness. The main thing that concerned me was the weakened immune system.
In doing more research and reading all different kinds of reactions to the treatments. It was getting me nowhere. I knew I had to make a decision on what I needed to do. I remember just closing my eyes and putting all the information together. I just let go and decide…
I decided to go through with the treatment system they recommended me to do. Along with this, I did make another decision to FIGHT it through. I said that no matter what happens, I will keep on fighting. One thing I learned was to give myself an anchor image to put on my mind when things got tough. Being a Dad, I had the image of a future with my son. Whether it would be a picture of him graduating high school or an image of us playing catch, I knew that it had to be something strong! I had to feel emotionally connected to that image. I knew that I did not want him to grow up without a father. That alone was enough to fight it through.
When I gave them my decision to go through the treatment, I was told that I would be going through a process to help me ease into it. One of the steps was the insurance paperwork needed to file a claim with my (at the time) current employer. In between the process, I was given the forms to get my oncologist to fill out. I got the forms back and had to mail them to the insurance company. Going through the forms, I happen to read the prognosis…
Totally did not want to see that and it SUCKED…
If you look at the image above [5 year overall survival 34%]
I had no clue what the number was and I can tell you that it felt like utter defeat… It was shocking and upsetting. That number was low. I was scared and became very anxious. So hard to describe in words what I was going through. The feeling that I had a short amount of time left. I had 1 more appointment with the oncologist before I was going to go through my first day of treatment and asked him how accurate the number was. He didn’t give me a definitive answer to that as he told me everyone is different. Said to just focus on getting better.
For the moment, I felt really lost and didn’t know what to do. All these thoughts were going through my mind. I did my best to shut everything off.
I already made the decision to go through with it and my gut was telling me to go through with it. So I stuck with it. After leaving the centre and getting home I used an Anchor image in my mind. It worked! I got the feeling that I will fight this and will come out as the winner. I said that I wanted to help change that number to give others who have the same Cancer I had more hope. I committed to do what it takes to keep on fighting.
Even though I couldn’t run, I got up and walked. I couldn’t lift weights, I used a resistance band. I remember even writing. With my diet, when I had no appetite, I had a Jack Lalane juicer to make me some fresh juice to drink. I felt really dehydrated with the chemo and I could drink rather than eat. All this stemmed from using anchor images that I emotionally connected with.
"I was told that numbers don’t lie, but I can also tell you that miracles do happen."
This month marks 5 years from upon learning my so called “Survival Rate”. I’m still here and I can tell you that it feels really GOOD because at one point I thought I was going to be part of that number. I was told that numbers don’t lie, but I can also tell you that miracles do happen. I went from quarterly, to bi-yearly, to yearly MRI Scans and all have been clear of anything regrowing. I’ve been in remission since and have my yearly scan coming up this summer and I’m so confident that it will be clear. Looking back at this I know I was still not as educated with how things are now, but the one thing I knew I wanted to do back then was not only to Survive, but to move forward and THRIVE!
To all of you who are still fighting, just know that I send out my positive love to you all. But I would want to give you something before I end this short story, don’t forget to Love Yourself!
You are WORTHY and you deserve to Thrive!