Cancer, all you’ve done is make me stronger!
It was 4 years ago today I was diagnosed with cancer for the second time. I knew what was coming as my brother, cousin and I sat in the waiting room waiting to see the doctor. I had seen the tumour a week previously during my colonoscopy. The doctor said it could be an ulcer or a tumour but later conceded that she knew it was a tumour.
We waited for an hour and half over my appointment time. My brother was complaining to us about how he couldn’t understand why the doctors couldn’t keep to their allotted appointment times. He’s quite a time efficient guy so a time delay like this completely baffled him.
We went in and I was told about the type of bowel cancer I had. The chances of survival were good but the probability was that I’d need a colostomy bag for life and it may have spread. I only heard all the bad stuff though and started crying and almost fainted. I totally crumbled. My brother asked the doctor what seemed like a million questions and the doctor was wonderful answering each one in full detail. We were in there for absolutely ages and when we came out my brother realised why doctors can’t keep to their allotted appointment times. Not everyone who goes into those rooms is going to get good news.
It’s now been 4 years on from that day and my goodness how life has changed. I’ve overcome cancer, I’m battling and winning my fight with PTSD and I’ve travelled around one side of the globe.
I’ve learned so much over the past 4 years there is no way I could put it all down in one blog post. Im so glad I wrote a blog now as I can go back and see how and why I’ve now become the person I am today. It’s a strange thing to state what kind of person you are but what I do know is that I’m a pretty good guy who is extremely grateful to be here.
I’ve been thinking for a while now about which of my many photographs is my favourite one. I’ve now looked at them over and over in the past week or so and this the one that I look at more than any other.
This photograph was taken at the Quilatoa Crater in Ecuador by my wonderful friend Kiki. I want to say this is my favourite photograph because of the amazing scenery and the beautiful colours but that wouldn’t be the truth. The reason I love this photograph is because of the guy in the photo. That guy in the photograph doesn’t look like he’s had cancer twice, he doesn’t look like he’s got one kidney, a blood clot and some bowel missing and he certainly doesn’t look like any type of ‘victim’. He looks strong, fit, healthy and for a moment you could even believe that he made that crater himself.
I rarely look at photographs of myself and say all those things. I often criticise myself for being too skinny or looking tired and weak. I look at this photograph and I actually want to be that guy. I then realise that the guy in the photograph is me. He’s all the things I’ve ever wanted to be. An adventurer, an optimist and a warrior.
Best of all though that guy in the photograph is one extremely grateful human being and unlike 4 years ago, today is a good day, and it’s the present moment I want to think about and appreciate more than any other.
Thank you to the wonderful NHS nurses, doctors and surgeons at University College Hospital in London for helping stay on this earth and for playing a huge part in helping me be that guy in the photograph.
“Life is a storm. You can bask in the sunlight one moment and be shattered against the rocks the next but what makes you the person you are is what you do when that storm comes”
The Count of Monte cristo