Yesterday was my 5th Cancer-versary: 5 years since the rug was pulled out from under my life, since a small band of renegade cells made themselves known to a doctor with a scope, since my wife sat across the table from me in an IHOP and made her first attempt to help me (still high from the Versed and starving from the long fast) understand what the doctor had said: “an irregular shaped mass.”
We had no idea what was before us. A true gift in many ways. Had we known, would we have had the strength, would I have had the strength to continue forward, into the pain that awaited? I would like to think yes, I would like to believe that I would still have the determination to step forward down the path that lay before me, but I fear that would be nothing but a pleasant lie to feed my ego. In truth, I think I only, I think we only found the strength to deal with each step as we made it.
As we told each other early on, reciting lines from a book we read to our 3 year old:
can’t go over it, can’t go under it, can’t go around it, gotta go through it.
We don’t do it out of courage, we do it out of necessity.
We don’t do it out of strength, we do it out of dogged determination.
We don’t do it to inspire, we do it because there is simply no other choice.
Here, for a change of pace, is a positive piece, called “I will”:
Though I shake with fear,
I will steady my hands, breathe deeply, and continue.
Though the blows knock me down,
force the air from my lungs,
send me reeling,
I will stand to fight again.
Though my body changes before me,
as it is torn and stitched,
cut and pieced back together,
though the hair falls from me in patches,
though my very skin becomes alien to me,
a mottled, cratered reflection of the battle waging
I will learn to love the strength, the stubbornness, the journey
that is written in these angry red scars,
Though pain courses through me,
finding new avenues past my defenses,
I will know that the pain reminds me that I still live.
Though I am exhausted, unable to take another step,
I will find strength within me. I will smile, and continue to walk forward.
Though my life continually hangs on a few words, a moment, a bright spot shining on a computer screen…on the stubbornness of wayward cells,
I will live in that moment. I will stretch it out into a lifetime.
By Dov Siporin, Stage 4 Colorectal Cancer Survivor – Salt Lake City, UT
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