September 16, 2005

It's Cool, in a Bizarre Way ........

Thanks go to Jeff for sending this my way.
I like Tony Snow, he sent me an autographed picture last year, before this happened to either of us. He inscribed it with "Keep the Faith"

It's not because of him, but there is a reason "Faith" is the first word in our foundation. You chose your own definition of what faith means to you, I again am not hear to preach. However, believe me, and read Tony's article, when you hear those dreaded words "You have cancer", the first place you turn, and the place you return to hundreds of times each day is to your faith.
You can probably tell from recent postings that this (fear) is THE hardest part for me personally. However, the good news is I spend far more time being positive. I know that I will live to see 50, and 60 and hold a grandchild….and all those other little things we have planned WILL happen!
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Fear is a waste of time
Tony Snow
September 16, 2005
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- My doctor has tried manfully over the years to talk seriously about important health matters, usually with mixed success. But he really grabbed my attention when he called just before Valentine's Day and said two little words.
"It's cancer."
People respond in different ways to such news. My first reaction was to think it was cool, in a bizarre way -- as if I had been inducted into a club known not just for its danger and darkness, but also for promising survivors something precious and rare: a fuller glimpse of life itself.
That feeling didn't last long. Within hours, the novelty dissolved and panic set in. My wife and I lay numbly in bed, fretting about what might be. A neighborhood friend had died of cancer only weeks before, leaving behind young children. We both thought, "What if ... ?"
Meanwhile, I felt pings and pangs in every conceivable organ and extremity. I interpreted transitory pains as evidence that micro-tumors had begun spreading wildly throughout my body and were attacking with fiendish efficiency. At one point, I mistook normal, allergy-related sinus pain for a brain tumor.
Fortunately, this panic didn't last long, either -- mainly because I received a very important visit from a friend. She came over to our house, armed with books and advice. Lounging on the couch, she talked about how she survived simultaneous cancers of the breast, lungs and lymph nodes.
There's nothing quite like a pep talk from a cancer survivor, especially one who by normal calculations ought to have died long ago.
Here is the most important thing she said: "When I was sick, my husband and I would sit in a group with other women who had the same thing. We sat in a circle, the same people each week.
"Some looked strong and vigorous; others were pale and weak. But none of that mattered. We discovered that we could figure out who was going to live and who would die just by looking into their eyes. The ones who were afraid didn't make it. The ones who were pessimistic didn't make it. The women who made it were the ones who wanted to live, and were ready to fight. Some of the big, strong women weren't ready to fight."
From that moment on, I haven't felt a pang of fear or trepidation. My friend inspired me to stop acting like a passive nut-job, performing diagnoses based on toe twinges and random gas pains, and to get moving. Suddenly, I couldn't wait to enter the hospital, where a terrific surgeon removed my colon, and then to undertake a six-month course of chemotherapy, complete with annoying side-effects and days of dreary exhaustion.
And so I did.
Winston Churchill once noted that there is nothing quite so thrilling as being shot at without effect. One can say much the same thing of grappling with cancer, with one difference: When a bullet passes, you know it. When cancer passes, you have to wait at least five years to mop your brow in relief.
Still, the last few months -- my time of surgery and chemo -- have been the happiest and most thrilling of my life. They have confirmed lessons that seem at once too good to be true, and too important and vital not to be.
Here is a short inventory:
Faith matters. Prayers heal. Love overcomes.
People want to do good for others; they just need excuses.
Fear is a waste of time. The worst that can happen is that we'll die -- which happens to everybody, anyway. Until the Grim Reaper comes knocking, we're alive.
We can count our hardships, but not our blessings.
Life does not revolve around us. It envelops us.
There is no condition that someone else has not already overcome.
Nothing makes one feel more alive than the prospect of death and the requirement that one fight for the things that give life its richness, meaning and joy.
Seven months into my little adventure, I love my wife and children more than ever; relish my work more than I could have imagined; and feel joy that I cannot begin to describe. I also have some street credibility when it comes to counseling cancer patients. I now can do what my friend did: Dispense a little advice and encouragement, so someone else can replace fear with hope and anxiety with determination.
Which leads to the final healing lesson. When you find a good thing, don't be selfish. Pass it on. You'll feel better -- and so will someone you love.
Tony Snow is the host of the 'Tony Snow Show' on Fox News Radio.

1 comment:

Delarue said...

Just read some of your writing during zoning time at work... it's very moving. I'm very sorry for your plight, and I sincerely wish all the best in your battle - I am amazed by your strength and honesty.