Five Years of Survivorship: A Reflection

Weeks prior I had my surgery. I was drinking a Stone Enjoy by IPA; A hop bomb for IPA lovers. You can see the relief in my face. I was out of the woods. 

The man in the picture above you is twenty-four years old. In the prior month he had a right-radical orchiectomy. In plain English, I had my right testicle removed. My diagnosis was Testicular Cancer. Inside of it was a 105mm tumor. That’s the size of an artillery shell. I was staged with Stage II Testicular Cancer, End Stage 0. I only needed a surgery. I still have the scar in my pelvic region. It is a reminder of what I faced—an unknown life-threatening enemy. Cancer told me to appreciate life. I didn’t learn that lesson until later.

2014 was five years ago, much has changed since then. I’ve changed careers, triumphed, suffered, and was taught many different things. God had given me a preview of what was to come a few times, but now I’m where I really need to be. I’m teaching, and serving in a multiple of different ways. Things aren’t happily ever after. They never are, and they never will be. But, God will let you visit Tarshish, but he’s sending you to Nineveh anyway.

This picture was taken five years and a day later after the first image you saw above. I’m drinking an Avery Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest. It was perfect for a Fall Day: Bready, spicy, and malty. A great companion for a wonderful afternoon of commemoration with my best friend. 

As I said, life is not perfect. But, it is beautiful and worth living. As I held that snifter of the Imperial Oktoberfest up and the photo was taken of me I couldn’t help but think of all the wonderous things ahead and behind me. I’m here for a reason. I hope you find yours.

Cancer screwed me up for a bit. It was like an Israel Hands to Jim Hawkins. I was cornered in the crow’s nest. I was injured. I was a disembered Luke Skywalker hanging from the antennae of Bespin’s Cloud City wondering why in the hell had this happen to me. I can’t help but think of many characters in literature and in film who suffered and were almost killed. I was taken out of the game for a bit, but I wasn’t benched.

“You only live twice, Once when you’re born, and once when you look death in the face.”

-CDR. Ian Fleming

“To survive is to have the chance to begin again.”

– Sir Winston Churchill (Fictional quote, but I wish he would have said it.)

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

-Hunter S. Thompson

As we ride together let’s realize that there is a plan and a purpose. You’ll find it, it may take time. Life is not neat and tidy.

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