“I’m having surgery on Monday” were the words that came up on my iPhone screen two weeks ago from a longtime friend. I’m not going into the details of the conversation, but it turns out that he has early stage lung cancer. He hasn’t gotten an exact diagnosis as yet, but he isn’t handling it well, and in reality, who can?
I know that I had my fair share of stuff and I continue to experience the effects caused by my conditions, but how does one handle the idea of their mortality handed to them? When I was told I had heart failure, I went through a brief phase where I questioned my own expiration date, but I was convinced that I was going to reverse this, despite my doctors’ opinions and I prevailed.
If were to get a diagnosis today of cancer, and in all honesty, I have questioned myself about it, I don’t think that I would go into a funk. I honestly would accept it, try my best to fight it, and live the most of what life I am destined to have. That’s just who I am. It takes a hell of a lot to phase me. Having a slew of medical conditions and being told that it is a miracle that I am still alive does make one more aware of the mortality to an extent, but it is a more distant destination with an unknown arrival time.
For someone with cancer, the word alone in our society resonates with death. I think people automatically question “how long”. In reality, we are all walking around with the “how long” syndrome but don’t openly question it because we all assume that we will live to be old and grey and sitting in a rocking chair watching the sun set on our farm while the great grands are running around chasing lightening bugs.
I handle adversity with humor. I try to find the funny in everything around me because for me laughter is the best medicine. My friend is a very funny man with the same brand of humor as myself, but this news has plummeted him into a a dark and sad place where he can barely crack a smil. I want to blast him with humor, but I know he is not in that place right now and I have to let him absorb and assimilate the news. He won’t find out for sure how bad his cancer is and what course of treatment he will be offered until he meets with the Oncologist next week.
For me, I am the advice man and the positivity pusher and it is tough for me to sit back and be quiet, but I know that is what is needed right now. All I can do is support spiritually, check in with him and say nothing, for now.