A letter to a cancer survivor from one just diagnosed with lung cancer, June, 2014.

Hope you had a great time camping with the kids.  I know they look forward to those trips and time away from the daily routine is important.  Especially after all that you have been through.

I wanted to tell you about a recent experience I had. Very early one morning, after I finished my morning readings, I was recalling the words that Dr. Smith had said to me just two days before.  He told me I had lung cancer and it was advanced and “hot” and he would need to operate soon!  My wife, Joanne, and I were shocked!  I immediately thought about the worse that could happen.  The doctor detailed what the surgery would mean and the length of recovery.  We left that consultation feeling dazed and numb.

So, as I sat there thinking about the words of Dr. Smith, I got more and more depressed.  Joanne tried to get me up and out of that funk, but, at that moment, I felt very much alone.

Then I thought about you, and all that you have been through.  How frightened you must have felt when you first heard “cancer”, “surgery” and “double mastectomy”. This is fear that you can’t really share with others.  You can describe it, but they don’t know, unless they have been down that road.  So you must have felt alone with your thoughts and fears, much of the time.

So here I am, at the beginning of that road you have traveled so courageously.  I can’t know all the ups and downs that you have endured, I just know that you endured them and here you are a survivor, an active, vibrant survivor!

That morning, as I thought about you and all that you have gone through, my depression changed into resolve!  I have to face this.  I have no other alternative.  But I have many heroes out there, who have or are travelling the same road that I must. I take strength from that!  You, my dear, are among my heroes like my own Joanne, my sister-in-law and my grandson, all of whom are survivors.

We do learn from others experiences and the bravery they show.  So, from your courage, I will take courage.  From your resolve, I will resolve. From your hard-headed following the doctor’s orders, I, too, will be hard-headed.  And, by damn, I will get beyond this!

So thank you.  We do not move through this life unobserved.  What we show in our strength is not lost on others.  Your children will indeed learn from the model you have shown them, maybe not so much now, but later.  Trust that.

My surgery is soon and my recovery will take a lot of time.  You have given me a real gift and it will be part of my recovery. Thank you.

I close with this conviction:  God is in charge of our lives, he loves each of us and the experiences we have are gifts.  That is something else you can trust.  God Bless You.

P.S.  My surgery and recovery was successful, thanks for the many, many prayers.

For What It’s Worth