Editor’s Note: This piece was submitted by a contributing writer and does not represent the views of CURE Media Group.
I'm an 84-year-old author and blogger in Denver. It was one of the biggest surprises of my life when I was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer in the fall of 2013, following a routine colonoscopy.
There's no history of cancer in my family. The doctor was as kind as she could be, but it left me reeling. I had surgery a month or so later, and it took me six months to even begin to recover. The recovery was almost the most frightening part of the whole thing. Questions teemed in my brain. Was I going to survive this frightening diagnosis? Would I be able to walk properly again? (I'm a Brit, and love walking) and so on. But somewhere along the way, in the first few months following my diagnosis, another surprise showed up in my life just as big as the original diagnosis. It may sound strange, but I began to realize that if I was willing to face the fear of death--which was certainly clamoring loudly for my attention--my fear would dissolve. Anxiety still arose in me, but I experienced a deep sense of joy and peace as I realized that yes, I might lose my physical body, but my spirit is ageless and not subject to the assault of death or anything else, including cancer.
I find that I am happier now than I have ever been in my life. I find wonder in simple moments. Every moment gives an opportunity to experience the love that is at the core of our true nature. Because I'm a writer, I had to try to share my feelings and experiences with others--give courage and hope to others--by writing a book. It's a short book, but I'm hoping it carries a worthwhile message. The book is entitled "The Upside of Cancer: How a Terrifying Illness Can Lead You to a New Life."
Yes, cancer is a terrifying illness. But I have discovered that in its own strange way, cancer has a gift to give. It can help unlock in us a new and deeper experience of love. It can release courage, joy and peace we perhaps never knew existed. I've been a cancer survivor for about two-and-a-half years. I'll be under active surveillance for another two or three years, with annual CT scans etc. but I'm happy to say that following my most recent colonoscopy, the doctor said that unless new symptoms arose, I won't need another colonoscopy for another three years.
Cancer has a huge reach in our society. My love and blessings to everyone facing this dire challenge.