My New Life With Cancer
BY Michael Winkel
PUBLISHED March 13, 2017
Editor’s Note: This piece was submitted by a contributing writer and does not represent the views of CURE Media Group.
I am a 61-year-young male living in Wisconsin with my wife of 40 years. We have three adult children and 10 grandchildren. I was working at a nursing home as a CNA for about 30 years when I was told I could not work anymore due to stage 4 metastatic bladder cancer that was terminal. That was Jan. 10, 2012.
My oncologist told me I needed to pick up a prescription for pain meds so I would have them when I started chemo. When I told him we had no money, he took out his wallet and gave us what we needed to pay for my prescription. I had to undergo major surgery before I could even start chemo. The surgery took a lot longer than they first thought it would. They removed my bladder, prostate, part of my urethra, four lymph nodes and a section of my colon, leaving me with an ostomy for my urine and one for my bowel. The one for my bowel was reversed upon completion of my chemo. When I asked about my prognosis, I was told national average was five years. I told my oncologist that I could accept the fact that I had cancer, but I was not leaving in five years and I would see him in 20 years.
The night that I was told about my situation, I was going to go to the church to punch the priest in the face for preaching all those lies. Luckily, he was conducting a night service and I had time to reconsider my initial reaction. The surgery was done on Jan. 24, 2016, and after recovery I was then scheduled for chemo. I started chemo in March with three weeks on and one off. That continued until August 16 the same year, after which I was told it was in remission, but it could come back anytime and when it does, they would probably not be able to save me then. A month later, they found another cancer on my left kidney. After numerous scans and checkups, they had to remove that kidney and my adrenal gland.
I am doing great right now and have since gone on various trips and went zip lining for the first time. My life has been incredible and very exciting. I have done more living these past five years than I did all the years before. I have limitations due to cancer and its treatments, but we all have our own limitations. I have chosen not to let mine stop me from experiencing life. I want to be a part of life and not apart from life. I have learned to accept and acknowledge the negatives, but to focus on and embrace the positives and I hope all others can do the same.