Week 14 – Lessons Learned

You’ve probably noticed the change in title for this post.  Instead of it being Day 99, it’s Week 14. 
It’s time to bring these daily missives to a close.  I mean, really.  Who’s going to care about how many spreadsheets I created at work or how many minor or major incontinence episodes I had in the day?  Because that’s about all that I’ve got to write about at this point, and I just don’t think it would be good reading. 
Besides, I need to get out from behind this damned computer and start living life—don’t ever squander second chances!
However, because I do have a loyal following, I’ll write weekly updates (unless there’s a silly relapse, then daily updates will return).  Because I learned of my cancer diagnosis on Thursday, 11 November—14 weeks ago today—I’ll do my weekly updates on Thursdays going forward.
*          *          *
I started this blog for one reason: To allow me to vent and process the fact that I had cancer.  I didn’t care if one person or a hundred persons read it; the act of writing helped me think more clearly about my situation.  The fact that there have been nearly 2,500 page views from 11 countries humbles me.
As time went on, the nature of the blog shifted more to education and information sharing—perhaps too much information sharing according to a few of you.  But that was my reality at the time and you needed to understand what I was going through.  I know that reading my blog caused at least one person to make an appointment with his physician to get checked.  That, to me, makes it worth every word.
So what have I learned through this little journey?  Wow.  Where to begin?  I’ve learned that:
  • Family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors come through when you really need them the most, and for that, I will be forever grateful.  Thanks everyone!
  • I can’t control events, but I can do my best to control how I react to them.
  • Fear and anger consume far too much energy that should otherwise be spent on getting better.
  • I had to be my own advocate, researching as much as possible to be an educated patient.
  • There was such a thing as doing too much research, and that I had to just stop at some point and make decisions with the knowledge that I had.
  • Humor—however misguided or irreverent—had to be a part of the cure.
  • This wasn’t all about me.  Those around me reacted differently and I needed to recognize, understand, and embrace that by being sensitive to their needs.
  • Patience is a virtue (although not easily practiced).
  • Talking openly about cancer makes it easier to deal with having cancer.
  • There is no shame in having cancer.

So what will I do with my second chance?  There are plenty of clichés to tell me what to do:  Stop and smell the roses.  I hope you dance.  Live like you were dying.

Well, roses make me sneeze, and I have a court restraining order against me dancing (I sent three people to the hospital the last time I did), so that leaves living.  I think I can do that.

This journey showed me how important relationships are, and that’s something that I want to keep working on—to be a better brother, cousin, uncle, friend, neighbor, and coworker. 

It also showed a relationship gap.  I’d like to find that special someone to just share life’s experiences with, and who will be there in sickness and in health.  A line from the book, “Into the Wild,” said that “happiness isn’t real unless it’s shared.”  I’m beginning to believe that more and more.  So in addition to building on my existing relationships, I want to find the right person to share my life with. 
The final thing that I want to do with my second chance is be more impulsive (without being idiotic).  That will be the most difficult.  Don’t analyze.  Don’t evaluate.  Just act.  Do it.  Live.

Okay.  I’m not foolish enough to know that I can delete Microsoft Excel from my computer today without going through severe analysis withdrawal.  But I can at least spend only a tenth of the time doing my analysis and then go act.

Those are my learnings from having cancer.  Profound?  Probably not.  But I will close with one more cliché from a wise woman in my life:

“Life is not a dress rehearsal.”

(Thanks, Mom!  I should have listened sooner!)

*          *          *

Okay.  I can’t close without at least one last comment about how things went today—actually, last night.

I went from 11:00 PM to 6:30 AM without having to get up to pee once!!  Woo-hoo!  That beats almost every other night where I’m up 2-4 times a night and sleep is a minimum.  Let’s hope for two nights in a row.

See you next Thursday!

2 thoughts on “Week 14 – Lessons Learned

  1. Anonymous

    Thank you,Dan, for being my friend….. one who has taught me a great deal. I love your words on this Thursday and all the things I have learned
    during your journey. My quote that was put in my Quote Book this afternoon states:
    “I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same as 'making a life'.
    “I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.”
    “I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.”
    “I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug or just a friendly pat on the back”
    “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget
    what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel'.
    (Maya Angelou on 70th birthday)
    I wish you the best in finding that special someone in your life. We hope to see you in July…. if the price of gas does not exceed $5/gallon.
    I'll miss your daily blogs, but will not miss each Thursday night learning about your life…… ngh in Surprise


  2. Dan….Thank you for allowing us, to join you in your journey. I will miss your daily postings, but will look forward to Thursday's. Hoping, as the weather improves and Spring approaches, you will take one of your famous road trips, and visit us in the Great White North….Take care my Friend…


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