How Cancer has Changed My Life

Nikki-and-meI was told by my urologist that there is a 98% chance that I have cancer. Even writing that sentence makes me feel sick to my stomach. The shock shakes me from my inside out.

I don’t know whether to go and cry or to be strong. I want to do both and I have tried both.

The hardest part of it all is not knowing how to handle my life. I feel like I’m in limbo.

My Quick Cancer Story

I found a lump on my right testicle last year and went to the general practitioner to get it checked out. She said it was just a cyst. Being the trusting guy that I am, I believed her. I really wanted to believe her because no one wants to believe it could be something worse.

The days passed, the blog continued, and life went on.

A month ago I felt some minor discomfort every few days after sitting too long in my chair. I was hoping it was just my crappy chair which I really needed to replace, but I knew that I couldn’t push off getting my testicles checked out.

I went straight to a specialist. My general practitioner asked me to come back in, but I declined the invite and went straight to the urologist.

His staff told me to get on ultrasound on my balls, so I did. I got them scanned and went to the doctor the next day. Yes, it was fun to include my balls in this post.

He told me that there was a 98% chance that my lump was cancer.

I was stunned. I couldn’t ask any questions. I sat there while he explained my condition.

The C word hung around the room like a mosquito trying to draw blood from me.

My doctor’s words finally sunk in. I had to tell my wife that I most likely had cancer. How does a husband tell someone that he loves that he could be dying?

Well, I did it as straight forward as possible. She asked me if I was joking. She didn’t want to believe it either. I was already schedules to have my ball extracted the following day.

Right Now

As the days passed after my surgery and I watched movies, reruns of my favorite TV shows, YouTube, and whatever else could get my mind off of my problems, I saw what I was really doing.

I was running away from the fear. The fear of putting all this hard work into things I loved only to have it snatched away by cancer. All the great memories with my wife and son felt like they were going to be for nothing.

I know this isn’t true. I know that creating a wonderful relationship with my wife and kid was worth every moment. I also know that every moment I have put into this blog has helped me become happier, smarter, and wiser.

I don’t regret many things.

I do regret not enjoying more of each moment.

Our time is fragile. It can be pulled away from us at any second. That’s why we have to appreciate where we are and what we are able to do. We even need to find the beauty in stuffing marketing bags, answering phones, or doing something that we know we aren’t put on earth to do.

We don’t have a lot of time on this earth to use our superpowers. I realize this now.

This eye opening experience can’t be brushed aside. I can’t go back to being the old me, trying so hard all the time to grow my business.

I’ve set some new rules:

1. Sundays are for family.

2. I will meditate every single day.

3. I promise to take more time to transition between tasks and appreciate the present moment.

When switching tasks, I still don’t take the time to appreciate what I’m able to do. I know that I can find a few extra seconds to appreciate my present situation in that moment between emails.

It will be hard to measure my success on the last rule. How often am I staying in the present moment and enjoying every moment that I have on this earth?

So I’m going to keep track of my progress with my 1 Sentence Journal. I’m also going to use this to make sure that I’m appreciating my efforts to make a difference in people’s lives.

I’ve preached the importance of following these new rules, but I haven’t lived them enough. Now I have every reason to.

Follow Up

I have stage 1b cancer, so it’s still very early, but it means that I will probably need radiation treatment to make sure it doesn’t come back. There are side effects to the procedure, but they are minimal to make sure that I stay cancer free for a long time.

I’m still angry that my general doctor didn’t recommend that I go to a specialist, but that’s for another post.

This is still sinking in for me and I know it will change the direction of my attitude, goals, and what brings me happiness. It will be an interesting time no matter what the results.

Best Nickname

Yes, I only have one ball. There will be plenty of nicknames to come, but I have to tell you the best one from a friend. “Obi One Cojone”. It helped me laugh.

That’s a huge part of my healing. Laughing at what God/Universe has put before me. If I couldn’t laugh then I don’t deserve to teach people how to be happier in their careers.

Hey, I’m not afraid of only have one ball. My one ball is equivalent to two balls in most men. 🙂

I’m much more afraid of the cancer coming back.

Your Turn

What have you done to bring more balance to your career?

Have you had to deal with a serious illness or other life change while navigating your career?

* Nathan Hangen and I created an e-course called Fear to Fuel to help people face their arch nemesis and do creative work that they love. If you are interested in taking your passion to the next level, click here to check out the free bonuses we put together for you.

* Success is such a fickle feeling, but J.D. over at Sources of Insight has a wonderful guest post breaking down the basics of a long successful career.

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