Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed

The Gift of Cancer

OK, bear with me a minute here – I just had a great session with my psychiatrist (of 21 years), and I actually made this statement: “I think cancer made me a better person…” I know this sounds weird, it sounded kind of crazy when I said it. And it took me by surprise, it wasn’t a premeditated statement. But I think it is undeniably true…

It’s been six years since I was diagnosed and treated, so it took me a while to arrive at this point. I should state that my treatment was successful and today I am cancer free. But it wrecked me a bit physically and I still deal with the repercussions – the parts of my body that were diseased are now gone. So there’s that. The years following treatment were psychologically rough and I am still finding out who I am and how I’ve changed after the experience.

But…

The relative importance of everything in life seems much clearer now. I constantly feel grateful – it’s not forced, it’s just my general state of mind. I don’t worry about what might happen, because I know what’s coming. I don’t worry about whether I can handle some tragic event because I know I can. All of the ridiculous bullshit in life I just cast aside. Don’t care. I try to treat everyone I come in contact with with respect, and I try to help people to the best of my ability. Everything else I just let go. Somebody treats me like an asshole? Rolls off me like water off a duck’s back. Means nothing, I genuinely don’t give a fuck. I might briefly think “it must really suck to be you.” No one is important enough to have the power to psychically hurt me (except maybe my wife.)

There’s no shortage of horrible fucking things in the world. If there is anything I can change for the better, I try my best to do it. But if it’s something beyond my control, I just let it go and don’t ever look back. Life is too short, and I don’t have that much time left. And the realization that what I have could end tomorrow is not an abstract one  – it’s all too real, ‘cuz I’ve already been down that road.

The weird thing is that instead of making me anxious, bitter, angry and frightened, it has had the opposite effect. Life is better and I don’t really worry about anything. Some things in life you just can’t predict.