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So This Is Cancer: Valuable Advice That Will Keep You From Floundering At Your Absolutely Lowest Point

The three-month journey with the dreaded C-Word and what it's been like living with cancer.

By Jason Ray Morton Published about a month ago 5 min read
5

Birthdays are supposed to be happy times and celebrations of a milestone. They mean you made it another year around the sun. Great times, right? That's not always the case.

I remember my 7th birthday, 45 years ago. I knew my mom was throwing a birthday party for me. It would be my mom, my brother, my grandpa and grandma, and my aunt and my uncle. We were going to have cake and ice cream and then presents.

Instead, we all would go to the hospital, where doctors were treating my grandmother. At seven, I had the mindset of a rebel. When the doctors came out to the waiting room they were there to tell us that grandma was going to die. I refused to believe it and told people the doctors were wrong. Grandma couldn't die.

Grandma lived until I was 19.

I spent many birthdays visiting hospitals. I've had many unfortunate birthdays.

In 2010, I got off work at 7:00 am. My dad had an appointment at the clinic, and then we would spend the day together. It was my birthday. I was turning 38.

I picked Dad up and we went to the clinic. He told me to pick where we went to breakfast. Perkins was the plan.

20 minutes into my dad's appointment a nurse came to tell me they were taking him to the emergency room. My brother came to the hospital, and we sat and waited. A little while later the doctors wanted to talk to my brother and myself.

For my birthday, the doctors advised we needed to help them make Dad understand he didn't have much time. He was dying. For the second time in five years, Dad had stomach cancer. We made it to breakfast, but it was weeks later.

The doctors were right. From February to May, I saw him as much as I could. When he had to have surgery they wanted to send him to a nursing home. It was for a stupid reason and something I could do for him at home. He didn't want to go there, and the best thing I could do for him was help take care of him until his post-surgery needs were no longer an issue.

From February to May, we lived as much as he could take. We saw every movie we could. We had dinner together as much as possible. I checked on him in the morning before I'd go to sleep. I checked on him when I got up. And I checked on him before I went to work.

When he died I was never more proud of my Dad than before. He grabbed every bit of life he could with the four months the doctors predicted. Then, in his sleep, he was gone one day. F***ing cancer.

I remember last year, me and my brother joking about my birthday coming up and how I needed to make it through another one without being in the hospital with someone. That didn't quite happen.

In January I suffered a bought of Covid. It was miserable. I remember lying in bed, and occasionally on the couch. I remember thinking I was going to die soon because it hurt to breathe, I felt like my chest was burning, and I had a 104.5 fever.

When it was over I didn't feel quite right. I couldn't get my blood sugar to regulate. As a Type 2 diabetic, that's a big deal. I did what anyone would do, I made an appointment to see my doctor.

Other than my blood sugar, I felt great. When the P.A. that saw me suggested ordering a full blood workup I thought it was a good idea. When the results came in it was on February 17th. Happy Birthday Jason.

So, this is cancer. As I sit here, waiting for biopsy results and an idea how bad off I truly am, I think about how I feel and how it's not so bad to feel like this at 52. I feel good 99 percent of the time.

Prostate cancer! What the heck?

A healthy PSA in someone my age is supposed to be 4 or less. Looking at my results, it didn't take a rocket scientist to realize how completely screwed I could be. Less than 4 is great. According to a study I've read, only 47 percent make it to two years with treatment if they're over 200. At five years the numbers drop dramatically.

My test came back at 330. Two Urologists have told me they've never treated anyone that had a PSA level at 330.

What does that look like?

Considering both my parents died of complications from cancer, it's an understatement to say this has been on my mind more than it hasn't.

What a day living with cancer looks like is any other day. Yesterday, I went butterfly hunting with my grandson. We went out for pizza and played video games. We sat up late and watched Knuckles on Paramount Plus. Then, today we had pancakes and bacon.

When we were done with breakfast, we packed up and went to the lake. We caught two catfish and four heavy sunfish and bluegil. It was quite a weekend.

It's been almost three months since my birthday, and since hearing the dreaded C-word. Sometime in the next nine days I'll hear from the pathologist report and know if this is an aggressive enemy or a passive enemy. From there, I'll hear officially what my options are.

Remember, no matter your situation, you can only "beat" something if you stay in the fight. Staying in the fight means living your life to the fullest, finding a solution to the problem, and taking action. Like any problem, it's all about finding a solution.

1. If you're breathing, you have a chance.

2. Never give up!

3. Work with the doctors.

4. Enjoy your life 1. If you're breathing, you have a chance.

5. Find a solution.

That's it. As we approach the third month since learning that I have cancer, I feel mostly fine. Most days I am as full of myself as a 20-year-old. I never feel worse than a beat-up 52-year-old should.

Takeaways

Perhaps the scariest thing a person can hear is that they have cancer. Cancer kills more than half a million people a year. I myself have lost both my parents due to complications related to cancer.

Yet, I've walked into many situations when I was scared. Fear can drive you, push you, and keep you alive. Fear will change you, either for the positive or the negative. It's up to each person how they'd respond.

I'm reminded of a professional wrestler. He has leukemia. Yet, he chooses to continue to live his life every day. He chooses to be a success story, and not just another statistic.

Cancer is no longer the death sentence it once was, even though it's still uncured. Now, people live with cancer, buying every minute of time they can get.

Tomorrow, rain or shine, I'll get up and go until I don't feel good enough to go. I'll continue to live my life, but now have a keen awareness that every day may be the last.

With a little luck, I'll be able to get whatever is available to beat this, and work out the logistics of it later. In the meantime, Challenge Accepted!

GeneralMen's PerspectivesInspirationHealthEmpowerment
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About the Creator

Jason Ray Morton

I have always enjoyed writing and exploring new ideas, new beliefs, and the dreams that rattle around inside my head. I have enjoyed the current state of science, human progress, fantasy and existence and write about them when I can.

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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Comments (5)

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  • Shirley Belkabout a month ago

    Love that you are living your best life each and every day! And what a bonus to have a grandson to do it with!

  • Babs Iversonabout a month ago

    Living life with a positive attitude!!! Best wishes, Jason!!! Fantastic inspirational article!!! ❤️❤️💕

  • Judey Kalchik about a month ago

    Your grandson is fortunate to have your example of facing this and living the heck out of life.

  • Mariann Carrollabout a month ago

    Thank you for writing this , I hope it encourages others to keep on breathing because that is our superpower ♥️🤗To live through our fear and to have the courage to find solutions that works. Sending prayers your way 🙏🏽Mathew 7:7. Prayer’s through believing it’s already answered.

  • Rick Henry Christopher about a month ago

    Excellent write up Jason. I kept a similar frame of mind. I continuously told myself I was stronger than the cancer. I listened to every word my doctor's told me. My mantra was Victorious because I wa going to beat this and be Victorious over this cancer. This coming September will be four years since I've had my treatments. For right now I am in the clear. Best wishes to you, Jason.

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