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May 13, 2005

Popping Cancer Reflection: On coming back to life.

Paul Simon said "Half of the time we're gone, but we don't know where."

After about six months of cancer, I've noticed in the past couple days that I'm starting to return to Dan Champion.

That is, for six months, I've let cancer guide me. I've let my life be about cancer.

I guess I'm lucky. The first time it took me about six years to figure out that cancer can be a part of my life without being my life and my schedule-maker. I can still be Dan Champion.

There are signs now that I'm coming back to myself. I want to see the ocean. I want to buy movies on DVD, even if I don't live long enough to see them enough times to make it worth the cost. I am willing to plan for a time after cancer. I'm willing to tell my doctor that I'm taking a week off after the next round of treatment to go on vacation with my wife, even if he is against it.

I'm not talking about being cured. I don't know if I'm going to live or die, and the last test results weren't any help with that. I'm talking about the act of being who you are, being alive whether you live or die.

I'm Dan Champion. I have cancer, but it doesn't have me. It might beat my body, but, you know, I'm ok with that, too.

And it only took six months this time.

Posted by Dan at May 13, 2005 09:47 PM

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Of everything you have written in this space, I think this one is the most realistic. Last year a long-time friend of my mother's (thus, a familiar acquaintance of mine) died of some sort o' brain tumor. But for the whole time after she was diagnosed, she was adamant that it was her life and she was going to live with it instead of railing against it. Though I can't say for certain how she acted in her private life, but in her public life it seemed like she got a lot more out of her time left than one would expect.

Posted by: Nathan at May 13, 2005 10:10 PM


That's interesting and I think I agree. In my time as a chaplain, I cannot tell you how many times I heard people say the equivalent of "I never felt really alive until I was told I had cancer/was terminal." Funny how we still think we're gonna live forever no matter how old we get.

Posted by: Dan at May 14, 2005 12:33 AM

Well said. It's only all of who you are if you let it be that.

Posted by: Phyllis at May 14, 2005 05:31 AM

You only pass this way once....

Sure, it's a cliche, but that don't mean it ain't true.

Posted by: Ara at May 14, 2005 05:41 AM

that was wonderful. All any of us has is today.

thanks for the reminder

Posted by: chava at May 15, 2005 09:27 PM

Welcome back Dan!!!

Posted by: Carla at May 16, 2005 11:21 AM

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