It may sound odd, but at one point in time I felt guilty for getting Hodgkin's as compared to other cancer patients with more dire prognoses. If you put me in a room with other cancer patients chances are I am the guy that has the most treatable cancer and thus the highest likelihood of being around in 5 to 10 years. If you view things in this context, you may see why I felt somewhat guilty.
I can't pinpoint when I had my revelation, but I am pretty sure it was in my parent's kitchen when I was talking through my feelings on the subject with my mom. The fact is that I was fortunate to be diagnosed with a treatable cancer with tons of research and multiple refinements to treatment approaches through the years. While I could just get through treatment and return to life as I knew it before cancer, I decided that I would use this opportunity to make as big a difference as possible.
Here is how I see it:
- There is a good chance that things are going to be better for me than others with a cancer diagnosis
- I was presented with this opportunity early in my life for a reason (FYI - I am 31)
The easy route would be to return to what life was like before cancer, but I understand the word "responsibility" thanks to Steven Covey. For those of you who have not read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Covey breaks down the word into two parts: "response" and "ability." When we are presented with a situation we have the ability to respond how we choose and should be comfortable living with the consequences of our choices. Couple this with the work I did with my whole-life coach during treatment to better understand my core values and it was an easy response:
I am going to use the rest of my time on earth to lift as many people as possible
I am confident I was given this opportunity for a reason and I do not take my fortunate position lightly. Not only am I doing this for my myself, but I am also doing it for people with a less positive outlook based on their medical situation or their older age. Being young with a positive prognosis gives me more time to lift peoples' lives than those that are less fortunate, and I can't wait to get started....
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