Older, fatter, greyer but still alive. Ten years ago I was given the all clear from Testicular Cancer and the way my life has panned out since has been a real mixed bag – but at least I was here to see it all.
Three kids later I think back to the heartbreaking possibility we had of not being able to have kids, never mind three unique and adorable offspring to call our own. Jake was our miracle and then the girls followed in the years since and as much as they drive me round the bend I wouldn’t change them for all the money in the world.
Tomorrow is the other ten-year anniversary and I’m sure wouldn’t mind me saying that today is our real celebration, because without one the other would have been short-lived. The Consultant said I might not have seen Christmas 2005 had the teratoma cells spread through my body in the way they can do. Hearing that news I was able to draw a line in the sand and allowed myself to move on.
You do have to go back regularly for check-ups, x-rays, CAT scans and physical exams – my last is next Wednesday. At the start of the process you have to go in once a month and with each appointment you are reminded of the ghost of life future as you look at those who are having a much greater fight than I was. You become very humble in the presence of these strong and brave people and are reminded of your good fortune.
In the last ten years many other obstacles have been thrown at me, but because I managed to find my way past that one on the 2nd of September 2005 I know that it’s more than possible to achieve whatever I want to. With the diagnosis of Depression and Anxiety and then subsequently Bi-Polar disorder it was my determination to stand up to them and seek help when I needed it.
And for me that’s the key – help and support are key to moving on from life’s curve balls. I’m hugely fortunate to have friends on who I call if problems arise, a strong family to fall back on, but most of all a wife whose patience and support I would not have lasted as long as I have. While today is a huge milestone in my life, so is tomorrow and the day after – each day lived and survived is a success.
I’m keeping score and at the moment I’m 27 years lived and 10 years up on life. While I’m looking forward to being 55 and winning this little battle I know other things will come along to make me pause and take stock.
So here’s a toast and a challenge to life, throw at me what you will but there’s something you can never take from me: The love and support of an amazing group of people I’m proud to call my friends and family.
Here’s to the next ten years.