If you have been following this strip you know I am a cancer survivor. I recently celebrated a milestone, five years cancer free. To say this is a big deal is an understatement. To say I’m a ‘lucky boy’ just scratches the surface. I have met and spoke with a lot of patients, care-givers and fellow survivors, and there is common thread – strength. There seems to be two kinds of survivors; the ones that push through and want to move on and those that are so profoundly changed by the experience they feel the need to share and inform. Though I totally respect the former I am too shaped by my experiences to let them go entirely. I often wonder if it is the healthy choice? But then I will meet a patient or survivor, chat, exchange a glance or an embrace, and I realize I cannot do anything else. So many hands reached out to me in my time of need that I think I may have to spend the rest of my life reaching out to others, just to begin to pay back the debt of gratitude I feel on the daily basis.
At my very first book event I met a fellow survivor. We were from entirely different backgrounds, worlds away from one another with the exception of having to fight our battles against cancer. I remarked that when I got sick I knew I had a large family, both through blood and the bonds of friendship, but I confided in him that I never ever imagined that my family was so big and so strong. At the mention of this we both had to fight back a few tears, he told me he had an almost identical experience, that his ‘work’ family had been just as strong, helpful and supportive as his blood relatives.
It is easy in our day to day lives to see how different we all are, but it is much more worth while to look for and seek out the similarities. You might surprise yourself, better yet the world might surprise you.
Thank you to everyone that lent an ear, lent a hand and gave of their heart. Not a day goes by that I am not thankful for knowing you. And thank YOU for taking the time to read this strip – it helps me to see the similarities.