What Positives Could Possibly Come out of Being Diagnosed With Cancer?
I've set a precedent for myself after being diagnosed with cancer. Above all else I was determined to stay positive throughout my cancer journey, which is a lot more difficult in reality. My wife, who took my diagnosis really hard once questioned what positives could possibly come out of being diagnosed with cancer. I knew the answer to this instantly, as I also know there are many ways people will face life after being diagnosed with cancer. For me, it was always going to be with a positive outlook, achieved by reducing any negativity from me and from those people I choose to have around me.
Staying true to myself
For some reason this can be annoying for others. I sometimes believe they would like to see me moaning, maybe hating and consumed by my illness, so it makes some sense to them, but I'm not built like that and in fact was never like that before my diagnosis, so why on earth would I ever change it now when I'm in one of the biggest fights of my life. I do occasionally wonder if I'm pushing myself too hard and if I've set my expectations too high. Its not that I'm really searching for any kind of confirmation to these questions, as I know they will inevitably be answered in time, for me and everybody else who may doubt how I'm planning to fight my cancer. Maybe that is my biggest dilemma, time itself. I haven't stopped focusing on filling the gaps in between my treatment. I've been determined to complete on a number of decision made after diagnosis, in spite of anything that is going on with my cancer. My style of fighting cancer will be judged at a later date. Today I'm convinced I'm doing the right thing.
Setting the cancer recovery bar 'high'
So, what are the upcoming challenges that I've set for myself? I've decided to change my career direction completely and move out of education management, which I've loved doing for the last 20 years and have been very successful. I no longer wish to work in this field anymore, plus on an even more radical scale, I'm planning to re-locate from the United Kingdom to Spain. I’ve worked very hard in my career but now want a more relaxed work and lifestyle, and who doesn't wish to live in 320 days of sunshine a year? Finally, I'm putting together one of the biggest physical challenges I've ever done in my life, simply called 'My Ultimate Challenge'. The purpose of this challenge is to raise money for a bladder cancer charity. It's also going to take a super human effort on my part to achieve, which fortunately allows me to stay focused on my training and healthy living. All positives for my cancer.
My Ultimate Challenge
In September 2018 I plan to climb, starting in Scotland, three of highest mountains in the UK, 'Ben Nevis', 'Scafell Pike', and 'Mount Snowdon', followed by a 260-mile bike ride from North Wales and finishing in London, by running a marathon, 26.2 miles. This as far as I'm aware has not been tried before, so to add to a little spice to this adventure, I plan to achieve all of these challenges within a 72-hour period. This is setting my cancer recovery bar high, which for a few friends and family is a problem, because they think it's very high and 'maybe it is', but I mean to continue as I started this journey. My first ever blog on social media before becoming a part of this team, was to explain to others that I did not fear my cancer, I did not hate having cancer and I would now start to fulfill some of my life's dreams, whilst beating this disease. I'm not sure where these radical changes will take me but I'm looking forward to them. It feels like I've been given a second chance and I plan to make the most of it.
Cancer is my answer
What's interesting, is that all these changes within my work, lifestyle and wanting to participate in a huge challenge, have come about after being diagnosed. The question is, "would these changes have come about without being diagnosed" and the answer is, "probably not". Have I thought about changing things over the years before the cancer, "most definitely". So, no matter where I go from this moment on, cancer is my answer, why I've grabbed the opportunity to change my life direction and fulfill dreams. This may seem like I'm changing direction because I'm fearful of missing out based on the fact that cancer can be cruel and deadly, which is probably true. However, I haven't stopped feeling like this since being diagnosed. There is so much I want to achieve now. It's not that I wasn't ambitious before my diagnosis, and my approach may not be common for a lot of cancer sufferers, but my diagnosis has given me a new zest for life and I do not want to waste any more precious time.
A coincidence - not in my eyes
Just to inform those of you reading this article that I started writing and could not get to finish it, because of other commitments. On returning a few weeks later to finish, I can inform you that I was given the 'ALL CLEAR' on my cancer from my medical team. This is fantastic news for me and my family, but not a coincidence in my eyes. As I mentioned, my journey throughout this cancer was to approach it with a complete positive attitude. I believe the strength of my positivity along with my acceptance of this disease helped me immensely to get to this point. So, what now! Change of plans and a re-think on some of my planned changes! I don't feel any different from the moment I decided to fight this disease. I made a conscious decision at the beginning to fight and beat this cancer and that plan continues. I now have to make sure this cancer does not return, which means all of the above remains the same for me today. I'm going through some maintenance work over the next year to reduce the risk of my cancer returning. I'm receiving BCG for three weeks, every 3 months, followed by cystoscopies. This is a minor inconvenience in comparison to the great things I have planned. My flights are booked for Spain and accommodation all sorted. I have a couple of meetings with potential employers and I'm feeling absolutely great about starting 2018. So, I asked the question "what positives could possibly come out of being diagnosed with cancer?" My answer is, nothing is impossible if you allow yourself to believe that a positive mind and outlook will in time produce positive outcomes.
Have you talked to your doctor about navigating sex with bladder cancer?