TO MY FELLOW CANCER PATIENTS:
Back in Tulsa, Oklahoma where I spent many months as a first-time patient at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, I got used to virtual strangers walking up to me and asking me “What do you call tomorrow?” I answered “the future.” And then, “What do you call yesterday?” I answered “the past.” And the final question, “What do you call today?” I hesitated slightly and finally muttered, “the present.” “That’s right, exactly,” said my stranger-friend. “Today is a present, a gift, free and without charge. Enjoy the gift.”
And there the gift sat: The present: to celebrate the day, celebrate life!
How many of us when we get a cancer diagnosis hang our heads believing that we have just gotten a death sentence; that we suffer and tremble in fear of our demise becoming one of the walking dead. Our chins drag on the floor, we feel as if the clocking ticks on while we without action let it wind down. “Prepare your bucket list, put your affairs in order,” they tell us.
No no no! It is exactly the opposite. We start to fight hard even though the radiation and chemo seem worse than the disease. Suddenly our fighting powers spring up. We discover amazing resources and strengths within ourselves which we never believed possible. Indeed, the cancer becomes a gift that brings us to the greatest, best, and and most noble place in our life. And then another plus: we can much better identify with patients who need the kind of help, support that only another cancer patient can give.
I say, “Thank you God for this gift-my second cancer-which strengthens me and allows me to help others.”
Not too many weeks ago I was giving a benefit concert for the New London, Connecticut, lighthouse fund combined with the Amistad fund to fight child trafficking. I was so weak from the chemo I could barely walk to the piano. But when i started to play, almost a supernatural power suddenly vibrated through my hands. I played the best Liszt I had ever played in my life.
Was it an accident, good, luck? No absolutely not; it was the belief that I had reached the best part if my life: I had learned to fight, even with one hand tied behind my back.
Please join me in the best part of your lives; discover amazing abilities and strengths you never knew existed. Celebrate the present we have been given!