Don’t take life for granted – Remember what’s important.
Remind yourself daily what’s important. I stress this as I was 44 years old when I got diagnosed with stage IV HPV-related tonsil cancer. My actual diagnosis was Squamous Cell Carcinoma of my left tonsil, as my cancer had spread from my tonsil to two lymph nodes in my neck.
In one day I went from feeling as healthy as I had ever felt, to all of a sudden being truly concerned that I would not reach my 45 birthday, nor get to see my kids graduate from high school or college, nor see them get married…….I would leave my wife a widow.
So that brings me back to my first sentence, Remind yourself daily what’s important. Life can get so hectic. It’s so easy to get wrapped up with work, bills and the daily stresses of life.
When battling cancer, I was so tired, and many days spent around 18 hours a day in bed. I barely had enough energy to feed myself seven Ensures a day, and two Gatorades a day through a feeding tube in my stomach, called a G-tube. Up until this point, eating and drinking daily were just things I took for granted. All of a sudden, through the side effects of radiation, meaning third degree burns in my throat, I could not swallow, as it felt like I had chards of glass in my throat. I struggled to feed myself liquids, understanding that if I did not, I would end up in the hospital dehydrated.
August 11, 2014 was my last radiation treatment, and every month since October 2014 I have felt much better. Since 2014, my wife and I have celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary and we have gone on an Alaskan cruise with friends. We’ve traveled to Colorado, Las Vegas, gone on multiple cruises, and are focused on enjoying time with our family. I still work extremely hard, although I remind myself on a daily basis what is truly important.
I spend a lot of time with my wife and three kids, as well as my parents, siblings and their families and with close friends. Life is precious and I want to live it to the fullest.
Here are a handful of pictures from some trips that we’ve gone on since beating cancer back in late 2014: