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Every Day Is A Gift: Inspiration From A Prostate Cancer Survivor

At Triage Cancer, we are proud to offer resources on the practical and legal issues that might arise during or after a cancer diagnosis. That includes hearing stories of hope and inspiration within the cancer community. 

David Meth, Prostate Cancer survivor, and author of “Every Day Is A Gift: Surviving Cancer and Making Peace with the Past,” joins us on the blog today to offer hope and inspiration to those going through or recovering from a cancer diagnosis.

It took me many years to get the courage to write “EVERY DAY IS A GIFT: Surviving Cancer and Making Peace with the Past,” because it required going back into the past. It took a very long time to come to terms with events leading up to my own father’s cancer diagnosis and treatment, and the devastating and divisive impact it had on my family. We realized the process of bereavement does not end with the death of a loved one. Only when the family is at peace and can reconcile with the past does the person who died pass on. For me it was long, difficult, and painful.

What I needed then is what I hope this blog will offer to you now— a way to see life in a positive light and how to deal with experiences that are completely unfamiliar, more challenging than you can imagine, and with obstacles that are unforeseen. In spite of what the doctors tell you, how much you read, and how many people offer their opinions and give advice, the most important lesson is that you can’t and shouldn’t face cancer alone. 

When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer—the same cancer that my father found out about much too late and which caused many other problems, I was prepared. Medical science and technology are very far advanced since the two debilitating years that my father struggled with this illness. We are also better informed and more able and willing to discuss it—well, maybe. It’s just not easy—because the thought of cancer takes your breath away.

I didn’t confront it until I sat down in front of a computer to provide information at the local Red Cross in order to give blood and checked off one of the boxes that asked: “Do you have or have you ever had Cancer?” I answered “yes” to my diagnosis thinking: ‘So what? I feel fine.’ Cancer is not a contagious disease. I can’t infect anyone. But here I was in a storefront office being told by a stranger that, even though I had walked in in good health and felt fit otherwise, in my mind, perfect health now had a new definition and I didn’t meet the requirements.

At the age of 64 in 2011 when I was diagnosed with cancer, 29 years after my father’s death, I knew what could be and I was compelled to look back at who I was in order to discover who I had become. But the person I am today who is able to share these intimate thoughts and feelings with people I may never know or meet is one whom I never imagined as a young, profoundly independent and invulnerable soul. Of course, that was before my father was diagnosed with cancer and many years before I was diagnosed with cancer. It was also long after I had taken to heart the words of my father: “Every Day is a Gift.” Please join me in this journey of appreciating life every single day and sharing your own experience and inspiration to others.

You can read more about David here.

Samantha Skelton
ss@triagecancer.org