Ten years ago today was a day I'll never forget. I awoke that day with a mysterious inability to control or support myself with my legs. Ultra-strange and quite scary. By the end of the day I had had an MRI and was admitted to the hospital. A massive dose of steriods had gone a long way towards relieving back pain I had been having for three months or so. The physical relief was offset by the knowledge that my 8th thoracic vertebrae had been eaten away by a tumor which was either a localized tumor called a plasmacytoma or a manifestation of a form of cancer called multiple myeloma which - though very treatable - is not normally curable.
Since that time, as I had been for the 46 years leading up to that time, I've been lucky (or, if you want to look at it that way, blessed). The tumor was a plasmacytoma and not myeloma. Treated with radiation and gone. In the past ten years of testing (other than one testing blip that turned out to be nothing) things have gone well. No reoccurance of cancer.
While I would never recommend flirting with cancer to anyone, in some very real ways being a cancer survivor is a very positive thing. Many of those things I may have believed intellectually I now know in a more fundamental way. The blessing that is each day. The perspective on the magnitude of a given problem. The joys of a happy marriage, children that you like, love and are proud of, great friends to share the experience of life with. In my case, I came to value and hope to emulate "heart-driven" people (though I probably will always remain more "head driven" than "heart driven" - if that makes sense). In so many ways having your "life flash before your eyes" changes your perspective on the world and your place in it. For the better.
I think I even laugh from a different place now. I love the ironic even more. In any event, I am so thankful for the decade since the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, 1998. 3,652 days, if my count if correct. Each a gift. There is so much for me to give thanks for.