Three men. Three diagnoses of advanced prostate cancer. One message of gratitude.
Three men in my life who I care about a lot have recently been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. Each is relatively young, none of them know each other, but they have all managed to embrace their circumstances and express amazing perspective and positive attitudes. Although they don’t know what their futures hold they each in their own way are embracing their present living with fortitude, realism and resilience.
I noticed that Gary has “softened”. He appears more relaxed. He still expresses significant passion for the social and political causes that move him, but he does it with more focused energy and much less drama. He has a calmness and ease about him which is very attractive.
Ron, who often can be counted on for finding the humor in life situations, wrote a hilarious note to his friends following his surgery. In part he shared:
“The literature says that some bruising and swelling can be expected within the male globe and cylinder-shaped private nether bits, but I was totally unprepared for what occurred. The whole mass was swollen up like a grapefruit…Ah yes, the catheter. She will be with me for another week. She? Well, I named her “Cathy”, “Cathy the Catheter”. We go everywhere together, and yes, we “go” everywhere together. She also suggested that if I was a serious sports fan (lazy), I would retain the catheter (put her on retainer?), and by just running a long extension of surgical tubing to the toilet I could sit on the couch for days at a time, arising only to refresh the ice chest and push the next case of chips within reach. And imagine, while traveling, never having to make rest stops, merely run a line out the window…then laugh as the cars behind start their windshield wipers. Ha.
…So good news, things are healing as planned and it only hurts when I laugh. Ouch!! And just be thankful I am not sending photographs.”
Don, a work colleague of mine, upon receiving his advanced cancer diagnosis, completely changed his diet, reinvigorated a exercise program and became a raw food vegan. In a note to his friends he wrote,
“I feel better than I have in years. This whole experience has been a consciousness raising journey for me — for that I am grateful. It has changed me and helped me evolve my outlook to life and to my work with others…
Now I am fiercely determined to live and, at the same time, be at peace with whatever comes. I have found a way to live with greater health, relate to my fellow humans with more compassion and serenity, and become a better citizen on our severely strained planet.”
Don sent a personal note to me and said, in part, “This has definitely been a powerful ‘upside’ experience for me… I have learned again how precious those in my life are and just how much of life is enriched with my family, friends, colleagues and clients. My life has meaning, vitality, endless surprise and delightful “synchronicities”. I am truly grateful.
I truly hope that under similar circumstances, I am able to demonstrate a portion of the grace that my friends have. It’s been inspiring to learn from and be part of their journeys.
Please share your own stories about being resilient in challenging times and of course pass this on to others who could use a bit of a boost in their lives.
These are examples of what I’ve learned and shifts I’ve experienced:
- Although I’ve experienced significant loss in income and savings I have never felt richer and more solid in my life
- I feel clearer about my purpose and less anxious about the future
- I am putting more effort into life and enjoying it more
- Creativity is flowing doubts are abating
- More loving/more loved
- Giving more to others/questioning myself less
- More settled AND more creative
- Much clearer what I don’t want/less focused on what could-should be
- Less pushing/more trusting
- Less dramatic more adventuresome
- More commitment/less wasted energy
- More focused/less wasted time
- More discriminating/closer friendships and more meaningful relationship
- More comfortable in my skin/finding life working easier
- Having less needs/receiving more abundance in all forms
- More ease less drama
- What have you learned about yourself during these challenging economic times?
- What are you most proud about?
- What has surprised you about your capabilities and any shifts you’ve made in your thinking and actions?
Steve Goldberg is the co-author of Finding the Upside: Practical Wisdom for Challenging Times. You can read more about and purchase the book at: www.findingtheupside.org
This post was previously published on www.upsidematters.org on September 26, 2010