When I look back at the time I was diagnosed, I was told my esophageal cancer life expectancy wasn’t very good.Â When the doctors told me I had a 5 – 10% chance of living 5 years, I felt as if my life had been destroyed. What I didn’t know then is that life isÂ precious, and I needed to pay attention to what was missing in my life.
My first reaction to the news about myÂ esophageal cancer life expectancy was to look back on all the years I had worked to have a better place to live and provide my family with a financialÂ security. Now, there was doubt if I could enjoy the fruits of my labor. I realized that IÂ needed balance in myÂ life. It canâ€™t be job, job, job, and then oh, by the way, spend some time with the family and throw in God duringÂ a spare moment or two.
My jobÂ WasÂ At The Core Of Who I Am
I looked back at my life and it was definitely job-oriented. My job, for the most part, came first. It was my life. If I had a spare moment in the evening or on weekends, I was thinking about the job, how to handle an employee, get more business, or finish a project that wasÂ taking too long to complete. My success at work definedÂ my self image and that took precedence over everything.
Esophageal Cancer Life Expectancy Turns Into Life Is Precious
LearningÂ my esophageal cancer life expectancy prognosis and going through chemo, radiation and surgery gave me a new perspective on how to live my life. I came to realize thatÂ life is precious.
I needed to look at myself, not with a business success image, but rather as a person on a journey enjoying lifeâ€™s experiences and growing more in love with my family, appreciating my friends and realizing that I am special in Godâ€™s eyes.
Esophageal cancer was a rude awakening for me and it helped me change my prospective on what life is all about. Yes, the job is important, but the family comes first.
GodÂ Showed Me The Way
When we are born we bring a new light into this world and that is our gift from God, and what we do over our lifetime with that light (our life) is our gift to Him. If I were to die based on the statistics the doctors gaveÂ me, how bright would that light be in Godâ€™s eyes?
The light would show a successful business man, financially sound, providing for his family but short on allowing the time necessary to build a strong relationship with his family orÂ things other than the job.
If there are positives that come out of having esophageal cancer, I am experiencing them. Ginny and I have worked with the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in their Patient to Patient Program and we have spoken to over 1,000 patients who have esophageal cancer.
We alsoÂ formed the Esophageal Cancer Education FoundationÂ (ECEF) to helpÂ make people more aware of this disease, to support research projects that will lead to early detection,Â and to walk the journey with patients and their families.
In my mind, our light is getting brighter. People are seeing that light and wanting to know more about it. Â When they see what we are doing, they are positive and supporting it, and we say thank you to all of them for that support.
As I say, life is precious and you need to take time to look at a flower in your garden or a bird in a tree and see Godâ€™s work at hand. Â Be thankful that you can see; recognize and enjoy that precious moment. Life is full of precious moments.
Stay focused and enjoy.
Bart Frazzitta is anÂ esophageal cancerÂ survivor and the founder of the Esophageal Cancer Education Foundation (ECEF). ReadÂ moreÂ of his story here >