Why Worry About Recurrence Of Esophageal Cancer?

Bart Frazzitta: on the recurrence of esophageal cancerWhen I was initially diagnosed with esophageal cancer, doctors told me I had a 5-10% chance of living 5 years. I was totally destroyed when I heard this. Even if they could halt the disease, there was always worry about a recurrence of esophageal cancer.

After a demanding career of 35 years, working an average of 50 hours a week and traveling the world on business, I was on the threshold of retirement. Now esophageal cancer had put all my plans for the future seriously in doubt.

The chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery I went through were all to give me the opportunity of living an additional 5 years — maybe. I thought of that experience as phase 1 of the rest of my life. It was during my post-surgical recovery that I began to think seriously in terms of a phase 2.

Was A Recurrence of Esophageal Cancer In My Future?

As part of phase 2 of my recovery, I now wrestled with the possibility of the recurrence of esophageal cancer.  Would it rear its ugly head again? Might this just be the final phase of my life? What could I do to increase my chances of a healthy future?

Spiritually I felt strong and the saying I developed while going through the phase 1 experience was still prominent in my thinking:  God sits on my right shoulder and there is nothing that He and I together can’t handle.  Still, it hurt to think that a recurrence of esophageal cancer might mean I would not be here physically for more than 5 years.

Actively Managing My Health

That’s when I decided to consult a doctor who specializes in nutritional supplements. He recommended regimen of supplements which I took religiously for 5 years. Did they help me survive the 14 years since my surgery? I don’t know.

What they did give me was the feeling that I was actively managing my health and reducing the chance that I might experience a recurrence of esophageal cancer.

Why I Don’t Worry About Recurrence of Esophageal Cancer

During my recovery I had lots of time to think and read. I realized that the PAST was behind me and there was nothing I could do about it. The FUTURE I have no control over; despite my best efforts, only God could control my future. That leaves only the PRESENT. I can live each moment in real time, in a positive and joyful way, appreciating the PRESENT to the fullest.

My conclusion was simple:  Why worry about the FUTURE and the possible recurrence of esophageal cancer. I had no control over what lay ahead, but I could live in the present, enjoying each day fully. Since then I have lived by the saying that anchors me fully in the present: Make where you are better because you are there.

Enjoy the day!

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Bart Frazzitta is an esophageal cancer survivor and the founder of the Esophageal Cancer Education Foundation (ECEF). Read more of his story here >

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