When 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. Â 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: Â God sits on my right shoulder and there is nothing that He and I together can’t handle.Â 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
Thatâ€™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 donâ€™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 theÂ PASTÂ was behind me and there was nothing I could do about it. TheÂ FUTURE I have no control over; despite my best efforts, only God could control my future. That leaves only theÂ PRESENT. I can live each moment in real time, in a positive and joyful way, appreciating theÂ PRESENTÂ to the fullest.
My conclusion was simple: Â Why worry about theÂ 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!
Bart Frazzitta is anÂ esophageal cancerÂ survivor and the founder of the Esophageal Cancer Education Foundation (ECEF). ReadÂ moreÂ of his story here >