One Year after a Cancer Diagnosis

  January 12 2010

Today was sort of a surreal day for me. Exactly one year ago today, I was sitting in the ambulatory surgery center at Weill-Cornell Medical Center waiting for an orchiectomy. This was after a whirlwind diagnosis between Christmas and New Year’s, where I went from having a little back pain to finding out I had cancer. And exactly one year ago today, I learned that the cancer had spread and I would need additional treatment.

I’m still trying to get my head around everything that happened. While it’s obviously had a permanent impact on my life, it is also very weird to think that this all happened within the past 12 months. Maybe it was just the way I’ve been dealing with it, but it feels like the distant past to me now.

What was perhaps even more surreal, however, was the fact – exactly one year later – I spent all morning at Weill-Cornell Medical Center going through nearly the same battery of tests. This year, the CAT scan and blood tests showed nothing and my appointment with Dr. Scherr was decidedly more positive. Of course, simply spending a few hours in the hospital – especially on the anniversary of such a fateful day – brings with it a wave and range of emotions that was difficult for me to fully comprehend. I have been simultaneously angry and grateful and nervous and relieved and relaxed and terrified today.

On the whole, I feel absolutely wonderful. I’m in better shape now than I have been in years – of course, working Equinox will help with that. There are still some lingering side effects from the surgery and chemotherapy - the most notable of which is neuropathy, which basically means occasional numbness and tingling in my feet and arms, cramping in my legs, and related complications – but overall I have very little to complain about.

I’ve talked a lot in the past about how adversity figures in and how this experience has made me a stronger person – but I decided I also want to be able to say that literally. After turning 30 and beating cancer, I decided a good goal was  to beat my personal bests in weightlifting. So, consider this my public commitment - by the end of this year, I will either do a single rep of 550 lbs or do 35 reps of 225 lbs. I’ve only started lifting heavy again in recent weeks, but I think this is something I can do… and I will literally be able to say I cam out of this thing stronger.


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