This past December, I hit a huge milestone – I met the five year mark of being cancer-free. After receiving the news, I was flooded with many emotions – feeling thankful and having a weight lifted off my shoulders. Most cancers, if they recur, are most likely to recur in the first five years, so hitting the five-year mark was a remarkable event.
As strange as it sounds, cancer has been a blessing for me. I will always be grateful for experiencing people just “showing up” in my life. I could not have gone through my cancer journey without my wife (Julie) and son (Jared) and the Sain team’s love and support. They kept me grounded and were a constant light during that time.
I also felt support from my church family and Community Bible Study Small Group. Two members of my small group previously had prostate cancer, and they were there for me, shared advice, and offered their stories and testimony. I now pay it forward to other men and am there for anyone who needs support or questions answered.
I am a big believer that things happen to us for a reason. 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18 says to “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” For many of us, when life gives us difficult circumstances, we often ask why. The Bible does not promise peace on earth. We will inevitably face difficulty, but we can control how we will deal with the situation. Scripture says to give thanks in all situations, and in my cancer journey, I chose to approach the circumstance with how to glorify God.
Everyone’s cancer story is different. Cancer types, symptoms, and treatment options vary. Many people have asked me how I knew I had cancer, and the simple answer is that I didn’t know. My cancer journey began after my doctor read results from my routine bloodwork (PSA test). I cannot stress how important it is for men to have routine bloodwork done. It’s an effective screening, and it played a significant role in saving my life.
Cancer, no doubt, has changed my life and for the better. We are not guaranteed any amount of time, so I want to make the most of it. If someone is battling cancer, I want to be there for them just as I had others be there for me.
This blog is dedicated in memory of my friend and co-worker, Lauren Nickles, who lost her courageous battle with cancer while encouraging me in my journey. The blog is also in honor of my co-workers, Heather Turner and Tracy Rushing. They also recently celebrated being five years cancer-free.