An email to a friend

Hi

My apologies for yesterday. My luck that I had a doctors appointment on the day of the Forum! I was also hoping to have been at the brave meeting afterwards and stayed on for the curry. I also wanted to give you abraço and wish you safe travels on this amazing and epic trip you going on!

But yesterday it was a really important appointment. It was the culmination of a battery of exams to confirm if the tumour had spread or of it was contained.

It’s difficult to express in a message what is going through your mind on a day like this. I guess you hope for the best but unconsciously prepare for the worst. I’ve had some strange pains in my leg, it doesn’t feel like it’s a muscle or a tendon but feels like it’s coming from inside the leg. You start thinking…what if only a few cells slipped by, could this be those few metastasising in the bones? Has the cancer spread? If it has, will the treatment resolve it?

Then you remind yourself that this is an aggressive cancer that resists treatment and has a bleak outcome in the case if it has spread, so if it has, how long will I have to live? A few years? How old will my son be when I am dead? Starting primary school if I am lucky? You remind yourself that he still needs you and you can’t bear to imagine what his life would be like in your absence.

So you go into this appointment with all these thoughts at the back of your mind. When the doctor takes a little longer, or looks at you, you immediately start thinking it’s not a good sign.

I have seen in films the doctors telling patients that they have a few months to live, but I have never given much thought to when they tell you that you are going to live? In my case, she looked at a series of papers and reports and says “for now, it looks like you are ok”….just like that. In the silence that follows while she is punching away on the computer probably writing another report, you think to yourself….I passed! I am going to live! It reminded me of the feeling when you found out you passed a school exam that you were worried you were going to fail, just with the difference in the case is that the result means you will continue to live!

I have never pictured myself in a situation where someone would tell me “you going to live” and understand just how powerful those words could be. It’s only when something we take for granted is taken away from us, or potentially taken away that we appreciate how much of a big deal it is.

So the good news was a massive relief to know I can still continue being a father to my son and a husband to my wife. In fact the news was overwhelming and even though I had commitments as a chamber board member, I thought there is a lot of life still ahead for networking. Today I just needed to hug my son. It was an incredibly powerful and humbling hug…a hug that reminds you of the significance of life, that its not what you have, but who you love! Its people and memories and being in the moment and living each minute and being so bloody greatful for everything you have. It was good to know that it is likely that I will still be around to see him grow up and will be there to listen to him when he needs someone to talk to.

So my apologies for missing all my commitments yesterday, I am sure everyone managed without me and in a few years I probably would not remember that afternoon, but I will never forget the hug I gave my son, the moments we sat next to the river and saw the waves lap the shore and the wonderful walk we had in the park picking up leaves and sticks.

Yesterday I got a ticket to live. Words just can’t explain.

Keep well buddy!

Um abraço.

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