Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Getting My Life Back

This week's column is late for a very good reason, Today was my first CT scan after my first round of chemo, and my mind could not process anything until we got those results. For three months, my wife and I lived the life of a couple facing the possibility of a terminal illness. I have had my kidney removed, been to countless doctor's appointments, made three trips to emergency rooms, and even had a stroke. But everything has fallen together today as I got the news that my body has maintained its record of responding to medication when I was told that my tumors are shrinking.

My poor wife looked to be in shock and she is still being very placid about the whole thing. But inside, I know that she is heaving a huge sigh of relief. She has been and always will be my strength in situations like this, and even her limits were tested since January. Now that we know my body can respond very well to the chemo and we are sitting in a very comfortable waiting room ready to start a new round of better medication, my chances for a complete remission at some point in the next 12 months are extremely high.

Once you get cancer, you are never rid of it. Medical science can put you into remission and remove the unbelievable emotional burden that comes with living with cancer, but the disease never leaves your system. I will always have cancer, but now I know that cancer will definitely not have me. My doctor warned me today that I need to take better care of myself because of my high blood pressure, and I will heed that advice. I have always had this quiet confidence about the chemo process because my doctor has always seemed much more concerned about my blood pressure than he did with my cancer. I can lose weight, I know that. By next year, my health should be significantly improved with the cancer under control and the weight loss under way.

I get to see my grandchildren grow up. I may even be there when they graduate from college and hopefully get married. Aside from being there for my wife and son, one of my biggest concerns was not being able to be there for my grandchildren as they grow. Now that I know I will be there, I can breathe easy again.

The moment we received the scan results, all of the plans I have wanted to make for the past three months flooded into my mind. I have so much I need to start doing, and now I can actually get started. Cancer is not just a physical disease; it is a very psychological and emotional disease as well. Physically cancer only affects the patient, but the emotional and psychological effects stretch out to everyone in your inner circle. It is a burden in many ways, and beating it feels like one of the biggest victories of your life.

I am not a cancer survivor yet, but I am definitely on the road to becoming one. If I was ever going to catch a break in my life, I needed it to be today. When I caught my break, I could feel the adrenaline just rush from my body. The fear is gone and it has been replaced with anticipation for the future. I never want to have a winter like this ever again.

So it looks like I am on the path to beating this, and it feels good. Everyone can breathe easy now; it looks like I will be around to aggravate everyone for a very long time.

George N Root III is a Lockport resident and someone who has recently realized just how much he has to live for. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3 or send him a message at