He shared his pain and suffering over the loss of his Mother to colon cancer very recently. He bared his soul. He let me in. He talked about moments of time that we take for granted. We're too busy. We'll see them next time. How about tomorrow?
As he was telling me about his Mother, I started to think about my family. My Wife & Kids. Mom (all of them) and Dad. Sister & Brothers. I thought about all those days––moments––of going to radiation. Chemo. Chemo and radiation in one day. The times I looked into my bathroom mirror and saw my body change. I watched the weight come off and the muscle tone disappear. My face aging, right before my eyes. I told myself I would remember those times. Those moments. (No chemo brain on that, thank God). This man helped me to remember.
I got a chance to really talk to this man about the horrible disease that took his Mother away from him at such an early age. When I thanked him for sharing such a personal and painful experience with me, he looked at me like he knew there was more to this thank you. I told him I was diagnosed with head & neck cancer, August 7, 2007. His face changed to sadness and he told me he was sorry. I smiled and said, " it's O.K., Man. I'm still here. It's a good day to be alive." We then engaged in one of those conversations that rarely take place––the kind that you'll never forget among the millions you've had before and the millions you'll have after––that are so meaningful, yet totally uncomplicated. We talked about watching people with cancer. I told him I watched my family watch me. I would never forget the pain and thousand other expressions on their face and in their body language. He smiled as he knew exactly what I meant.
That hit home with him. I told him I've been on both sides of the disease, as my Father is also a cancer survivor. We talked about letting people know that getting screen for colorectal cancer can help save lives. That he wished his Mother had been screened and she might still be alive. I will never forget this man and all that he is doing and will be doing to spread the word that cancer will not defeat us. That we can catch cancer and kill it before it kills us. If you ever read this someday, I want you to know that I will always remember the time we had for both of us to talk and listen. I will always be a fan. I will always remember the time you took to make ME feel better when the emotion of the day was still fresh in your mind. Thank you for the moments. Hopefully it will get us closer to a cure for cancer. Or at the least to save one life.
What a moment that would be.