The WALTHER REPORT
By Tony Walther
The one thing we all face together in this thing called life is that none of us are going to get out of it alive.
Once one faces that fact, maybe it is a lot easier to face the future. I’m 59 and was diagnosed with a treatable but incurable type of cancer almost a year and a half ago.
For me, if often seems the future is already here or maybe it has come and gone. I mean I always spent so much time either thinking things would be better in the future or putting things off till the future.
When I was first diagnosed with Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia (WM), I was told that the average life expentency after diagnosis was five years. But the problem is when did the clock start running? No one knows when he or she first got it. I litterally thought I was a goner when I was first diagnosed. Then I read some blogs and some info on the net that indicated that my life expectency could be somewhat longer or in fact that it was really unknown how long I might live. One doctor suggested I might even live to be a relatively old man (I doubt it, though).
Cancer never shows up at a good time, but for me it seemed particularly inconvenient. I was not long into the best job, at least pay wise, that I had ever had. I have four years of college, but pulling double freight trailers up and down the highway was paying me more than I had ever seen. In fact, I was always happy to note that my wages were as high or higher than a lot of those listed for beginning professional jobs in my area of the country. Of course beginners in the professions can make a lot more eventually, although they have to better themselves and move on to do it. Or as my former oncologist not so delicately put it, those doctors down at the urgent care clinic do not know what they are doing, if they did, they wouldn’t be working there (hopefully I don’t have to go to an urgent care center and hopefully if I do the doctor didn’t read this and besides I was just paraphrasing my egotistical former oncologist, who as far as I know did at least save my life at one point).
And I get off track so easily…. anyway, I got cancer and that put a monkey wrench into the works, to say the least. If you have WM you know or will soon find out that it is a watch and wait thing either before they decide to do treatment or after. It is incurable, so you always have that feeling of doom hanging over your head. But, remember, we all had that anyway.
I would advise joining a cancer support group – and I know if you are like me, you think, support group, no not for me. I don’t want to sit around listening to people moan about their misery. It’s bad enough I have this thing, without listening to the woes of others.
But my wife talked me into going recently, and the best thing for the both of us, is that we both go. She has gotten as much out of it as me. She’s the care giver. A lot of the spouses or care givers are in our group. One member does not have another person and others can’t get their significant others to attend. In some cases the non-attending others are the actual cancer sufferers and in some cases the spouse or care giver.
And it’s not just moaning and groaning — there can be some of that, but there is also happiness and joy, and education, and most of all, just normal every-day people sharing their lives and thankful they have others to share with.
What I really wanted to say in this blog was that I am thankful to be alive and thankful that I have a family and thankful that I can spend another Thanksgiving with them.
Through my family and friends a lot of people have said prayers for me, most of whom I do not even know. I thank them and the one to whom they are addressing their prayers.
The cancer has been a heavy burden, but at least it has allowed me to appreciate the good things the Lord has bestowed upon me and us all.
This truly is a time of thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!