447 days ago, I found out I had cancer.
Last Monday, 445 days after my first scan, my PET scan came back negative. This doesn’t mean my journey is over: it means the treatments I have received, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, have been very effective. I will likely get more treatments to “consolidate” – e.g. “wrap up” – everything, but, overall, this is great news. It means I have kicked cancer’s ass.
This is not a post about the lessons I’ve learned. I am still learning. There’s an old saying in Italy that goes like this: “life is a continuous exam”. I believe that’s true. How can I write about life when I’m still learning how to deal with it?
However, I would like to permanently pen two reminders, and some notes.
First off, keep in mind that while obtuse governments around the world are cutting research funds to fatten their other interests, science is that thing that beams a bunch of photons into your body to kill cancer. Read that again. I wouldn’t be here without science, and without the work of people who believe in science.
The second reminder is – I am not a religious person, and I don’t like extremisms, but I understand people who find comfort in faith, God, or a community of other believers. As men, I think that we need something to keep us alive when we’re scared shitless of death. For me, that “something” was the people around me physically – my family and friends – and “virtually” – the community of fellows nerds and MacStories readers on the Internet. I needed something to believe in. Someday, you may need it, too. We all do. There’s no shame in that.
Now, allow me to set the record straight on a few things.
To the oncologist who told me I couldn’t survive: fuck you.
To my girlfriend: I love you.
To my parents: I’m sorry I had ignored the symptoms for too long. But we did it.
But most of all, to all of you: