Today I spent about 45 minutes talking to a co-worker who just returned to work this week after being out for several weeks as he recovered from having a portion of a lung removed due to lung cancer. His surgery was successful, but in a few weeks he'll still be undergoing chemo.
He was diagnosed earlier this year and had been bothered by a nagging cough. Our cancers are different and our treatments are different. But it was pretty darn interesting to talk to him about our similar experiences and emotions since our diagnosis. He's young, healthy, a non smoker and his cancer was totally random. We talked about this, how cancer really knows no bounds. It can hit any one at any time. But the thing is, you could be hit by a car any day of the week and that's pretty random as well. As an example, a few months back a local bike advocate who had been pressuring the port to include a bike path on a new bridge, died in a small plane crash at the Long Beach Airport. Two days earlier, he had been at the port, pressing his case. I spoke with him pretty regularly and we had a fair number of meetings. He was younger than me and his family had a long and substantial history in Long Beach. I went to his memorial which included a bike ride to the top of the existing bridge. I've ridden up that bridge many times, taking people on tours to see what has to be the most impressive view of the port available. Anyhow, on the memorial ride I barely made it up to the top of the bridge. I just couldn't catch my breath. Who knew that a few weeks later I'd be diagnosed with cancer.
Which gets me back to my story. Eric and I today discussed how every day is a mystery and a bit of a gift. We talked about our initial shock when we got the diagnosis. We talked about how we weren't ready to die, how we have no choice but to be positive, and how we're taken aback by how nice people can be. All pluses in our fights. But if we were to turn back the clock to January, I never ever would have predicted this turn of events or this conversation. Life is funny and full of lessons.