No matter how much people wanted to be helpful, none really understood what I was going through.  Actually being in a life and death situation is different from being an observer of someone who is in a life and death situation. I found out as I move further away from the day I was diagnosed, talking about it to people later would reset all my memories, good or bad and make relive every emotion.  I kept my conversations on this subject with others short. I learned to say, “I am fine!”, even though I wanted to tell them how bad I feel, as if I was hoping that they may have a cure for me.

When I was starting the treatment, my friends and family, out of concern and love, kept coming to me with new referrals and names of specialists which their friends had given to them. They would tell me that their contact is one of the best in the field.  I finally realized that if I begin to listen to them, I will never be able to believe in any course of action. I realized that referrals would never stop and the next referral I get is always meant to be better than the one before, worst of all with every new referral, I would put doubt in my current plan and there would be no end to it. So I told my friends and family to stop coming back to me with referrals and I am planning to fight on the ground I was standing on, using whatever tools I have, and the current doctors I was dealing with. I am not saying avoid second opinions, it is important to keep your current doctor in check by getting second and even third opinions.

Finally, I needed a context within which I could carry out my fight. The best role I could assume was that of a soldier. Like a soldier I prepared myself to go into war. I knew I could either die in the fight or come back a hero. I knew there will be casualties on both sides; I on one side and the cancer on the other.  Given my diagnosis, I knew causalities on my side would be heavy, anywhere from loss of our home and getting unimaginably into debt, to losing critical organs, but I never believed or accepted that I will lose my life.   I never imagined myself dying but I was prepared to die like a soldier. On the cancer side, its complete and absolute annihilation was my objective. Once I assumed this role, I was able to handle the setbacks, pains, fatigue, and denials easier.  Like a soldier, if I have to, I will pick up my weapons that I have mastered and put up an even grander fight, for my strong and beautiful wife, for my three little children, for myself, and for those whom get chosen to fight this fight.