“I can’t believe I left work for this. I am ready for the doctor to come in and put my wife, mom and mother-in-law in their respective places.” That’s what I thought as I sat in the dermatologist’s office. I was convinced nothing was wrong. A few over-protective women forced me to be go. And I couldn’t wait to say, “I told you so.”
Not long after, doc entered the room. We exchanged pleasantries. Then came the question that changed my life. “So, why are you here today, Mr. Powell?”
I pulled up my blue jeans to show him the seemingly harmless spot on my calf. Then I saw doc’s face. His facial expression was like OMG … on steroids. I knew something was wrong.
Turns out the “harmless spot” was a dangerous skin cancer called Melanoma. One that takes the lives of 13 percent of those diagnosed.
The months afterward were difficult. I had a surgery to remove the Melanoma (and a chunk of my right calf). Then another surgery to remove more. I heard statistics about my chances of living beyond five years. It was all surreal. I thought I was invincible. I had never broken a bone. Not one. Now I am dealing with a life-threatening cancer?
But as ridiculous as this sounds, cancer saved my life. I thank God for it. Not because I enjoy cancer. I hate cancer. So does God.
But cancer taught me some things about God and life. This is what difficult seasons do, right? They give you an open door to a new perspective. A new focus. A new life. You must choose whether you walk through the door. But the door is open.
I chose to walk through it.
Here are six reasons cancer saved my life.
1.) I discovered that real life is real fragile. And that’s OK.
I did not grow up in a bubble. I saw tragedy. But tragedy wouldn’t happen to me. I was convinced. And I lived that way. I was arrogant. I made reckless decisions. I lived without purpose. I thought purpose-filled years were ahead of me.
But cancer humbled me. It hit me square in the face. And I realized tragedy could (and did) strike me. Real life is real fragile. So, here I was at age 25 with a potentially life-threatening cancer. And I had to face the facts … my life could end sooner than I wanted. And this saved my life.
It’s true. Realizing I could lose my life at any moment gave me a sense of urgency. I no longer believed I was Superman’s long-lost brother. I was susceptible to pain and hurt.
My life could end today.
And in some crazy way, I am OK with that.