Each of us has a story to tell. We all have a story in us. Life events, and how we view what happens in our world, will shape the stories that we tell ourselves and others.
This is a story about choosing to view life through a positive lens and holding on to your best hopes when the future feels uncertain. This is a story about my wonderful husband Rob.
Here is a narrative about life’s unexpected twists and turns … of joy, bravery, second chances and adversity. It is about attending to what’s possible even when that itself is uncertain. It is also a story about cancer.
Cancer has visited Robs life on several occasions in his 40 years on planet earth.
Rob grew up with three strong role models; his grandfather Joe, his mother Lynne and his sister Tara. Their influence taught him three key lessons;
The importance of hard graft to create your own success, respect for others, and good morals maketh the man.
Rob modelling oddballs underwear as part of a Movember campaign to raise awareness about testicular cancer
Because of this, from a young age, Rob developed a strong work ethic. As a kid he could be found collecting sea coal on the beach to sell the locals. He learned his sales strategies selling perfumes to the beauty therapy department at a local college, usually for over treble their value, and always ensuring a tidy profit. He became a grafter and a salesman.
Rob’s first experience with cancer began at the tender age of 20. His mother Lynne had learned that she had cancer. In what was probably an attempt to protect her children, she failed to tell them of her full prognosis. One of the awful things about her slow demise, was that Rob only realised his mother was dying at the end of her journey, when it was too apparent for anyone to ignore.
After losing his mother, Rob then lived with his sister and brother in law and he became responsible for keeping his younger brother on the straight and narrow.
Cancer struck again four years later when his sister Tara received the same awful news. She lost her fight to survive much to the devastation of all who loved her. By 2009 Rob had also lost his aunt and his dad to cancer. On a happier note, he had also become a father of three wonderful boys Joe, Jaob and Lawrence.
In 2015, having survived a marriage break up, Rob found a lump on his testicle. He described it as a thickening. Given the family history, Rob was quick to react with a visit to his GP with the best hope of a scare. Robs lump was diagnosed as being a malignant cancer. Within three weeks he had surgery to remove the cancerous testicle.
If you know Rob it won’t surprise you that he was back home within hours of surgery already determined to will his own recovery. The day after this, he walked the two mile round trip to a supermarket, climbing an impossible hill to his new home with shopping bags.
Robs ‘notes to self ‘shaped by his brush with cancer included deal with what life throws your way and always look on the bright side.
Making time for micro adventures during treatment
His attempt to protect his children from his childhood story, meant that Rob led them to believe that he had been treated for a hernia. This fine tale would have sufficed, but Rob’s cancer story was about to become more complicated…and then the rest.
I will summarise to say that this is a survival story, but not a straightforward one. Cancer had made its way into Robs vascular system which required three months of chemotherapy.
Many months later when it was assumed that he had drawn a line on this story, a dreaded telephone call informed Rob that more treatment was essential.
He would require a lymph node dissection. This meant more surgery – being unzipped, from chest to belly button, to remove lymph nodes at the back of his abdomen.
It should have marked the end of the illness story. Unfortunately, Rob contracted a sepsis infection and spent a week in hospital fighting for his life. He would later describe this as “just bad luck”.
Somebody told me that there is gold in every story. In this one, the treasure can be found in the lessons learned along the way and in the outcome.
Rob survived the infection, having lost two stone in weight in just six days. It was the slowest, longest, most terrifying week of our lives and with a very lucky escape.
Reflecting on events on the Balcony De Europa
Rob’s body showed a substantial capability for recovery. With some rest he described an engine kicking in about three weeks later. He started to have the strength to enjoy life more easily and Rob resumed life with even more gusto than before.
A year later, we sat in the sunshine with fishing Rods in our hands on the ‘Balcony de Europa’ Malaga. We thanked god, the universe and perhaps a few guardian angels, for seeing Rob through this health challenge.
They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. We reflected on the health challenge that we had experienced and we chose to create an energy giving story. Rob had triumphed in the face of adversity. Taking this approach was part of the emotional recovery.
Our best hopes… that reading this will invite you to ask yourself What are the biggest lessons that I have learned from facing life’s challenges?
We now shared a greater appreciation of health as the cornerstone to a happy life and a sense of gratitude for the small but magic moments that life can bring. Our stories teach us valuable life lessons and influence how we go forward. Curious? – Read on!
I wish you all a happy and energetic month. Want to know more about how to live your life’s adventure?