In March I had the privilege of attending my eldest son's wedding. I did not take my attendance of this event for granted. There was a time early in my journey with PC when I believed I'd die before reaching this and many other family milestones.
Before I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at age 58, I'd been complaining of pain in my bones. Like most men, I found it less threatening to complain about this to my wife, rather than see a Doctor about this potentially serious symptom.
When it became necessary for me to see my Urologist for a prescription refill he insisted on performing a digital-rectal exam. When he said he felt a suspicious lump and that I'd need a biopsy, I was not only convinced I had prostate cancer, I was certain it was already in my bones, which explained why I'd been experiencing bone pain. As I waited weeks for my biopsy, I was convinced I'd be dead within a year or two. My deepest sorrow wasn't about dying. I have Christian world view, and I believe absent from the body, present with the Lord. (2Cor 5:8) My deep sorrow and regret came from my belief I'd miss seeing my all my children married, becoming a grandparent, and living long enough to retire with my darling wife.
When my bone scan came back clear I felt as though I had a new lease on life. I was blessed with the opportunity to live long enough to see some, perhaps all of those milestones. My son's wedding was the first milestones. I can't even put into words what it meant to me to have lived long enough to see and participate in this wonderful event. I was joyful. Joyful for them and joyful to be there. The couple was kind enough to let me offer a toast to them.
In Jewish tradition I ended my toast with the words: "l'chaim" which means "to life" I was toasting to their lives together as a couple, to the lives of all those people who were attending this wedding, and to gift of life I'd received to be in attendance of this event.
Yesterday one of my son's invited my wife and I to walk-through of a new home they'd just purchased. It was another milestone I'd lived long enough to see. This was the house they purchased to raise their family, and I was alive to see it. I feel a special gratitude for the opportunity to part of these events, and that's a gift comes from my status and prostate cancer survivor. I hope those who read this won't find it necessary to be a cancer survivor in order to experience family milestones with a grateful heart.