Before I was diagnosed with prostate cancer I made a lot of assumptions about my future. Here are a few:
- I'd live long enough to walk my daughter down the aisle.
- I'd live long enough to enjoy my retirement.
- I'd be healthy for a decade or two following my retirement.
- That my wife would live long enough to enjoy retirement with me.
- That my wife would enjoy good health for a decade or two following my retirement.
All of these assumptions were shattered at age 58 when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I live differently now that I'm a prostate cancer survivor.
The first difference involves the way I experience milestones in my life. With every milestone, such as celebrating another Christmas or living to see a new year begin, I experience a wondrous sense of gratitude that I'm alive to celebrate another milestone. I place emphasis on the word celebrate.
I've been blessed with many celebratory milestones since I was diagnosed with cancer. My wife and I wrote two books. Our son in West Virginia found a job that enabled him to return California. I've celebrated wedding anniversaries, birthdays, new years, college graduations and holidays with a gratitude I'd never known before my cancer diagnosis.
My priorities have changed as well. This year we decided to install solar panels on our pool in order to extend the swimming season. Swimming is an activity my wife and I enjoy together. Prior to my diagnosis of prostate cancer I would have put aside the idea of pleasure in the present moment in order to save that money for retirement. I've quit putting opportunities for enjoyment off for later decades of my life.
My wife and I purchased an RV and we plan to take a cross-country trip in 2017. Part of that trip involves a prostate cancer information and book tour, which leads me to another priority that's emerged in my life.
It's important for me to find meaningful things to do with the rest of my my life. For example, helping men and couples cope with prostate cancer is one of my priorities. Psalm 90-12 says "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." There's no doubt in my mind that a diagnosis of prostate cancer is one way to learn that our days are numbered. It's up to us to make the best of each and every day we are given. When we do this, we've applied our hearts unto wisdom.
Have your priorities changed since you or your partner has been diagnosed with prostate cancer?
Note: This article appeared in Prostate Cancer News Today
Rick Redner and his wife Brenda Redner wrote two award winning books. The first:
provides men and couples with information and support before, during and after prostate surgery.
Their second book was written for couples living with!erectile dysfunction. After living with erectile dysfunction for four years, Rick chose penile implant surgery. The couple share how implant surgery changed their lives and relationship.
The title of their book is: