Thinking back on all that’s happened I can’t help but feel I could have done more. I mean you just don’t survive cancer and go on like nothings happened. It changes you whether you want it or not. At my age change isn’t something you expect, you’re mostly watching life pass by, you become an observer.
I won’t deny it has its advantages. For one living becomes less complicated, second it gives you time to reflect and last it gives you the strength so you can come to terms with the decision you made in your life. But there’s a dark side, an ugly side. People look at you differently, society shuts its doors to you and suddenly you’re a burden to everyone around you. Suddenly you’re no longer needed, suddenly all you’re experiences are useless and you’re asked to stand in line with the rest of the old folks in hopes that the grim reaper will take you as soon as possible. For dying slowly in America is a very expensive and agonizing thing.
Yep, that was me alright; imagine my surprise when the doctor said I had lung cancer. It’s practically a death sentence. And yet what did I have to live for? My wife past away 7 years ago, all my sons and daughters are married and have a life of their own; I mean I don’t even see them on the holidays. But I don’t blame them, who cares for the elderly now a days? No one, period. To tell you the truth I was sort of looking forward to it, you know like a release from all the hypocrisy and trivialities of the world. I’m not a man of God and frankly I don’t believe in life after death but the idea of not existing, as scary as it is, brought comfort and joy to my heart. People could argue that I was depressed, maybe it’s true, but someday they too will stand where I’m standing, lets see how they like it.
I decided to turn down the chemo and any other form of treatment; I wasn’t going to spend the last days of my life strapped to a bed with tubes sticking out of every orifice, no sir, not me. Boy was I in for a surprise. I don’t know what to call it, a vision, a hallucination, doctors said it was a because of the paraneoplasic something or other, whatever it was it changed me. It made me want to fight you know, bring out the big guns. My biggest battle, the one that really mattered. My name is Michael Foster, I’m 56 years old, lung cancer survivor and this is my story.