“The secret of life is not what happens to you, but what you do with what happens to you.”
Norman Vincent Peale
On Feb. 16, 2010, Dick Foster, my husband and life partner, noticed a lump in his neck. For him, it was an oddity. For me (as a former nurse) it was frightening, because I suspected that it might be indicative of some type of cancer. That very day, he was seen by his physician who ordered antibiotics to treat any infection that might be lurking in his body. When the lump (enlarged lymph node) did not respond to treatment, he was referred to a specialist in head and neck cancers. My fear of the possibility of cancer was confirmed during Dick’s first appointment with the specialist. He was diagnosed with cancer on the base/back of the tongue, a type of cancer that is generally symptomless until it spreads to a lymph node which then becomes swollen. It is truly a frightening type of cancer, but can be cured if caught early enough.
Since the appointment with the specialist, our lives have been filled with endless doctor’s appointments, tests, scans, surgical procedures, and meetings with more doctors. We have laughed, I have cried, and we have talked endlessly about how to conquer this stranger in our midst, cancer. We have armed ourselves with treatment information, planned our lives around doing everything possible to permanently evict this stranger from our midst and to minimize the worry that accompanies the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
I have watched as Dick has suffered the side effects of his first round of chemotherapy treatment and have been amazed at his ability to stay strong and continue to work (from home) even when he is not feeling well. His attitude is great, his ability to withstand my constant hovering presence and offerings of calorie-ladened milk shakes and frequent inquiries about his fluid intake, is impressive. I know that there will be some very challenging times over the next six months, but our relationship and love for each other will sustain us.
So, what good can come from this situation? We are both now focused on living a conscious life instead of living life unconsciously. We realize that the gift that comes with this challenge is that we have the opportunity to live more in the moment and less in the future, to take time to focus on what matters now, to be less concerned about things that we have no control over and to take control over things that do matter. We welcome the opportunity to mend the cracks in our relationship and to cement it with love and appreciation for each other and for our families and friends.
Dick has created this website to share his experience with cancer. He is committed to being cured and wants to share that journey with others. We welcome your support, thoughts, and prayers as Dick achieves his goal of curing the cancer in his body.