Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Defining Moment

I lost my divine status in 1996. It was then that I became fully mortal. It was just at the time when famed astronomer Carl Sagan, one of my childhood heroes, died from a long and difficult battle with myelodysplasia. You see, Dr. Sagan and I shared more than a love of science, we both were afflicted by the same disease. In many ways, my diagnosis of cancer (see Invincibility Lost) in 1996 has shaped who I am and my outlook. The carefree days of youthful invincibility are long gone, replaced by much darker tones and thoughts. Every new pain or symptom is no longer dismissed as irrelevant. It is just another reminder that I am human, that I am, indeed, finite. Cancer survivors tend to live, at some level, by marking time. We know the beast will return again, it is not a question of if, it is a question of when. I know from personal experience. Since my first two surgeries in 1997, I have had four recurrences. Number five will come at some point. The question is simply when. Today I will know if I can at least hold back that monster for another season. Today will be a defining moment of who I am no matter the outcome.