The next song to add to my cancer-killing soundtrack is Eminem's "Not Afraid." I've liked this song for a while, but didn't actually think it would be so important to me until recently...until my meeting with Dr. Sugarbaker, actually.
During my meeting with Dr. Sugarbaker, he spent about 15 minutes reciting my medical history, previous surgery, chemo treatment, and upcoming surgery. This portion of our meeting wasn't a discussion between the brilliant surgeon and yours truly, but an audible recording all of his thoughts. Given the fact that the transcript of this dictation would guide Sugarbaker when he reviews my file next, there was no filter between his medical impressions and what I heard. He said some pretty serious things on that recording, including the survival rate for my particular brand of "the cancer," which organs he expects to remove during my surgery, how many days I'd be spending in the ICU and the hospital, the various complications which could arise after the surgery, etc.
I sat and listened to him, bright-eyed and completely unshaken by the gravity of his comments. Meanwhile, a song started playing in my head: "Not Afraid." One particular part of the chorus especially:
I'm not afraid (I'm not afraid)
To take a stand (to take a stand)
Come take my hand (come take my hand)
We'll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Honestly, I'm not afraid of "the cancer" or any of the physical challenges it has forced me to endure. My first surgery was easy, chemo has been easy, and while I know this next surgery is not for the faint of heart, it's going to be fine. I trust Dr. Sugarbaker completely and I know that he'll pluck out every last bit of cancer and restore my body to cancer-free status. And the pain, discomfort, etc. that'll result from my surgery are only temporary and I'll handle it like a champion. There's really no room for fear in this equation.
I'm not afraid because I know I'm tougher than cancer. I'm not afraid because I know my will to live is stronger than any disease. And I'm not afraid because, as Eminem's lyrics say, I know that we're walking this road together. The love and support I feel from all of you -- my friends and family -- fills my heart with courage and strength, and I felt all of your support during that meeting with Dr. Sugarbaker. And I know I'll feel it even more on the day of my surgery.