One year with Cancer. Twenty to go!

Jon Acton
6 min readSep 20, 2021

One Year with Cancer complete. Twenty to go!

One year ago I had a medical procedure as part of a thirty plus year maintenance plan related to Crohn’s Disease. A flex scope was performed by my Gastroenterologist and his team of medical professionals. This “procedure” consisted of a camera traveling up my backside through the colon/intestines snapping pictures not appropriate for any form of social media. One year ago I woke up from anesthesia to my Doctor’s voice saying, “Jon, you have a tumor. I’m sorry, but you have cancer.” Still reeling from that diagnosis, just a few days later I discovered that Cancer wasn’t even the most devastating heartbreak of the past year. But that’s a never story for a never time. Onward we sail.

It is amazing how resilient the human spirit can be when the options are to keep going or roll in a ball and quit. Over the past twelve months, it seemed there was one “haymaker” gut and head punch after another. During an individual crisis, a person doesn’t have time to contemplate the magnitude of each event. You absorb life’s K.O. punch, trying to steady the wobbly and weak legs from that current mental and or physical trial. Probably as a defense mechanism people jokingly saying, what else could possibly go wrong? Somehow, someway it did go wrong, again and again and again. Onward we sail.

Cancer patients are similar to anyone else facing a serious health crisis. At some point, doubt enters the minds of even the most positive people. This indecision mirrors riding a steep and winding roller coaster. We experience the ups and downs, twists and turns and nervous anticipation before going over the top of the summit. Real life questions filled my head with uncertainties and refused to stop. How do I keep my job? Is insurance going to cover this? Are we going to lose everything? Can I fight this? Can I continue to fight this? Can I handle this treatment? Do I want to continue this treatment? How long do I have? What if I really “Don’t have this”? Onward we sail.

There is a wide range of feelings when confronted with your own mortality. A panic ensues trying to process all the people that need spoken to, places visited and experiences simply experienced. How does a person cram an expected forty or fifty more years into an undetermined amount of time. How do you balance optimism with the possibility of a harsh reality? My cancer doctors said they would fight to get me twenty more years. I can espouse one motivational saying after…

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Jon Acton

Husband, Father, Former School Superintendent, National Blue Ribbon School Principal, Teacher, Coach, Author in progress