Looking Back at Surviving Cancer

By Gary K. Wilson, Esq.

Surviving cancerIt has been nine years since I received the news on a Friday afternoon that I had a large mass sitting on top of my heart and pressing against my windpipe.  At the time the doctors believed it was some type of cancer, but did not know what kind it was or the best way to biopsy it.  Over that weekend another large golf ball size tumor popped up in my neck.  All of a sudden, an otherwise healthy middle age man who had expected to live into his 80s was facing the possibility of a much earlier mortality.  Realizing that you may be diagnosed with terminal cancer is about as traumatic as it gets.  Fortunately I had, and still have, a great wife, family and friends that supported me and helped me make great decisions in when and where to seek treatment.  I also reduced my stress level by realizing that there are certain things in life that I can’t control, such as when, how and why cancer chose me.  It was easy to give it up to the Lord and pray for healing.

I was fortunate to have friends and family that helped me make a decision to seek treatment from a hospital that had a cancer center.  In my case this was the Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center.  The diagnosis and treatment I received was the best available anywhere in the world.  The treatment involved six months of chemotherapy, followed by a month of daily radiation.  I had the typical side effects from the chemotherapy, but not as severe as many people get.  I don’t know if being active during this process helped or not, but I walked every day about two miles in the morning and two miles in the evening, including the days I had the chemo.  I also had a friend who made me a 16 ounce cup of carrot juice almost every day.  Again, I don’t know if this helped or not, but the side effects I had from the chemotherapy were not as severe as I had read about.

While you are going through the treatment, you don’t know how effective it is, you don’t know if you are going to avoid the early mortality, you don’t know if the treatment will kill you, you don’t know how many more sunsets over the gulf you will see, how many more dolphins you will see playing by the pier, how many more times you will get to tell your loved ones that you love them, you pay extra attention to every ache and pain you get, and you hope for the best.  Time, all of a sudden, becomes your mortal enemy and you constantly pray for one more day.  Then you are done with the treatments and you wait for the scans to tell you what you can expect.

I got good news, but with more scans to follow over the next five years.  Each time you get a scan there is a great deal of apprehension.  There is more apprehension the first six months, less each following year.  As time passes you start thinking more about the future, you worry less about each ache and pain, although there are still some calls to the doctor on occasion.  You never stop being thankful for the good treatment you were given and the extra time you have left to enjoy the wonders of this world.  I took some glass art lessons and try to reflect the beauty of Southwest Florida in my glass art.  Sometimes I think I succeed in this.  I enjoy biking to the beach, kayaking through the waterways, driving to the Everglades to see the alligators and water birds.

I believe I will take a walk on the beach tonight to see the dolphins, manatees, pelicans and hold my wife’s hand.

Mr. Wilson has gained considerable experience in real property law in the Southwest Florida area over more than 20 years. He has represented numerous buyers and sellers, as well as developers, of condominium projects and single family home neighborhoods. He has also advised numerous business owners in Southwest Florida.

With significant experience in real estate acquisition, divestitures, and contract negotiation, Gary advises both borrowers and lenders. His experience includes work with both the Resolution Trust Corporation and the FDIC. He has assisted with all aspects of structuring workout agreements involving loans that are in default. He regularly provides counsel for developers considering a property purchase and works with them in their acquisition and development of the property.

Salvatori, Wood & Buckel

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