Friday, February 17, 2012

Challenge Accepted

As I have recently received some troubling news from my doctor, the same poem by Edmund Vance Cooke has been circulating through my mind:

Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
With a resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful?
Oh, a trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce,
Or a trouble is what you make it.
And it isn’t the fact that you’re hurt that counts,
But only how did you take it?
You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what’s that?
Come up with a smiling face.
It’s nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there – that’s disgrace.
The harder you’re thrown, why the higher you bounce;
Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts;
It’s how did you fight and why?
And though you be done to the death, what then?
If you battled the best you could;
If you played your part in the world of men,
Why the Critic will call it good.
Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,
And whether he’s slow or spry,
It isn’t that fact that you’re dead that counts,
But only how did you die?
For the last month, I have had an aggressive growth on my right testicle.  After several blood tests, my doctor has decided to operate to remove the testicle and biopsy the growth to determine what kind of follow-up therapy I will need.  I do not have an official diagnosis, but with complicated jargon, my doctor explained that some form of chemotherapy will be required after the surgery. 
It hurts, and I am scared.  
Part of me wants to pretend that nothing is wrong and live a normal life, but there is another part of me that needs to get life organized to deal with this problem.  Fortunately, I am blessed to be surrounded by loving and understanding people to help me through this problem.  I have a job that is very understanding and will allow me all the time off I need.  My school schedule consists of three seminars (they are great classes!) which requires a lot of reading, but I have a good rapport with the professors, so I do not plan on withdrawing from the semester.  I have a beautiful fiance who is constantly providing me with love and support.  My family is mobilizing to come out to New York and help with Little Man and whatever other needs arise. 
While I have no intention of dying, I am certain that I am going to be thrown around pretty hard, but just as Cooke advises, I will "be proud of [my] blackened eye!"  The silver lining is that my family is healthy--I don't know what I would do if Little Man had this diagnosis.  I have the makings for a fantastic graduate school application (who wouldn't want a student that battled cancer while attending classes full-time?).  My new health insurance through Columbia will cover most all of the expenses, and I live right across the street from the hospital, so I won't have to deal with traffic or the subway in my commute.
I am scared, but I am also strong, confident, blessed, and ready to fight!  This challenge has been accepted!