A couple months ago, I found myself coughing randomly for no reason. I wasn’t sick, just random coughing. So, I ended up going to my doctor for a check-up. They did blood tests, gave me some drugs, and ran some more tests. A few days later, I got an ultrasound and we ended up finding out that I had a 4.5 centimeter lump attached to my thyroid. After running even more tests, the results came back that there was only a 5% chance it was cancer.
Then they did a biopsy.
The results came back that it was most likely not cancer, but this time with a 15% chance that it just might be. Anyway, the plan was to get thyroid surgery. Meaning my thyroid would be taken out on the right side. I was assigned a great surgeon—you could tell he had been doing this for a very long time and knew exactly what he was doing. He made the whole thing go very smoothly and gave me confidence when needed most.
Surgery day was upon us and after not eating for half the day, I was on the table getting ready. I don’t even remember the countdown...
Several hours later, I woke up in my hospital room surrounded by my family and a few friends. The doctor came by to talk and tell me how it all went.
“When we went in there—when I saw it, I knew it was cancer—we took it out," he began. "We ran some tests to verify everything and then once we knew for sure it was cancer, we had to go to the left side and take your thyroid out on that side, as well. You are going to need to stay a couple days but it was a very good surgery and we got what we needed out of there."
Looking back, there are a few ways to look at this situation: With pure horror. Sheer panic. Or with a grateful mind.
I’ve chosen to be grateful.
I’m grateful that my godmother is such an amazing lady and referred me to see the right surgeon immediately. I’m grateful that he took me in so quickly and got all the cancer out.
I'm grateful that my family and friends have been so supportive over this time. I definitely am grateful that my wife is the best person I know and took care of me so well, along with my parents. They really made me feel like everything was going to be okay. The people who came and visited and checked in—and really came out of the woodwork to show support—was very cool.
This whole experience has really made me appreciate that we only get one shot at life. It can all be over any minute. When my brother died from cancer, he didn’t even know he had it. Doctors sedated him and 11 days later he was no longer with us.
I try to not complain that much. I try to have a positive mentality; I try to think something great is about to happen. And I definitely believe that anything is possible. I’ve lived a great life already beyond my wildest dreams.
But I’m not done yet.
A few days ago, I watched Capernaum, a movie about this family from Lebanon who were essentially stuck there. They were refugees and could not find a way to improve their lives. My parents came from a war-torn Lebanon, too. They did absolutely everything they could to set up my brothers and I for success. Seeing them work every day at home and at work has definitely stuck with me. It's motivated me to do something great every single day. Some days are more effective than others, but after this whole experience, I've reflected on how my life has gone thus far. I find myself circling back to the same word that I hope will define my life.
I'm grateful for the good—and really just for the whole thing. If you never lose, you don’t fully appreciate winning.
I had cancer. And as of today, I do not have it anymore. I’m grateful to get through this situation and for everything that life has given me so far. And now, I'm optimistic that something great is about to happen today, tomorrow, and hopefully every day.