Today, back on July 18th, 2016 a team of doctors and nurses put me under. I laid there fading out on a table with my body cold from the AC. Lost in the moment realizing I might close my eyes for the last time. I was content with that. I lived, at that point, an amazing life. And here I am 3 years later still cancer-free and rediscovering what it means to be post-cancer. Honestly, I still don’t feel like a cancer survivor. Maybe because I didn’t need chemo. My cancer was aggressive to the point where three weeks after finding it, they had to cut me open…
What does it mean to defeat a potential death? I wasn’t in a war. There was no knife fight… sort of, they did cut open my belly. But, I mean… This was a situation I had nothing to do with except for genetics. My own body said to me, “Yeah so like, we’re not reaching 40.” and all I could do is lay there in the hospital wondering why I felt like I was dying for over a year. Doctors kept telling me I was fine. Test results kept coming back good. My friends couldn’t understand. And I was living with a woman who thought I was lying about feeling sick because she thought I was lazy.
A lot goes through your mind when you’re told you have cancer. It’s never an easy moment. Especially when you knew deep down in your soul something was wrong. And now, at 6 AM on the morning of Monday, June 20th I was awoken in my hospital bed. One doctor and several people surrounded me. “Good morning Mr. Bellezza.” … oh Good, they pronounced my name correctly. Wait, what’s going on, I was out of it since I had only fallen asleep a few hours before. “We found a development in your kidney…” Oh yeah? Great… They kept going. I heard nothing after the word cancer.
A fell to the rule of process after that. Like a robot going from appointment to appointment with no other choices. For the next few weeks, this was my life. They don’t tell you how to prepare mentally, emotionally, or physically for what you’re gonna go through. Their job is to cure you or try. It was a hard time for me but ultimately they laid me on that table and set me free of my kidney, my cancer, and my end. In doing so I have begun a new life. A life that has had ups and downs. Getting my feet planted was a challenge. Cause now I am rebuilding who I am post-cancer.
We are not our cancer, or the fight, or the pain we battle. We are more than that. We are ideas, compassion, purpose, truth, friendship, we are the results of our conquests. 3 years cancer-free, that’s a weird thing I never thought I would say. Never did I think I would have cancer. I don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs. I worked out five days a week, study to keep my mind, soul, and body healthy. Cancer doesn’t care. And, you know what… that’s okay, cause I care. I care to keep moving forward. I care to be more than what I had gone through.
So on this day, the three years after the day that changed my world into a spiral of incident, I know there is hope and light. So I get back up and relax while looking out the window at endless possibilities. I am doing well, I am doing what I would be doing if I had not gotten cancer. It took a bit, but I got my feet moving. It’s nice to be able to move around without feeling like I was, well… struck with cancer and having my belly torn open. I am living happy, calm, and at peace. Because when everything is said and done and look at this world I can be prideful that today is me 3 years cancer-free.