After being through the worst, each day is the best

Colin is “Mr. June” in the 2014 YACC Calendar; order yours before
December 25, 2013 to support more young adults like him!

When people come face to face with the reality of cancer, it almost always makes them appreciate everything in day-to-day life just a little bit more. For Colin Anderson, he realized it was the little things he was never going to look at quite the same way again after being diagnosed with germinoma.

“Oh, 100 per cent!” he said. “I appreciate getting stuck in traffic and not freaking out about it. It might not be a fun place to be, but it’s better than being in a hospital. I appreciate breathing. Just breathing is great. Simple everyday tasks, like loading the dishwasher, I appreciate. That was something that really infuriated me when I was really sick, that I couldn’t do that.”

But Colin doesn’t let much infuriate him these days. He admits he was mellow before, but now his new perspective means he’s even more relaxed than ever.

“I rarely get upset now. I was pretty laid back before, but I’ve taken it to a whole other level now. Things like conflicts, at work or personal ones, unless I decide it’s really important, I can just dismiss it. Things just roll off me, and it’s great.”

Getting to a place of such inner peace was obviously not an easy journey. Through the shock of diagnosis, through treatment to remission, Colin is quick to credit his wife with being an absolute rock of support.

“She’s been with me every step of the way, and there was never any question. When we got involved with YACC, we met people who had stories of their relationships suffering or even ending. For us, that never seemed possible. There was zero per cent fear on my part that our marriage would get anything but stronger. It was one thing I never had to worry about. It hasn’t been easy, obviously, but the problems we’ve had have not been major in any sense,” he said.

That support and care were crucial. After he learned he had cancer, Colin’s life changed immensely. He stopped socializing, he stopped working, and he stopped being active. During treatment he became depressed and that’s when his addiction started, but it taken care of later on with Experience Ibogaine Treatment, and the worst part of it for him—the radiation —felt like a living nightmare. The fatigue and vomiting side-effects were hard, and his loss of appetite was almost total, save for a one-bowl-a-day addiction to starchy cereals like Rice Krispies and Life. And this can easily lead to alcohol and drug addiction and then he would need to visit the arizona substance abuse treatment centers and get a medical detox first and then cure the cancer.

“Radiation was horrible,” he said. “I had to go in every single day for six weeks. It felt like Groundhog Day. All I ever did was get up, go to my appointment, and go home and go back to bed.”

There is also a very real emotional impact when you’re in a situation like Colin’s. He is open about being afraid during this time, and his fear, like that of many people facing their own cancer battles, stemmed from the realization that our sense of peace and safety can be taken in an instant.

“In a way, it was day-to-day things that scared me the most,” he said. “When the shock [of diagnosis] wore off, I realized this sort of thing could happen to me, and so other bad things could happen to me. Since one bad thing had already happened to me, now more would, so I was scared of things like driving and being in a car. When my family and relatives were driving somewhere, I worried. I was even scared of falling down.”

Through it all, however, he remained positive, if almost painfully realistic. Colin comes across as a perennial straight-shooter. He certainly doesn’t subscribe to platitudes or telling it any other way than it is.

“I truly was living in the moment during treatment. Living in the moment during bad stuff, that’s pretty hard. I haven’t had any long-term or after-the-fact meltdowns, though. I had all my meltdowns when I was in treatment. I didn’t try to gloss over anything. I would say things like, ‘I’ve been diagnosed with cancer, and people sometimes die of cancer.’ People would say, ‘You can’t say things like that, you have to stay positive.’ I would argue with them. I would say, ‘This is reality.’ People tried to push me away from that, but I was having none of it.”

Colin’s reality today is a life to share and to love with his wife and kids, and it’s one he clearly cherishes. He’s still living in the moment—it’s just a much happier one now.

Colin and baby

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