Friday, August 9, 2013
With my parents, there’s a huge sense of connectedness. They give as much, if not more, to your treatment and your recovery. Even after treatment, that emotional connection is very strong. I know my mom will probably always be more protective of me than she is with my brother or my sister. Every year when I go back for my checkups, my mom is the one who can’t sleep for a week. And then, as soon as we get out of there with an okay and good scans, you can just see her kind of relax . I think that she doesn’t want to make me nervous, so she tries to hide things from me. They still say funny things to me like, “Honey, you are a cancer survivor and you are different. So if you get tired at work, you tell them that you need to go take a nap.” Who else’s parents in the world tell them that they don’t need to work too hard? It’s kind of surreal.
Monday, August 5, 2013
My family is a lot more important to me. Before, I was very concerned with where I was going as Mark O’Neill and not so much where I was going as the father of my family. Having to sit down and talk, especially with my wife and my son, right before the surgery really caused me to rethink, “What is my role in life? What do I want to do with this? Where do I want to go?” Tomorrow, I might have to say goodbye. That caused me to change my priorities and think about, “Am I being the dad that I want to be? Am I being the husband that I want to be?”
I have a sister that’s 16 years younger than I am, and we were fairly distant before the surgery. During the surgery, I don’t know how she did it, but she talked one of the doctors into giving her a used IV bag, which she very carefully sliced open, put in a rubber ducky, half filled it with water, and then taped it back together. While I was in recovery, she stuck it on my IV stand, which was a big hit with all the nurses. That became a symbol for me and the family of maintaining our perspective and our sense of humor. That was the beginning of a great healing in the relationship between my sister and I. I was away in the military before she was in second grade, and I never really got to know who she was as a person. Now she’s around and we’re a lot closer friendsSee Full Story below.
Saturday, August 3, 2013
Laura is a colon cancer survivor. She discusses dealing with cancer and a high-risk pregnancy, meeting other survivors and setting her priorities to help her daughter survive.