I don’t feel so courageous

I’ve been experimenting with Twitter (@G_W_Gould) as a way to reach out to people who might be interested in reading my these ramblings. The reception has been gratifying and surprising with nearly a hundred complete strangers taking an interest in only two days. Thank you all for following.

Today’s topic, courage, arises from a message from one of those new followers. She spent an hour or so reading the archives and recent posts at colontosemicolon.com and was compelled to reach out and tell me how amazingly couragious I am. It made me think.

We all marvel at those who stand tall, or stand at all, in the face of the myriad of horrors that can upset a life. Death, disease, divorce, accident or other loss, suffered by others, leaves us speechless and confused. I’ve already written about the phenomenon of being struck dumb by bad news in People Change last September. That universal tongue tied fumble is related, I think, to our amazement at the strength of patients and victims. When just the news of other’s pain knocks us on our asses, we just can’t imagine how that other can still be standing.

I don’t feel courageous, brave, amazing or even strong. Many days I am pleased with my ability to sit up and take nourishment. Some days all I can manage is the trip from my bed to the couch. If I can go for a walk or write a little it’s a bonus. What people around me see, I think, is the mask of smile and stoic resignation filtered through their own inability to imagine how to deal with stage 4 cancer.

Like all cancer patients, I deal with it because there is, quite simply, no alternative. We engage in the fight, with doctors (@drcarl_vancouvr) and nurses leading the attack, behind smiles and reassuring words for friends and family because to do anything else just isn’t possible. Fight or die. It’s been the source of what we call bravery for thousands of years.

I spent five hours today in a chair at the chemo clinic being pumped full of the poisons that are meant to save my life. It wasn’t bravery that kept my ass firmly planted; it was pure, unadulterated necessity. Doctor’s orders. Medicine in action. Given any reasonable alternative, I wouldn’t be spending the next four days teetering on the edge of puking the cancer out along with the rest of my organs. Somebody show me another way and I will show you a complete chicken in action.

Be chicken with me. Get Tested,

G. William


7 thoughts on “I don’t feel so courageous

  1. Kylan

    Well you might not feel too courageous, however you are still alive.

    And its great to see you guys have set up this blog. 2 things I really believe in are: raising awareness for those who don’t know if they have colon cancer yet and providing support for those who have been diagnosed.

    If you have been diagnosed my message to you is don’t believe the statistics. For example, when I was first diagnosed with stage 4 cancer “they” told me I had 2 years to live. I didn’t accept that as true for one second and I am cancer free 3 years later having beaten it a second time in the interim. I hesitate to say anymore publically. Why? I do not wanna spread false hope. I have had 2 friends who i encouraged to pursue their chemo regime, thinking they’d be able to handle it but neither could continue with it and unfortunately my dear friend/mother/golfing buddy Tracey is no longer with us.

    HOWEVER, there is hope if you are truly a fighter so if anyone wants more info about how i’ve beaten stage 4 cancer twice please contact me at: kylanhodson@hotmail.com

    Best regards, Kylan


    1. Thank you for the encouragement, Kylan. Those of us who have been there know exactly what you are saying. Those who haven’t need to hear us shouting, “get tested!”. We are all on the care team and it’s our job to get the word out there.


  2. Teddy

    “They” often speak of one’s Legacy in life. One of your legacies, George, will be your written words to the world on this horrible disease. You will help people choose their paths and Get Tested. You will help to save lives. Get Tested!


  3. So, I have binge read your entire blog. I couldn’t believe that I had only noticed it now, until I got to the part where you wrote that you originally had posted all this to FB (REALLY???) and then cut and paste everything the best you could to your wordpress blog only a bit of time ago. Explains everything. Thank goodness you were able to keep it true chronologically as it made it much easier for me to follow along.

    I just want to say that the day you first wrote, September 17th, was the EXACT date I, a fitness professional, was told I had a mass in my sigmoid colon. I was gobsmacked. I started a blog for the very same reason you did and it has helped me tremendously. I, as well, live in Canada, but just outside of Toronto in Oakville. Unlike you I do NOT have a favorable opinion of the Canadian healthcare system, but we just moved back here from Raleigh, North Carolina where the healthcare is exemplary. I would never have had to wait as long as I did for surgery if I had been back there. Anyway, you just cannot compare the two systems. There is a reason so many Canadians flock to the US for procedures….the wait time. Like you, my surgeon was fabulous though, so at least there was that. He is considered the best in Canada and is chief of staff at the hospital where I had the surgery…finally.

    Honestly, my heart was in my throat for you as I read of your journey, that is still not over. I find your attitude amazing and your style of writing fantastically humorous, which is quite a feat, considering the topic.

    I have a blog myself and if you ever find yourself at a loss for something to do, I invite you to read it here: http://www.capablefitness.com. My first entry can be found here: http://capablefitness.com/2015/11/13/12/. I also have a FB fitness page chock full of fitness advice. I know you’re not quite up to running, but perhaps my daily inspirational advice can occasionally persuade you to go for a walk when you just feel like pulling the covers over your head. You can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/capablyfit/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel check it out and like the page.

    Listen, write that book!!!!! You’re very gifted at telling a story. I am now following your blog and wish you and your wife the very best. Cheers!!!


    1. Thank you so much for the encouraging words. Somehow, coming from another who shares my experience, it means that much more. I look, forward to reading your blog and following you on fb. Stay well, and thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s not what you’re going through that makes you brave, it’s that you’re feeling the reality of it. I often hear the story of the stages; denial, acceptance and all that. I don’t know that you haven’t experienced this to some extent, but it is clear you are not hiding from your situation and that in itself shows courage.

    You also must remember that just because the difficult task is one you have to do, doesn’t make you less brave. Why would you do something difficult if you didn’t have to anyway? That would be bravado. That’s the difference.

    Liked by 1 person

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