Having courage during and after cancer doesn't mean that you run hard-charging through every situation, treatment, and appointment, never showing a lick of fear. Sometimes courage means having a meltdown in the shower for 20 minutes in the morning before you can even get going, but you get going. Sometimes courage means holding yourself together while having yet another round of scans, blood tests, and follow-up appointments done. You walk out to your car afterwards and realize that you haven't breathed in a few days, and proceed to have a meltdown right in your car, and finally let all of that fear that's been inside of you out before heading back to work. Sometimes courage means nothing more than showing up and marking yourself present, being a complete wreck and getting nothing productive done, but vowing to do better tomorrow. Courage means that you keep getting up, showing up, and always trying your best, even when you're far from your best. When you've been hurting so badly inside, courage means making changes in your lives, even major ones, when you realize that your needs have changed after cancer, and that you need to live your life differently than you had before.
New routines, new philosophies, new attitudes, new circles of friends and support, new lifestyles, and ridding your lives of negative, toxic, or hurtful influences, all takes courage. I've done all of this after cancer not because I wasn't afraid and felt super courageous, but because I couldn't stand to keep hurting anymore, and couldn't keep living my life in fear. Love for my wife and family are the only things that have remained constant. Everything else has been ripped up, turned over, and re-evaluated after cancer. I'm a spiritually sound and confident person today, not because I wasn't terrified of making changes, but because I had the courage to. That's what courage is.