The Warrior: Steve Thompson
This issue's Spotlight warrior is Steve Thompson, who has learned the importance of gratitude while battling stage IV colon cancer.

As told to Britt Julious

I was diagnosed in April of last year with stage IV colon cancer. And since that time, I’ve had five surgeries and 20 weeks of chemo, radiation, and [both] a colostomy and a colostomy reversed. It’s been quite a journey. But so far, everything’s gone well. They took cancer from my liver and my lung and my colon.

I had friends who’ve had cancer. My father passed away from cancer. I thought those situations were very upsetting to me. When it was me, I just felt like it was an out-of-body experience and I was more concerned with
how other people would feel about it, like my children.

I’m a really active person. I’m a hockey player. I just decided at the beginning that I was going to keep living my life. At the beginning, I told my oncologist, “You know, why don’t you worry about saving my life and I’ll worry about living it?” So I just kept pushing forward and trying to keep my activities as normal as I could, which was not always easy. I figure if this is the end for me—because stage IV is not a good situation—I want it to be fun too. I don’t want to just curl up into a ball and be sad about this. Let’s try and have some fun.

Even for a patient with an incurable disease, there is always hope.

Now, I’m in the happy part of the journey where you are scanning and monitoring. I’m realistic about it. I don’t know what the future holds, but this is about as good an outcome as one can hope. But right now, there’s
nothing on the horizon. I think we’re at the point where we’re in a wait and see situation. And hopefully there’s nothing to see.

We all have things that are weighing on our minds and I learned to think about other people and what they need and how I can help them. I think that gave me a lot of strength. And I also learned that it’s important to be
grateful. I had a really good life. And if this was going to be the end of it, it’s been terrific. So rather than be morose about that, I just kind of learned to accept that and be grateful for all that I’ve had.

If unfortunately you find yourself in this situation, keep going. Keep living your life and keep being active. Because I think it helps physically and I think it helps mentally to just keep pushing forward.


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