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“YOU HAVE CANCER”

There are moments in everyone’s life that people will never forget where they were when they happened, things such as watching the World Trade Center collapsing. I was in a training class at a car dealership called FC Kerbeck, watching with other trainees and our trainer, Joseph P. Glowacki, who for probably the first time in his life, was left speechless. We watched the towers crumble together, and I can remember the distinct feeling of my insides also crumbling. I felt weak in the knees, with an immediate need to make contact with my loved ones to make sure they were safe, which seemed to be the same reaction that everyone had.

To say it was a lot to process was an understatement, what had started as a beautiful day, turned into a nightmare. The dealership is located in Palmyra NJ, which was right in the middle of New York and Washington DC, so we were literally looking up in the sky searching for possible other hijacked planes.

Most businesses closed immediately and allowed for people to go process the events with their families, but not Frank Kerbeck, who made the decision to stay open and sell some cars!

I was the only person to sell a car that day, which was one of the first of thousands that I would go on to sell in my career in the Biz. I can remember asking the customer why he chose to buy a car that day after everything that had just happened, and his answer was simple. He said “if I don’t buy a car today, they win”, just before he signed on the dotted line for what we’d refer to as a “shined up turd”.

There is another moment that nearly one out of three people will always remember, and that is the moment when they hear those three little words that change their lives forever, “you have cancer”.

On July 28th of 2021 I went in for a colonoscopy to find the best treatment plan for my diverticulitis, only to learn it my diverticulitis had been misdiagnosed for years. I can remember waking up, still a little groggy, and asking the doctor why she looked so down. I jokingly said “did it really look so bad up there” to which she replied “I am so sorry, but you have cancer”.

At that moment, it was as if the world suddenly hit a pause button, but the only one paused was me. Even though I was lying down, I felt like I was sinking into the earth, gravity became twice as strong, but a piece of my soul broke off and was deposited into the vast darkness of the universe. It felt as if I had been convicted of a crime and was sentenced to death, especially due to the fact that because of Covid restrictions at that time, I was all alone.

The fact is though, for most people nowadays that hear those three little words, “you have cancer”, it is not a death sentence at all, and most will survive the disease. Battling cancer is a major mental struggle though, especially because mental health is not considered by our current medical system in the fight of the disease, and that is something that must change.

Everything from the original diagnosis, to the staging, to recovery or end of life preparations, should all be handled in conjunction with mental health professionals. Mental Health should be integrated into cancer centers all over the world, and other branches of the medical field where needed, because ignorance does not lead to hope in those feeling hopeless, only knowledge and understanding can do that, which currently cannot be found in any pill or treatments offered.

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