“If we are ever to enjoy life, now is the time, not tomorrow or the next year . . . Today should always be our most wonderful day.”—Thomas Dreier

I’m entering my 14th year since my cancer diagnosis. It began in 2004…An incredible journey traveling along life’s road, taking me from anal cancer patient to cancer survivor.

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My wonderful day began when I heard “David you are cured.” So the slow climb from this abyss begins as I blend my art background to heal after having cancer. I sought relaxation and solitude. To create a beautiful artwork through drawing and listening to music I discovered was the best medicine. Over the course of time, I was led on a path of self-discovery grappling with human frailties, where strength and willpower aligns itself with the indomitable human spirit to survive.

Then the unthinkable happened on Tuesday, April 11th, 2017. My apartment was destroyed by a fire that day. I lived on the 5th floor of a 6 story building in Queens. My home was located below the fire floor and suffered severe water damage. Witnessing first hand, the realization sunk in my home is gone—a total loss. I managed to salvage a few necessary items such as: a wallet, clothing, shoes and some mementos. Everything else was left behind.

the reeds by david john
The Reeds by David John. Mixed media black India ink, diluted aspirin and pencil erasure.

In the end any kind of loss is devastating no matter how big or small it still hurts. One can’t change the predicament only one’s perception. What truly counts is how we react and choose to deal with life’s crises. This traumatic episode of the fire much like the cancer diagnosis all those years ago has reawakened my faith in the power of creativity to heal once again. Both of these life changing experiences consumed much, but in the process seared my very soul yearning for something more. To quell the mercurial and restless spirit propelling it towards something greater as the metamorphosis of inevitable change transcends my life in a whole new direction.

Written by artist, anal cancer survivor and CHN Support Volunteer David John. To connect with David, or another Support Volunteer, call 877-HOPENET (877.467.3638) or visit cancerhopenetwork.org/getmatched