Hindsight- recognition of the realities, possibilities, or requirements of a situation, event, decision etc., after its occurrence.
My name is Kenny Toye. November 2012 I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. I am blessed to be cancer free at the time of writing.
When the news spread about my diagnosis, I received encouragement and support. It felt good to know that people care. My friends and family wanted to help with anything and everything. As challenging as a cancer diagnosis is, my biggest challenge was my social status as I saw myself. I’m single and I have cancer. I consciously thought: “c’mon life! I’m supposed to be slapped in the face by the opposite sex, not by cancer!”
My intimate relationships through my cancer journey have had their share of ups and downs. Who wouldn't be attracted to the brave man, kicking cancer’s ass, using principles of patience, pride and respect? On the other hand, poo is taboo. Using the bathroom, needing a bathroom and spending more time in there than the usual brings challenges to one’s pride and self-confidence. Not to mention, having an ileostomy and potential complications reproductive organ malfunctions resulting from radiation side-effects
Getting a date is not a problem for me. Hanging on to the date long term is my issue. I was 25 years old and single, at the time of my diagnosis. Through treatment, surgery and currently, i’m still single. I think about cancer 20x a day. I use the restroom for number two, a minimum of 6x a day. I have adjusted to this life well and I’m comfortable with myself. I know my internal cues and understand my digestion timing well enough now to know when it’s time to find a bathroom. Depending on what i’ve eaten, my bathroom trips can take up to 30 minutes and diaper rash cream is always nearby.
Pain, tragedy and adversity are temporary challenges. Cancer taught me to embrace the difficulties of life and to have patience with life’s process. As a cancer patient, happiness and pleasure revolved around people wanting to be around me. Cancer destroyed my self confidence and my thoughts were locked in a “thought prison.”
I learned that my thinking was incorrect. The loneliness of being a cancer patient was paralyzing. I learned that I had the key to my own “thought prison.” I am teaching myself not to be selfish. I am learning how amazing it feels to give without expecting anything in return. To do the right thing when I have no audience.
My formative years were spent on a farm in rural Washington State and I learned how to overcome a plethora of challenges in a natural setting and when help was hours away. I am learning my own dynamics of love by befriending the enemy that is cancer.
I am always seeking to improve myself. This is nature. Pain is evolution. The mental isolation of being a cancer patient, enhanced my character. As painful as it all seemed at the time: hindsight is 20/20. I look forward to my future and I thank cancer every day for what it is teaching me.
Kenny Toye is a realtor for Northwest Ranch and Home Keller-Williams Realty and is a Featured Survivor in the 2017 On The Rise magazine. He can be reached at nwranchandhome.com.