This was the moment I knew my life would never be the same.
It was a Tuesday morning, and I was on my way to have coffee with John McGrath.
At that time, I had just spent nearly 2 years getting chemo, radiation, and antibody therapy.
Due to the aggressive nature of the cancer, my survival rate was less than 10%.
You can imagine the toll this had on my body physically and mentally.
Things did not look good.
But little did I know, that in a few moments, my life was about to change forever.
As I walked down Dalhousie Street to the cafe my phone rang.
It was my oncologist.
My heart started to race.
I had just had all my scans done a few days earlier and I was expecting to see him on Friday to get the results.
Why was he calling me so soon? Was it to tell me I had to go back to the hospital immediately?
Before I could put it off any longer, I answered the phone.
My oncologist said, “Tom, I’ve got good news. The scans are clear. You are cancer free.”
It was at that moment everything became more vivid.
Colours appeared clearer.
I could hear people’s voices in the background.
The birds were singing.
The sun was shining particularly bright.
I took in a deep breath of the crisp air and exhaled.
I call this my ‘Haberfield Moment’.
I will never forget that feeling.
I realised now that those colours, those voices, and the sun weren’t just there on that, day but they’ve always been there.
These are the things we take for granted.
I went home that night and a big bouquet of flowers with a lovely message had been sent from John McGrath.
I knew then that life would never be the same.
I was never going to worry about a parking ticket, a missed flight or an argument with a client or friend again.
I clearly remember wanting to bottle that feeling forever. It was exhilarating.
When you’re healthy, the smallest things feel like the biggest problems.
But when your health is falling apart, you realise your health was the only thing that really mattered.
When you come back to life a second time, you look at things with a different set of eyes.
We don’t need to chase extraordinary things to find moments of happiness.
When you pay attention, really pay attention – you realise these moments are with you right here, right now.