Ed Janzen

It was just a mole, but the diagnosis came back, Melanoma. The call came from the doctor’s office while I was sitting at my desk getting ready to lead a religious service later that day. I forgot to breathe and felt paralyzed by fear of cancer. I just sat there – looking at nothing, but the storm of questions and dire predictions that roared inside. The first thing I remember doing was reminding myself to breathe – in and out, deeply. This one took 4 or 5 deep breaths. Then, a brief word with a trusted colleague, a hug and things loosened up. A bit later, a longer and caring conversation with my partner helped me return to some of the normal work of the day. Following through with recommended treatment in the days and weeks after helped me understand and deal with the Melanoma carefully and accurately. The prognosis returned favourably and life has continued.

In all of this, I was reminded of my mortality and that each breath, each smile, each day is a gift.

Cheesy – I know – but that’s because there’s truth in it. What remains is gratitude for the care and expertise I received, the love and support of family and colleagues. They are such good friends with caring hearts. There’s also some courage or good fear management that has become healthful vigilance. That, together with my morning push-ups, lots of walking and some racquet sports add joy and hope for a long full life. 

- Ed Janzen, Chaplain at Conrad Grebel University College

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