We have two lives. The second starts when we realize that we only have one. Confucius said it. How many times during my first life have I come across these words, and they remained invisible. Then in February 2014, while recovering from an unexpected major blow, they suddenly materialized inside of me. At the moment in time when I had to face the possibility that the end could be just a step away.
I discovered I had lung cancer by chance when I took part of a screening, and then I was operated. During those days my mind always wandered back to it. At night especially. During the sleepless hours spent haphazardly on the Internet. Collecting bad news. I was stuck. I couldn’t find an answer to the most important question. Of course the answer I was seeking was only one, though I formulated it a thousand different ways. I cursed Google where the most improbable, inane solutions are always accessible. Why not this time, when I really needed it? Nothing. Is it possible that no one before me ever postulated it? Or is it because no answer exists. I shudder.
Then I examined my memory. I know lots of people. Breast, kidney, prostate gland, thyroid … and more. My thinking couldn’t be stopped. Yes, I know many. Lungs? No one. How is it possible that I can make a list of dozen and dozen people who are alive, lead normal lives and have survived a variety of tumors while I don’t know anyone who has survived lung cancer? All have died within a restricted time period. Yes, it’s possible. This is reality.
The turning point arrives the night that I find the page of the association Alcase Italia, committed to the fight against lung cancer. I stay up all night. On the web site I find stories filled with hope, stories of people who have won their fight against the big killer. I read them twice over. Then I notice that a book is available; immediately I ordered via Internet. I realize the words are the same. But reading them on a monitor is different. Holding the pages in my hand makes these stories more real. I need to materially touch the reality of life, even if only through the printed page. I don’t know if I will be among those who can say that they’ve made it. The important thing is that someone has done it.
This is how my collaboration with Alcase started. This is how I met people who live with lung cancer. And so I stopped searching for news on the Internet, and started to dedicate all my time and energy to living my second life well. Indipendently of how long it will last. You won’t believe it, but at times walking around the house I sing to myself: As beautiful as the first life has been … the second is even more.