OCOP: ‘Staying positive through trauma’

Mickey Currie is a cancer survivor who emphasizes the importance of a family doctor.

Mickey Currie sat down with calendars and stacks of paperwork. He said it was the first time he’s looked at it since his journey.

“It’s just not something you like to look back on.”

Currie brought the calendars to recall the day he was diagnosed with colon cancer in Spring 2016, through a routine fecal immunochemical test.

“The test came back and it came back so riddled with blood, the doctor told me he’d only seen one other with a higher blood count. So I kind of had a bad feeling.”

Since he had no prior symptoms, Currie kept working until he had a colonoscopy, which revealed a tumor. The doctor’s diagnosis revealed Stage 3 colon cancer.

“He told me he’d pray for me. I went into tunnel vision. You just zone out. I immediately went off work.”

A short time later, Currie had surgery to remove the tumor.

“It was pretty rough. I couldn’t really walk, I had friends help me set up food and chairs at home. But I went to the Tragically Hip concert.”

And Currie was not joking — just a week after having surgery to remove the tumor, he rocked out at a Tragically Hip concert with his son.

“They gave me accessible seating, so that was nice. But I could literally barely walk.”

Despite watching the Tragically Hip perform, Currie’s journey wasn’t without big challenges.

“I waited to tell my kids. It was near Father’s Day, and my son had a final, so I didn’t tell them until the 25th. That was a little bit rough,” said Currie.

His strategy for coping was surrounding himself with family and friends.

“I was trying to stay positive throughout the whole thing. I didn’t ask for a lot of help, but there was lots of support, whether it was phone calls or taking me for dinner.”

His friends and family played a big role in his journey in making him feel normal.

However, Currie did experience one negative reaction to his diagnosis.

“I ran into one person who wouldn’t even shake my hand. I think they thought it was contagious or something and that shocked me.”

Currie said the experience has taught him that you don’t know what everyone on the street is going through.

“I try to always remember that there might be something there that you don’t know about.”

While he was off work, Currie continued to do things he loves, such as hiking and biking to keep himself positive and in shape, and adopted a cat named Spook from the SPCA to keep him company.

“I didn’t lay around the house moping or anything. But it was in winter, so once I was doing chemo, the cold weather would get to me.”

Currie was on chemo for six months, which he said was the worst part because of a variety of side effects.

“The whole thing was messy and rough, but with the support of friends, you get through. I remember the last round of chemo was the best day.”

On the last day of chemo, Currie went out for brunch, visited friends, thanked his nurses with chocolate, and went for his first scenic airplane ride in Abbotsford — something he had always wanted to do.

“I get joy out of a lot more simple things. I can go for a walk and be perfectly happy. I don’t need anything big and exciting, because everything is pretty nice.”

Today, Currie is cancer-free and has returned to his job as an electrician. He said anyone who has a similar experience should take two pieces of advice.

The first is to see a family doctor.

“If I hadn’t seen my doctor, there is no doubt my story would have been different. I know they’re hard to get, but so what, you drive to PoCo, you drive to Mission, it’s not the end of the world.”

The second is to stay positive.

“Stay positive no matter what. You get knocked back down, but you can get back up again.”

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