Evan likes to ride his bike around the mountains near his home in Salt Lake City.
With Valentine’s Day behind us, I wanted to reflect on the title of this post. It seems like an odd statement to make, unless you hear it from Evan Mattingly. Evan started following me on this blog, and I soon noticed his positive, encouraging comments. He finally contacted me with his story, which I’m sharing in my book.
Evan wasn’t exactly “feeling the love” in 2007 when he was scammed by a house builder, losing his home and more than $100,000 in equity. Then he learned he had neuroendocrine carcinoid cancer, a rare form of cancer with a very grim prognosis.
Despite this, Evan has an extremely positive attitude and a mischievous sense of humor. Early on in his treatment, he walked into his oncologist’s office and somberly looked at the women sitting at the front desk. “They just told me I have terminal cancer and have three to five years to live,” he told them. (dramatic pause) “But the good news is …,I just lowered my cholesterol!”
Although his cancer has not disappeared – yet – he is planning on a long life filled with camping trips and fun with his many friends. Last month, he hosted a party for 100 of his “closest friends.” Here’s what he says about cancer and love.
A friend once told me, “Cancer is the disease of love.” I asked, “How in the world can that make sense?
She answered, “Because if you get in a car accident and die, you never had a chance to turn your life around or tell people in your life you love them. But if you get cancer, it’s like a warning that you better make some changes in your life. You tend to tell people you love them more often and become more compassionate. It’s almost like a gift.”
My mom died of lung cancer 18 years ago. Before she died, she sat down and typed a letter to each of her children, knowing she didn’t have much time left. She put them in sealed envelopes and gave them to my dad saying, “When I’m gone, I want you to give these to each of the kids.” We all have her letter, and it’s special to each of us.
In her letter, she expressed how much she loved me, my family and the Lord. I’ve taken this to heart and never miss the opportunity to tell people in my life I love them. So, I’m blessed.
That doesn’t mean I’m going anywhere soon. After my first surgery, I told my doctors it was my first birthday. The next year, it was my second birthday. This coming year, it will be my third birthday. I plan on having a lot more birthdays.