Remember, remember, the month of November (Or, what cancer taught me about leadership: Part 1)

by. Matt Monge

November’s a big month for me.

Two years ago this November I was just counting down the days until I went into surgery to have a cancerous tumor removed from my kidney. I’m told you’re not supposed to get kidney cancer when you’re 30. I’m told that a lot of times kidney cancer goes undetected until symptoms show up, and by that point it’s often too late.

The more time that passes between then and the present, the more I think I can make out what the heck was going on in my head at that point. Cancer gave me this certain helpless, bewildered, scared feeling. It wasn’t that I didn’t think there was anything I could do about the cancer, because I knew the surgery was coming. But in some ways, cancer is going to do its thing whether we like it or not.

It sounds cliché I guess, but I remember so clearly the conversation with my doctor a few weeks prior. I had gone in with some weird, phantom abdominal pain, which actually turned out to be nothing. It was entirely unrelated to the cancer. So after my doctor told me he didn’t see anything on the scan that would indicate I had a kidney stone or diverticulitis, the conversation went something like this:

continue reading »