Happiness is…Surviving Cancer

Happiness is…Surviving Cancer 


The Saturday before Labor Day, 2019 was going to be hectic but great!  A meeting with a potential client, brunch with our children, my annual family reunion and a trip to the Barter Theater for a performance promised to make it a hap, Hap, Happy weekend. 

I woke up about 4 AM with excruciating pain.  When my wife got up about 7, I told her I needed to go to the ER.  After a CT Scan, they came back with the diagnosis.  I had kidney stones in both kidneys.  I was also informed they had found a solid mass on my left kidney.  I was told to report to a urologist as soon as possible.    

My wife, a retired Urology Nurse, on Tuesday phoned her former office.  One of the newer doctors in the practice had an appointment available that very afternoon.  I was remarkably relaxed. The doctor came in and I prepared myself for him to schedule a biopsy.  Instead, he began scheduling surgery to do a partial nephrectomy of the left kidney. 

So, you’re pretty sure it’s cancer?” I asked.  “About 98% sure”, he answered.   

  OK, I’ll admit.  The first thing I thought when I heard cancer was “God, how could you do this to me?  I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life, and there are 80- year-old men running around smoking 2 packs a day.” 

Then God reminded me for the last 15 years I’ve preached on my website and in my blogs that we are in total control of our Happiness. No one can give it to us.   No one can take it away.  In my book, Climbing Mt. Happiness:  The Haynes’ Hierarchy of Hope and Happiness I describe different levels of Happiness ranging from the lowest level of Hope to the highest level of Joy.   About 70% of the time I stay at the highest level of Joy.   

I prayed that God would help me keep, over the next two months, this high level of Happiness that I’d had in my heart prior to the discovery.  We had several very special events planned before hearing the diagnosis.  I was determined to not only enjoy them, but find even more ways to experience extreme happiness.  The key is to recognize what I call Happiness Effectors, activities that if done with a positive attitude, will bring happiness.  I was determined to experience as many Happiness Effectors possible for the next two months.   

Those were 73 of the most continuous joyous days I can remember.  I would estimate that I was at the highest level of happiness 98% of the time.  At this point, I am cancer clean.  

I wanted to share this experience so I wrote a short book titled Surviving Cancer: My 73-Day Journal from Discovery to Recovery.  In it, I share my pilgrimage through pictures, videos and motivational messages.  My hope is that this book will bring hope and happiness to others that are suffering the challenges of cancer.  If you are one of these people, or know someone that is, I invite you to go to your favorite eBook website, do a search for Jerry L. Haynes and download the book.

I also invite those of you who are facing the challenges of cancer to share your story below of how you are staying happy and keeping hope.   


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About Jerry Haynes

OK, where do I start. I was born…., no that line has already been taken.Call me…, oops so has that one. Well, I won’t attempt to spout musical prose, and just be myself. I grew up in the small cotton mill town of Fries, VA. My parents were hardworking members of the middle class. They never earned more than a little over minimum wage, but I can never remember lacking for anything. After graduating from Fries High School in 1969, I started to VA Tech. After two years of partying (1st), going to movies (2nd), and studying, well, much further down the list, VA Tech decided I need a two year break to get my priorities straight. With a number 8 in the draft lottery, I knew that even if the Hokies didn’t want me, Uncle Sam did. I joined the US Navy. I got my priorities straight. I’m proud to be a Viet Nam veteran, but feel guilty I never got deployed. I graduated from Tech in 1977 with a BS in Civil Engineering. For the next 35 years I would work in both the private and public sectors. My first job took me to Tazewell County, Virginia where I soon joined the Jaycees. This ignited my passion for individual development. This passion still burns today.
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