10/16/2014 12:30 pm ET Updated Dec 16, 2014

The Myth of Stability

Don Mason via Getty Images

Ever walk down the street and suddenly lose your balance? It could be for a host of reasons -- you were lost in your autumnal bubble and not paying attention to uneven pavement, a bump by a clueless fellow pedestrian, even an aggressive bird suddenly dive-bombing you from out of nowhere.

Although fleeting, incidents like these can make you question your balance in other aspects of your life as well.

I was told at my first follow-up visit post radiation and chemo that my tumor was stable. This is amazing news. It means that the radiation and chemo worked together to keep the cancer that was surgically removed at bay. From here on out, I'll be taking a maintenance dose of my chemotherapy and submitting to nerve wracking MRIs every few months.

But am I stable? Are any of us, cancer or not, really ever that far away from being dive-bombed by a bird? Theoretically speaking, of course...

The good-news MRI was a month back now, but recently my warm and fuzzy feelings about stability changed when I was off-handedly referred to as "terminal." Although it was a somewhat indirect reference, it struck a chord. Me? Terminal? F*ck off! That's a misprint.

My reassurance with my stable tumor was rattled a bit. And I was forced to question all the good news I'd received. But above all, I thought: Why would someone have the audacity to refer to me as terminal when I have never -- not even once -- thought of myself in those terms?

Although I do subscribe to the "we are all terminal" philosophy, hearing this as a cancer person changes things just a bit. It bears more weight.

Although my example is extreme, we all have the ability to be knocked off balance by something, whether it be small or monumental in our own little world.

What defines us is how we rise above whatever setbacks we may face. And there are going to be a hell of a lot more situations that make us all feel unstable -- little everyday things. But, the trick is to just keep moving. Because I've found that there is level ground around every corner if you just keep looking.