Keven Drews was diagnosed with
multiple myeloma (MM) in 2003
I remember the day I first began to fight back against cancer. More than a week after my diagnosis, in early April 2003, I was laying in a bed in Royal Columbian Hospital. Visitation hours were over. My parents and wife had left. The ward was quiet, and the room was dark. Days earlier, doctors had diagnosed me with multiple myeloma, a nasty blood cancer that had attacked my bones, wreaking havoc on my vertebrae. The disease usually attacks people in their 60s; I was just 30. So there I was, with earphone plugged into the TV, watching a Vietnam-era war movie. Then, out of nowhere a phrase popped into my head: “I ain’t dead, yet.” I repeated it, and for the first time in weeks, I cracked a grin. Who knows what lay ahead, I thought, but one thing was sure: I was still alive, watching a movie.
Throughout my treatment, at points when I was feeling the worst and sickest I’ve ever felt in my entire life, I’d repeat this phrase. I repeated it when I felt excruciating pain, feared for my own survival, faced my stem cell transplant, recovered, and, yes, relapsed.
In addition to my religious faith, this little phrase gave me a tiny sense of power after cancer had sent my life spinning out of control. “I ain’t dead, yet” was a sentence, a weapon, a mantra I could hurl back at the face of cancer. However small a weapon it was in this great battle, it was still a weapon. And I used it...