This year has been a difficult year for me to say the least. It’s November and I was diagnosed with Gastric Lymphoma in June. Since my family history has no cancer in its line it came as quite a shock to me.
As a creator I found that my lust for my passion had faded. It was apparent. It wasn’t because I didn’t still believe that I had something to contribute to the conversation, I just lost my drive. I let it die.
Between running a full-time successful business, being married, having social responsibilities, and all the “normal” stuff I become burnt out. It happens.
It’s Mother’s Day around the corner. My mom is 92. This could be her last Mother’s Day. Me being the good son, I arranged for my siblings and some of the grandkids and great grandkids to fly out to Florida for the celebration of her lifetime (at least in my mind anyway). It all went as best it could with all the moving parts involved and overall, she really enjoyed it.
Just before the trip I started to notice sharp pains in my stomach. It felt like someone was pinching me, constantly. Just enough to annoy me but not stop me from doing things.
But I knew something was wrong!
Being an ex-Ironman Triathlon Series of Events participant I had lived a pretty much healthy lifestyle, so I was used to pain. Triathlon isn’t about will I experience pain during the training. It’s about how much pain and how do I manage it so I can keep training.
This was different.
One endoscopy later, and they discovered a tumor. One CT scan and a blood test and it was confirmed.
I had cancer.
Everything in the room stops when you hear those words. Everything you know isn’t real anymore.
I remember the doctor was talking, explaining to me what the diagnosis meant but I couldn’t hear him. All I could see was his lips moving and the room was blurry behind him.
Two weeks later and I am in the operating room having my entire stomach removed. It’s June.
In September I started my chemotherapy.
Not my favorite experience. You feel like a test rat. Always being poked and prodded, tested, and analyzed, and the blood tests. After a while you start to look like a drug addict with all the bruises on your veins.
Not to mention the weight loss. I lost fifty pounds. That’s an entirely new subject. A new wardrobe.
Now you may think that I would have every excuse justifiable under the sun to fall into a deep dark nasty hole with no bottom to it. But I didn’t.
Being this close to a life altering experience has given me a new lease on life. I do believe with all my being that I will survive and thrive from this experience. It’s in my DNA as a warrior. But now my passion has been revitalized and reignited.
I have always said that we are not promised anything and everything in life is temporary, including us. Now its larger to me. I feel it’s my passion and calling to remind everyone how important it is not to wait to experience life.
Far too many of us put off things today in hopes of fulfilling their dreams tomorrow, but tomorrow may not ever come. We bury ourselves in our work in hopes of a brighter future because that’s what we are taught by those we revere and respect. But did they do the same thing? Gamble that tomorrow will even come? Roll the dice in hopes of the rainbow at the end?
Way too many people die without ever achieving or accomplishing their dreams, let alone ever have the chance to see it come to life. Will you be one of them?
Here is my suggestion on how to avoid that.
- Don’t wait. If you are thinking about accomplishing something great, and I hope you are, don’t wait for the “perfect” time. The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second-best time is now.
- Don’t over think it. If it makes sense to you, and it’s your DREAM just jump. There is plenty of time to correct your course as you go. That’s half the fun.
- Don’t surrender to fear. Your friends and possibly loved ones will tell you not to do it only because they don’t want to see you get hurt. But the truth is possibly they are too scared to try themselves and don’t want to see you succeed.
- If something tells you to stop, don’t listen. Far too many people stopped just short of their dream simply because they didn’t believe it was possible. Don’t be one of them.
- Choose to believe in yourself enough. One small dose of belief will carry you to the finish line EVERY time. If you believe you can, or can’t, you are right. Choose to believe you can.
In closing my last thought for you is this. You are here for a reason. We would not be the same without you. You have a specific reason you were born and are here in this place right now.
Don’t waste the opportunity. And just plain don’t wait, for ANYTHING. Jump!
We’re all waiting for you.