The 3 Lessons of My Cancer

There is a huge difference in my voice between episodes 9 and 10 in season one. This is due to the treatment I went through for throat cancer.

God doesn’t give you anything more than you can handle. My brother texted me in the middle of all that was going on to remind me of this and he added that, “God must think I’m a bad ass”.

Just the few years prior to my cancer diagnosis I had gone through a divorce, a legal battle, triple IRS audit, and some heavy business losses. To this day I can’t see how I could have changed anything I did to make any of these things not happen.

They say there are 2 types of lists in this world. One the list you cause yourself and the second one is the one that just happens to you.  The above “list” was that of the second list.

As we all know from 2007 till 2013 we had the economic downturn. As we were all coming out of that crisis I began to think I was getting ready to go again. I had gone through a lot in a hard handful of years and it was time for it to all turn around.

Then one day I couldn’t see well out of my right eye. A couple of days later I thought I should go see a doctor. Long story short I was told I had a very sick eyeball. After a month the thought I might have shingles inside my eyeball. I was told something had to be done or I might lose my eye and that it could actually move to the other eye and cause blindness in both eyes. There was also the threat that it might actually go to my brain.

Treatment included a shot in the eyeball and some expensive pills. That worked. I was told it was a very rare condition. But, in the process, it had ate away at the inside of my eye. I had a detached retina that had to be surgically reattached. After two years and four surgeries I thought I thought I had been through it. I thought I couldn’t take any more, but I was ready to move forward.

Then, I felt something on my throat. I told a good friend of mine, Mike Simpson, that I just didn’t think I could handle one more thing. I told him I was at the end of my rope. It had been a long decade. He told me that that was ridiculous as I was the strongest person he knew. I didn’t have the heart to tell him what I felt in my throat.

December 14th, 2014 I went to the doctor and my tests came back with bad news. I had stage four throat cancer. I couldn’t figure out how I had gotten this. I don’t smoke cigarettes and am not much of a drinker. As a matter of fact I had gone decades without drinking at all.

Diagnoses = bad luck!

I felt my foundation cracking. I didn’t even know if I cared what would go on from this point. I was so tired of fighting life. I used to have that youthful ambition of, “I can handle anything and do anything” now I didn’t.

In hindsight I would say that God was getting me to where he needed me to be. Dependent and needed on him and on others. I had to humbly quit just relying no myself. I had to give it all to Him and say, “Your will, not mine”. I had said this once before in 1991, but apparently this was not complete.  I found this is not a one or two time thing, but a daily thing.

This is where this lesson begins.

Lesson #1: Who loves ya baby?

There are two big categories of love. Those you get because you give and those that you just get. The ones that you are just given. This lesson is about #2.

Because when things got really bad in my radiation treatment I couldn’t do anything for myself. I could barely feed myself.

I had the same thoughts that everyone does that this would not happen to me. But when it did, I thought, well I have exercised most of my life, I’m strong in my faith, I’m strong in my mind. I thought this wont effect me as much as it does others. I was prepared to have almost a normal life while I was going through treatment.

I was wrong.

My reaction was one of the worst that they had seen in years. The pain meds didn’t work so I had to go off of them and go through withdrawals in the middle of my treatment.

I had to look at life in a totally different way. When I was in pain and couldn’t feed myself my friends and family were having to do all the work.

At that time if the good Lord would have stepped in to switch on the light to come on home I would have taken it. But, I had friends. I stayed in my old coach, Scott Thomas’, home and he and his wife did all the work for me day in and day out.

My high school sweetheart, Sandy, whom I hadn’t seen in 34 and a half years drove over an hour each way four days a week to spend 6 – 10  hours a day with me. To help me. She did this for two months.

If it wasn’t for the love of people like this I would have begged for that switch to be turned.

So, who love you? Thank goodness there are loving people and people that love you.

The question is … are you one?

Lesson #2: Who holds you up?

Giving is the key. How do you give? How do I give? I have always struggled with this. I was always so goal oriented. I wasn’t giving.

When I was diagnosed I took an automatic 10% withdrawal from my bank account for the entire year. To give. I finally had the faith to give. Is that what it took ~ me getting stage four cancer?

The people in my little company were not trained to do what I did. I was the only one that could do my piece of the puzzle. So, I just had to have faith. I had thought I could work through it but I couldn’t.

I was almost completely out of it for 90 days. It then took the next 6-8 months of gradual recovery. There was probably another 3 months that I just wasn’t really working. This is when God stepped in. The company almost doubled in sales. Apparently I’m not as important and I think I am. Or, maybe I just had to get out of the way. Or, maybe God was showing me who He is.

Lesson #3: Fighting to be heard. 

My first nine podcast in season one were prior to treatment. I had cancer when I first started them and the rest were done one year later. I had to wait one full year between the original start and then restarting.

A lot can change in a year with your voice, especially when you are going through radiation for throat cancer.

I am like most people and do not like the way my voice sounds. I never liked my voice. But, as you may have noticed, by the end of season one my voice is different. I have even had some comments on it.

I am still trying to figure out my new voice. Actually I now get compliments on my voice. I had never gotten that before. I like my voice now too.

Something that was so bad has had so many good outcomes. I have found out who loves me, I’ve learned to give, and I like myself just a little bit more.

Till the next time we meet … may you give more than you receive.

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