Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Getting back to consistently blogging has been considerably more difficult that I thought. I believe the scope and magnitude of being diagnosed with cancer and learning what the future may look like, as well as the many conversations with doctors, other cancer patients, cancer survivors, etc. overwhelms your mind with a cluster of information that needs to be sorted, evaluated, categorized, and either saved or discarded. It's kind of like that show hoarders, you have a clutter that contains things that are worth keeping, things worth selling or donating, and a lot of things that just need thrown out.

Going through that process creates fresh space for generating new thoughts and feelings that are easier to transcribe to words and rekindling that fire and passion to share my experience with others, in the hopes of demystifying the cancer process of cancer diagnosis, surgery, and treatment.

Even though cancer is the toughest battle people will ever face, I also hope by sharing my experience, that others will be inadvertently enlightened, empowered, and better equipped to cope with their own battles in life and/or support others in need.

I arrived at UPMC Shadyside Hospital the morning of Tuesday, March 3, 2015. I was promptly ushered into a surgical prep room, gowned up and taken into the surgical suite twenty minutes later. I was taken aback by how quickly it all happened. In fact, there was little time to sit there worrying and becoming fearful. Avoiding surgery was not an option, as the primary tumor was blocking most of my transverse colon, making eating solid foods difficult. Because I had already pushed worry and fear out of my mind and given it to God, I found that I was more relaxed and at peace with the surgery than I normally would have expected.

As you can imagine I don't remember a thing about the actual surgery. The last thing I remember is hearing music playing, and I asked the doctors and nurses if the music gets to be left on during the procedure. They replied yes, Dr. Holtzman always has music on during his surgeries. approximately 3 hours later I woke up in surgical recovery and the first thought that came to mind and words out of my mouth were "PAIN!"  There's just no sugar coating it! The pain is immense, but as medications are administered, it slowly becomes more tolerable. I think it's worth mentioning here that the surgical recovery was quite amazing, as I remember it. it was like an assembly line of patients being evaluated, monitored, administered pain meds, and one by one shuttled off to the room in which they will spend the rest of their recovery time. Other than this, quite honestly, there's simply not a lot to share about the surgery itself, because you don't remember a thing!

There's really a lot of blur and fogginess between being transported from surgical recovery to my primary room. For example, I don't remember much of the trip, which included an elevator ride. My first real recollection was being in the hallway outside of the room that was initially being prepped for me, and then seeing my wife, who came out of the room to say hi. It wasn't long after that I realized I had a tube up my nose and down my throat, oxygen in my nose, and a catheter in. The tube down my throat was actually a drain tube that normally isn't needed for colon (large intestine) surgery and resection, but because I also had cancer removed from the small intestine (duodenum), the drainage was necessary to aide recovery of the organ/tissue, without being constantly exposed to gastric juices and enzymes. Other than the pain, that damn tube became my greatest nemesis! It was so uncomfortable and the pain in my nose felt as if there was an over-sized rock jammed way up in there! Luckily about 3 or 4 days in, they removed both the drain tube and the catheter. Perhaps I should let you know that I was seriously worried about the catheter being taken out. After all, I'd never had one and quite honestly, just the thought of it being removed was enough to make me cringe. I was completely unconscious when it was put it..thank God! Anyway, despite an awkward and slightly uncomfortable feeling when they pulled it out, the entire process only lasted about 3 seconds or so. I can also say that as much as I was ready to have that drain tube out, the thought of that coming out was nauseating...but again, it only takes a few seconds, and wow...what a relief!

My total hospital stay was ten days. On the second day, the doctors wanted me up and out of bed trying to move. Now, if you can imagine, having all these a tube up your nose and down your throat, oxygen in your nose, and IV's in both arms all hooked up to machines on a pole that you have to walk with. It's almost as if you're a prisoner...handcuffed and shackled! So, not only do you have the restriction of all this stuff hanging from you, but the pain upon standing and trying to walk for the first time is like nothing I've ever felt. That first time out of bed, I only made it maybe ten feet to my hospital room door and back to my bed. I remember asking myself, "oh my God, how am I ever going to get through this and out of here?!"

Then a few days into my stay, upon the obvious pain of the surgical procedure itself, I began to get a build up of gas pain. It was explained to me that air is actually blown into you during the surgery for whatever reason(s). It get trapped in there and because of the internal and external incision pain and because the muscles are not quite strong enough to literally force the gas out, getting out of bed and walking becomes essential to relieving the pressure and pain. So, at some point, no matter how bad it hurt to get out of bed and walk, it was worth it because on the back end of it, your pain becomes reduced each and every time you're up and moving.

At this point, it really becomes a mental game, of convincing yourself that you can do it and literally forcing yourself out of the hospital bed. I would walk at least twice a day, and as the days passed, up to four times per day. The fourth floor Main of UPMC Shadyside Hospital is the oncology recovery unit. Interestingly, it was set up such that the entire floor had a loop that went around both sides of the central nursing station, and twelve laps around is equivalent to walking one mile. Each day I would walk further and further, eventually walking two plus miles per day. I told one of the nurses that I was going to do three miles before being discharged. However, I actually ended up being discharged a day earlier than expected and had to finish my goal at home on my treadmill.

I will say that ten days is a long time to be in the hospital, especially with such a major surgery and the mental and emotional magnitude of being diagnosed with an aggressive stage 4 colon cancer. I didn't want my wife to miss work (she's a chiropractor with her own practice) and honestly, we couldn't afford for her to miss work. Despite juggling her patient schedule and taking care of our kids on her own, she managed to get in almost every day, even if it was just for a couple of hours. So, I'm super proud her commitment to holding everything together through this stressful time.

I'm also thankful for my father-in-law Bob Alcorn, who came to see me on several occasions and made sure the kids were picked up from school each day, as well as driving the kids to the hospital to meet up with my wife so we could spend time together as a family. Thank you to my sisters-in-law (Jennifer, Rebecca, and Amanda) for visiting. I also want to thank one of my best friends from college, Bill Bell, for his unexpected visit and the same to Chuck Yorks who was in the area from on business from Bellefonte, PA and stopped in to see me. Thank you to Ryan and Farrah Hankey for the surprise visit and spending a couple of hour with Kelly and I one evening. Thanks to my dad, for calling every day to check in on me. Lastly, a special thank you to surgical oncology nurse Mandy Fleet, who went to high school with my wife Kelly, and who became a friend of mine a couple of years ago. Despite not having anything to do with post operative care, Mandy came to see me every day that she was working. It was nice to see her familiar face each time!

Despite having visitors, most of the time, it was for very short periods of time. This left much of the day in which you're on your own, and it does get lonely. So, if you're ever a patient, let people come see you...it helps a lot! If you're a friend or loved one of a patient, please make time to visit, even if you think they may not want visitors. Some patients simply just need to swallow their pride and let others be there for them. The support and visitation from family and friends goes a long way in bridging the gap between your typical social life and the long hours spent alone in your hospital room. I think there's a definite therapeutic effect from the company of others and definitely helps with your mental and emotional stability.

Lastly, I want to thank the many nurses and nurse aides who took such great care of me. In particular nurse Becca and nurse aide Steve, both of who regardless of whether they were assigned my room or not, came to see me every day. There were many other great nurses who took great care of me...Danielle and Kim come to mind. It's hard to remember everyone, but my point in bringing them up is that these are the people who are there for you when nobody else is there, taking care of you, getting you anything that you need, encouraging you, and overall truly invested in your recovery and seeing you get back home as quickly as possible. I am indebted for their care, support, and encouragement. Strangely, or maybe not so strangely, even though it's great to be home with my family, I miss all the great people who took such good care of me during my stay. So, whether you're a patient or family member of a patient, remember to thank the nurses and nurse aides!

Thanks for reading my blog and following my journey. If you're on social media, please feel free to share my blog posts. Together we can reach more people and potentially help change or even save a life!

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Well, it has been awhile since my last post, and to be honest, it's taken me much longer to get back to blogging than I expected. Essentially, so much has happened and I've been through a lot since my previous post. I suppose I needed some time to emotionally, physically, and spiritually process all that I've been through so far. I'm ready to share now, where as until today, it has been difficult to put fingers to keyboard without an overly emotional reaction to the words in my head and emotions in my heart. 

My intent with respect to today's post is to just share my surgery experience and diagnosis with you, and then continue sharing my journey from there. So, I'm expecting this to be a relatively short post, you never know, I tend to be wordy at times!

Tuesday morning, March 3, 2015, my surgical oncologist Dr. Matthew Holtzman, MD (cool cat...not your typical surgeon!), performed surgery to remove what was determined to be a 9+ centimeter malignancy from my colon. The surgery became more complicated and complex when Dr. Holtzman realized their were actually two malignancies which on CT appeared as one. The larger of the two malignancies penetrated through the colon wall and metastasized to the beginning part of the small intestine known as the duodenum. Long story short, approximately 35 centimeters of my large intestine (colon) was removed and resected. A small part of my small intestine (duodenum) was removed and repaired, and 19 lymph nodes were removed.

All the tissue and lymph nodes were sent to pathology for microscopic evaluation. It was determined that there were actually 2 separate and distinct malignancies or cancers growing simultaneously. Additionally 17 of 19 lymph nodes contained cancerous cells. Essentially we were told that I have an aggressive stage 4 cancer and will require chemotherapy. 

Planning ahead
I was discharged from the hospital Thursday afternoon, March 19, 2015, a day earlier than expected. I am now home with my family recovering, healing, and building up strength to begin chemo in approximately 3-4 weeks. I will have a follow up appointment with my surgeon next week, as well as an appointment with my oncologist, in which we will learn more details about the chemo, including integrative approaches. One thing's for sure, I treasure my wife and kids considerably more and the little things that use to bother me are so very insignificant.

Now that I've managed to emotionally and spiritually reconnect through my blog, I will continue to post frequently, documenting my journey. If you would like to show your support and contribute financially towards my battle to beat cancer, you can do so by clicking the link below. All donations go towards offsetting medical expenses. Thank you for your kindness and generosity.


Sunday, March 1, 2015


Sunday, March 1, 2015


Have you ever found yourself lost in borderline subconscious thought, pondering the meaning of life, how we got here and why we're here? I have for sure, on many occasions throughout my life. I've generally found that the more I ponder on these questions, the more confusing and overwhelming it seems, because the truth is, we really never know for sure. However, it's been well documented that "faith" plays an important role in one's ability to live a sustainable life of good health, happiness, and longevity.

What comes to mind when you hear or think of the word "faith?" While the definition, and maybe perception, of faith may vary around the world, generally speaking, most people tend to think of their religious belief, a God or Gods, a savior or prophet, heaven, or an after-life. I've often struggled with my own faith as a Christian, because I think there's so much good that comes from the many world religions. And, in the back of my mind there's always that little doubt that questions what if I'm wrong and totally miss the boat? Why does religion require "blind faith?" Why can't we just know objectively, such that we never question our faith?

My wife and I have gone to a  non-denominational Christian church for over ten years, Amplify Church, which by the way, we love and has had a great impact on our children. You can check out Amplify online, including online streaming services at http://www.amplifychurch.com/#3locations. Despite having attended church on a regular basis, I can honestly say that little bit of doubt in the back of my mind has always kept me from fully, 100% accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. That little bit of doubt has always allowed feelings of inadequacy to limit or inhibit my relationship with Jesus Christ.

I'm not a perfect person, a perfect husband, or a perfect father. So, how can Jesus, a perfect man forgive me of my sins and continuously forgive future sins? What if I can't live up to the Christian expectations? What if I'm not comfortable with public displays of religion? What if, what if, what if? Have you ever over-questioned something so much that it's always held you back from taking some sort of action? I definitely have...on many things! It's the old saying, "over-analysis causes paralysis." I've found that to be true when it comes to my religion and relationship with Jesus Christ.

You know, it's interesting, because cancer has given me a new perspective, such that I've realized that you can't question everything, because for some things, there's just no objectively based answer. It's essentially a situation where you have to be willing to accept some things for what they are and where they are in your life. Otherwise, the mind battle distorts your perception of reality. If you recall from my previous posts, the first step in creating change in your life is getting real, real. That is, you have to accept the reality of your situation, followed by discovering or identifying your goal(s) or what it is you want to achieve or overcome, and then be accountable by making choices and decisions that align with your desired outcome.

The reality is that a book, called the Bible, was written which documents the life of a man, Jesus Christ who descended from heaven as the father, son, and holy spirit and entered our material world as a commoner over 2000 years ago. That same man is responsible for establishing the world's largest religion, Christianity, as God's instruction to man. Jesus proclaimed to be the one and only way to the father in heaven. He died on the cross for our sins, and said that those who accept him as their Lord and Savior can enjoy eternal life in heaven. That's really quite the simplified version...I'm no biblical scholar!

Anyway, rather than continuing to ask, what if this is all wrong, I've shifted my mindset to ask, what if it's true and you chose to ignore it? What do you have to lose by believing 100%? So I've accepted this reality, in blind faith. Knowing that my goal(s) are to be healed, energetic, happy, and to live many, many more years I needed to finally accept the reality of Jesus in my life and the need for his love, protection, and healing that only the great doctor can offer. I've also taken a great step in holding myself accountable, by aligning an important choice or decision with my goal, by getting baptized this past Friday. Thank you Pastor Jason Howard and Amplify Church for conducting a private water immersion baptism with my family by my side!

My wife, Kelly, asked me last night if I was scared, referring to my upcoming surgery and cancer in general. My answer was this...Fearful, yes, but not scared as in afraid. After all, there are some things you can't control, and as for cancer and worry, I've chosen to give it to Jesus. After all, I am now fully covered with God's Armour!

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Random Ketchup...actually Catch-Up! 
(I thought the Ketchup in post title would be more catchy!)
Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wow...it feels like forever since my last blog post, but it's actually only been a couple of days! A lot has been going on in the past two days, so both to personally process everything and avoid the risk of over-blogging (losing your interest), I took a little break from my world of words, aka writing...which I love by the way. And, to hold true to my mission of this blog being the raw, unedited, candid, honest, and real account of my journey, I will tell you that I've been run down, at times emotionally overwhelmed, tired/fatigued, weak, and having more pain than usual. It is during these times that you have to let your body and mind rest. Notice, I didn't say lay around crying in a puddle of self-pity. Own the reality of your situation, make a goal to win, and align your choices and decisions with your goal. This journey is not easy, I know. It's a battle every day to stay positive, focused, and energized.

I get such a great feeling of pride, joy, and love out of seeing how many of you are following my journey, which we've now had almost 1,600 page views since February 18th! More importantly, the gratification of knowing that I'm able to potentially connect with and lift people up who may be struggling in their own battle(s) brings me immense fulfillment. Makes me feel like Chevy Chase (Andy) in that movie Funny Farm, where Andy and his wife move to small, quiet New England town so he can pursue his writing!

In case you don't remember the movie Funny Farm, check out this funny 1 1/2 minute video clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qq4mqCDakVQ&list=RDQq4mqCDakVQ#t=0

You never know when something as simple as sharing my blog posts through your social media could touch and change someone else's life. So, please share! And...if you have any connections in the writing/publishing industry, I'm looking for a job!

Since my last post, we've learned that the pathology report confirmed a large colon carcinoma, 9+ centimeters, with a high degree of proliferation, and that combined with my first CT scan showing enlarged lymph nodes, raised suspicion that there could be metastasis or spread of the cancer. So, my surgical oncologist, Dr. Matthew Holtzman, at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, ordered a second CT scan, this one the chest. This was performed yesterday morning,after which we met with Dr. Holtzman.

The good news was that there was no evidence of the cancer spreading to other organs. However, there's still the possibility of cancerous cells being found in lymph nodes, which would be removed during surgery and sent to pathology. It is the presence of cancer in the lymph nodes that determines the difference between stage 2 and stage 3 cancer, and also dictates the post-operative care plan. Several people have asked me what stage the cancer was in, and the honest answer is, we don't know yet. Either stage 2 or stage 3. I can say that we're extremely hopeful that if there is or has been cancer in the lymph nodes, that the alternative, natural medicine protocols we have implemented will inhibit proliferation (growth) and metastasis (spread), and begin killing the cancer cells. And, I should add, unlike chemo, protect the healthy cells.

I know many people want to know what I'm doing or what I'm taking. I briefly touched on the generalities of this question in my previous blog post. I do plan to share with you more specifics of what I'm doing, what I recommend, and why in upcoming posts. So, hang in there...it's coming!

As of now, I'm scheduled for surgery Tuesday, March 3, 2015, at UPMC Shadyside. Essentially, we have to wait for a call on Monday to tell us what time the surgery is and when to be there. In the mean time, I will continue to blog, as there's at least one big thing I can think of sharing with you in the next day or two!

How Can You Help?

We have established a gofundme campaign, as well as two t-shirts you can purchase to support my battle to beat cancer. All donations and/or profits from purchases directly go to offset medical expenses. Click the links below to show your support!




Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. My degree is in human biology and my continuing education, research, and studies have been in the fields of life sciences, clinical nutrition, and functional/alternative medicine. Anything I say or recommend is not meant to be or replace medical advice.

I would encourage you to do your own research, conduct your due diligence, always ask questions, and ultimately make health care decisions and choices that are in alignment with your goal(s) or desired outcome...and this goes for any life decisions/choices, whether they be personal or professional.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Before I actually kick off this blog post, I thought I'd update you as to what's going on. Yesterday we received a call from the nurse of Dr. Matthew Holtzman, the surgical oncologist I'm scheduled to see tomorrow morning. Dr. Holtzman ordered a second CT scan, this time of the chest. We weren't expecting this, but to be honest, we have been worried, after knowing from the first CT that cancer may have spread, because I've had a persistent and often productive cough since maybe July of last year. We'll hope and pray that nothing is found. So, the CT will be done tomorrow morning at 8:15, after which I will see Dr. Holtzman. 

This morning we go to my primary physician, Dr. Ashok Shetty. I've known Dr. Shetty for about five or six years, as he was a client of mine when I worked in medical sales. We're super happy to have Dr. Shetty in our corner. He's very thorough, trained in functional integrative medicine and anti-aging, and overall very open minded from a holistic medicine standpoint. Anyone who knows me well, will recognize this relationship as a good fit!

Alright, so let's move forward with today's blog topic, "Help Yourself." Not one to be content sitting around, waiting for the next doctor's appointment and relying on any one method of treating illness, I've decided to help myself. I mean, otherwise, what happens? You sit around while thousands of thoughts consume your entire existence, which by the way, 90%+ are negative. The next thing you know, you find yourself laying around in a puddle of self pity, so overcome with emotional distress that you actually become paralyzed with fear such that you can't do anything to help yourself. 

If you remember from my previous blog posts, you have to get real with yourself. Understand and own the reality of your situation. Next, discover or identify your desired outcome, or what it is that you want to achieve. Then, hold yourself accountable, such that all your decisions and choices align with your desired outcome.

Okay, so what is it that I'm doing to help myself? I'll keep it simple in regards to this post by listing a couple of therapies that I'm doing at home to supplement my medical care. I'll provide a a very brief description of each, with the intent on revisiting these therapies by writing a more detailed post on each in the near future. So, here's what I'm doing:

1. Gerson Therapy - Per the Gerson Institute, this is a safe, natural treatment developed by Dr. Max Gerson, MD in the 1920's. The therapy activates the body's ability to heal itself through an organic, vegetarian, and raw juices. Gerson therapy has been used by thousands of people to recover from "incurable" diseases, including the following cancers: melanoma, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, lymphoma, pancreatic cancer, and many others.
Now, to give you a more realistic perspective on this therapy, the juicing is intensive...13 cups per day! You're also permitted 3 meals per day, but because of the nature of my tumor blocking my colon, I'm not able to eat much in the form of solid foods.

You can learn more about Gerson Therapy and The Gerson Institute at http://gerson.org/gerpress/

Some of the next couple of things I'm doing are also part of Gerson Therapy, but I chose to list them separately to give a brief description.

2. Colonics or Colon Hydrotherapy - This is a controversial therapy, but I'll say it's primarily because of ignorance (lack of knowledge) and improper protocol. We have a home colonic board and supporting supplies/apparatus to administer colonics at home. In fact, we've known about colonics for at least 15-20 years and have done them in the past, but with no real consistency. In fact, it's probably been five to seven years since I've done it. Essentially, it involves lying on a board with a special opening, and for lack of better terms, splash board, that fits over your toilet. The other end rests on a chair placed a few feet in front of the toilet. A thin, round and perforated tip is inserted into the rectum and a mixture of warm filtered water and coffee is injected through a tube that connects to the thin tip. You can control the rate at which the solution is injected. The caffeine from the coffee stimulates peristalsis, freeing up and loosening fecal matter, which comes out the rectum, around the thin tip. This is actually part of Gerson Therapy and the purpose is to stimulate the liver and open up the bile ducts, while flushing out impacted fecal matter and the removal of toxic waste material.

To get a better idea of what colon hydrotherapy is, you can check out the following professional video of a clinically administered colonic. Keep in mind, the home version is slightly different and the insertion tube is considerably smaller. Remember, I said in one of my early blog posts, no holds barred, raw, unedited account of my experience and journey. Hey, at least it's not an amateur video of me actually doing my home colonic!!

3. Nutritional/Herbal supplements - Specific supplements to support the liver and kidneys, as well as a couple of products that specifically support cellular detox. I'm also taking a binding product, that binds/captures toxins for safe removal , which is strategically taken 30 minutes prior to administering a colonic. Lastly, cannabidiol (CBD), from hemp oil, which has been shown in scientific research and studies to inhibit cancerous growth and proliferation.

I'm looking at one more product or ingredient from muscadine grapes, which is a potent antioxidant and has shown in major university studies to have very strong anti-cancer properties.

So, there you have it. Controversial or not, this is what I'm doing to help myself. When considering helping yourself through any battle in life, I think it's important to keep an open mind and research and investigate for yourself. You will be surprised what is out there to help, when you're willing to consider that there's more than one way of addressing, complimenting, and/or dealing with life's obstacles and challenges.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Have you ever noticed how people try to avoid the "C" word, as if it's some dirty word that's going to offend even the most liberal of people? Listen, a spade, is a spade, is a spade....and cancer, is cancer, is cancer. It's okay to say cancer. You're really not offending or upsetting me. There's so much negative connotation associated with the word cancer, and rightfully so, but by tiptoeing around the reality of cancer doesn't magically make it disappear or make you feel any better about what you're facing. It's not the freak'n flu, that's going to go away in a few days.

Maybe for some people avoiding the word cancer and not wanting to  hear the word cancer has to do with their belief that it somehow negatively impacts their feelings. I get it...I really do. Having cancer can be and is extremely emotional. Despite all positive emotional intent, this illness has a way of making you cry, despite your best efforts to avoid it, and I can certainly see how hearing the word cancer can trigger fountains of tears. Sometimes it just happens, out of the blue, you find yourself waking in a mini panic, overwhelmed with emotions that were previously subconscious, as you slept, but somehow you find yourself fighting back tears. Or, maybe someone has said that cancer word and it triggers and emotional response, which is kind of like the Pavlo's dog experiment, classical conditioning.

I want to make a case for the cancer word being okay. I liken it to athletics. No team goes into a game, match, competition, or battle without knowing it's opponent, let alone so afraid to say their opponents name. Some degree of fear going into any game, match, competition, or battle is normal and healthy...it keeps you alert, on your toes, and ready to react quickly. However, to be so afraid of calling your opponent by name, such that you'll go to great lengths to avoid even the thought of your opponent puts you at a huge disadvantage. This degree of fear can be paralyzing. In competition, it alters your strategy, training, reaction, and overall execution. This is not the way you win.

So, let's get real and honest with each other. Cancer is your opponent in the game or battle to win back your health. You can't run and you can't hide from cancer. Avoiding the word cancer doesn't have to be negative and it doesn't have to trigger an emotional response. Calling your opponent (cancer) by name and having the courage and strength to face reality can be used to fuel your determination and will to win. You'll find that this approach begins to shape your mindset, such that you're better able to control your emotions, you're more focused on studying your opponent (cancer), you're more likely to train and condition your body and mind, and you're better able to strategically plan to win your battle!

So, know your opponent and desired outcome (winning), face reality head on, and make sure your decisions and reactions align with your desired outcome. A small degree of fear is normal and healthy, but being afraid is the first step to failure. Own your battle!


Want to help support my battle to beat cancer? Awesome! I'm working on a couple of things to help offset my accumulating medical expenses, but for now, I've created two Rize 2 Battle t-shirts you can purchase. Just click on the links below to see the designs. We are forever grateful for your support!



Friday, February 20, 2015

Choose Your Battles

February 20, 2015

I've found that for whatever reason(s), my pain tends to be worse starting in the early evening. Despite trying my best to feel okay or normal around my wife Kelly and the kids, I just felt the need to lay down. So, I went to bed around 9 PM and never heard the rest of the crew come to bed.

Warning: This blog post may get philosophical, and maybe a little comical!

I awoke at 4 AM with my mind racing. It was like thoughts, ideas, emotions, etc. flying through my brain at the speed of light. The next thing I know, tears begin dripping out of my eyes, like the kitchen faucet when one of the kids doesn't quite turn the water off the whole way in the sink. So, out of fear of flooding my wife out of bed, I decided to just get up. I'm kidding...I wasn't a sobbing fool, the vision in my mind as I typed that sentence was a comical scene of water literally flooding her out of bed onto the floor, as she looks up and asks, "what the hell happened?!" Sorry hunny...I tried to pile the covers up to stop it...but here, I think this pillow floats in case you need it! LOL. What's a blog about cancer without a little humor, right?

This brings me to the actual topic or title of this blog post, "Choose Your Battles." I've learned as a parent of 3 children that sometimes it's wise to choose your battles. Some things are considerably smaller of a deal than you initially assess them to be and not worth the stress, while there are definite issues in which you need to step into battle based upon morals, principles, and just plain old right from wrong. If you're a parent, I'm sure you can relate.

This brings me back to waking at 4 AM. Battling cancer, or any other battle you may face in life, is much like being a parent, from the standpoint that you have to learn to choose your battles, but from a slightly different perspective. Let me explain. I've come to believe that when life confronts you with an obstacle or challenge, you're faced with a choice. We all react to these challenging confrontations, but it's how you react that determines the outcome.

For example, I woke up at 4 AM, mind racing and beginning to break down emotionally. Don't get me wrong, crying can be a healthy way of releasing unpleasant feelings, but I think even healthier is crying it out and letting it go. "Let it go, let it go...let the music take control!" I may have completely messed that up...my wife always complains that I make up my own words to replace the originals to songs!

Anyway, my point is that obstacles and challenges in life, like cancer, are similar to a war, in that there are many battles along the journey to overcoming, winning, or achieving your desired outcome. You have to hold yourself accountable to the reality of the situation and understand that each morning and throughout each and every day, you are faced with choices and the decisions you make and how you react with respect to these choices either align with your reality of the situation or it doesn't. If it doesn't you're doing a poor job of understanding reality and you're certainly not holding yourself accountable. This is when or where possibly an accountability partner can be of benefit.

Okay, so I realize that maybe you're thinking I'm getting off point here, but I needed to create the above reality so you could understand my concept of choosing your battles. This morning, I was faced with a choice...a decision. I was allowing my emotions to negatively impact my desired outcome in regards to beating cancer. As I mentioned, crying can be healthy to a degree, but I decided to hold myself accountable to the reality of the situation and realign my mind, thoughts, feelings, and emotions to my desired outcome, which is beating cancer.

I was faced with the decision to lay in bed and allow my thoughts to steamroll into sorrow and pity, or I could choose to get up, get back in touch with reality, and be accountable by redirecting my thoughts and focus towards my desired outcome. You too are faced with choices each morning, whether it's related to cancer or some other challenge in life. To win the war, you have to be ready and willing to go to battle...in fact many battles. Just as in parenting, there are certain battles you just have to be willing to choose to take head on if you're going to achieve your desired outcome.

Choosing to get out of bed, is just one tiny battle that you can win. You can own it, and it's one step closer to winning whatever war you're fighting. Of course, there may be days where you're body, physically, mentally, and emotionally needs the extra rest to recharge. Remember, choose your battles, but be accountable by making your decision or reaction align with your desired outcome!

So, what did I do this morning, after getting up at 4 AM that redirected my thoughts and focus? Well, for starters, I brewed a pot of coffee! While it was brewing, I drank a small glass of juiced carrots, spinach, kale, ginger, tumeric, and apple; and I jumped on my laptop to check out something that was introduced to me several months ago, called Teespring. Teespring is company and service that allows you to design custom apparel with zero upfront cost, sell it for a profit, and they ship directly to your buyers. This was actually introduced to me as a business opportunity, as a I mentioned several months ago. I remember thinking it was pretty cool, but didn't know if the custom apparel design and sales business was something I was interested in at the time.

It just so happened that while I was getting the coffee ready to brew, it popped into my head and I thought, hey...what if I designed some apparel around Rize 2 Battle, in support of my battle to beat colon cancer, and used the profits to offset my accumulating medical expenses? So, I went for it and within 4 or 5 hours of posting my apparel link on Facebook, I had sold 29 units! Thank you to all of you who have ordered...you're all awesome!

If you would like to check out my design and order something for yourself, that both supports my battle to beat cancer and financially contributes to my medical expenses, just click the link below. You're generosity and support means the world to me and my family!


Oh, one more thing I did, when finished with Teespring, was DDPYoga. I mentioned this in my previous blog post. I absolutely love it. DDPYoga was designed and developed by former pro wrestler Diamond Dallas Page (DDP). This is a home workout system on dvd that builds strength and flexibility, while incorporating dynamic resistance for a fat burning cardio workout all at the same time with little to no joint impact. Anyone can do it, from beginner to extremely advanced. But be warned, as DDP says, "It ain't your mama's yoga!" I'll also state that it's a great way to learn how to breathe, release stress, and get your mind mentally clear and sharp!

I've been fortunate enough to have developed somewhat of a relationship with Dallas through his closed group Facebook page and we've exchanged communication with each other. I have an open invitation to workout with him in Atlanta, which maybe when I get myself healthy, I will be able to do.

Anyway, I'm waiting to hear back from his business people to see if I can promote, market, and sell DDPYoga to my followers and make a profit to also offset medical expenses. But, in the meantime, you can check it out by simple going to http://ddpyoga.com/.