I used to believe in irony. I now think things happen for a reason. We often learn the most basic of life lessons at the toughest of times. I know I did. On March 23, 2018 my book “Starting at the Finish Line” became available on Amazon, Barnes and noble, etc. I wrote that book for me. It was my catharsis. It allowed me to deal with the realism and anxiety that come along with cancer, especially a Grade 3 Astrocytoma. Writing became my means for dealing with my issues. I learned and appreciated all the gifts that cancer gave me: Understanding the fragility of life, living in the moment, appreciating the now, and the love of family. I somewhat understood them prior to getting sick, but a deeper more meaningful education was digested after I started my journey with cancer.
On March 22, 2018 I told my mother the book was being released the next day. She told me, “You know no one is going to buy it right?” I told her of course not, who cares about me. I’m a nobody. She then said “But you can put 3 books away in your safe and when your kids get old enough they will be able to read what really happened.” I agreed. One week later we were #1 in New Releases under Cancer on Amazon, and everything changed instantly. I started to get emails, texts, etc. form people I have never met before on a daily basis. Sharing their stories, their battles and their need to know they were not alone on their journey. It was humbling, it was raw, and it was unexpected.
I had never been on social media before, and realized I had to change that. I started joining cancer support groups, sharing my mantra: Cancer may take us physically, but it will never define us. We define us! Messages started coming in on a daily basis, I was connecting with cancer warriors; My family of Cancer Warriors. The book started going in a direction I never expected. I wrote it for me. There was no sales goal, no marketing plan, no anything. I started to see that every family has some connection with cancer of some kind, and my story was resonating in a way I never planned.
I then started speaking all over the country; to companies, ESPN, financial advisors, patients, and more. I was writing messages on books to families that have been put on a path they didn’t want or expect. Id get more and more messages everyday. I never asked for this, but I saw what was happening. Connecting with others through realness and purity words can’t explain, its just real. I started speaking on bigger stages; connecting with people on a larger scale. It was an opportunity and an obligation I welcomed.
What’s happened during the year I never anticipated happening. Again, I wrote this for me. I often get asked am I happy this all occurred. NO! It brought fear, anxiety, and anger to my family. I had a period I thought I may not be there for my kids and wife. It was a terrible experience, that I took ownership of. I wish it never happened, but my way of dealing with it has taken me to place of clarity and understanding; and its my life, cancer is just along for the ride.
Thank you for following my journey, reading and sharing my story; I used to believe in irony again, I now KNOW things happen for a reason. Start at the finish line. Who can you inspire today with storeis they relate to?