Things happen for a reason. I never used to believe that prior to being diagnosed with a Grade 3 Astrocytoma (Brain Cancer) at 39 years old. I was gifted with seeing through a new set of lenses and having a better understanding of the fragility of life. It altered my perception on the realness of destiny. I saw this new perspective in a variety of different ways; one was built off wellness and fitness, and nutrition.
I played sports in High School as well as in College. I loved Baseball, Soccer, and anything that involved physical activity and competition. It was a passion. When I graduated from the University of Delaware in 1996, I started my career in financial services. I was on the road traveling all the time, building my career in my new profession. I was gone so often, I couldn’t play sports any longer. I was unable to join any teams as my schedule, aligned with my passion to succeed in my new craft, didn’t allow the time to commit to sports. I found a new passion that did correlate to my schedule: Fitness.
Fitness didn’t have game or practice times; it was penciled into my schedule every day when it would fit. I would go to gyms at 5 am almost every day, sometimes it would be late at night, occasionally it would be mid-day; it allowed me to build in into my schedule whenever it worked for me. It became a never-ending passion. I found being fit and working out provided me more energy, as well as it was a catharsis for all the stress and anxiety that accompanied my new career. As my business continued to build, my passion for fitness did as well. It didn’t take too long for me to incorporate healthy eating as part of my regimen. Was my eating perfect? No, but I started to see physical and mental results fairly quickly. I would constantly read in my profession about how Wealth and Health were so tightly connected, but to be honest I really did this for a few personal reasons; physical appearance, stress relieving, and it was frankly my way of having a competitive sport on my own schedule. My competition was me and I loved it!
As I got older, my commitment to fitness got deeper. By my late thirties, it was a staple in my schedule every single day, and the benefits I took from it were irreplaceable. On May 14, 2013 I was diagnosed with a Grade 3 Astrocytoma at 39 years old. Life changed immediately. My father in-law was fighting pancreatic cancer, I had 3 children under 5, and now I had brain cancer. On May 17th I had a craniotomy to remove my tumor. They told me I would be in the hospital for a while. On May 18th I asked if I could go home, I was in the ICU. They told me I would have to pass a physical test, I said great let’s do it now! I passed it, and they said If I was able to do it the next day, I could leave. I did it the next morning, and that afternoon I was home; with my family, my children, and tears of joy and love poured out of me.
I believe fitness became a passion of mine to prepare me for my battle with brain cancer; It happened for a reason. I was able to get home quicker than expected! I was able to walk, be mobile, and recover quicker. This also alleviated excess hospital bills as the less time spent there, the less financial devastation would be endured. Wealth and Health were truly connected deeply, and I was an example of that. My craft was financial services, and I had done all the basics of planning prior to being diagnosed. I knew my family would be protected financially if things didn’t work out; I was able to utilize the healthy eating habits and fitness to recover quicker. Ten days after surgery I got the OK to get back in the gym, and I have never stopped 7 years later.
I was approached by my surgeons on different diets that could possibly avoid cancer going forward. I told him I’m very disciplined, and if I commit to something it will happen. I asked if there is proof that these types of diets will work and prevent my Astrocytoma from growing back. He said there was no proof yet; that was my moment that at some point we will be able to build dieting plans that void sugar to hopefully prevent cancer from growing back, but until that time it can be proven it works I will not neglect living and appreciating life; from someone who lost his taste buds for 3 months during chemo and radiation, that included my renaissance and appreciation of food.
I believe wellness and nutrition accompanied with fitness will eventually be essential components in our universal fight against cancer. The more we learn, the more research that is achieved the more we will be able to use these tools to slow the growth of cancer and eventually beat it. I know it helped me not only physically, but mentally as well. This is our journey, we own it; cancer is just along for the ride!