I’ve had many comments over the last four months on my courage and positive attitude in battling my disease, my dance with death. I sincerely appreciate all of those remarks, as they do encourage me, and provide mental fuel for my battle. Still, I feel a bit guilty of accepting these accolades. I do not feel particularly courageous or brave. My outlook is simply one of practicality and logic.
Lee is constantly telling me I’m incorrigible, but I think she really means encourageable. Of course neither of these has anything to do with courage, but by introducing this nonsense it is an effective tactic to confuse and get people off the subject. This sort of puffery is a skill I learned in college debating which became very beneficial in my life long career in sales and is also currently on exhibit in the load of dung that is the 2016 Presidential campaign.
But I digress.
I do not feel courageous in my fight with cancer. To me, courage involves choice. I did not chose to fight cancer, it picked the fight. If I want to live, I must do battle. It’s not a choice, it’s simply what must be done and the only practical and logical response to a deadly threat.
Attitude! Well I certainly do have an attitude. My attitude got me fired in 1982. My offending attitude was an honest evaluation of the situation. The economic environment was not rosy for the business I was in at that time. An effective strategy needs to be based on facts, not on dreams. I made the mistake of pointing out the flaws in my boss’s strategy assumptions in front of my peers at a sales meeting. Oops! I did this with good intentions, all honesty and a whole lot of naivety. I never repeated that mistake (never embarrass your boss) and ended up with a much better job a few days after I was canned.
My attitude is still the same as it was in 1982: Be Real. My attitude is essentially a strategy based on facts to best obtain my goals. My goal upon retirement was to enjoy myself as long as I can. A worthy goal, indeed! Other than financial planning, there was no real focus. There was lots of time, no need to rush, there’s always tomorrow. In March the facts and assumptions changed. Instead of 20 to 30 years to enjoy retirement, I probably have 2 to 5 years. It could be more or it could be less. But the goal is the same. Enjoy my retirement for as long as I can. Now that my life will be shorter, I need to focus and make a plan of action to maximize my ROI (that is MBA speak for return on investment).
Time needs to be more effectively managed in order to achieve my goal. To me this means there is no time to worry, no time for “what if’s”, and no time for “why me” complaining. Worrying and complaining not only reduce the days of enjoyment, those negative thoughts also impede healing. My strategy is simple:
1. Put in place a medical plan to curtail the cancer and extend my longevity. Adjust the plan as necessary.
2. Live in the moment. Don’t worry about tomorrow, don’t regret the past. Easy to say, sometimes hard to do. But ya got ta work the plan!
I was a big Star Trek fan and my favorite character was Mr. Spock. I think the dispassionate Spock would approve of my plan. He would say something like “Very logical, Jim. Well done”.
So, thank you one and all for your ongoing support. But I gotta go now. There is a party down the street with the neighbors. Wine and appetizers. Two of my favorite things. As my friend and fellow colon cancer survivor John McGean would say, it is another day being vertical and this is a very good thing.