Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Vision for Millions

I’m seriously excited. For some time now I’ve known in my heart that if I was going to have to walk the path that I’ve been on, that I was meant to share my story and encourage others along the way. Not only have I had visions of thousands of people in large audiences listening to me speak with my new voice, but I’ve had others tell me they saw the same. One used the term “millions.” If you are deathly afraid of public speaking, that would be a death sentence. To my ears, that was the confirmation I had hoped for.

Moments before I posted my last blog entry, I added a last-minute link to my story on the USA Today website. Apparently, King5 News, who had just run my story, is owned by Gannett, the parent company for USA Today. What I didn’t mention was that I had received a phone call from a large ABC radio station in St. Louis, Missouri, the morning of June 18th. Mitch, the programming director for the station said that he had heard about my story and his radio team was interested in interviewing me live on the air the following week. I gladly scheduled a time for the following Tuesday, June 24th. After confirming the time, I thanked Mitch for his call and then he said, “Mr. Haase, I’m just curious… you do realize that you are the leading story on USA Today’s website right now, don’t you?”

I was stunned. “Uh… no… I’ll take a look… and, thank you again.”

Seriously? I jumped online and there it was… only I thought my web browser was having issues. My story was running in three different places on their homepage at the same time! Here is a screen shot:


It suddenly became clear. My friend’s words started to reverberate in my head. “Millions.” Literally millions heard my story in one day alone. I ran a Google search for “motivational speaker tongue” and saw that about two-dozen websites were carrying the story at the same time. How cool is that?

When Tuesday rolled around I was excited about the chance to do the interview with the two hosts, Martin Kilcoyne and Randi Naughton. It went well I think. I was a little apprehensive wondering what direction the two would take the conversation, but it went smoothly and I was incredibly thankful for the chance to encourage their listeners and remind them that regardless of what happens in this life, we need to look for the blessings because blessings are all around us. If you want to hear the interview, you can go here. (Just click on the little "play" triangle)

Since that day, I have had two churches ask me to come and share my story with their congregations, which is kind of mind-blowing. I think the best part is that my story isn’t about a particular “brand” or denomination of religion. I am so thankful for the prayers of so many of my supporters during this entire experience, and even more thankful that God gave me the grace to make it through the most difficult season in my life. My story is about God’s Grace and the unwavering strength He has given me amidst the storms I have had to face.  

People often make the statement that “God will never give you more than you can handle.” That is not what the Bible says. That verse people are referring to actually has to do with temptation. The truth is, He WILL give you more than you can handle. Handle alone, that is. What the Bible does say is that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. THAT is in the Bible, and it is as fresh to me now as the day it was written.

Speaking of strength… I had a blood test checking my TSH levels last week in preparation for the appointment with my ecologist yesterday. The results came back and although my levels were low earlier this year, meaning my thyroid gland was pumping out hormones at a higher rate than normal, it started acting like the old incandescent bulbs that My last
My last seven TSH test results on a graph
seven TSH test results on a graph occasionally burned super bright right before they burned out. And that's what happened. My thyroid simply quit due to gland's unfortunate location which was dead-center in the path of my radiation treatments. The bad news is that I get to take hormone replacements every day for the rest of my life. The failure of my thyroid does explain why my energy has been down lately, so I’m looking forward to that reversing. The good news is that if we ever have a nuclear bomb go off, "radioactive iodine 131" won’t uptake into my thyroid and I’ll have a higher survival rate! Who knew? I’m smiling right now. Just looking for the silver lining.

Around 2:00am this morning, I received a text from a pastor friend of mine. It read, “My wife has been diagnosed with stage 2b triple negative breast cancer and it has spread to her lymph…” She’s a woman who eats well, exercises a lot, is a marathon runner and is incredibly healthy. As her husband, his world has been rocked and the foundation under his feet just gave out.  I told him I would pray fervently but he needed to know that sometimes it takes the ground dropping out before we are able to take flight and soar. Sounds like a cliché, but it is true.

When all we have expected to remain constant suddenly drops out from under us, looking up can be hard. It is so easy to take our lives for granted with a good job, solid marriage, money in the bank, a great reputation, success, the white picket fence… and then you hear the word “cancer”, and it all changes. Her cancer is a difficult one to fight. “Triple Negative" means that the three most common types of receptors known to fuel most breast cancer growth are not present in the cancer tumor. That means normal treatments won’t work. That kind of news rocks your world, making you question everything. It starts a cascading flood of emotions and it allows fear to creep in.

I am praying for my friend and his wife and I hope you will join me. I want to see her healed and new again, but most importantly, I want her to remember that it doesn’t matter how you die, what truly matters is how you live. The choices you make each day, what you chose to make important, what you make a priority... those are the things that count.  This journey of life isn’t over until its over. What you make of it until then is up to you.

~Robert B. Haase,
A Blessed Man

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

It was a good week

Hello again, my friends. I've got good news! my CT scan results came back from last week's scan and I continue to be cancer free! I cannot tell you what a relief that has been to me. A huge relief to my family as well. I will continue to be checked every three months for the foreseeable future with September 13th being my next scan. I really do not cherish those scans though. Since the oncologist wants to see everything clearly, I need to have an IV placed in my arm for delivery of a contrast agent that must be injected during the scan. The problem is, my veins are now stiffer and have thicker walls. They also have somehow found a way to hide when needles are near. I had a total of 21 "pokes" over the previous 3 CT scans. This time, I asked for one of the Group Health Urgent Care nurses to join me in the procedure room in search of a viable vein. Praise God! Just one "poke" and no pain. That made me happy all by itself, but being told, "You're cancer free", well... that was the week topper for me.

Today was a huge day for me. I produced, promoted and spoke at my Business & Marketing Bootcamp seminar in Bellevue, Washington, and it went exceptionally well. I have to admit, I've been doing this for years, but back then I had a radio voice and didn't have a disfigured neck. I was worried how I would be received. Although I had helped out in two of my seminars a couple of months ago, my lead assistant, Charity Lisherness, carried the bulk of the load so that I could spend time going back to my hotel room to rest and sleep. I hadn't had to carry an all-day class since my surgery. Thank God I had three speakers that each spoke for a half-hour. Those 30-minute breaks were immensely helpful. But by the end of the day, I found myself using the tables towards the front of the room to covertly lean on to bolster my strength. It was a long day.

Before I started the class, though, Elisa Hahn, the reporter from King 5 News who did a story on me last October, (click here to watch the original story), had her videographer put a lapel microphone on me. Elisa wanted to do a follow up story on me and being that today was my official full day of me being back in the saddle, teaching a full day with my easily-fatigued tongue, Elisa wanted to be there, documenting not only the huge strides I have made in my recovery, but my first day back.

My two youngest daughters, Sara and Holly, were able to be there at my class to assist me and Elisa was able to interview them both as well. The video of the follow up news story can be found HERE.  Elisa really is a gifted story teller, able to capture a story on video while interviewing in a laid back way that puts you at ease immediately. She almost lulls you into forgetting that you are being recorded with the camera rolling.  What my girls said made me proud and humbled. Sara's words about me "sticking around to walk her down the isle someday" filled my heart and made my eyes moist. It was Holly though, my youngest, whose words brought me to tears. We were both teary-eyed, but sadly, Holly's cherished words from her heart were "left on the editing room floor," as they say. That made me sad as I wish all of you could have heard every word they uttered from their hearts. My three girls are the biggest blessings of my lifetime.

My parents and family have been a constant blessing to me in the uncertainty of this whole cancer journey, and I love each of them dearly. Even my parents who are in their 80's will drop everything to help me and be there for me. When I hear of the stories of families that hold onto the past, hold onto bitterness, resentment and are unforgiving of hurts, I feel for them. They are missing out on the blessings of forgiveness and letting go of our "right to be angry."  

 ~Robert B. Haase,
A Blessed Man

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Eight Months Since My Hemiglossectomy

It has been eight-months since my hemiglossectomy. Thank you all for your loving kindness and support. Here is a video message allowing you to see and hear my progress first-hand. It was filmed on June 4th, 2014.



 ~Robert B. Haase,
A Blessed Man

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

When The Bleeding Won't Stop

This past month has been especially hard, in a few different ways. I have been challenged physically as well as emotionally.

The pain I mentioned in my last post has been continuing, although the hyperbaric chamber treatments seem to be giving me some relief as the floor of my mouth has shown signs of healing. It has been disheartening every night when I look at the blood that leaks out of my mouth, around my teeth as my gums seem to scream "we aren't anywhere near done leaving you alone yet!"  Even though I can't use toothpaste because of the chemical pain it imposes, brushing with water alone changes the splashes in the sink from crystal clear to what looks like red Kool-Aid...

The radiation was over 5-months ago, the bleeding still hasn't stopped, nor the pain that comes with it or the sensitivity it gives me to foods that I eat. 

Medications seem to help me as I am working through this phase, but they make me less productive and there is so much I need to get done. In the next 3-months alone, I need to:
  • Prep, market, fill and present two business seminars in Olympia & Bellevue in June and July
  • Develop 30% new content for my Secrets of Deep Tissue™ course, including making a new workbook, PowerPoint presentation, and a new training video to accompany the course
  • Secure & contract 12 locations for my fall national seminar schedule
  • Launch my Mastermind Diamond Circle Mentors Group membership program
  • Create a new video training program for sale on Amazon.com
  • Create weekly video podcast content for multiple websites
  • Plan and launch early distribution for a faith-based Hollywood motion picture as Chief Marketing Officer
  • And finally... recover from cancer treatment's side effects and get off of all medication
I will get it all done though, I have to. God has brought me this far and He hasn't failed me yet. 

The second "stressor" comes in the form of gossip, accusations and disparaging remarks about me that were said amongst several people at a local fundraiser for someone. When it got back to me that I was the topic of conversation and what was being said, it wasn't only hurtful but it really saddened me. 

Why? Because I traded my Kia Soul in for a 1-year old Ford Mustang. If you know me, one of the things that really brings me joy is going out for a drive, especially in a convertible on a sunny day. I'm a simple guy and that is one of the things that really brings an ear-to-ear smile to my face. After having half of my tongue removed, enduring the pain that I have and am enduring as well as the trauma of chemotherapy and radiation burns and side effects, I've been looking forward to finding a used convertible to enjoy this summer. 

The gossip was that I used funds from my fundraisers and gifts that you have given to my "GoFundMe" account towards a car and not towards medical bills. I was even told that I should at the very least given the donors a chance to have a "vote" on what I did with the "leftover donations" rather than buy "brand new" car. Here is the truth...

Between my major surgeries in September and October of 2013, the chemo and radiation treatments as well as the near-death experience in January that landed me in the hospital's ICU, I had over $20,000.00 in medical bills. The donations that were given totaled about $15,000.00 and of that, over 40% was donated by my family which involved them skipping Christmas and giving me the money instead. There were no "leftover" funds given. In addition, I did not buy a new car, but a used car with over 30,000 miles on it. No cash was involved as I had traded my Kia Soul in and borrowed 100% of the balance. The best part is that my car payment is over $100.00 a month less that what the payment was on my Kia.

In truth, I wasn't just hurt, but I was angry when I heard the rumors that were being spread about me. Really? I've gone through all of this and people were upset that I bought a used car? 

Is it because I look "good" and do not have the appearance of a destroyed body? Is it because I do not put on an image of poverty to somehow look like someone who deserves the financial blessings of those who gave?

You will notice that I have removed the donation link that I had been putting on the end of my posts. I am no longer going to look at my situation from that of an impoverished man. Instead, I am living my life as a blessed man. God answered my prayers with the help of my family, from my friends and a number of complete strangers who made the decision to bless me with donations that went towards the medical bills that had been shackling me. I refuse to look at my situation from a perspective of what I don't have any longer. From this point forward, I instead will look at what I have been blessed with and the knowledge that regardless of how bad things look, I am blessed.

I do my best to lead a life that does not offend, but I don't think that will ever be possible. People will always look at others from their own perspectives, lacking the whole story. However, the problem does not lie so much from seeing others from a given perspective, but using that perspective to judge them. When I think about it, I have been guilty of that. I see someone in a situation and make a judgment about them and don't really even realize it. I don't want to be judged, but I make judgments about others all the time.  

So when you see me drive by in my red convertible Mustang with the top down on a sunny day, you will now know that I'm a guy with a car payment, who is blessed to have friends and family that are willing to help him through the most difficult of times, who is in pain but thankful for the lessons he's learning and he is doing his darndest not to judge others, let alone form an opinion without knowing the whole story.


 ~Robert B. Haase,
A Blessed Man




Sunday, April 27, 2014

Realizing You Are Not In Control, Again

As I write this, my laptop is perched up against my knees. My knees have two pillows beneath them and their are three pillows behind me as I am reclined in my hyperbaric chamber. The pressure dial has just reached 4lbs per square inch and my ears have been popping all along the way, just as they do when my flights reach cruising altitude. 

My hyperbaric chamber treatments are in full swing now as I have completed my second week and have 4-more weeks to go of Monday through Friday, 9am to 10:30am sessions. When you add the time for getting me situated as well as the depressurization phase plus drive time, it is well over 2-hours a day of commitment. As I mentioned in my last post, the idea is to build blood vessels so that my tongue can heal and recuperate from the radiation treatments that ended this past December.

I really hope this therapy brings me relief soon though as I never expected to be in the amount of pain I am experiencing now. It's past the middle of April now, for crying out loud. What's the deal? As I brush my teach each evening, blood leaks out from my gums surrounding each tooth and splashes into the sink. I'm not seeing the evidence of healing, but I know I am healed. My body hasn't received the message just yet. 

Literally for the past 3-weeks, I have been on the most pain medication that I have ever had to take in my life. For the second Sunday in a row, I've found myself sobbing at a family meal. My parents, my three daughters, my oldest's husband and middle daughter's boyfriend. They watch me folded and broken from the pain, not knowing how to help, not knowing what to say. I love my girl's attention, but getting their attention because I am unable to control the emotions that come from debilitating pain isn't okay with me.

On more than a few nights I have found myself being wide awake at 3 and 4am, the searing pain nudging me, reminding me that I have a ways to go before my healing is complete.  But the fact that it lingers on... it makes me realize that maybe we are all in a state of continual healing. Life happens and we recover to varying degrees, dealing with the ramifications of what each stage brings. It feels like we are never completely well, but thankful that we are not as bad as we once were.

I have been so frustrated too. I love being productive and getting a lot done, but pain medications make it hard to concentrate and get my work done. Even writing this blog... I fall asleep as I type, wake up and continue on again, trying to regroup and get my train of thought back to continue on. It's like drug-induced Alzheimers. My dad calls it "Haase-heimers"

It is nearly May, nearly five-months since my chemo and radiation treatments were complete and here I am still dealing with pain from the treatment itself. Seems hard to encourage others when the strength that has held me isn't always there. I'm a grown man and should be able to handle all that life throws at me, but I'm not doing so well lately and while I know I'm not a failure, I also know I am not in control of this process either. Learning to let go and realize that I lack control has been an ongoing struggle. 

Seems like a platitude... but "one day at a time" is all I can handle right now and sometimes, it is hour by hour.

Thank you for your prayers. They mean the world to me. 


~Robert B. Haase,
A Blessed Man

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Power of the Tongue

Please do not read these next words as a slick attempt to get you to donate to my fund. I want to tell this story because out of absurdity, wisdom, life lessons and more can emerge...

The short story:  After my January "brush with death" (systemic sepsis, pneumonia and respiratory failure) the hospital charged my insurance company over $80,000.00 for my ICU care. Group Health adjusted the bill with the hospital and I was billed the balance, which was over $5,300.00. I had asked for financial consideration towards the remainder of my bill by filling out a long application as well as providing profit & loss statements for my business as well as personal and corporate tax returns for 2011 and 2013. 

After reviewing my application for help, I was told "No", I would not receive any help whatsoever. The reason? Because I had earned a good wage in 2012, I should be able to make a good wage now. I told the adjuster, "Ma'am, I am a public speaker who has lost half of his tongue..."

She interrupted me and said, "Yes, but you made a good wage back in 2012 and you should be able to do that now..." 

I asked her, "Ma'am, if I were a professional baseball player that lost his throwing arm in an accident, do you think that might affect my ability to earn a living playing baseball?" My logic didn't get through and I realized that I was getting more stressed as I continued to try to get the woman to understand. It was at that moment that I realized I needed to let go.

I tell you all of that to say this... You cannot force benevolence, and sometimes, you have to let go and realize that there is a bigger lesson to be learned in what we are traveling through. I tell others that God will provide for our needs, but I wasn't believing that for myself. There I was, trying to convince the woman that I couldn't earn as much as I had before and I started to believe my own words. If I cannot see a way out of this, then I have truly convinced myself that I will fail. My words direct my thoughts, and my thoughts direct my actions... I was believing my own words.

I am not talking about speaking reality into existence or quantum physics. What I am trying to say is that we are prone to believe our own negative talk. If I believe I am damaged goods and I am unlikely to earn an income capable of supporting myself, I will make choices that will support that belief, or just stop trying. On the other hand, if I believe that losing half of my tongue has given me a new vantage point in life or that the lessons I have learned will make me a better public speaker with a more amazing story to tell, then I will act accordingly. Our words have power.  That was last week.

This week, as I write this, I am just days away from leaving for Des Moines, Iowa, to teach my injury treatment seminar with my lead assistant, Charity Lisherness. Have I fully returned to my old self, able to speak with a resounding voice that fills the room? No. Does my message have more intensity and is it delivered by a man that has a changed view on life? Absolutely. 

Truth be told, as I write this, I am also in a great deal of pain. The pain is different from a few weeks ago. Until this past Friday, March 28th, pain had been building in the left sublingual part of my tongue. I say "tongue", but it is the part that was rebuilt from my forearm. How could I have pain there? It is the same spot that the cancer had returned so many times before. I had my local ENT take a look at it and he was concerned. So concerned that he referred me to my surgeon at Virgina Mason. 

When I felt that pain, in that place, I grew more and more fearful. A near-paralyzing fear. Had the cancer returned? My mind was spinning and traveling through every possible outcome. In the days before March 28th, I changed my life insurance policy so that my girls would all receive equal proceeds as beneficiaries. I went on Amazon.com to order software so that I could write my will. My mind was racing. 

On the 28th, I traveled up to Virginia Mason for a biopsy. With the suspect area so difficult to get to, I had to have general anesthesia and have the work done in an operating room. It wasn't a simple tissue excision. It seemed like only a moment had passed from when I climbed onto the operating table until I began waking up in the recovery room. The words from the nurse sitting by my side were the first sounds I heard as I emerged from the haze of anesthesia. She kept repeating, "You need to breathe, Robert... breathe... take a deep breath for me... Robert? I need you to breathe..." Apparently I was so relaxed I wasn't breathing much at all and the oxygen sensor was picking up dangerously low blood levels. Breathing deeper became easier as I became more and more conscious. When I finally felt completely awake, it was then that my surgeon walked around the corner and with a big smile he said, 

"There is no cancer. You are cancer free." 

Wow. Those words can bring tears to your eyes, peace to your mind and a drop in blood pressure, all at the same time. But there it was, my pain wasn't from cancer. 

Apparently the tissue is not healing well due to the effects of radiation and the lack of circulation in my "new tongue" impedes the healing process. I am still waiting for confirmation from my physicians, but it looks like the suggested treatment is hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Not once, but 5-days-a-week for 6-weeks for a total of 30-treatments. Virginia Mason is said to have the largest hyperbaric chamber in North America.

So now I sit at home in pain recovering from my biopsy. But this pain is worth putting up with. After all, I am cancer free. I can handle anything.


~Robert B. Haase,
A Blessed Man
 



Monday, March 17, 2014

My Second Belly Button

As the signs of spring become present just days before it officially arrives on March 20th, I can't help but be grateful for all that surrounds me. I was walking through the grocery store a couple of days ago and saw some flowers on sale. The buds were small and unopened and I could not visualize what was yet to come or how they would look when they would eventually open. I've purchased flowers before that never opened which made me sad. Potential of something that was unable to reveal itself. My mother's name is Violet, and I've always been fond of purple, so I purchased them anyways and two days later, they opened and really were amazing.

The point is, I was unable to see what the flower would look like when I bought it, but I knew something amazing and beautiful would likely emerge soon, and it eventually did. That's how I have been feeling about my life lately... I'm in this situation, recovering from cancer, not knowing what lies ahead for me, but I cannot help but know in my heart that something amazing will emerge from it.

I have been able to eat entirely by mouth for the past month, not having to use my abdominal PEG tube whatsoever. The best part is that I can actually keep my food down. That's amazing. I was unable to visualize the day coming that would allow me to actually eat enough food by mouth to sustain me and keep it down at the same time. Such a huge blessing that I would have taken for granted just a year ago.

I have to be transparent though. Seeing that tube dangling from my belly every morning when I woke up was disheartening. I felt like a freak of nature. A broken man that would never be whole. It was like an umbilical cord that wouldn't go away.


As the silicone tubing started so show it's wear and tear months after it was installed at Virginia Mason, the tube filled with debris from my stomach. It looked more disgusting as each day passed. Then I realized that I really was done with it. After meeting with one of my oncologists, he said it was time for it to come out. He would make arrangements. It was scheduled for March 4th.

My Second Belly Button, post tube removal
My daughter, Ashley, picked me up to drive me for the big procedure at St. Peter's Hospital. I really didn't know what to expect. My name was called as we sat in the waiting area and I was led back to a procedure room. The nurse used a syringe to remotely deflate the bag that was holding my stomach lining tightly to my abdominal wall. She made small talk as she drew out some air and clear liquid and then she said, "Ready?" It was literally pulled out in a matter of 2-seconds. It just slid out. She pressed a piece of gauze over the whole and said, "This will seal itself up in 24-hours. Don't eat or drink too much."

And that was it. After removing the bandages the next day, I couldn't help but grin. There it was. I had a second belly button.  I now have a daily reminder that I was never a freak of nature. Rather, I was being given a reminder of a second chance, a new beginning in this life. My original belly button was a lifelong reminder of the first half of my life, when my parents brought me into this world. My new belly button is a symbol of the second half of life. Now, the question is, what do I do with that second half?

My first "wine" painting, not
yet complete

In the pasts weeks I've not just been feeling better, but trying to get out of my comfort zone, doing things I've always wanted to do. Most recently I have begun painting. Except for Mrs. Ward's art class back in Junior High, I have never painted. The first thing I did was turn on my Apple TV and started watching Bob Ross' painting videos that streamed from YouTube. Remember him? Skinny white guy with the big Afro hair style who would talk in a soft voice and talk as he painted? He would usually say things like, "Let's put a little tree here. It's a happy little tree. He loves being in the sunshine, next to the gentle brook in the calming breezes coming off of the mountains we just created..." I could watch him for days. Truth is, I'm not really a guy who likes painting, or even photographing landscapes. Nevertheless, I started painting and did try a landscape. It was of a photo I took in the mountains of Sedona, Arizona. I also painted my daughter and son in law on the beach after their wedding ceremony. 

That said, I do like wine. Well, I used to like it until my treatment changed how my palate perceives what wine tastes like. But I love the look of wine in light whether in a glass or bottle, so I have given that a try and it has been relaxing and fun. But it still doesn't answer the question... what now?


My Spokane, Washington class. 29 students who blessed me.
Three weeks ago, I sent my lead assistant, Charity Lisherness, off to Chicago to meet up with another one of my assistants, Evelin Zagone. I sat at home going stir-crazy, wanting to be there. Last weekend I decided to travel with Charity to Spokane, Washington to teach my Secrets of Deep Tissue program. Going was: 1) against the advice of a few of my friends, 2) less than three months from when my chemo and radiation therapies were complete,  and 3) less than two months from when I almost died from systemic sepsis and respiratory failure, but I wanted to get back to work and the idea of sitting at home didn't sit well with me.

It is humbling to think that potentially millions of people across this country have been helped through the trainings that my staff and I present. Thousands of therapists and physicians have learned techniques to help get patients out of pain over the past 13-years and those thousands of therapists and physician's have each helped thousands of patients get well. It is staggering when I sit back and think about it.

On Friday morning, March 7th, Charity and I packed up our materials, drove to SeaTac, and flew east of the mountains to Spokane. The seminar was not only better than I had hoped, but it blessed me in ways I never had expected. The students blessed me far more than I blessed them and it was overwhelming. I felt humbled. What was even more a blessing is when a woman named Sarah Wood came up to me at the end of the weekend and told me that God gave her a word that she was to gather a few students together, lay hands on me and pray for me. I did not hesitate. When we wrapped everything up, a half-dozen students came to the front of the room and prayed for me, blessing me and encouraged my heart. I was truly touched. We should have brought tissues.

So now what? Where do I go from here? I do not have an answer to that question yet. I feel as though I am supposed to use my story and what I have shared in this blog to bless others, but how? I was talking to a friend this week about how I see me versus what others see when they see me. Everyone seems to see something different. Some see hope, courage and fortitude while others see an example of some sort. Others, however, see cancer when they look at me or when my situation comes to mind. I don't have time to focus on cancer, but they do. It scares them. 

I have friends pulling away because they do not want to draw close to me only to find out that the cancer returned later, tearing their hearts apart. I don't have time for that. I have the remainder of this life to live and a fixed number of days to live that life. The message of my life is not that I have fought cancer valiantly or that I am winning or won a battle. That is not my story at all. We all have battles. The message, what I want to share with others, is the answer to this question: "What Will YOU Do With The Gift of Life That You Have Yet to Live?"

Are you looking through a telescope so that you can view what you yearn for only to realize you are surrounded by an amazing destiny that lays right in front of you? Will you allow the broken dreams of your past and the scars on your heart to be anchors that stifle your future? Does the the lack that you perceive in your life define you? What if I told you that you have everything that you need at this very moment to take the first step to a new future?

You don't need a new "belly button" to realize that something amazing can begin within you. Are you keeping your eyes open? More importantly, are you ready for what lies ahead?

~Robert B. Haase,
A Blessed Man