Thursday, October 10, 2013
Moments of Change
My surgeon, Dr. Bayles... he's apparently quite a big deal. His work is so rare and unique it is almost patentable, something you can spot at a glance based on how he does it. He is the only guy on the west coast that is at his caliber... and he works at Virginia Mason... in Seattle... just up the road from where I live...
I'm a seriously blessed man.
I could finish my blog on that blessing alone today. Powerful stuff and so very cool. Apparently Dr. Bayles' son was watching the news and saw the King5 broadcast about my surgery and said something to the affect of, "Dad, that's pretty awesome! Whoever figured that out is pretty smart!" Dr. Bayles said to his son, "Uh, that's me. I did that."
Think about that for a moment... What a powerful moment in that boy's life... "MY dad figured THAT out! He's pretty smart!" Pivital moments. Whether for my doctor's son, or the moment I heard the words, "We need to cut out half of your tongue and half of your lymph nodes if you want to live," these kinds of moments are powerful, potentially course changing moments.
When I was told that my life was on the line, time was not a luxury and I needed to act now, or I would likely die. I was numb as the thoughts tried to sink in. "Wait... if I don't let the surgeon take half of my tongue and half of my lymph nodes, I might be dead in a mater of a few months." I was thinking logically, like a business owner. I just spent a lot of money to get my fall seminar schedule launched. Non-refundable venue rental contracts, thousands of flyers printed and mailed per location... a huge investment. It wasn't my boss' money, it was my money. "Can't I wait a few months to get through my seminar season, THEN have surgery?" To keep this short and simple, the answer from my surgeon and his Physician's Assistant were emphatic, "You don't have that much time. Don't wait."
Seriously? I was worried about my wealth? When it came down to it, I had two choices. 1) Lose my life and let my family bury me for the holidays, or 2) cut out the cancer, live a few extra decades, be there for my girls and possibly, change what it is I talk about in my seminars. Life-altering choices.
I chose to live. I chose to live with a potential speech impediment. Better alive and talk differently than dead and not talk at all. I may have lost a lot, but I didn't lose what was important to me. It seems people get so angry about things that happen that take them off of the course to where they thought they wanted to go and missed that there was something wonderful happening, allowing them to change courses for the better.
I had my tube pulled from my neck, revealing a hole (stoma)... it looks like a deep belly button on my neck. The staples were pulled from the place in my arm that they pulled tissue to build my tongue. More changes. More options.
Originally my plan was to be in Denver teaching this weekend. That was cancelled. Instead, if all goes according to the doctor's plan, I get to leave this hospital tomorrow, heading home to sleep in my own bed for the first time in two weeks. I will be leaving be wearing the same clothes I arrive in, but leaving a changed man. Not what I had planned, but so grateful for those changes.
Just looking into my three daughter's faces and knowing I have the privilege of doing that for many more years is my blessing.
Me and my three daughters... my blessings...