I have a lot to live up to and it saves my life every day

•September 12, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I have a lot to live up to and it saves my life every day
This is a story about a little girl who some thought would have to leave all her friends, school and go to a much larger public school where they could deal with her decoding problem. Some of you may remember this story several years ago. I will summarize it, but please go back and read the entire story (she is amazing). The story is a very important part of a post I made 3 years ago, ‘EARNING YOUR RIGHT TO A BETTER LIFE’ found in <thegiftofcancer.com> For me, living is about people like my father who is truly my hero. No he didn’t run across the battle field and save the world. He got up every day after my mother died (when I was 4 and my sister 10) and saved our family every day, every night 24/7. He never thought of himself, just the family. I really do not know how he did it. And then there is my wife, really ‘what is she still doing here?’ She dragged me from hospital to hospital, spent the best years of her life caring for me. Made millions with me and then watched it disappear with my health and started all over again. Hell, talk about commitment. And then there is the little girl who this story is about.
You see they are the real answers I need to give when someone says to me, how do you do what you do with all your health problems? I would like to tell them the long story, but I just say “I keep on fighting.” But now for the truth, I have no choice, I cannot lie down, it would be a dishonor to those I love, those souls who have never quit, never faltered and always rose above their own expectations. I am trapped to succeed to the end (not too soon I hope.)
Now, back to the story for the day. When my daughter was 7 years old the school sat us down and we were told our daughter would be best served in a large public school where they were more equipped to handle her problem. It seems she had a decoding problem and would not be able to read at a level with the other children and therefore not be able to keep up with the class. As I said above you can read the details in another post. What I did not tell you in the earlier post is that I sat Samantha down and told her the situation and how it might affect her life. I then said, do you want to beat this or be beat up by it? She replied,“ Let’s beat it, Daddy”.
Today, 10 years later I went to my daughter’s school for their Convocation Ceremony for the beginning of her senior year. The entire student body was there from preschool to high school students, all seated for the ceremony and many family members and faculty. The ceremony started with the headmaster and faculty speaking of the importance of the year to come and the responsibility of the seniors to set a standard for others to follow. Then the director of the upper school called upon one student to get up and of all things read before the entire school. You guessed it; it was my daughter, Samantha. It would have been a great honor and achievement for any one of the students to be singled out as being worthy to do the reading. It was a simple reading, with a very important message that could be applied to preschoolers as well as to seniors. My daughter got up in front of the entire school(about 800 )  and led her class into the new school year with a story of inspiration. What a job she did.
I sat in awe, how is it possible that a child being told at the age of 7 that she could not keep up and she may have to leave the school, then going through tests that verified her decoding problem, now be a clear leader and inspiration to others. Well I watched her fight day after day to be at the top of that school and become a credit to what it stands for. I have never seen anyone so determined to be all she can be every day. Thank God she has some of my father in her. Not too much of him, you understand, just enough. I realized at an early age that it is not who someone is that makes them special, it is how far they have come.
Unfortunately I had a bad seat and the wrong camera, but I taped it, you can see it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JAKYd95wMs. The words are hard to hear, but watch the person. Hard to believe she was not supposed to be there even in the back and now, well she is hard to follow.
So for those of you that wonder how I keep going in the face of my health, well I have no choice. I am being held to a higher standard by the achievements and dedications of those around me.

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Possession / Ownershp

•April 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Possession / Ownership:

I just had a long discussion with a young man who really cannot understand the value of possession. I wrote about this before, but I can never underestimate the power of ownership.  Being in control of your health, your business, your future and every other aspect of your short stay on earth is about ownership and possession. I think one of the problems with this is our upbringing.  I listen to parents guiding their children and hear the reverse of what should be related. A simple thing like 2 siblings fighting and one hits the other. The first thing I hear parents say is “why did you hit your sister?”  At that moment you are being taught that, if you can come up with a reason for your actions, it is not your fault and you will not suffer consequences. If you think hard you will be able to recall many such scenarios in your training (and that is what you were given during your early years, training.) So were you trained by your teachers, parents and grandparents to fail?

All of that training is part of our modern society. Nothing is my fault and this is the reason why. We are all pretty good at it. Just to be fair look at our politicians’. From the White House to the local mayor, nothing is their fault. Hell, if they didn’t do it I certainly cannot be responsible. If you think that mind set works, look at our economy.

So as I have said in my early writings, I believe everything is my fault. I adopted this belief may years ago and it has done several things for me. It has given me a great family, vacation homes on an island, a great home, friends, businesses and maybe most important it has saved my life.

I believe I cause everything that happens to me. If I am standing on a corner and get hit by a bus, it is my fault. 1. I should have been watching. 2. It was my decision to be on that corner. I do not care about the bus crossing my path, that was the drivers fault with regards to his life. As for me, clearly most of the responsibility was mine. My cancers and other diseases were 100% my fault. I could have altered the current outcome, but I did not. Basically I violated one of the 2 most important rules in life, “I did what I felt like doing during my life as opposed to what I should have been doing” (you can read more about that under ‘Life’s rules”  in inspirational).

Back to standing up and blaming yourself: I am not saying thrust the blame on yourself and feel guilty. Accept your situation and assume that you are the responsible party so you can fix it. If you are not to blame you are powerless.  Say to yourself ‘this is my fault’ (because I promise you everything is at some major level) and start looking for ways to correct your situation. Own the situation and you will have great power to fix the situation.

There is something about jumping in and believing you are responsible. It empowers you beyond your vision of strength. Jump in and take action and your actions multiply. I believe we were meant to resolve all that comes our way. Unfortunately  the big problem is somehow the extreme do-gooders found a way to beat it out of our hearts, let’s put it back, all we have to do is say to everything that happens,
‘I AM RESPONSIBLE.’

Fixing a problem has a starting point that is pivotal. You can either start by knowing it is not your fault and your path will be fraught with anxiety and anger or you can jump in knowing you caused it and only you can fix it, this path is filled with pride and emotional reward. I am not saying it is easier, it is tougher to start, but ultimately once on a roll easier and it is the only way to fill your life with happiness and security of knowing you are controlling your life.

Back to my young friend: He argued with me and from time to time during our meeting and had a doubting sarcastic look on his face, but I think I reached him a little. It is a tough thing to adopt. If you finally start believing in your heart that everything is your fault, you have to admit you have been running from your responsibilities. I remember sitting in my house in 1982 (at the time I was about 125 pounds, down from 170 because of my first cancer) and discovering this about myself, I was confused and lost at that moment. My recollection of that day is that I was reading meditations from the battle field of Marcus Aurelius and what he said was “all things that were his were his to change” (I know this is terribly paraphrased, but it was a long time ago.)  It hit me like a hammer and I felt lost, I asked myself ‘had I been wasting my precious days on earth by playing the blame game’ allowing myself to be blown from one event that was not my fault to another looking for my big break?

For me I started thinking everything was my fault and within 10 months I was 170 pounds and working back at my company 12 hours a day, I was in charge.

Well I think I reached my young fried at least a little, he is now at least thinking that there is another side. After all how do we fix the unfixable?? By making it our own, possessing it, owning it and then working to change it. Can’t fix what is not yours.  On his way out he came around my desk and hugged me and said ‘thanks know one ever made me think about it that way.’

Dealing with Head and Neck Cancer

•April 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Just a few thoughts about dealing with head and neck radiation and surgery.

The confusion that goes along with having radiation and or surgery for head and neck cancer and dealing with the side effects may be as traumatic as dealing with cancer. For me, it was very unsettling; the thought of not being here to secure my family’s future was overwhelming. Lucky for me I had cancer 25 years ago and had some insight on how to get through it. I do not think you can ever be prepared for the onset of cancer, but a little experience helped.

This is an overview of the road I have traveled. I hope it sheds some light on your journey.

Facility and doctor of choice:

After you have decided to be treated and decided on the proper treatment for your cancer, you will need to decide on a doctor and facility. Picking a doctor may be the most important first step. I think this is a numbers game. To go to a local hospital where you are comfortable and like the local doctor may not be the best choice. Plotting your radiation treatment may be the most important part and the question that comes up is, how much experience does the hospital and doctors have. You are going to be exposing yourself to a lot of radiation and should the initial plan not be as accurate as possible, you may suffer more tissue damage than necessary and you will live with the damage forever, or you may miss the cancer. You may have a great doctor who cares about the patient, but his case load is so high there may only be 30 minutes allotted in his busy schedule to plan the radiation. This is a process that should be done carefully and may take 4 hours or more. I think it is fair to ask the doctor how long he will allocate for the plotting of your radiation. Also ask him how many patients he is currently treating for head and neck cancer. Be careful to find a doctor with a good track record and who is accessible. You could find yourself with a doctor with great credentials and have a great meeting, but he may be handing the planning for your treatment and the treatment to a new doctor who is just learning. Make sure you know what you are getting.

The facility is another concern, in some areas there are small hospitals that go by the name of large prestigious hospitals and are directly connected to the larger well known hospitals. They fly the banner of the big prestigious hospital proudly. My concern with these facilities is the quality of doctor you may encounter. A doctor at a large prestigious hospital has the chance to practice his craft and be noticed and share in the prestige and rewards that go with his hard work. This attracts some of the brightest and best, furthermore, these hospitals work hard to attract the best doctors.  The smaller hospitals that share the name of the larger ones may have doctors not looking to advance their careers, consequently you will be betting your life on someone content to run in the pack and not lead. And of course your local hospital may also be a bad bet.

There are smaller hospitals where doctors from the larger hospitals frequent one or two days a week. This may be an option, but again be selective, ask questions.

Likewise, the staff is important.  They will be prepping you every day for the radiation and their caring demeanor, dedication and professionalism along with the compassion you will need some days is important. Meet them and see if it fits for you.

For me, I chose the Lahey Clinic. I had my first cancer may years ago along with several other problems and the doctors are some of the best.  The facility and staff have always been top rated.  I highly recommend Dr. Dolan for surgery and Dr. Garren for radiation.  Be very careful of magazine ratings. They are very, very politically driven and not accurate. My first cancer was a real lesson. The number 1 rated doctor in the world for my soon to be surgery was a doctor in NY (I will not reveal his name.) After much research and investigation about the doctor, I discovered he had a 47% failure rate for the surgery I needed.  Failure, defined as had to have a second operation to correct infections and other problems and some did not work at all. I found Dr.  Coller at the Lahey Clinic who really was off the radar at the time, who had a 94% success rate.

Going for the ride:

The emotions that rise to the surface while fighting cancer are some of the toughest I have faced in life, not to mention the terror and confusion. I learned from my first cancer 25 years ago to pick my treatment and doctor wisely and then go for the ride. By that I mean, you picked the road you must travel, so stop beating yourself up and do everything the expert you picked prescribes and try and relax. There is little you can do except disrupt things anyway, so go for the ride with as much dignity as you can. Sometimes I had to find dignity in knowing my current actions are not me, just part of the ride and I will be back soon. Always remember that soon you will be out of the treatment and then it is your turn to fight the side effects and recover to all you can be. So give up control and when the treatment is over, take control and start fighting to get all you can get back.

Relaxing:

Through my life, I have had several health problems dating back some 50 years.  It took many years to make the commitment to take control of my emotions, but finally I took the time to get in control.  It was one of my best decisions. Having been sick a lot during my life, I found my emotional state being driven by my physical condition. Every time I was sick or in pain I responded by feeling miserable. On the occasions where my health was good I felt good mentally. Basically I was on an emotional rollercoaster, driven by my health and news of my impending treatments and possible outcome. One day I decided to get off the roller coaster. I started researching meditation. To tell you the truth coming from the world I was brought up in, meditation was for crazy people. After some research I put together a simple relaxing procedure. It took a long time to be able leave my health behind and find a relaxing place, but finally I was able. That led me to another discovery and maybe the most important one of all.

“I am not my body,” basically I got out. I am the subtotal of all I have learned and become, the sum of those who love me, those I love, protect and provide for, the sum of my accomplishments and lessons learned from my failures. The day I realized that my body has very little to do with who I am as a man, things got a lot better. My body has been a lot of trouble, but I learned it does best when my mind is rested and strong to make the right decisions for its needs. Separating myself from my physical body gave me freedom from my health problems. Today, it is still an effort to keep the distance from my body, but mediation really makes it possible. There are many forms of mediation, I use a very simple form like the one that follows, http://www.summum.us/meditation/simple.shtml0, don’t be discouraged that it is not effective in the beginning, I promise in the months to come anyone who practices it daily  will benefit from it.

Skin care:

Your skin will be affected by the radiation treatments. It appears everyone is different, some patients suffer little skin sensitivity and others have a difficult time with skin tissue damage. For me, I found the best solution to my sensitive skin was simple, A & D ointment. Also there is a product called Bag Balm which I have used and others have had good results with it. I think any ointment, not lotion will be helpful. The problem with lotions is they may contain perfume, alcohol and skin tightening chemicals and this may be counterproductive. So avoid products with alcohol and perfume, keep it as basic as possible and you will find one that works for you. There are products that are made just for radiation damage, but I found little difference in the performance. I think the goal may be to keep your shin hydrated and wait until your skin starts to rebuild. Do the same with soap; find a plain soap without perfume and other chemicals (your nurse will help you)

Liquids:

It is important to drink constantly during and after radiation treatment. Basically as I was told by my radiation team, if I do not have a bottle of water in my hand and sipping continuously, I am making a mistake. I think it is also important to replenish your electrolytes as you go. I have found great results for the past 20+ years with a simple to carry and use product called Emergen-C. You can find it at any health food store; Wal-Mart, etc. go to the following address to see the product. http://www.emergenc.com/index.php/products/original.

I buy them by the box, there are 36 small flat packages in a box, tear off the top of the package and pour it into a glass or bottle of water and sip. There are several flavors to choose from. Ask your doctor for his approval.

Getting calories and nutrition:

Calories, if swallowing becomes difficult during and after the radiation treatments or surgery, I found the best and most pleasant tasting drink is Nestles Breakfast Drink.  For information on the drink go to  http://www.nestlenutritionstore.com/general-itemdetail.asp?T1=CIBVHC+VANI+24CS&Cat=CIBVHC.   I think it tastes much better than other high calorie drinks and the calories are higher so you have to drink less. This drink has 560 calories for every 8 ounces; they also have the same drink with less calories, this drink made my life easier. I would drink it during the day and inevitably during the night I would wake and I would have one in the middle of the night. The viscosity of this high volume calorie drink is thicker than others and this does 2 things. 1. It will be easier for your damaged throat to control it and swallow and 2. It will give your throat gentle exercise. Keep swallowing or you will not be able to later.

By all means ask your doctor to write a prescription for Nestles Breakfast Drink and they can arrange for it to be delivered to your home.

I think food and calorie substitutes are essential if you are not swallowing well and cannot eat solid food however, you can never hope to get proper nutrition from a can. We have all seen the boring commercials on TV for juicers. I have one (actually I have 3) I bought my first one 40+ years ago and still have it. The one I bought 40 years ago is an Acme (no it did not come from a road runner cartoon) and it is my favorite. You can find it at http://www.amazon.com/Acme-6001-Juicer-Juicerator-Centrifugal/dp/B000E4AO6M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1301064221&sr=8-2. It has an extractor that will take all the juice, vitamin, minerals and enzymes out of the vegetables and leave you with virtually saw dust dry pulp to discard. Most other juicers leave very wet pulp and you are losing a lot of the nutrition. Also I have found the Jack LaLanne juicer to work and be very cost effective, but a little hard to clean and the discarded pulp is wetter than the Acme. You can find it at  http://www.amazon.com/Jack-LaLanne-JLPJB-Juicing-Machine/dp/B00067R5X2.

The juicers that are sold as blenders, (you have seen Montel Williams pushing one and there is also the Silver Bullet), blenders do not extract the pulp, they grind it up and include it in the drink, these are a problem. First you have to drink all the pulp and it has no food value and the bulk of the pulp will fill you up. This will limit the calorie drink you can consume and of course the pulp will be rough on your throat. If you are constipated and need fiber, find a soft fiber like mucilin fiber and many others that build a very soft mass for your bowel to push upon.

There are plenty of recipes for juicing on the web and in books dedicated to juicing. I think you should make an effort to stay away from fruit juices. They have too much sugar and cancer seems to like sugar and the acid may hurt your throat. Vegetables have much more nutritional value. I always use carrots for my base. Finding a carrot that you like is important. Some carrots from the south east of the USA are very poor tasting. I prefer carrots from California and of course organic carrots. Some health food stores have juicing carrots and they taste great and have a lot of juice. To the ½ glass of carrot juice I add broccoli, cabbage, red beets, celery, cucumbers and any number of green vegetables. Once you get the hang of it, you can mix very tasty drinks and twice a day would be very helpful for your recovery.

Supplements: Supplements are a welcome addition to add to your intake, but the quality of the supplement is very important. I highly recommend cod liver oil. There are many kinds of cod liver oil and most of them use high heat and chemical extracting methods and there is little or no value left in the oil. It makes little sense to kill all the vitamins and nutrients in the oil during processing and then add synthetic vitamins and nutrients. Currently the one I use is Carlsons, it can be found at http://www.carlsonlabs.com/p-107-cod-liver-oil-lemon-flavor.aspx. it is lemon flavored and easy to take a spoonful at a time.

Other supplements may be beneficial also. I would look to companies like Standard process located at http://www.standardprocess.com/display/router.aspx. Their products are a little pricey, but may be worth it.

Before you start shopping for other nutritional additives keep in mind that between your Nestles supplement drink, Emergen-C drink and cod liver oil you are getting quite a bit of nutrition and your juicing will bring in the natural enzymes and vitamins.

Oxygen: This is imperative; oxygen treatment in a hyperbaric chamber is a must in the treatment of tissue damage due to radiation treatment. I have used two types of chambers, the multi person chamber and the single chamber:

In the multi person chamber you will be sitting with 4 to 10 people in a closed pressurized chamber. I think there is a benefit to this chamber as it did help me, but there has to be a concern with regard to your immune system being suppressed and the possible germs or viruses in a multiple person closed chamber. In a multi person chamber you keep your street clothes on and the atmosphere is the same gas mixture inside the chamber as it would be outside. They increase the atmospheric pressure and you wear a mask to deliver oxygen to your body.

In a single person chamber, you remove all your clothes and jewelry; they lay you on a gurney and slide you in a clear Plexiglas tube. They close the door and you can watch TV or relax for the treatment. In the single chamber you are surrounded with pure oxygen and it is again under pressure. Personally I think I benefitted more from the single chamber. If you are claustrophobic as I am, not to worry, the chamber is entirely clear and you may find the rest welcome. It is kind of nice to have some quiet time away from the real world.  Also this is a good time to practice your meditation. See more about oxygen below under exercise.

Exercise:  This is a must, it is essential to get as much oxygen to the damaged tissue as possible and there is no way to better accomplish this than with exercise. In addition it will give you the positive attitude you need to get through this ordeal. The minimum exercise you should do is 20 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week.  I recommend that you buy a stationary fan bike with movable arms. This will get your upper and lower body moving and with minimal impact on your joints. I recommend some weight training to build muscle, but that is optional. I have found through the years that if I enter the hospital for any reason, my stay and recovery are easier if I start my ordeal in shape.

Exercising is not optional. You have to commit to a stationary fan bike. Many places sell them and they are not costly. Actually you can find them on craigslist. This address will show you the type of bike I am recommending http://www.walmart.com/ip/Marcy-Classic-Upright-Fan-Bike/1958217?findingMethod=rr.

Exercising with oxygen:

There seems to be enough information out there indicating a significant advantage to doing your 20 minutes of aerobic exercise on your fan bike while inhaling oxygen. There are many companies selling oxygen generating machines. Here is a company <http://www.breathing.com/o2e2.htm>   that sells rebuilt oxygen generating machines for less than $500.00. I understand that all you have to do is call them and say you got their number from Healthalert.com

Mouth disorders:

One of my biggest daily situations was thrush and mouth infections. I tried everything I could and found that thrush medicine would help, but I suffered digestive disorders from taking it. More antibiotics for the mouth infection led to more thrush. It seems because of all the tissue damage, lack of circulation of blood in the mouth tissue and a lack of saliva, our mouth is in for a ride of its own. I am sure you have heard that you are going to start to have tooth loss in addition. I will lay out a routine I have found that helps me greatly with my mouth problems. PLEASE, before getting involved consult your doctor.

Mouth Care:

Brushing: I brush after every meal with an electric tooth brush, get a good one for home and battery ones for the times when you are not home. The good ones have a timer and let you know when 30 seconds is up. So you brush the front of the top for 30 seconds and then the back for 30 seconds and continue with the bottom. Then you must massage the gums with the same tooth brush. This will help with circulation (also see hand massager.)

Floss: Floss all teeth, for me I find the little hand held ones are more convenient and you can run the point along the gum line gently for extra cleaning.

Waterpik: After brushing run a waterpik over the entire gum line and you will do 2 things, You will force any food matter out of the gum and you will force oxygen into the gum line further killing bacteria. I recommend the waterpik that sits on the counter with a water reservoir on the base unit and a hose to the business end of the waterpik. The hand held battery ones seem like junk. I returned 3 of them before switching.

Hydrogen peroxide: Buy a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and mix it with 50% water. Take about a tablespoonful and hold it in your mouth for a while. At night, I clean my teeth and then take a swig and jump in the shower. I hold it for about 5 or 10 minutes and rinse. During the day, I rinse with the mixture first thing in the morning after breakfast and cleaning my teeth and if I am having mouth trouble I also rinse several times a day. If you find your mouth is sensitive to the mixture of 50% cut it down to 25% hydrogen peroxide 75% water until healing takes place and then increase it to 50/50. Mix small amounts for use in a clean sterile jar, mix up a week’s worth at a time in case anything in the water starts to diminish the effectiveness of the solution. Always do this after the brushing routine, it is at that point that your gums are exposed and you will kill the most bacteria. An additional benefit is that you will notice your teeth will get whiter.

Grape seed extract or oil: For me, this was a large piece of the puzzle to control thrush and mouth infections. There are many companies that make it and it is easily found at your health food store. Put 20 drops in your  Emergen-C drink and it will taste great. Don’t try and drink it in water alone as it is very bitter. Here is a company that I have been using, NutriBiotic  GSE,  http://www.nutribiotic.com.

Massaging your neck, face and gums: Many years ago when I was a kid (I am an old guy now) I would go to the barber and get a haircut (currently I am follicley challenged, as my daughter calls it so I do not go often).  After the hair cut the barber would put this big motor on the back of his hand and it would make his entire hand vibrate. Then they would proceed to rub your head, neck and shoulders. The intent was to stimulate circulation. Well it was my favorite part of the haircut, you guessed it, I use it to massage my face, neck and gums. Well the gum part is limited to touching your gums with your finger tips. I know there is evidence that brushing the gums with the electric tooth brush stimulates circulation to the gums so why not take it to the next step. There are several models of Oster massagers out there. If you can find a two speed massager by Oster get it. The 103 Oster Massager can be found all over the net. It is a single speed one. The 2 speed one looks identical except it has a 2 speed switch and I think on high it is faster. I prefer the 2 speed, but all the Oster massagers that look like the 103 will work. The others have little power and are not worth the money. Ebay has a ton of them every day and you can get them inexpensively.

Time for recovery: The recovery period for radiation is very diverse. It seems some people recover more quickly than others. I am about 3 years out from radiation and still getting better monthly. There are ups and downs, but overall I am getting stronger. One thing that seems consistent is that your general health can be greatly improved by a commitment to a plan. I think every little thing we do will add to our good health and become a piece of the puzzle. I have learned there is no such thing as the one great answer. People who search for that one answer to their quest or that doctor who will fix them forever, find themselves always chasing the next great answer. It is about small pieces, putting together everything that will take us closer to our goal and working hard at reaching our goal. The Beatles were great, but they were great together, they were greater than the sum of their individual capabilities. That is how putting little pieces together work. It is not about the little thing you do, it is about how they interact to be much more. The sum of your efforts to get better will be greater than the small things you do, so never stop doing everything you can.

It is clear to me from my past experiences with disease that the best doctor in the world can only cure the body. How we live with the onset of the disease, the transition through the cure and live with the cure is up to us, not the doctor.

Never forget this did not happen to you, it happened to your body, separate yourself and get busy living your life.

During your surgery and radiation it is important that you tell your doctor everything you are consuming. It is possible that some nutrition may interfere with the treatment or drugs you are taking for the cure. After you have had the surgery and / or radiation you are pretty much able to consume any supplement you like.

Tractor Ride

•January 29, 2011 • 2 Comments

Tractor Ride

Recently we had another snow storm and it seems they just keep coming. One of my problems is I have several retail properties and my tenants are upset because their customers can no longer patronize them.  There are limited parking spaces due to the piles of snow.  Well, I got up about 6am in the last storm and decided I would fix the problem. As luck would have it my big truck blew its trans and it is the only truck I have large enough to tow my tractor. My tractor was stored about 30 miles to the west of the retail properties affected the worst. I called several tow companies to see if they could move my tractor and they were all too busy to run out of their area. So I decided to drive the tractor the 30 miles through the back roads. Keep in mind it has no cab so it is like sitting on the hood of your car and driving, a little chilly. Also it is not registered for the road, but I figured the roads are so bad the police would see me as a person cleaning things up and not care, also if you have had cancer twice and currently fighting, you really see things differently, what can they do, put me in a warm cell for a few hours at the very worst, kind of beats being 120 pounds and throwing up 20 times a day with all the other pains that go with fighting cancer.

So off I went at a blistering 10 miles per hour, on the flat, up hills more like 6 miles per hour. As my Dad taught me when we went duck hunting together as a kid “it is better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it,” boy that was beat into me as a kid and has that come in handy through every aspect of life. Thanks to Dad I brought food, extra clothing and water. It was not long before I was freezing and I stopped and put on more clothes I had stashed in a 5 gallon pale with a lid tied to the back of the tractor.

I knew this was a trip I did not have the health for and certainly to get there and move snow piles all day was not a smart thing for my physical health (I am still paying for it), but I also knew this last cancer took some of the man out of me and taking care of my families estate was good for the mind and sole.

I pulled out of the driveway and started on my journey. Funny thing about 10 or 7 miles an hour you get to see things you never saw before. I plotted the course on as many back roads as I could. My trip took me towards Berkeley Heights as it was the smartest rout. I figured if I could visualize a halfway point the second half would be all downhill (figuratively speaking) and easier to handle.  As it turned out that point was at an old girlfriend’s house from when I was 15 and 16 years old. I was very much in love with her and I walked to her house many times, a trip of about 15 miles, coincidently the properties I own are in the same area as I use to live. So once I got to her house it was all downhill. Guys, you will understand this, the young lady was very attractive and the trip was always worth the walk so it seemed short.

The first few miles were all about settling in. I past many people shoveling and we seemed to have a common plight for the moment, big houses, small houses rich and middle class we all smiled and waved at one another . Some looked longingly as to ask for help. I knew I had a long day ahead of me so I passed, they looked fit and capable. Then it came to mind ‘what if I pass a woman with an insurmountable task before her, would I be able to pass her by’. Immediately I tried to tailor my rout to go by as few houses as I could.

A few dogs chased me and some were so cut I pulled over and they licked me and I rubbed them all up. I don’t think I hugged that many dogs in one day in my life. It was a welcome break for me from the cold wind as it was a great moment for them to have caught a vehicle and stopped it.

In the distance I saw a lady bending over shoveling. I thought to myself, well here it is. Sure enough her driveway was at least 300 maybe 350 feet long and here ranch house set up on a hill. She had a shovel that was 3 feet long and made for a kid. She had a mountain of snow at the street where the county plows went by and she had an area about 10 ft. by 10 ft. cleared, she was standing there facing the house and I could see the breath being pumped out of her lungs in the cold air.

So here it was the situation I was trying to avoid, I stopped, thinking to myself, all I need is half a dozen of these and my day is shot. I motioned for her to move and she put her hands together as if to prey. In I went, first to open her driveway from the street and then up the hill to push downward. Well long story short, there was a ditch on either r side of the driveway and the driveway was mud and partially stoned. I finally cleared it after about 45 minutes and I managed to get stuck in the ditch on one side then the other, it was a mess. All she kept doing was blessing me ‘which I can use all I can get’. So finally I finished and she tried to stop me from leaving and pay me and of course I took a few more blessings and went on my way. Funny thing about that 45 minutes, I could not get what a friend of mine said to me once (Michel M,) he said his father told him that “no good turn goes unpunished.”  While I was cleaning her driveway and getting stuck I occasionally would break into laughter, the lady must have thought I was nuts, but I could not get that thought out of my mind.

Anyway I went on for the rest of my trip and finished the day by clearing my retail parking lots and getting home about 10 pm and very, very shot.

The thought that I take away from that day is this, I know and you know that our lives are so busy it is hard to reach out, hard to commit to things not related to our needs, but just maybe there is a connection between being successful in the 5 riches of life (see Life’s Rules For Success for clarification of 5 riches) and reaching out when you feel you have no business doing so, when you know it will alter your day and cause more pressure. Hell anyone can help when they have time.  I think there is a link concerning  giving, it makes our lives fuller and happier, helping others when it hurts us.  There is no question my day could have gone very badly. I could have had a breakdown, could have been given a ticket and had my unregistered tractor impounded, I could have gotten very sick on the trip and a number of other things could have happened. Fact is the day went as good as possible and little things even got better. My tractor had an electrical problem that I have been unable to fix and the lights failed to work and the glow plugs also were not functioning properly. I knew I could fix it in a shop, but the cold made it hard to find the problem for the last month. About 8 pm that night while I was moving the snow piles off the Verizon store parking lot everything lit up. The lights went on, the glow plug indicator worked and the tractor was 100% again. Look I am not saying God came down and fixed my tractor, but I do believe things happen in life, they are either good or bad. You see things do not know if they are good or bad, but people who reach out in spite of their circumstances attract good things.

Personally I am a God fearing man, but I feel more comfortable believing there is a natural order of things set down, that is balanced to reward and comfort or punish. There has to be some reason for me to be here after all my health problems. I know I am a little delusional and really in my heart of hearts believe I never had any sickness, my body did not me. It is fare to say I have spend my life reaching out to others and I think I have been rewarded. Some will argue how I could perceive my illnesses as a reward. I guess they would have to know me better.

So here we are, busier than ever in this crazy world, fighting harder than ever to make emotional, social and financial ends meet to name a few, and I can say from years of reading and observation, reach out and your problems will be less your joys will be greater and life will get better, expect nothing for your efforts and you will be rewarded time and time again and never count, it is not a game of scoring.

Remember I mentioned my friend Michel M. who shared those words of wisdom “no good turn goes unpunished” well I have observed great charity from him and from his entire family. They get the immediate observations, but they understand the bigger picture.

So even if things go bad keep on giving of your help, it is just a test of integrity and after all what other reason could we all be here for if it was not to serve our loved ones and those we are about to know and love.

YOUR WORD

•January 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Your Word

Recently I have been more and more concerned with the lost responsibility of the hand shake and promise. There was a time when if you gave your word, said you were going to do something or promised something it was as good as done. Today that is a thing of the past. In business seldom does anyone do what they say they are going to do. They make commitments and then beat up the facts to justify their own lack of performance. In personal lives it is the same MO, promise one thing and do another. Yet we stand back and cast judgments of our politicians for their lack of integrity. Why should our leaders do what they say they will do when the country no longer sees a promise, hand shake or commitment worth keeping? I wonder if we undermined our country inch by inch.

So here it is, the good God fearing people, upstanding citizens are no longer feeling any pressure to do as they promised. Oh yes, by the way if you tell someone you will do something it is a promise; you do not have to sign it in blood.

If you have been reading my blogs you probably have some idea that I had a past best not spoken, I have spent some time with some very interesting people when I was a young man. Some of my friends from my younger years were capable of a lot of things the real world would look down on and the authorities would  have even a dimmer view of.  Having said that I need to reflect on something that sticks in my mind and causes me to miss parts of my past.  You see when I was younger and associated with the so called wrong people I never had a contract only handshakes. In all the deals and all the years, never did I have any one of the people I associated with break their word even for a day. If something was to be so on Tuesday at 3pm it was, end of storey. There was no code just men and woman who respected themselves and one another. They felt a responsibility to their word that drove them.

Enter my first cancer which took me off the street and after years of reading and growing put me in a legal, accepted world. So here I am for many years dealing with the upstanding citizens of our country, well, it is an excepted practice to have people not perform as they said they would and think nothing of it. They just give an excuse and go on. They do not feel any responsibility for their lack of punctuality or total lack of performance on their promise.

We have become a society where our integrity is not lost, it does not exist. It is accepted to not perform as promised and think it is ok, because it is. Hell everyone does it all the time. Fact is we teach our children from the very beginning in so many little ways to let things go because other things happened and we could not do what was promised.  We watch a politician lie and then we stand up for the party and vote for him or her again, there is something wrong with that, real wrong. It certainly sends the wrong message to everyone around us and the politicians (just for the record this is not party specific).

I miss the people I spent part of my life with. I miss the integrity, the pride in someone that would stake his life to meet his promise. We are killing our country inch by inch and doing it very methodically. It is now at the point in our society where we think ‘why should I do everything I said, no one else does’. I will go farther, we do not even think about breaking our promises we just do it.

Looking deeper at this there are a few exceptions to the new rule of order, guess what they are living amongst us and keeping their mouth shut. They see the new order and move in different circles than most. And this I will tell you they have better, fuller lives. I have the good fortune to do business with a few and I love it. If they tell you something it is law. Fact is, if they say they will do something and it does not happen; send flowers to their spouse, because they died.

Integrity, it builds strong lives, relationships, family, fortunes, spirituality and somehow it improves your health. We were meant to be honorable not carefree of our responsibility or our word. We were designed to fulfill our obligations and stay the course. Those who feel an internal drive to be responsible to their word rise above all the turmoil the world is struggling in. and those who just think no one is looking and I can do as I please, well the natural order of things handles them and they live in constant turmoil riding the rollercoaster of life with its highs and lows, giving way to mostly lows.

Here is an idea a man told me once, “shut up” that is what I heard him say to a young man that worked for him. He said “from now on shut the f_ _ _  up, don’t speak, don’t let me hear you talking to anyone about what you are going to do. If you want to tell me you are going somewhere or doing something write it down and sign it. Then hand it to me and when you start keeping your word you can once again join my world and be a man”. The young man just stood there and then he left (he new better than to speak). I thought he was going to quit working as a driver for my friend (I knew that was not an option). Just then my friend walked to the door as the young man left and my friend said “if at any time before you get your act together you decide to quit, I will send someone to come get you, beat you’re a_ _ and bring you to work. “

The young man stayed working for my friend and became one of the trusted men in his company, Those were different times. The lesson that young man was taught has served him well. He now has a wife and children and when I see him once every 5 years we laugh at that day, one day he has said to me “to bad the rest of the world never learned how important what you say you will do is”.

You see I was lucky, I was raised by a very special no option Dad and I cannot tell you how many times I heard these words “you will be dead some day and the only thing you take with you will be your word, keep it solid, and everything you say is your word” He was right on target.

What I have also observed is the trail you lay for your family, your actions, lead to their destiny. Like it or not they are destined to be responsible for what parents do,  it is not as simple as a young man behaving badly because he had a bad upbringing, fact is, not only does a person with a troubled life have to change, become informed and educated to succeed in life they have the burden of what their parents did. How does it work? Well I do not know I just know. I do know it is written in every important writing since the beginning of time and I see it played out every day. The thought of my daughter having to suffer for a moment because of my actions sticks in my chest like a knife 24/7.

A special person lays a rout his or her family will inevitably follow to a better life, a person who moves through life with questionable actions leads his offspring to a desperate dreary life.

Just because most people you work with or socialize with say things they never do it is not ok for you to do the same. Lets one by one rise above the now in place standard and change our world first and then the world of others by example. It is easier than you think.

It is all about the yellow blockers

•January 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

It is all about the yellow blockers

I was thinking today about the greatest gift I could give the ones I love and the ones I have yet to care about. Without question it would be to admire and exhaust the gift of every day. Standing in the mind field of our emotions it is difficult to see the good around us and as a consequence we let life pass us by. If only we could grab every opportunity that came our way. For that matter what if we could see every opportunity that came our way.

When I was a younger man I did some public speaking I spoke on the subject of success. One of my focuses was the view from your perspective, how differently each and every one of us sees the same thing. I focused hard on how important it is to be aware of the fact that you may be wide awake and looking to improve your life with all the right intentions, but the fact is you may not be seeing the trees for the forest.

Recently I had the opportunity to spend time and actually live with a friend of mine. It was a stark reminder of the differences between seemingly alert individuals. I should tell you he is a real genius with a real genius IQ. I on the other hand come under the heading of an average guy. As I have most of my life I watch and listen as much as I can. It was a treat to see how differently we perceived things. In many conversations he had a clearer picture of the route to the conversations goal. He was more perceptive of reality as he saw it and his reality had less hype and more reality than did mine. It is always a treat to be with him.

Back to reality as it relates to the facts. Whenever I spoke publically I brought along a suit case. I would lower the lights in the room and put the suit case on a platform higher than the audience’s line of site. I would open the lid and turn the light on. The light was located in the main body of the suit case compartment and the lid had a piece of colored paper on it. The light in the suit case would light up the case lid. I would ask the audience to bet their future on the color of the lid as they saw it. They would all say green. There was no question in their minds it was green. I would then turn the light off in the bottom of the case and immediately the lid would change colors from green to a bright blue. You see the light in the case was a yellow light. They could not see the bulb so all they saw was a lit up piece of paper. If you remember your science or art class lessons you remember yellow and blue make green. Hence the yellow light changed the blue paper to look green.

The point is, when you go through your day you are not seeing the good you are being bombarded with (trust me on this you are presented with opportunities every day). Life is not for the other guy or gal it is here for you. You cannot go through life being delusional. You have to clear your lens and start seeing what your creator has put at your door step. I you do not have all that you want to day and you have not been able to make your mark in the 5 areas of the riches. You need to sit down and start your life anew. I mean with new information. You must realize you are not making the right decisions for yourself and your future.

News flash if you do not have what you want you are probably wrong on about 90% of the things you feel. I know that is a little harsh, but it is meant to be. Here is how I approach a move to another level in life. First I find out what it is I really want in that area. Then I face the realization that I have no idea how to get there. Hell I do not think I am stupid so if I am not

There,  I must not have the information. I am sure if I had the information of how to get there I would use it. So here I am saying we are not stupid we are just uninformed.

Think about it this way. I you were driving somewhere new and you pulled out a map and you were wearing yellow sun glasses while reading the map. On that map the name of the town you were going to was written in yellow. The sun glasses would cancel out everything written in yellow and you would have a very hard time finding it.

Clearing the lens: As I said I like to first identify the goal. I need to have a clear picture of what it is that I am to become or what it is I am trying to reach. Then I go elsewhere for a plan. I buy books of others who have made it to the same goal,  I start putting a path to my goal that I will not waver from. Here is the best and the hardest part. Every day you are going to be faced with many decisions to make and you will feel like doing one thing, but if you have prepared properly your plan will dictate that you do something that is uncomfortable and does not feel right. There is the gift of this process. It has a built in remainder. Remember every day you stay on course with your plan and you feel it is wrong you are seeing things with a yellow lens on and the people who have made it had a clear lens. Every day go against your feelings and you will start to grow towards the person you wish to become and the goals you wish to reach.

Nothing makes me happier than when I start a new business or start heading toward a personal achievement and I feel I should quit because this can’t be right. Ring, ring, ring, the bell goes off, I must be doing something right. I have a chance of the lens turning clear.

A lesson from Dad

•January 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I remember when I was a young man around 12 years old. I was with my father and we were working in the city. One day we saw a man sleeping on the street and my father said to me “if that man ever wants to tell you something keep quiet and listen because he knows something you do not”. Of course as a, know it all teenager I was thinking to myself “sure pop, this guy is nuts” of course I never opened my mouth because my father did some boxing and I knew better. I just went with the flow. As life would have it I never forgot his words and I did at one point in my life start listening. I took that thought to the next step and started reading philosophy and meditation from the people that changed our world. I made it a life’s work to look for information that had substance. For me it has worked. Even today I read for short periods every day. For the last few years I have been reading things like Meditations from Marcus Aralias (by far my favorite readings).

Sam