Nathan's Blog

My Journey


Hi, it has been a while.

My prognosis hasn’t changed. I am in remission, however my chemotherapy protocol will remain the same. As the doctor emphasized, in order to make sure the cancer never returns I must submit myself to a sometimes “grueling” chemo program over the next 6 to 12 months and although that is somewhat subject to change, that’s the schedule I’ve been given.

I have spent this week in the city getting a cocktail of chemotherapy drugs, and a party it isn’t. For me it has become a job to find treatments that help mitigate my nausea. I have such an aversion to that feeling (and who doesn’t) and I will do anything not to feel that way. It’s tough of course, unavoidable sometimes, but I have found some great alternative methods, most notably acupuncture, some teas, even meditation, all which has helped more than I had anticipated.

And through all this I am trying to get in a few hours of work, when I can, and at least assist Jake with our short-term business goals. I must admit, it has been incredibly difficult for me to focus, and that has become a source of stress I was hoping I wouldn’t have to experience.

When I look back on my life and my greatest achievements they mostly came naturally and organically. There was usually a logical next step or partnership of some sort. When I was young there were always choices and watershed moments that altered my life.

Sometimes opportunities were obvious and sometimes I created them, but they always seemed attainable. Maybe it would be a phone call, a letter, or just pure will that moved the dial for me.

I think about what I have been struggling to accomplish throughout these past couple of weeks: to let things be, to understand and accept my situation, to surrender to what is. I don’t need to force myself through unproductive meetings. I need to trust and know that the side effects of the chemotherapy show that it is actually working. I need to let go and trust that I am okay and that my business objectives will be met even as they change over time.

Instead of worrying, I feel much better when I allow myself to manifest and dream and create the future I want… because what other choice do I have? When I push too hard, I am met with the realities of my situation. And that is smack in my face. Instead of worrying, I can choose other ways to be. Again, this will take practice. I want to trust it all (a recurring theme in my blogs here, but hey, I’m still dealing with it every day.)

At the hospital there were many people coming in and out, all different prognoses and stages. I was always present to the fact that my treatment is working, when many others’ weren’t.

And in light of this I pray and hope and do believe that I am in the second and final half of this difficult stage in my life.

Scar Tissue

Monday January 19th, 2015

I couldn’t eat for 6 hours because of the pet scan and CT scan scheduled at 3 PM.This made my nausea almost unbearable as I was being driven into the city by Randy. Of course, everything is always sitting on top of the anxiety and fear of the unknown and, as I’ve realized, this invisible stress changes the way I feel and think at every moment.

I didn’t think I would be able to make it through the tests. With the radioactive dyes they shoot into you and their “drink this” and “lie here in this huge tube and don’t move” instructions, well, I was just a mess. I knew though that if I didn’t deal with it that day, I would have to go through the same ritual at another time so my main goal was simply- don’t vomit until its over. I mean, just picture yourself incredibly seasick for 6 hours on a rough sea, with no relief (and you are on a carnival ship no less.) That’s how I felt.

I finished the scans at about 4PM and went outside to meet Randy and my mom who were waiting for me. Still weak from it all, I gingerly made my way to get a bite to eat before our planned meeting with the doctor at the main Sloan offices. I was just so happy to get the tests over with that all I could think about was not being nauseous. That was still my life’s goal for that moment. All I cared was alleviating this nausea. Give me some relief.

“Please! I just want to feel better,” I cried to Randy.

I waited in the doctor’s office and spoke with the nurse. Thankfully, as time went on and after some eating, I was beginning to feel better.

The doctor walks in: Dr. Doer, the Israeli lead doctor, 50ish or so, and an expert in this area of Leukemia. His usually messy white hair had just been cut, I noticed, but he still had this mad professor aura that strangely was easy to trust. He was there with 3 of his colleagues.
“How are you feeling?” he asks in his perfectly Americanized Israeli accent

“Sick,” I told him, “Very sick.”

“Well, I have some news for you. We just looked at the scans you took.

I marveled at technology and his ability to see and act so quickly.

“You are cancer free, ” he told me, beaming from ear to ear, proud along with everyone else in the room.

“…Say that again.” The tears welled up in both Randy and my eyes. It was a moment that stood still and we still didn’t quite understand.

“You do not have any cancer in your body. You are in remission. It is gone. We checked every cell in your body and though you still have that mass, it is benign- full of dead cells and scar tissue. You and your body have responded amazingly to treatment, and though we always expect positive results, this… at this point, well let us say, we are very pleased.

The cancer has left your body. ”

We sat there a little longer and spoke, my nausea had disappeared, and we cried a little more, from relief, from exhaustion, from just experiencing a moment and of course, from joy and gratitude.

Was this a miracle? It doesn’t matter. What I believe was everything that I did, the love from my friends and family, the energy healing, the collective prayers, the good research and planning to end up at Sloan and of course Dr. Doer and his chemo treatments put my cancer in remission.

Call it what you will. I choose to say we have a choice in the outcomes we

The chemo protocol over the next year must be completed however. It’s so this damn cancer thing never returns and the team is confident that it never will.

And even though my body is cancer free, the mass is not gone. It is now a bunch of dead cells and scar tissue. Over time this will dissipate into my body.

I said last month that getting cancer would alter my life; that I knew there were changes I wanted to make and had to make. That making money for money’s sake was not enough. I needed more than that in my life, and that it would force me to look a things: my relationships, my daily life, who I want to be and my ability to love and enjoy, even embrace the stresses of daily life so that I am living for fun and not out of fear.

I even saw some of my old self start to creep up today, worrying and feeling discontented and not being grateful. That is the Nathan I don’t want to see anymore. I want to be present to a great life, the deep love I have for my amazing wife, the strong love and bond I have with my kids as well as all the other rich relationships I have developed in my lifetime.

So I know I have hardly learned anything yet, except that I am now very conscious that those ugly and fearful thoughts I have that dig me deeper into sickness… they aren’t me, they are just my thoughts.

Yes, I have a lot of scar tissue in my body. It’s big and scary but it’s also benign. It’s a reminder that I am not nearly done with my journey. My continued protocol Dr. Doer has me on is only a part of my continued healing. Accepting what I have as perfect, trusting and believing in myself and killing off the fearful Nathan that I can be, to me is as powerful as the chemo that is shot through my veins.

Another short letter to my friends

I know this is a long time coming. The fact that I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks is a surprise to me, so as a “what’s so” this is where things are:

So far everything is on schedule. Next week I start chemo as an outpatient and I am hopeful that my body tolerates the treatments well.

I’ve been trying to get work done and I must admit it’s hard, mentally and physically. It’s a challenge though… I do notice that I have a say in the matter. I’ve managed to will myself and shift to higher energy moods, but still it’s hard to sustain the consistency.

I mentioned in the beginning that I need to accept what I am willing to push my mind and body through or just surrender to what is (probably the wiser choice.) I do know things are different and I am still finding out about what this process is going to be like. I get scared of the unknown. Sometimes just simply not feeling well alters my mood.

I’m grateful for the love and support I’ve been receiving and it’s really helped me along. So for now just wanted to quickly check in, let you know I’m dealin’… No more hair on my head and I’ll be in touch more often.




The doctors came in today and told me that my mass had shrunk by over 50%. Yes, over half : ) and my white blood cell count was high enough that I can be released today instead of sometime next week as was originally planned. I know it’s only one step on my journey but I am so grateful and that I made so much progress in one week. So that vision of the cancer leaving may have been just a vision, but something was left with me a couple of nights ago.

So thank you God (in whatever form I believe in.) I am grateful. I am humbled, in a way, by the love sent my way from the staff here and from my friends and family. I am on my journey as I have expressed but I know now the power of the mind to create and overcome obstacles is palpable.

So Happy New Years to all… And party on tonight.

Let’s keep this post light and fun. It’s a good day for me today and I am eager to get home to some normalcy.

3 AM silence

I woke up around 3 AM. It was as quiet as a hospital room could get. I had my own room for the night and it was dark and still. Even the outside corridors seemed silent, though I am sure that I was just projecting my own feeling of calmness.

A brand new T-shirt that Randy had bought me, soft, comfortable material, was soaked to its core with sweat. The warm, wet fibers clung to my skin but it was not in discomfort. For that moment, with my mind still cast over with the dim haze of sleep, everything was right. Everything was in rhythm. My body, the IV drip, the steady beat of my breathing. This dark, empty hospital room was a world of its own.

It was when the vagueness of sleep started to leave that I realized… I sweat out my cancer. I was liberated. I grabbed my shirt and pulled until it was torn to shreds. The sweat on the floor, my breath was now fuller and my mind was enveloped with endorphins.

I had earlier that night had some dreams about my father, about some separation of our souls. There were also dreams about my future and its trajectory. It’s hard to describe but I felt free… I felt free of almost everything. I know this is just the middle of my story and I have chemo and other shit going on this week, but for those moments some of the cancer left me… and I could have run 30 laps around the hospital floor before they forced me back into bed.

I lay down feeling serene and full of possibility. Then I started thinking; my mind very busy, busier than I would have liked, trying to resolve unsettled thoughts and feelings. But I cherished that quiet time I had and I hope to be able to have many more moments like this.

Morning thoughts from room 1424

Even when I have a whole day of nothing to do (except for the intermittent poking and prodding,) I like to wake up and start the day early. I love the morning when I am most peaceful, especially when I have no discomfort, which is the case this very morning. It is at these times that I have the most clarity. I am just more peaceful.

My mother has shown more resilience and than I thought she would be capable, but then again I’ve seen my mom battle a lot and make a great life for herself. I love you so much Mom and we are going to celebrate a lot together.

Jake is tough, practical, and level headed. He’s a good soul.

Michael is super sensitive, very loving, and learning how to process this all, just like he should be doing.

Randy, is still as close to an angel as humanly possible. Pure love. We are partners forever.

Forgiving is hard. I think it’s an ongoing practice. In fact, I’m sure of it.

My sister has been over-the-top amazingly supportive. She’s really creating a life she loves.

My friends have shown themselves to be greater people than I gave them credit for and I am grateful to have them.

Family is… well, what can I say? It makes the difference.

My hair is starting to fall out. Oy, I wonder how I’ll adapt to it. I’m so vain.

I feel good. Doctors say I am doing great, but my energy is low so I know I am sick. I need to remind myself, I need to figure out what “take care of yourself ” means.

I still have a large appetite. Steroids change things in your body but they are very effective. I’m enjoying my food.

I always want to be creating. It’s just in me. It is me.

I miss competing, even if it’s only been a few weeks.

I never thought myself the optimist, just a survivor. I think I was wrong. I believe in people and in myself.

I do believe in the power of the mind to change things and don’t take things as face value and probably never have.

I love to travel and explore. I can’t wait till my next trip. I’m already plotting.

I still say, “What the fuck, really?” This wasn’t in my plans. Wasn’t even a thought.


There are things that I’ve experienced since I have been here that never would have happened. I have reestablished old friendships. I’ve developed new levels of intimacy with my old friends, friends that I have had for years, with new levels of closeness and vulnerability. I have experienced extreme gestures of generosity by friends that have blown me away and pure acts of friendship that are genuine and pure. I have seen my wife go beyond her comfort zone, to make sure I am comfortable and taken care of, and I have seen my children show real resilience and vulnerability as they deal with my cancer. I have seen my mother and sister stand for my health and show great acts of courage and faith.

I have been touched and felt true gratitude for my friends, and even acquaintances, and I have been blessed to have the best care in the world.
I wrote 2 weeks ago that I was looking for some transcending occurrence that perhaps would give me the “ultimate peace.” That hasn’t happened, it’s still me that I’m dealing with, but I do notice more moments of stillness and comfort in my skin.

Still, I must admit, I am not complete with my father and that, as you may know, has been the one area I was really looking for, for myself, my forgiveness. I’m not ready for it. So yeah, I have work to do in that area. It’s a tough one.

How will I build or rebuild my financial career as I rebuild my body and my health? How will I trust that I will somehow be guided towards my next big thing? Or my next anything?

Can I allow myself the time let it be right; to let it flow without panicking at the thought that it will never happen? Can I, in this situation, still find the room in my heart to be present to the love of my family and enjoy the hospital room as if I was in Whistler? (Tough task for sure, not happening.)

I have for sure, as I said, developed richer relationships in just 2 short weeks. Mostly today I have shpulkies. I’m impatient. I want to figure it all out today. Though, that doesn’t serve me and I know that I’m thankful I’m feeling good enough today to have that angst.

Half Spiritual

I have suspected that I am half spiritual and I must admit it may be true. I used to think that it made me hypocritical. I have changed my mind. It’s just part of the process.  I’ve used it to suit my needs but I have come to realize there is nothing wrong with getting it “wrong.”

I definitely know the difference between being and doing. Mostly, I was just doing. Don’t get me wrong, there were moments when I felt a peacefulness, a stillness, a knowingness and the moment was perfect, those moments where time didn’t exist. My kids’ Bar Mitzvahs  (yes I admit it, best days of my life) or a perfect tennis shot or running without effort or seeing a long lost relative or feeling deep love for a spouse or a child. I have seen the grandeur of Grand Canyon and sat at the peak of Zermatt, smelled the vineyards of Tuscany. Those moments gave me pleasure and awe, but they never gave me peace. Peace, I realized, was being in the moment. Coaching and changing a child’s life. That’s peace. Calling a play because there was no other moment but now, skiing a challenging mountain because I’m afraid. Just me and the moment, no outside noise, no pain, because there is none possible in the moment.

These days I’m searching now for the impossible, no aggravation, no small stuff, but I’m human and I am not the Dalai Lama. And even he must get pissed sometimes.

I have to get over this labeling. “I’m spiritual” … It does me no good. I know the difference between when I’m present “without thought” and when I’m in the zone. I’m going to give myself some room to figure it out.

I’ve been in the zone before. I guess you can call that being in a spiritual place but I am also checking my cell phone for emails and texts. I am looking for something outside to make me feel safer and that’s okay. I’m just being half spiritual and it’s great to be in that trusting place. The more I realize what drives my spirit the more peace and love I’ll let into my life.

Excuse me for my arrogance

I always felt and still feel in my deepest soul that I was meant to build; to create something great. A great movie, a great business or something else great. I know my number one job is to get better and healthy, quite a task in itself, but I just can’t surrender. Excuse me for my arrogance, but I have a lot still to do. Yet the old way wasn’t working. It was too taxing. I was surviving more than building. I’m starting to realize the difference.

I was always known as the survivor, bringing myself up from failures to successes, but at what cost? Ups and downs were plenty and I have no regrets for those years as it allowed me to achieve many dreams, but as I write I know I have angst and discontent. I need to complete my healing and I am still far, far from being free from all of this. It will come to me as I heal and let the meds and my mindset do their thing. I know it will. I have greater purpose for this world. Money, contribution, family, fun, and fulfillment… all with a deep sense of purpose and peace. Shouldn’t we all have that?

I had a ruff day

I miss my dog Layla.  Her cuddling right up next to me and watching out for my best interest with those pure unconditional eyes. I miss the simple mundane beautiful boring things I did every day. Throwing out the garbage, running for the train or a simple single malt scotch when I got home. But mostly today I miss Layla’s love. Pure love. I had a rough day because I spent too much time wondering and not believing. Broke my one minute rule.

But I forgive myself. Remembering to love and accept myself is the lesson I’m learning.

Layla will get me back to what I need to focus on. Just the love, the tremendous possibilities of the victory that lie ahead. Despite the daily struggles, I should never underestimate the power of pure love and belief, whether it be my dog, my family, my friends, or my roommate here (a real 9/11 hero by the way.)

I miss my dog.