Nathan's Blog

My Journey

I didn’t ask for this?

I wish I could go back in time 3 or 4 weeks. I didn’t ask for this. Not for cancer.

Well on the other hand I have been asking for years, almost my whole life since I was a child, for a sense of peace and belongingness.

What is this fear that holds me back? Why haven’t I fulfilled on my reward points project where I truly feel I can change peoples lives or why did I not yet find a way to transfer my knowledge and experience to other companies and help them grow the way I know I can? Why has it been such a struggle when it used to be easier? What is it that stops me from being my true greatness?

I didn’t ask for this disease, but I knew something had to change in my life. I didn’t want this. Who would ever? But I know there is something for me to transform into.

When will I feel free… real freedom like the moments I have experienced in my life? I have been through businesses transactions, a flag football championship, skiing a glacier, biking a treacherous hill, difficult conversations, creating intimacy, connecting with a stranger, seeing an old relative, feeling deep love with a child or my wife or a friend, overcoming a fearful moment and conquering it.

I didn’t ask for this, and if I think past tomorrow’s treatment, I can become paralyzed with fear. So far I have not allowed that.

I am thinking about making the best use of this time whether it be just doing nothing and resting or getting closer to God or just planning my business expansion. As long as it feels right and from a place of knowing, it will be good.

Still sweating the small stuff

I loved it. I had a single- no roommate for 2 days, it was really a lucky situation…  A new patient comes shuffling in.

Who knows what he has? Some terminal cancer? Or here for a 2 day stopover? Didn’t matter, my personal space has been invaded. Didn’t seem to matter that I just got my second hardcore chemo treatment or that I may start getting really nauseous.

There are parts of me that I’ll never get rid of. I can be a little bit grouchy, somewhat finicky, I need my privacy and as much as I love, love, love people… they also annoy the shit out of me. The good news is that next to me lies a magical button. It’s “The Line.” Press it and the drugs appear before my eyes. Love, assurances, and drugs and I get what I need to calm me down. So far, no Johnny Walker Blue available.

I’ve had a continuous flow of guests, again always uplifting, though sometimes I need some quiet.

The fear still pops up. What if this protocol doesn’t work? I’m nervous about money. Even though I was told I should allow myself this opportunity to slow my mind down, so far I can’t seem to do it. But my 1 minute rule still applies. I haven’t allowed myself to wallow in anything for too long. I still wallow more about the noises my roommate is making (a curtain separates us) and maybe that’s a good thing… I’m still me.

At least this guy doesn’t smoke in the bathroom.

Skiing in May. Not a bad thought.

Note to self:

I will not engage in any negative thoughts for more than 1 minute. That is my allowance. When I see myself going down the wrong thought pattern, I will quickly think about all the positive comments from doctors and friends that I have been getting, the great prognosis, and the power I have to influence my health. I am not God, I know that, but there is God in all of us and I choose to believe I can use the greatness of men who have invented these cures with the help of some divine guidance. Believe in God or not, it doesn’t matter.

I do believe there is more than meets the eye; I will visualize the cancer cells melting away, my planned ski trip, my body healing, and my healthy cells coming back. There is no truth except the truth of the moment and I will choose as best as I can to think of good and happy thoughts. Because there is no other truth than what I am thinking in that moment. Any fear is fear of the unknown… which I can’t control anyway.

Thanks again for all the loving messages and wishes. I can’t believe it took me so long in my life to feel so genuinely loved and to know that I make a difference.

Again, I said my ultimate goal was to truly love myself. I’m getting there.

We all worry about our children

(Tomorrow, after delays, I finally start my chemo.)

We want to shield them from pain no matter what their age. I want them not to hurt or worry about me. I want them to feel that I am the rock that I am supposed to be. But I can’t do much more than show them love- love that I have always showed them as well as the strength I am feeling… along with the vulnerability and fear I have going on with my faith.

What is somewhat freeing to me is that they are going to do what they are going to do. They will process this through their own filters. They are unique souls and actually have been since they came into this world.

It doesn’t make my pain any less.

We never want our kids to hurt but I really have little control over their reactions and how they sit alone with their own thoughts and process the situation. They will be okay… that I know… The pain is really my pain. I know that I have instilled enough of a home, a physical and spiritual home that they can always return to and, ultimately, that will be enough.

We all love our kids so much and, me being sick, I feel no different except that now they know I am not superman. But I’m still their dad and, by the way, my undying faith is that this will all turn out happy.

Oh, how we love our kids.

Getting ready for football Sunday at the Sloane

Well… there is no redzone channel here so I will be stuck watching my fated Jets. I don’t know if I want them to win or lose for the draft pick, but ultimately I think my mindset is that I always want to win no matter what because there is always the hope- the dream, the belief that on any given play, something magical will be discovered. And that’s why you root for a team even though they keep losing.

Winning is so much better and satisfying after a tough struggle and every game is a new day, a new beginning, a new opportunity to make that game or day a special one.

So I’ll be rooting for them. Win or lose, they are my Jets. I’m not sure I would choose any other team to love. Screw the Pats or the Broncos. I didn’t choose them.

Nothing much changed since yesterday. Waiting for the chemo… can’t sleep in this environment. People are loving and amazing and the protocol is a bear to manage.

Another day, another game, another fight. Wait, it doesn’t have to be a “my fight,” the doctors and meds will fight that battle. I’ll be still dancing in the knowing that I’m going to win.

What I Learned Today

I said in my letter I was going to learn things along the way that would eventually heal me. It was a hard day. I heard the doctor read off a litany of side effects I would likely be experiencing and another weird dynamic is that the more I accept my situation, the more I know it is real. There is no turning back to my old life. I won’t ever be the “Where are we going for dinner Saturday night?” And even if I do say that, it will be a me I don’t even know yet. That’s the hardest part about today. My physical being, the person I knew… the relentless sports, tennis , running, basketball and time at the gym won’t be a part of my everyday life. And there will always be that vulnerability, especially now about my ultimate healing and dare I say… the fear if I don’t… My journey now is to strengthen my belief systems. Beliefs aren’t wrong or right. They are mine. I must always know that at my core. Yes I have science behind me, a bunch of great doctors, but it is me who will heal me.

My first lessons of love and change of how I see myself is that hey, people don’t care where I live or whether I can do a reverse layup (which I can’t, but always wanted to) or whether I can shoot a 75 ( actually don’t care about that one.) I do though love the beauty of a golf course.

What I learned is people who love me or respect me for me, it is for the core person that I am: a vulnerable a person who feels deeply and loves deeply, is passionate whether he’s watching a Jets game, going for a rebound, building a business, seeing a new country, sitting to dinner with my family or arguing a point a view. A person that makes a difference. That’s my lesson for today. I may actually learn to love myself. Let those cells know that so that they change their DNA because they served their purpose. I need to serve mine now. That’s what I’m fighting for and that’s the sadness I feel. I don’t want the pain that goes with the healing.

Day 1 at Sloan

Data coming at me left and right; Many doctors, many nurses and tests. I feel like I’m in the middle of a typhoon, chaotic yet somehow safe from the storm around me because I am sitting there dead center.

I feel safe here because I am around brilliant people who have committed their lives to good and because I know that I will add to whatever they are providing with my own faith that I will help them help me.

It’s a damning protocol and I still can’t grasp the depth of medicines I will be taking… but I trust them and I trust myself. I trust God, Source, that that there are things in life I can’t explain.

It comes down to faith. When I am trusting and in my heart and in my head I feel good and loving and fearless. When I am in my head- my thoughts, my fears, my energy just goes down and down.

It’s just about faith and belief and love; it’s that simple. In the moment, in my moments here, that’s how I will survive and thrive.


Letter To My Friends

My Dear Friends,

I want to thank you so much for the love and care with which you have showered me. Your love has made a big difference to me and has reinforced that I am not alone.

I have cancer. There, I said it. It’s either Leukemia or Lymphoma depending on how it’s categorized. Treatment is the same regardless.

I have chosen to be a patient at Sloan. I will be there for 30 days. That’s their protocol. I’ve been told the first 30 days can be tough but given my state of health it may not be so bad. It’s a long road of ahead, but I spoke to the head of the department and he is very optimistic I can have a full recovery.
It’s a rare lymphoma, aggressive and all, but it is treatable and possibly curable.

I know the road ahead will be rough, with times of real fear and despair, but who knows… maybe I’ll surprise myself. At the moment, I am okay… because I know I’m being treated by the best in the world.

I think ultimately when the fear is stripped, I do believe in the power to help heal myself and, while I will let western medicine do all it can, I will do everything in my power to think, visualize eat, and speak “full recovery.” Most of all, that’s how I want you to relate to me (with some hugs.)
Love and compassion help me and when I believe, have faith, feel power: everything shifts. I feel it in my body and in my moods. My thoughts change. Sometimes there are no words to say and just being in the presence of love, I believe, will strengthen my immune system. That and my ki energy treatments I am talking : )

Yes my life is upside down now and we are in shock, but I plan on looking for the good in this. When I am cured, and along the way, I will surely discover many new things about myself and my life. We all say that a lot but somehow I know it will stick with me. I hope I can limit my bad depressed moods.

Randy has been an angel for me and this has only reinforced the deep love I have for her. Jake, with whom I spend every day working together, has been positive and focused and yet I’m his dad so there is an obvious sadness. Michael is in school and I trust he will be fine– sad but optimistic. Layla looks very sad though : ) and my sister has been helping us navigate all the way.

It wasn’t my eating, my diet, or my lifestyle that had me get this disease and I may never know exactly how it ended up in my chest or what was the cause. I may never know… but I promise that I will be looking at my life in a way that will give me more peace, more gratefulness, and more love. And as you know, I rarely look at anything at face value or as a given (except that the Jets will always lose at the end.)

My life is forever changed.

I am on a new journey to see what pain or unfinished business I haven’t resolved in my life. I am on a journey to get healed, to heal myself and to empower all the people and love that go into treating me. I am grateful for that.

I believe my life will ultimately become richer and fuller from this. I believe my business will get better because I will have more clarity; I will not be chasing the dollar as much as my passions.

I’m scared; the unknown is scary. I’ve survived a lot in my life, especially in my childhood; turmoil, suffering, shame, and fear. I always made it happen and now I want to make it happen but in a more peaceful meaningful way.

This is my toughest challenge and I’m up to it.

Thank you and I love you all.