In September of 2007, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I thought to myself I needed to mark this moment. So what should I do? I had always wanted to go skydiving. Why would anyone want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane? I got that question a lot. But I always thought it would be a great experience. So, after my Parkinson’s diagnosis, I decided I was going to jump out of a perfectly good plane. On a cool November morning, I filled out some paperwork, watched a video and prepared myself to jump out of a perfectly fine airplane. I was doing fine until I got on the plane and started getting further away from land. I started thinking is this really a good idea? Could I really jump out of a plane? I thought to myself I survived cancer, major surgery, a new diagnosis of Parkinson’s and countless hospital visits. Should I really be jumping out of a plane? I knew this was only fear trying to keep me from this incredible experience. I knew I would regret it if I tapped out and stayed on the plane. No, I was not going to allow fear to keep me from this opportunity. So at 14,000 feet up in the air, strapped to my instructor I decided to jump out. Before we jumped out, the instructor asked if I wanted to just jump out or did I want to do some flips on the way down? If I was going to do this, I was going to do some flips on the way down. What a fantastic view and experience. I loved every minute of this adventure. We landed safely and my wife had a big smile on her face. I think there was some relief mixed in with that smile. Embrace the adventures! ~OC
In 2003, I became a member of the cancer community. My prayer is that one day, we will be able to say goodbye to World Cancer Day. ~OC
Along this journey called life, we all deal with fear. Fear can hit us during what we thought would be a routine doctors appointment. Fear can hit us when test result comes back with more questions than answers. Fear can hit us when we watch the news or scroll through social media. We have all experienced fear in our lives.
Back in 2003, one of my doctors called me early one morning and shared he needed to see me right away. Oh, make sure you bring your wife. A little fear hit me at that moment. Later when the doctor shared I had a tumor, the fear grew a little deeper. Fear, Worry and Anxiety. My wife and I experienced all those feelings sitting in that doctors office.
A few weeks later a biopsy revealed the tumor was the size of golfball. A few weeks after that, surgery revealed the tumor was cancerous. Once again, Fear, Worry and Anxiety smacked me in the face. Things seemed overwhelming at that point.
Then something amazing happened. As I laid in ICU hooked up to several machines, God took away the fear, worry and anxiety. Those feelings were replaced by peace, calmness and even joy. Yes, joy. What changed?
God reminded me of the week long fast I had done a year earlier during a missions trip. He shared the reason I had fasted was to prepare me for this very moment. Peace flooded my room and heart at that moment. At that moment, I completely turned my heart toward Jesus and trusted Him to walk me through this journey.
Even though I had been filled with fear, anxiety and worry, Jesus was right there with me. He welcomed me into His presence, even as I was filled with fear. He never abandoned me in my time of need.
During that moment, I still had to deal with life as a cancer patient. But that unknown did not overwhelm me anymore. Jesus reminded me that He was bigger than any health issue I would ever face. I am thankful, I did not know my future would be full of more health issues, test, multiple doctors appointments and hospital stays. No, at that moment I was just filled with peace.
Here I am in 2019, still fighting multiple health issues. Still fighting for my life every day. Still living in the unknown regarding my health. But I am still experiencing that same peace and joy, I experienced in that ICU room so many years ago. Knowing that Jesus is still bigger than anything life throws at me. Still living life with a thankful heart. ~OC
Several friends suggested I should share my video. So here you go. This is part of my story. ~OC
Over the years when I have faced another medical trial, I have stated “It’s just another bump in the road.” Yesterday, God changed my mindset. He shared with me that instead of looking at my current situation as another bump in the road, I should instead look at my health challenges as another blessing in the road. Pretty mind blowing. I also believe it could be a life changing way of looking at our circumstances. With every “Bump in the Road” has come a blessing. Let me share some examples.
*A Missionary. During my crazy beautiful health journey, God has allowed me to become a missionary at doctors appointments and hospital stays. God has blessed me with the incredible opportunity to encourage others during those visits.
*My Voice. Based on my health issues, I have lost my physical voice. I speak with a whisper these days. I use a voice amplifier to help me speak. But during this time, God has blessed me with the opportunity to speak out loudly against human trafficking, racism and other important issues.
*Listen. During this crazy beautiful journey, God has helped me become a better listener. I always thought I was a good listener until I got sick. It was then that I realized, I tended to listen so I could respond. So I could fix things. During this journey, God has blessed me with the incredible opportunity to just listen. Not to be the fixer. Not to share my opinion. Just to listen.
*Extra Weight. When I got sick again in 2009, I was prescribed the highest dose of prednisone (a steroid), that you can take. I put on a ton of weight in a short period of time. I went from my running weight of 150 to over 200 pounds in less than six months. All the weight went straight to my stomach. Based on the fact I could no longer run or exercise, it was difficult to take weight off. It was very frustrating. Then in 2014, I started losing my appetite. Then from the middle of 2016 to the first of 2017, I lost 90 pounds. Yes, you read that correctly. 90 pounds! That is when I had my feeding tube inserted. That extra weight saved my life. A bump in the road turned into a life saving blessing in the road.
*A Book. In March of this year, my memoir The Blessed Overcomer was published. If not for this “bump in the road”, I would have never written a book. You can find my book on Amazon or you can contact me about getting a signed copy. A little shameless plug.
*This Blog. Once again, if not for this crazy beautiful health journey there is no blog. I do not have a huge following and probably never will, but that was never the point. I am thankful for everyone who drops by and checks out my blog. Writing my thoughts down has been very cathartic. A wonderful blessing.
As I reflect on my crazy beautiful health journey, I have so many Blessings In The Road moments. It took God changing my mindset to realize this amazing truth. ~OC