Today’s a new day! Life is full of beautiful teachable moments. Don’t miss one. ~OC
Good morning! I had the honor of being on my friend Marvin Bee’s podcast last night. Marvin and I attended college together at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Thanks for having me Marvin. ~OC
***During the podcast I mistakenly said I completed my first marathon 4 months after surgery. I meant to say I started running 4 months after surgery. I actually completed my first marathon a year after open heart surgery. Sorry for any confusion.
Last night, I had the pleasure of being on my friends podcast Man Up, Already! I would encourage everyone to check out his podcast. Some really great material. Below is a link to my appearance on the podcast. ~OC
Are you or your organization looking for a speaker for your next event? Are you looking for a speaker who will encourage your audience? A speaker who will challenge your audience to look at life with a different perspective? A speaker who will make your audience laugh and maybe even shed a tear?
If you answered yes to any of the questions, I would be honored to speak with you about sharing my crazy beautiful journey at your next event. You can click on the FAQ button on this site and contact me. I promise more laughter than tears. ~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
As some of you know, based on my health issues I speak with a whisper these days. The photo above is my Chatter Vox Amplifier. Without this device, you could not hear me. I always have to warn new people before they call about my device. If not the first few minutes of the conversation can be really awkward.
Some people see this device and feel sorry for me. Let me ease your mind. This device has been a beautiful blessing. It has allowed me to continue having a social life. Life was difficult when people could not hear me and I had to continually repeat myself. Talk about frustrating.
Also this device has allowed me to continue sharing my story with an audience. Not great for a speaking career, when no one can hear you. I am blessed to be able to still share about my crazy beautiful health journey.
Plus, it’s a great conversation stater. If you saw someone wearing this around their neck, wouldn’t you asked about it? Of course you would. So I never have to worry about starting a conversation.
We all deal with tough situations in life. Mine just happen to be health related. But I have not let my health journey keep me from thriving in life. I do not know what kind of storm you are facing today, but I encourage you to take what the world might perceive as a negative and turn it into a beautiful positive. ~OC
When your dealing with multiple life threatening health issues, each day brings different challenges. Some days those challenges can seem overwhelming. What’s awesome, is each day I am able to choose how I deal with those challenges.
When my crazy beautiful health journey started over 17 years ago, I made the choice to embrace my challenges and really live life. That is not always easy. My body is really not my own anymore. Most of the time my body feels foreign to me. But even in those tough moments, I still get to choose how I deal with this new reality. Do I allow my challenges to consume me or do I choose to overcome those challenges?
If you have followed my story at all, you know the answer to that question. I have made the choice to truly live. Even though it would be easier to sit around and take it easy, I choose to take trips with my beautiful bride and make amazing memories. I choose to use my story to encourage others dealing with their own crazy beautiful journey. Heck, I even chose to write a book. I choose to live a positive life.
I believe my positive outlook on life, has gotten me through some of my toughest days. I believe my days as a long-distance runner, has given me the mental strength to deal with the health struggles I deal with on a daily basis. I know my faith has helped guide me through this crazy beautiful journey. Because I know this journey is only temporary.
Each morning, we choose how we life today. Here are some choices I make daily.
Today, I choose to be a Warrior.
Today, I choose to be an Overcomer.
Today, I choose to Thrive.
Today, I choose to Live. ~OC
“I left so encouraged”
“What an amazing journey”
“Laura and Todd’s story will blow you away.”
“Everyone needs to hear Todd and Laura’s crazy beautiful journey.”
These are just a few comments from past speaking engagements. If your organization is looking for a speaker, I hope you will consider Laura West Shoemaker and I.
Check out the video below for part of my story.
During my 17-year plus crazy beautiful health journey, I have learned many lessons. Here are just a few:
1). Embracing Relationships That Matter.
Want to find out who your true friends are? Let life throw you for a loop and you will quickly find out.
During this journey, many friends who I thought would stand with me walked away. I must admit that hurt. But, instead of dwelling on those friends that walked out, I decided to celebrate those that have stuck around through the best and worst of times. I am forever grateful for each and everyone of them.
2). Laugh And Then Laugh Some More.
My wife and I have learned the power of laughter during the darkest times. Our dark humor has helped us deal with some of the toughest moments in this crazy beautiful journey.
Even during the worst days, when my medical team has stated they have no idea what is going on with my body. Or when they wonder out loud, how are you still alive? We still laugh.
Sometimes it comes down to, if we don’t laugh about the situation we might go hide in a dark place. Who wants to deal with that scenario?
3). Be Your Own Advocate.
During the early days of my health journey, Laura and I depended on my medical team. Hey, their the experts. They know best. Wrong!
After some of my doctors refused to listen to us, Laura and I learned we needed to take charge of my healthcare. If not, some of our former doctors would have ended up killing me. That’s not a joke.
It is vital to stand up for yourself and take charge of your healthcare needs. If you are not able to do it yourself, please have a team of advocates around you. They could save your life.
Never be afraid to ask questions. Listen to your gut. Never be afraid to fire your medical team.
4). Keep Living Life.
Do not allow a bad diagnosis to keep you from living your life. I mean truly living life.
Stop putting things off until you get better. Guess what? You may never get better. So take that trip. Take that class you always wanted to. Call that friend who’s been on your mind.
Do not get so caught up in your health journey, that you forget to embrace the beautiful moments of life. The truth is, we only get one shot at life. Don’t waste a minute. ~OC