There is no day that goes by without me feeling extremely thankful for all the good fortune I had in life. And despite the scary moments I have managed to continue to rise and learn to enjoy another sunset. No doubt it has taken hard work but that comes easy because I am pretty stubborn, the word “No” just fuels my spirit.
One of favorite phrases or quotes is “Life is a journey” it basically describes mine.
My journey started growing up in Mexico City. From a middle class family, we didn’t have a lot of money but we had family unity, great values, love and support.
In the middle of one of the largest most beautiful cities of world it always felt like a small and tight community.
At 24 I packed my bass, my skateboard and two bags and headed to Boston. I wanted to get educated in sound engineering, I had been moonlighting as bass player and sound guy for several years and loving it.
I was fortunate to be accepted at Berklee College of Music. I am proud to say that I paid my way thru school, my life savings allowed me to pay for the first year, the rest came from several non glamorous under the table jobs and a few sound gigs at local clubs.
Upon graduation I was very lucky to be offered a job as recording / production engineer at WGBH Radio the prestigious NPR station. That allowed me to quit the odd jobs. I also started to do some music projects at a top notch recording studio. It was there where I also started to get involved in commercial production and found a calling for copywriting. Soon I pitched and won a small account followed by a large one. So I opened my small ad agency. The sky is the limit! I was about to start the American dream! All those years of cleaning toilets, working in kitchens and studying hard were about to pay…
I was 35 then, I had just finished a large corporate communications project. The project involved filming in several countries. I was very excited because next there was a trip to India to do audio recordings for a BBC radio documentary about the Monsoon.
That’s when I started to find blood in my stool. My doctor thought it was “some spicy food I had eaten in Mexico”, later perhaps lactose intolerance or an ulcer…
A mild diet was prescribed. I didn’t care my energy was focused in my upcoming journey to India. I still remember fresh in my mind the day that I headed to the hospital to get all the traveling medical shots… All of the sudden my brand new cell phone rang. It was my doctor, she wanted me to get an emergency Sigmoidoscopy instead. My wife had called her and described how much pain I was in and reminded her that I was about to embark on journey to India.
The GI doctor didn’t like what the sigmoidoscopy revealed so he recommended a colonoscopy for next Monday. The face of GI after Monday’s colonoscopy wasn’t happy. On Wednesday I was in an emergency meeting with the specialist to plan a major surgery asap. I had a fairly large cancerous tumor and they didn’t want to take chances.
After the surgery I had 9 months of chemo. Because I am a firm believer of natural & alternative treatments as well as western medicine. I took myself to have acupuncture along with the treatments, as well as taking a few herbs to boost my immune system and the cat’s claw to heal my digestive system.
A few years after my 1st anniversary, anger and confusion surfaced. I kept asking why? Why I was derailed from the “American dream”. I felt I had been confined to the sidelines.
In 1999 I was invited to work pro-bono as an audio guy for the filming a round table interview of six breast cancer survivor women. I had a “cathartic” moment. For the first time in a long while I heard similar stories… I wasn’t alone!
Then on 2000 I came across of a picture of my dad and I. He must been around the same age I was and I must been 4 or 5. He looked so healthy, smiling and full of live.
That’s when “the light bulb when on”… I turned my life around and started exercising.
When I turned 40 I was at the best health and mental shape of my life. I finally liked who I saw in the mirror. My adult life started. I have embraced life and learned to life everyday fully.
A few years ago I was very lucky to meet Erika Hanson-Brown. She introduced me to Colontown. And on a journey to DC I had the honor to meet Todd and hear about his story and Destination Ride.
The journey of my life recently brought me to Toronto, Canada to remarry. And I can say that I have found my new tribe! I have been 18 years cancer free. No day goes by that I don’t feel extremely lucky for so many reasons. And that’s why I live my life fully everyday.