The Power of Choice

Last night I was asked to say a few words at a wonderful community Prayer service. Below was the message I delivered .

The Power of Choice

When we first started these prayer services many months ago, as we all know, they were for my brother in law, Lefty Snyder. The intentions quickly grew to include me, Larry Kirk, Bobby DiLullo, Todd Monastero, and many others.

Some of you know my story and why I was added to the prayer list. But many of you don’t. For those of you who don’t know my situation, for almost 13 years I’ve been living with a chronic form of leukemia for which there is no cure – yet.

So for the last 4,718 days we’ve managed it with the goal of keeping it in remission. When it flares up, we treat it.

And over the years that has required 54 rounds of chemotherapy along with countless rounds of steroids to keep me in remission. While they’ve been successful…. those treatments can also be quite toxic.

However, since being added to this prayer list, since you have been praying for me, a newer targeted therapy treatment option has become available to me which I started a few months ago. I have ZERO side effects, it is keeping me 100% in remission, and it is now covered by my health insurance.

I now have a new normal and I thank God and you and your prayers for helping to provide that new normal. For me. And for my family.

One would assume that living with a chronic blood cancer for which there is no cure surely can’t be much fun. And the more typical reaction people have in this situation must be “GOD I wish I never had this stupid disease and everything that goes with it”

The truth is ….. The truth is my disease has opened many more doors than it has closed and created more opportunities than it has taken away. Because of the choices that I made along the way.

While I didn’t have a choice in the diagnosis that I was given, I had many choices in the things I did next. How I reacted, and how I responded to the diagnosis.

Among my choices were the tangibles like running home from chemo treatments, and continuing to race and train for triathlons in and around chemo. As well as getting involved with blood cancer organizations, and being visible and vocal with my journey so I could be a resource for others.

But there were also intangible choices that proved very empowering. Like CHOOSING HOPE. Like CHOOSING PRAYER. And like trying my best not to WORRY about what’s next and focus on being present and being where my feet are at any given moment.

We tend to overwhelm ourselves with all of the “what wases” and all of the “what might bes” of life. And the truth of the matter is the “what is” might not be that bad if we give it a chance.

Those choices have enabled me to view my disease as more of a gift than a burden or a curse.

I would also like to express our sincere gratitude for the outpouring of love, support, and prayers for my wife Mary Grace as she also recovers from brain aneurysm surgery.

And we can thank Lefty for saving her life. It was because of his aneurysm and its hereditary nature that all of his siblings needed to also be screened.

Unfortunately MG had a few that needed attention. But fortunately, we caught them early and were able to treat them before there was a potentially critical situation.

I’m happy to say she is on the mend and getting a little better every day. MG and I have felt your love and our collective prayers for her have been heard.

Before I go, I’d like to leave you with this. And in the spirit of being all inclusive, this is actually a Buddhist saying that’s very fitting for tonight that goes like this…

A happy person is happy, not because everything in his life is right.

A happy person is happy because his attitude towards everything in his life is right.

A happy person is happy because he CHOOSES ….. HAPPINESS.

Thank you and God Bless

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