We had a little early publicity and announcement last week, but today is the “official release” of The Way of the Cancer Warrior book. The Kindle Edition is now available on Amazon here.
Honestly, I don’t really have a huge marketing and PR campaign for it. A few of my friends are doing a write-up, an interview, or are allowing me to do a guest post, in order to help spread the word (thanks my brothers and sisters, I owe you big time). I’ll let you know when those hit the Internet Airwaves.
And me? I figured the best way to help you decide whether this book is for you or not is to let you read some of it. I don’t want you buying the book because of some slick sales copy that hooked you. No gimmicks or tricks with this one. The content is just too personal to me, and the stakes are too high for those it is intended to help. I want you to grab the book only if you think it can be of some use to you, your family, or your friends.
So today I’m posting up the Intro Section. I called it The Battlefield. Next week I’ll put up some of the strategies. Sound good to you?
1. THE ATTACK
Cancer has launched an all out attack on my family. It has taken lives, caused suffering and sorrow, and dragged some of the people I love the most into the pits of hell. We’ve experienced the pain and hardship it can cause. We understand the fear, frustration, and despair that can take over your life. We know just how much this ruthless disease can take from you.
And you? The diagnosis has been made. The plan has been set. No matter how much you’d like to, you can’t change the reality of the situation. You have no choice but to dig down deep, face your challenge, and fight back. This is the only way you will reclaim what is rightfully yours, something that we all too often take for granted – a normal life. Maybe, with a newfound warrior spirit, it will become extraordinary.
You are not alone in this battle. We have a common enemy, one that transcends all cultural and social barriers. For this is a worldwide attack. If we don’t stand side-by-side in this fight, we are all doomed. We must show cancer it messed with the wrong family, with the wrong group of friends. If they dare attack us and the one’s we love, we are attacking back with ruthless aggression, with no mercy.
The battle has now entered your home. The only question is this — will you fight or will you flee?
2. HEROES FIGHT BACK
My wife’s dad battled brain cancer for years. He fought hard, inspired many, and became a legend. My sister is battling kidney and stomach cancer. Her life has been turned completely upside down. Yet she faces every challenge with a smile. Two friends crushed the initial attack of leukemia at a very young age. They’ve gone on to do great things in their lives.
In 2009, my dad was diagnosed with stage-4 throat cancer. His life was changed in an instant. He went from one day planning his upcoming fishing trip to the next day fighting for his life.
The doctors prescribed an intensive treatment protocol — daily radiation sessions combined with chemotherapy infusions. He had a feeding tube inserted into his stomach because he could no longer eat solid food.
I don’t know if hell exists, and if it does what it’s like, but watching my dad go through his treatment sure gives me a good idea. He experienced most of the general side effects associated with cancer treatment: hair loss, muscle loss, fatigue, depression, gastrointestinal distress, rashes, aches, pains, etc. He also had symptoms specific to throat cancer: painful throat sores that made it difficult to eat or swallow, loss of all sense of taste. I might as well stop there and tell you what he didn’t experience – any semblance of a normal life.
I visited my dad every weekend during his treatment. As time progressed I could see his symptoms getting worse and his body deteriorating, but nevertheless he persevered.
One weekend I showed up and I could tell something was different. As I sat across from my dad and looked into his eyes, I knew immediately that the worst thing possible was happening — his spirit was breaking. The human body can take almost anything, but if your spirit collapses, all is lost. My Dad’s words that day confirmed what my gut instinct was telling me. He told me things were so bad that he was going to quit.
My immediate responses were probably very typical of someone in that situation. I said things like, “You can’t quit. You’re halfway through. Don’t give up. I love you too much to lose you.”
I went home that night and knew I had to do something more. He wasn’t going to change his mind just because I wanted him to. Somehow, some way, he was going to have to find some personal motivation from within to persevere, and continue struggling on through this epic battle. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t step in and do it for him. As Bruce Lee once said, “there is no help but self-help”. I knew I had to find a way to help my dad make it through these tough times, to find his fight. I also knew superficial, cliché statements weren’t going to cut it.
I went home that day, stayed up all night, and wrote him the following letter straight from the heart. I apologize in advance for the frequent use of the word shit in this letter. It was an emotionally charged, shitty time:
*NOTE – Since this is a blog post, and not a book, I eliminated the letter for the sake of space.
To make a long story short, my dad didn’t quit, he persevered, he struggled, he sacrificed, he fought through it all, and he finished his treatment. Somewhere along the way, he found his reason to fight. Patients with his specific condition last on average 6 months. As I write this, it is nearly 4 years later.
What have been some of his rewards for beating the odds? He got to stand by his son’s side as the best man at his wedding. He got to help two of his other sons overcome some personal struggles, get back on their feet, see them kick butt in their careers, and know that they were going to be OK moving forward. He got to watch his favorite baseball team win the World Series. He got to spend valuable time with his grandchildren, watch them grow up, and develop their own personalities. He got to celebrate his 75th birthday with friends and family that flew in from around the world. He got to take one last trip with his wife. He got to motivate everyone else around him to face his or her own struggles in life. And in this son’s eyes, he grew from a great man into a legend that will inspire forever. None of this would have been possible if he had given up.
Unfortunately, my dad is down to clinical trial studies that have some pretty nasty side effects. He recently had emergency surgery to remove cancerous blood trapped inside his heart and lungs, and a trachea tube inserted to help him breathe. Yet he keeps putting one foot in front of the other and marching on. He wants a few more memories to take with him when he goes.
I hope you do too.
3. A NEW HERO RISES
When man comes to a conscious vital realization of those great spiritual forces within himself, and begins to use those forces in science, in business, and in life, his progress in the future will be unparalleled. – Striking Thoughts.
Most of us don’t know how strong we can be, how much we can accomplish, and how we can rise to the occasion when the stakes truly matter. Sometimes it takes life backing you into a corner to force you to look inside, find the warrior within, and let him or her out.
If you’re dealing with cancer, I don’t have to tell you about the gut-wrenching physical and emotional challenges you are currently facing: symptoms and side effects outside of your own control; the feeling that your own body is rebelling against you; the frustrating see-saw of good and bad days; wishing things were back to normal and your fate had fallen upon someone else; alternating optimism and hope with doubt and despair; the constant battle between wanting to live and feeling so sick that giving up sounds like your only true option; the fear of dying and what’s next; the fear of living but no longer being anything like you were before your diagnosis or treatment; worrying about what will happen to your family when you are gone.
All of that building up inside can either cripple you, or can be used to crush your enemy. Somehow, you must find a way to take all of that fear, doubt, and frustration; convert it into positive energy and action; and unleash it against your opponent. It is clear that cancer has underestimated the power of the human spirit in general, and yours in particular. You should not make the same mistake.
Champions, heroes, and legends are made, not born. In most superhero stories, the hero starts out as just an ordinary man or woman. He or she is thrust into battle — most of the time against his or her will — and only becomes the hero by dealing with the circumstances, overcoming extraordinary challenges, and conquering the villain.
You have the opportunity now to conquer the greatest villain this life has to offer. Are you ready to rise to the occasion and win?
4. HOW TO USE THIS BOOK IN YOUR WAR
Each strategy starts with a few quotes. As you fight, I want you to have the most powerful weapons possible at your side. I believe these are just that — simple words of wisdom that will remain with you long after this book is gone. You will be able to call upon them for motivation when you need it most. Following the quotes, we focus on the practical steps to take in order to apply them in battle.
*Quotes courtesy of Tuttle Publishing
1. Find and apply the strategies that resonate with you.
Some strategies will be relevant to your personal situation and style. Some will not. Focus only on those that connect with you personally, and help motivate you to take action, fight your fight, and win your war. Ignore the rest.
2. Write down and use your own strategies as well.
I encourage you to write down your own motivational quotes, sayings, and strategies as well. Use the resources and experiences you’ve been exposed to in your own life. There is no greater education than self-education. There is no greater help than self-help. There are no weapons more powerful than the ones that come from within.
This book is dedicated to Jerry Miyaki – the best friend, mentor, role model, warrior, hero, and dad a guy could have ever asked for.