When I was a senior in high school, in 2000, my family went up to Philadelphia to see my grandfather because he wasn’t doing so well. As my brother and I walked into the small townhouse, my grandfather was sitting right there in his chair, his body a ghost of its former self. We carried him upstairs to his bed, his final resting place.
He had stomach cancer that was associated from smoking his whole life. He started smoking a ton when he was a 19-year-old B-29 gunner in the Pacific Ocean during World War II. (I don’t really blame him.) When he died, he had a cyst in his stomach the size of a football. (It was so big, I was told, that it got sent to Hopkins for research purposes.) I vowed never to smoke cigarettes in my life from then on and I never have.
Fast forward to Monday, and my dad is undergoing surgery to remove a tumor in his eye. It was supposed to be a two-to-three-hour surgery but ended up being nearly five hours because, you guessed it, the tumor was bigger than expected. They had to cut out the side of my dad’s eye and slowly pull out a golf ball-sized tumor right behind his eye, affecting his vision.
The doctor said the tumor looks benign but it needs to still be tested. My dad smoked when he was younger but quit for my mom. He was one of those tough guys that kept a pack of cigarettes in his shirt pocket at all times to remind himself that he could smoke but he wouldn’t. I guess that tough, Scottish moxie helped him get through his surgery, too.
Bottom line: Life is awesome. Cancer sucks. Love your loved ones. Take your clients seriously but not yourself too seriously.
And don’t smoke cigarettes.