“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson
Steve Abbott is my wife’s uncle. The first time I met him, I said to Amber, “My word, that man has a fantastic head of hair.” This is not my follicle envy speaking. The dude has a tremendous mane. Steve and his wife, Diana, are really cool people; very friendly and fun, and I genuinely enjoy their company.
A few months back, Steve was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Sometimes, when my mind gets a little morbid, I think about how I would handle news like that. Would I be able to put a brave face on and go to battle? Could I stand strong for my wife and son and let them know that it’s okay? Would I let it tear me down? Being that I’ve never been given such dire news, I can’t possibly dream of what my reaction would be. I just don’t know. What I do know is how Steve handled it, and it’s exactly the way that I hope I would handle it in similar circumstances.
I remember the day we heard the news about Steve. We were sitting on my mother in law’s porch. It was such a sinking feeling, and I felt terrible for Steve, Diana and the Sewell/Smith family. I couldn’t fathom their range of emotions. Shortly after, I started seeing posts from Steve on Facebook. They were the most positive and optimistic things I could have imagined seeing from someone up against such an adversary. He was posting pictures of his travels and updating statuses with messages of motivation and hope. Just this morning I was forwarded an email that Steve sent out to friends and family discussing a most recent visit to the doctor. Unfortunately, he didn’t receive the news he was hoping for. This was his response to that:
“In the past 13 years, I have had a concussion, broken both thumbs, broken my left hand twice, suffered a fractured eye socket, developed tinnitus (nonstop ringing in my ears), broken my left foot, my ankle, suffered a tibial plateau fracture that required reconstructive surgery and six months of physical rehab, suffered nerve damage to my brachial plexus, had prostate cancer surgery and an emergency repair of an incarcerated inguinal hernia. This thing has no idea what it’s up against!!!”
Are you kidding me right now? This, after the original diagnosis, the ongoing battle, the news that the battle would continue…and he’s ready to take on more? I find this ultimately inspiring and amazing. After asking if I could tell a bit of his story on the blog, Steve added:
“…I would have never chosen all of this, but I’m not entirely sure I would change it even if I had the chance. There is still so much they can do for me that I don’t think it will take my life and as a result, I get a rare chance at a wake up call that a lot of people don’t get until it’s too late. For me right now, air smells fresher, snows look fluffier and whiter, food (and wine) tastes better, etc. My goal is to not waste many minutes of however many I have left and as luck would have it, I believe I have a LOT of those minutes left to go. Yesterday was a pretty big punch in the gut and if I am honest, I am having to force the optimism a bit today. But I guess the point is that we have dusted ourselves off and are pointing forward and focusing on the positives.”
I won’t let my words belabor the message. I think Steve’s words are more than capable of standing alone. Keep perspective. Stay positive. Fight the good fight.
Thanks to Steve for letting me do this. I am grateful for the inspiration. You’re setting an amazing example.
Have an awesome Friday,
P.S. Click here for something Steve wrote himself. It’s amazing.