When did you feel something was wrong?
I had no idea until my cancer was diagnosed on July 2, 2021 that I had a major health issue.
How was the cancer discovered?
I was experiencing occasional numbness in my left leg when I went to sleep at night. The team at BIÂN, including our M.D., chiropractor, doctor of Chinese medicine and others began working on the numbers within each of their specific areas, and then talking together to understand, diagnose and prepare a treatment plan. After a short time, despite multiple [various] treatments, they collectively decided a spine MRI was necessary to rule out a spinal impingement. Through this MRI, as an incidental finding, a lesion was discovered which required a CAT scan thereafter. The CAT scan confirmed a significant issue, which was then diagnosed as kidney cancer by a specialist at Northwestern.
How did you handle the diagnosis?
A brief moment of disbelief followed by a determination to walk the only path available to address the issue.
What gave you hope during an unknown time?
I am convinced that positive thought results in positive outcomes. While I didn’t know exactly what the end result of my journey would be, I had a firm belief that the outcome would ultimately be a positive one. My incredible wife, Dominica, was a constant source of comfort, love, positive energy and healing. It’s hard to be down when someone so truly amazing is by your side. My very strong family gave me additional support and love, particularly my wonderful and loving mother (I lost my dad to brain cancer when I was 25).
Beyond that, BIÂN’s team of healers gave me everything one could have or need to prepare for a difficult survey and recovery. The entire BIÂN community supported me with positive energy, caring, love, prayers and many other forms of community support. So, combine a singularly positive outlook on life with all the others supporting me and I didn’t so much cling to anything, but rather felt I was constantly surrounded by a cocoon of positive energy.
When did your surgery take place?
Aug. 26, 2021
How is healing going?
Other than not having cancer in the first place, the surgery and post-surgery recovery were exactly the positive outcome I manifested. The surgeon was able to save a good portion of my kidney after removing the cancer. The biopsy also showed that the margin around the cancerous tissue removed was free of cancer cells, meaning I am now cancer-free. Because part of my kidney was left and had to be reattached to my body, the recovery was more physically difficult than a full kidney removal. That said, I focused each day on just getting to the next day knowing that my body would fully recover with time and additional work.
I had my first acupuncture/energy treatment just six days after my surgery. Three and a half months later, I am now mentally stronger than before and physically getting back to my pre-surgery strength. I started back with my karate training four weeks ago, and that to me is a big step to moving forward entirely from this little life detour.
What does the word survivor mean to you?
I always think about not just surviving, but thriving. The word ‘survive’ connotes to me that an outside force has some level of control over our chosen path, but the word ‘thrive’ allows me to reconnect with the idea that we make our choices and thus the way we live our life is completely up to us!