Surgery and the Call

1st Surgery

We arrive at Zale Lipshy hospital (part of UTSW) and we are greeted by valet parking and smooth check-in.   I’m starting to get a little “fiscal anxiety” because no one can seem to tell me what anything costs or what my responsibility will be.   Deep breath. It will be OK.

The staff proves to be incredible.   I moved from a pre-op, into the surgery itself smoothly, greeted by Dr. Marple in the operating room.   Honestly, I am glad they put me out because I did catch a glance at the “tools” available to him, which appears to consist of a collection of hooks and spoons all designed to go up my nose.   Night night, I’m done.

I wake up to almost no pain and the Dr. explaining they successfully removed the “entity”.

I have a really nice discharge nurse, Julie, who walked through the process including pain management, etc.   

So far so good.  I can breathe. Literally.  The doc schedules a follow up visit in one week.  All good.

The Call

8AM on day 6 after the surgery I get a call from Sally.   She asks what I am doing today and how long it will take me to get there.

Umm, about 40 minutes.   She says just come on down now.

Ummm, OK.  This isn’t good.  We head that way, a little pit in our stomach.

The New Diagnosis

Dr Marple enters the room.  He says there’s been a “change”.   Apparently the non-cancerous thing is actually a rare form of nasal sarcoma like I know what that is.    It’s now about 9:30 AM and he informs us that my case was reviewed by the ‘tumor board’ at UTSW this morning meaning they had to meet at like 7AM, which is a multi-disciplinary panel of experts. Neurologists, Otolaryngologists, Oncologists, etc.    This entire group of really smart doctors reviewed my case as a team and came up with a consensus on my treatment plan.

Whoa. I almost lose it in gratitude. Again.   

The professionalism and skill of these doctors is beyond me.  The care and connection to detail is such a contrast to my experience in the past.  Wow.

I also have a new Dr.  A radiation oncologist.   The treatment plan consists of removing a fragment of my skull where the tumor was attached and covering it with a “vasculated flap” which will eventually turn into scar tissue.

Again, while I am not worried – I am grateful.  I have no idea why.

Maynard

During this time we also made a decision to purchase a new home.  We had been in our home for 22 years and while we loved it, it was a family home and needs a family.   Our kids are grown and off living their own lives. Aside from a small army of rescued scrappy terrier-like dogs, it is just us.  

We took a long-shot offer on a 55-year-old lake property near Dallas which has some incredible potential but had fallen into disrepair.   We decided to tackle the project. In the end, we’d have an incredible home for the rest of our lives.     This place needed us.  And we needed it.  

We were set to close on my birthday.  We did. To say this place is a project is an understatement, but we manage to close and start a fairly extensive renovation.   I’m pretty sure we’ve seen too much “Fixer Upper” episodes. More on this journey later…

The Backstory

I’m one of the few guys I know that actually do what they set out to study.  I have always loved technology and frankly technology’s ability to transform business.  I just love it. And I’m good at it. I studied information technology in school, went on and got an MBA in international business and subsequently traveled all over the world doing IT and ultimately owning a company overseas.  It’s been an amazing ride …one that I wouldn’t trade for anything. 

Except one problem.  I have been “checking the box” for 30 years.    I had built a business, been in consulting, failed miserably in one startup, bought a business, grew it, worked for huge global consulting companies and built systems that help power the world’s energy industry.

I was controlled by ambition and building the most amazing resume I could build.    But, I was changing. Older, mellower. Less intent on being right all the time, or winning all the time. 

We sold my business a couple of years ago.   That business had consumed me, my health, our finances and mostly, I simply didn’t enjoy it anymore.   But, I had done what I set out to do, build a strong career, a financial plan that works and a beautiful family.    We lost my mom a few years earlier and it impacted my view of life, and how long we really have.   

After careful thought and planning, we executed a successful sale of the business to a large corporation.   At the end, they turned out to be bozos and managed to pull back almost half of the value of the deal. Aside from being annoyed, I had accomplished my objective.  Escape.   

Now, this is a longer story for another time.  But after 30 years, I was tired and Mary and I wanted to travel.  So we did. Alot.

  • Ireland
  • Germany
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Mexico
  • Cuba
  • All over the USA
  • France
  • Spain
  • Hawaii

I’ve constructed a new business and it’s still a work in process and always will be.   I have constructed this one in a way that it will never consume me the way the old one did – and I can run it from anywhere.   The reason I am sharing this is there’s a HUGE lesson here. Do it while you can! Get out there …I will write MUCH more about this.

Something’s not right…

After an incredible trip to Australia and New Zealand – I had been suffering from a prolonged “cold” and stuffed up nose for a few weeks, really since March.    I visited my local doctor, who had prescribed steroids. I took the drugs, and they didn’t work.

I poked around, found a friend who is a doctor and he suggested an ENT (ear nose and throat doctor) way across town.   This doctor, who shall go nameless at this point enters the room, spends approximately 3 minutes typing on her computer, 1 minute looking at me and promptly prescribed steroids.    I object, her response “these are better drugs”.. 

“Thanks, that will be $400 please for my 4 minutes of time”.  Again, I dutifully took the prescription. She says “Call me back in two months”.  Thanks. Nothing changes.

The Ascent

This is a work in progress.  but right now, I plan to share this journey as best I can through the urging of a good friend.    This is raw.  This is real and my goal is to share what I learn with others.

On July 11, 2019, I was diagnosed with a large tumor in my sinus cavity.  It was about the size of an avocado. This tumor turned out to be a malignant rare sinus cancer.   I am currently undergoing treatment at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.   

I have decided to write about this experience and share it one piece at a time.  There’s so much here, I feel the need to capture the feelings, emotions, joys and anxieties with this process.

There’s so much I don’t know about this process, even the parts already completed.  Experts, surgeries, drugs. All stuff I don’t know anything about or understand.    

One thing I do know is that I am already different.    This is my story …I will update this regularly.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions.   My hope is to share one process to help others who may be facing similar circumstances either themselves or their loved ones.

EO – Entrepreneurs Organization 2019

 

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Summit Washington DC

A few years ago I attended the “Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business” program.  It’s a free program sponsored by Goldman to train and encourage business owners.   Here are a few pics from the event.