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Stomach Cancer and the Negative Brain

March 30, 2018 by  
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I’ve had a great and healthy life but just last week I got thrown big time when I thought I had stomach cancer. Did that ever hit my brain hard! I’ve always thought my brain was a huge asset and was a big help to me in my life and that’s why I’ve been so big on those “positive affirmations” that Paul J. Meyer taught me. One of my favorites that I repeat almost daily 20 times is, “I am very happy and very healthy.” Well, I must admit that the possibility of possible stomach cancer certainly challenged my “positive thinking”.

This all happens when I quite suddenly had a very bloated stomach. I called my doctor for an appointment as soon as I could. I had to wait a few days to get in and as I waited, the bloating got worse, keeping me awake virtually all night with huge stomach pains. So, I sought out answers on the internet, hoping that my stomach symptoms were from something else. What I found online only made things worse. I found I had 4 out of 6 of the symptoms for stomach cancer.

Did that ever bring on some very bad brain messages and thoughts. And the more I thought about it, the worse the pain became and the less sleep I got. Ugh! My positive self-talk had turn very negative.

I got to the doctor and told her my symptoms, asking her if she thought I might have stomach cancer. She answered by asking if I had changed any of my eating habits or began taking any new medications, supplements, or vitamins. At first I told her no, but then thinking about it for a few minutes, I recalled that I had started taking a couple new supplements. Her advice was to stop taking those and to come back in two weeks if the bloating hadn’t stopped.

So, I stopped taking those supplements and 2 days later it seemed that the bloating had gone down a bit. Even though I’m not yet completely sure that it’s isn’t cancer, I am totally in awe of how much that little bit of progress has changed my brain and my self-talk. In fact, it changed so much that yesterday, being so thrilled and hopeful and having such a positive brain again, I broke my all-time record for steps taken in a day. I walked just over 40,000 steps which is equivalent to playing 13 sets of tennis– something I have never even come close to doing.

So now I’m waiting and carefully watching my stomach and hoping to cancel that next doctor’s appointment. Isn’t it absolutely amazing how much our self-talk can make our lives better or worse. I’m not out of the woods yet but my brain is certainly pushing me in the right direction now. It just needed a little encouragement and some positive thoughts to keep me in a positive mood. That is something to keep in mind the next time negative thoughts are bringing you down. Find something positive to hold onto and pull yourself out of a cycle of negativity to have happier and more productive days.

Reflections in Lieu of a Christmas Card

December 18, 2015 by  
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Now, a week before Christmas I received this email from a very dear friend of 40 years.  He’s a great guy, now a retired doctor, whose life was turned upside down 2 years ago when he was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer and given only a few months to live.  After going through a 9-hour surgery and painful recovery he’s still hanging in there and has embraced life with incredible energy and enthusiasm, fully living life every single day.  He is a positive, lovable human being who is setting a wonderful example for all of us, a man I am proud to call a great friend.

Here is his “Reflections in lieu of a Christmas Card”

I stayed out of the hospital this year.

I played golf or pickle ball almost every day.

I enjoyed friendships, new and old.

I’m learning to say goodbye reluctantly to some
friendships that didn’t work.

I made a few new friends.

I love my kids and grand kids who each seem to be
on their own unique journey.

I continue to know less about more.

I own my own faults and will probably keep
most of them.

I travel less and enjoy my home and Robyn more.

I value things less and ideas more.

I totally reject trying to change anyone else.

I seek forgiveness for hurting anyone.

I reject exclusion, pettiness, manipulation, passive
aggressiveness, and revenge.

I love knowledge, insight, information.

I love competition and discussion.

I reject polarization, cliques, political and
group collectivism.

I advocate for things I believe and not for groups,
causes, or labels.

I advocate for health, fitness, and science.

I love animals more than people.

I reject political correctness and distribution of
wealth.  I advocate for self-determinism.

My identity is not in my possessions.

I resolve next year to reduce drama in my
life by avoiding those who need it.

I want to live as long as possible if there is good quality.

After pancreatic cancer, I’m not afraid of much so
I will speak to my beliefs.  You can have yours
so don’t be offended.  I can disagree with you
and love you.  Don’t react with anger.  Just
listen or not.

I can’t be offended unless I choose to be.

Life is short, don’t withhold love.

Don’t take yourself seriously.  Laugh at your
mistakes and embrace them.  Don’t worry
about what others think.  Worry more about
what you think of yourself.  I want you happy.

If this all sounds pontifical, it probably is.  It’s me at my best and worst.

Love to all.

–Craig Davis

Turning a Liability into an Asset

October 10, 2014 by  
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Have you ever been in a room when someone walked in that totally dominated everyone’s attention?  Someone who stood out so much that you could only stop and direct all your attention to that person? That is exactly what you get when Mark Eaton walks into any room. Why would you take immediate notice of him? Well, for one, he’s hard to miss standing 7 foot 4 inches tall! But that’s not all. If you are fortunate enough to hear one of his lectures, he’s even more of a standout as a speaker with a great message.

If you followed basketball a few years ago you know Mark Eaton played for the Utah Jazz, ending up as an all American and breaking the all-time NBA record for the most blocked shots. You might assume he had an easy trip to the top, but that’s very far from the truth.

Recently I was privileged to hear him speak–his wonderful wife Teri talked me into it–and from the lecture he so eloquently delivered to the audience I learned some great lessons and concepts. His spoke primarily about corporate team building but the thing that hit me so very hard was his words about how a person can turn a liability in life into an asset.

You see, for all of his younger life his height was a huge liability–he was teased constantly and called names. Yes he was on his high school basketball team but he sat on the bench virtually the entire season as he watched the little speedster guys rip up and down the court. He actually really hated basketball.

So what did he do? He studied to be an auto mechanic. But thanks to a great mentor he met when he was in his 20’s he was directed, coached and shown how he could turn what he perceived and thought of as a huge liability into a gigantic asset. His mentor showed him what he needed to do to play great basketball and Mark worked hard and long before he got to where his mentor wanted him to be. He went on to set records in the NBA and helped the Utah Jazz move from the very bottom of the league to the top. Now he’s doing it again as an all-star lecturer, speaking from coast to coast.

After hearing his story, I couldn’t help but think of a very dear high school friend, Richard Harvey, who played with me on our basketball team in the faraway country of Turkey. About 12 years ago I got a phone call from Rich telling me his son Kyle who was just 14 years old had bone cancer. Wow, what a shocker.

Kyle had a very tough battle. He fought it with all he had and eventually defeated cancer. However, the cancer had left its mark, stunting Kyle’s growth. Today, at age 26, he’s just barely over 5 feet tall and he looks like a little kid. Big time liability, right? For most people it would be and it was for Kyle for a while as well. But Kyle eventually turned that perceived liability into a huge asset.

He made a move from the mid-west to Los Angeles and got a job as an intern at Paramount Studios. But that only lasted a short time. He floundered around the city, trying to find an affordable place to live and another job. He finally caught a break, auditioning at a comedy club with jokes about his short body and very young looks. They loved him and he’s gone on to do very well there. He even got big kudo’s and congratulations from big time comic and actor Sinbad. He bravely turned what had seemed to be a liability into a huge asset.

And that, my friends, is really the long and short of it all. I think we should all take a look at ourselves and those around us who we may be able to help and see if we can take what we think is a weakness or liability and come up with a way that we might be able to turn it into a big asset.