My Second Chance: Reflecting on 35 Years of Life After Beating Cancer

35 years ago, I wasn’t sure if I would live to see my 19th birthday. But today I’m celebrating over three decades of borrowed time. 

Because today marks 35 years since I received the life changing news that my cancer was in remission. As I do every year on this day, I pause to remember that roller coaster of emotions I felt at that moment – the disbelief, the cautious joy, and the great release. After months of fearing that I might not make it at all, now I knew I was gonna live.

At the time I was an 18 year old kid who was scared and confused about the future. But when I learned that I was cancer free, I took it upon myself to seize this second chance and become the best version of myself that I could be. 

It’s been a long road and I’m still not done, always a work in progress, right? But I’m proud of the person that I’ve become. And the years since that they have been filled with so much meaning – my incredible wife, who has always been by my side through it all, my wonderful boys who bring me joy every single day, and adventures begin small, opportunities to follow my dreams and do a lot of writing and presenting. 

There are so many things I wouldn’t have experienced if my story had ended 35 years ago. So on this day, I am so overwhelmed with gratitude – gratitude for modern medicine, and then the doctors who treated me, gratitude for my loved ones and the memories that we made together and I’m grateful for the gift of time. 35 more years and counting that has allowed me to enjoy life to the fullest.

And meeting you and having this conversation is just a little reminder of how far I’ve come. I still get all emotional, kind of choked up when I think back to that uncertain time when I was 18 and how close I came to not being able to achieve my dreams. 

But now I’m here and moving on. And I’m grateful for every single day I’m getting. I know my story is just one of many tales of resilience in the face of life’s unexpected twists and turns. 

And if you have conquered some kind of adversity, I encourage you to share your story or the lessons you’ve learned, share your perspective. And together by putting our voices out there we can show people that it’s possible to get through even the most difficult life circumstances and in telling our story will likely give them the tools to help them navigate it.

So thank you so much for being in my life and the impact you’re making and most of all, thanks for being you.

(I recorded a video about this as well.)

. . .

Brian has a Master’s Degree in Social Work and is the father of three boys with Autism and ADHD. After receiving the same diagnoses himself, he went on to write 5 books and become a recognized specialist in the field. With a unique approach to helping parents and educators connect with their children who live with these unique challenges, Brian’s captivating, interactive presentations and programs continue to change lives around the world. His message of self-compassion, resilience and the importance of working together is one we all need to hear. Download Brian’s “25 Essential Tips For Radically Improving Your Self-Talk Guide” – defeat negative thinking, practice self-compassion, take purposeful action, and transform discouragement into motivation.

Skip to content