Tag Archives | uncertainty

The Most Important Human Need Of All – Just Ask Those On Death Row

I learnt a vital lesson through adversity these past few weeks. It reminded me of something most of us need if we are to be at our best – at work, with relationships, in life. It’s so simple. And so devastating when not there. Here it is.

In Japan, inmates on death row were (maybe still are?) burdened with what ‘survivors’ reported as a fate worse than death. You see, in that system, you were told you were to die, but not when. In some cases, death row inmates sat out 20 years awaiting their fate. Whenever they heard footsteps approaching their cell, that could be the moment they would die. The footsteps passed your door- you lived another hour, another day. Imagine living that way- for 20 years!

And that’s the point of my story. I was reminded this week of the devastating power one simple state of being, and word, can have on our lives and ability to perform at our best. Here it is. Is it true for you too?

What Happened This Week When They Found A Tumor In My Throat

“Yip- it looks like a cancer,” the specialist sighed, pointing to the video picture of the tumor growing out of my vocal chords.

“Treatable?” I asked, petrified. “Oh yes,” he replied. “But not necessarily curable.” This was last Monday. So began the worst week of my life. Here’s what happened next.

My voice had been getting increasingly hoarse for months. “Acid reflux caused by increasing size of your gut,” the GP had counseled. Then I struggled swallowing. And could only speak in a whisper. So to the specialist I went last Monday. He had the bedside manner of a cobra, found a tumor, speculated cancer, gave zero reassurance.

“I’ll remove it surgically if I can on Wednesday. Then pathology. If cancer, come to the hospital next Tuesday and we’ll advice treatment. If it’s early stage cancer, then likely more surgery and radiation. If spread, then chemotherapy too and a 50/50 survival chance. If spread a lot, then not much we can do.” And that was it. I walked out into the sunlight devastated. So began the five worst days of my life… days underpinned by one terrible thing: