Health News – Alive & Kicking

Recently (on June 15, 2024 – International Surf Day), I shared some news on my Instagram about my health. It had been 5 months since I had set foot in the ocean, and I wanted to offer an explanation and why my posting had slowed considerably since that time. Now that the news is out, I thought I probably needed to say something about it here, as well.


In February, I was diagnosed with stage-4 colon cancer. I’ve always enjoyed perfect health, then last August began having very unusual headaches. I went to the doctor and learned that my blood pressure was sky-high. Another test showed abnormal kidney scores. The doctors assumed this might be due to my heart. After many tests, they determined that my heart was extremely strong and that there were no circulatory or blockage issues; so they deemed it hypertension (which I thought was weird, because I’m not a high-stress guy).

They tried to control it with medication for months, to no avail. Finally, they took a closer look at my kidneys, and after viewing the test results, the cardiologist called me at home on a Sunday evening and told me to go to the ER, as I was nearing stage 4 kidney failure. As it turns out, there was cancer behind my abdominal wall, impeding some of my urological function. My kidneys were working fine, but the blockage was preventing everything to drain out completely, and little by little, it was backing up into my kidneys, damaging them. I ended up spending 27 days in the hospital from mid-February to mid-April. It was grueling. I had a stent placed in one kidney, which was subsequently removed, but now I have two temporary nephrostomy tubes that I will likely need to continue to use until late summer, keeping me out of the water until that time.

The specific cancer I have was determined not to be genetic in nature or due to any kind of faulty gene or familial pre-disposition (great news for my daughters), but rather from an external source, so it could be anything. I’ve always taken care of my yard with chemicals, had a side-gig doing epoxy garage floors, took three rounds of the (Pfizer) Covid vaccine, and of course, PFAS are everywhere, so it’s just hard to say where it came from and it really doesn’t matter. 

It is a very aggressive cancer, but its aggressiveness also makes it a great candidate for chemo. I am about to hit my 4th of 8 rounds, and am doing ok. I’ve lost 15+ pounds mostly due to the initial hospital stay.

They say this cancer is not curable, but manageable with chemo, for years. They approximated 5, although, because I am otherwise “young and healthy”, perhaps I could do better than that, and said there’s always a 1% chance of a miracle or other unknown. I say God is the only person who can put a timeline on my life and I fully expect Him to heal me completely. I have an incredible support network of family, friends and church, and especially my wife, Gretchen, who I could never navigate this without (God bless her!), and despite the shock of this all, I feel very blessed and nothing but gratitude.

I have chosen to avoid talking about this on my social channels beyond a basic explanation. I have a page on caringbridge.org for anyone who wants to follow my progress or hear more details. I won’t allow myself to be defined by cancer, this year, or any other. I have no fear of death, I never have,  and I am not putting any limits on my ability to overcome this. My intent is to keep going about the routine of my life in the ways I always have with perseverance, optimism and faith. I have already had a long life full of joy- one I intend to keep living and experiencing to the max, according to God’s plan for me.

I have always understood that life can, and does change on a dime, so while I am really surprised by all of this, I understand that’s how it goes sometimes. This is just like any other challenge or adversity that we all face at different times in our lives (and I’ve faced my fair share). They are experiences that help us grow, and make us stronger.

Times like these, while unfortunate and uncomfortable are actually rare moments of opportunity to demonstrate our true faith, and I believe in seizing on those. I’m on a positive path forward. I’m not looking behind, only ahead and looking forward to getting back into the ocean before the end of the year. Trust that I am still alive & kicking an plan to be out in the water again by Fall! Here’s some throwback pics to celebrate International Surfing day and a recent (mid-May) pic from my b-day ( it was a big ‘un, ya’ll!)

Peace, Love & Blessings!

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