This One Hurts – Push Hard on Medical Attention
This writing is about YOU and YOUR health.
Last week, I received a text at 5:15AM from a super important individual in my business career. The phone call that followed MOVED ME! The call was from Rich Woodward [Rich on Facebook and Rich on LinkedIn].
If you have an instinct about a medical issue – pursue it with a vengeance.
I started my first brokerage company in 1998. The Principal Group, Inc. We were promptly involved in litigation with the Principal Financial Group – details of our victory to be shared at our next social gathering.
Alex Paine, who many of you know, and Rich Woodward of WebSightDesign were 100% of our web, internet and IT infrastructure team for our launch in 1998 and through the next decade.
As we launched Morgan Lane  and acquired Pacific Union , Alex and Rich were gold to us. They were our IT backbone, our pre-acquisition “black-ops” and, like you, available 24/7!
I could go on and on with what they both mean to me as business professionals, but this is about my friend Rich, life and the importance of relationships.
The text I received from Rich was a simple “Can we catch-up?” “Sure,” was my response.
Three minutes before our 7:15AM call, I received a text from Rich with a horrible personal diagnosis.
“On Thursday March 11th at 4:40PM on a Zoom call with my new Hepatology Oncology specialist, I was told ‘If you agree to be admitted tomorrow morning at 8AM to do necessary prerequisites, I can get your chemotherapy started by Monday – and I don’t mean Tuesday, I mean Monday.” Then a soft pause, and gently, something like: ‘If we don’t see you soon, we will be seeing you anyway in about 10 days because you’re headed for organ failure.’ ‘Yup, 8am the next morning works for me, we’re on.'”
Having read the text above, I was somewhat prepared for our call – what I was not prepared for was Rich’s voice and our deep personal connection – it hit HARD. I am not sure who was closer to tears; I simply think we both managed emotions well.
Rich has stage three Plasma Cell Leukemia, a disease only 200-300 people per year in USA experience, life expectancy seven to twenty-three months. I am betting on Rich for 30 years.
Rich is a tough MF! Rich is fit! Rich is strong! Rich is motivated! Rich has hiked, climbed, fished, and paddled the steepest and finest challenges in the world.
Rich’s message is about YOU! In Rich’s own words:
“If you don’t think you need to get your exams done, I’ll bet there are 5 or 10 people in your life that you love, and want to keep healthy, who might need some encouragement to get preventative exams and wellness looked after. This means your mammogram, your Cologuard test, a blood screen, that aching back, that sensitive tooth, and perhaps most importantly, your mental health and social connections that might have taken a dinger in the last calendar year. This means encouraging your grandparents or besties or your aunties or your beloved neighbor to reach out and get the care they deserve and just might need. Back to the opening. I promise you, the story is just the beginning — and the story gets better. A lot better. Not the health part (symptoms, testing, diagnosis, consultation, treatment program, ‘medically defined patient response to treatment,’ or the slippery prognosis) — what gets better is the people, the connections, the perspective, the knowledge cramming, chats about thought plasticity, and the certain knowledge that if you’re reading this, you too, are a sentient being having a human experience.”
Rich’s call came from his hospital bed at University of Vermont Medical Center, Miller 5 Oncology. He spoke quietly about his journey and his then current 96-hour intense chemotherapy session.
In Rich’s own way, he was both celebrating his life and planning for his next amazing experiences, fishing with his nieces and nephews again. Alex promised a June fishing trip with Rich. I will learn to fish if Rich will have me on his river of choice.
We all stand for something in life – Rich treasures relationships like family – we all do! My conversation with Rich last week reminds me so much of his wanting to make a difference in people’s lives every single day [Rich on Facebook and Rich on LinkedIn].
Rich wants YOU to make a difference in life by running at medical issues – do not let them linger.
This is Where We are Now.
Mark A McLaughlin