Beats Cycle for Hope
Beats Cycle For Hope was inspired by Paul Beattie who passed away 31st Jan 2013. The event aims to encourage people to take on challenges, live fit active lives and raise much needed funds for cancer support programs and services.
Paul Beattie’s Journey with Cancer – 2006 onwards
“In February 2006, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Terminal Lung Cancer and told I had six months to live – there was no hope! Never in my wildest dreams or nightmares could this happen to me. But it did! Somehow my family and I had to cope with this dire prognosis. But how!
At the time I was 39 years old, married to my beautiful wife Mandy, with 3 young children, my daughter Bailey and twin boys Jade and Zahn - all less than 5 years old. I had a great job as Chief Pilot of Sharp Airlines and Mandy was the top Sales Consultant for Coastal Real Estate. We were just an ordinary, busy and successful couple with a lovely family.
I had never smoked in my life, was a past Australasian Kayak Champion and competed in sport Internationally from 14–28 years of age. A have always been a fitness fanatic and had maintained a high level of this fitness later in life through Master’s Sports competitions… Terminal Lung Cancer: Never!
A year later I was also diagnosed with Brain Cancer.
Physically, emotionally and financially the cancer started to take its toll. What depressed me the most was the fact that I couldn’t plan for the future with any certainty – simple things like planning holidays or attending future events for my kids was out of my control. It was in the hands of the specialists and my medical team who were dictating my life. They were extremely pessimistic about my future to say the least.
I wanted to grow old with my great wife and watch my fantastic kids grow up – nothing would give me greater joy and that became my single-minded goal to make it a reality for as long as I could. Yes, I needed the treatment the specialists prescribed but I also needed to take control of my own destiny by living every hour of every day in the present. Worrying about the past as to why I got cancer and worrying about what the future would bring was wasting energy; I needed to fight the disease
Living completely in the present with all my senses engaged in the moment is the strategy I used successfully to prolong my life despite what the medical experts or survival probability statistics said.
Fate is the hunter! Cancer is my fate!
Is this true? I don’t really know, even though I have reflected on this enormously since my initial diagnosis almost 7 years ago.
What I do believe is that we co-create our destiny and have a significant part to play in what happens once the cards have been dealt… so if cancer is our lot in life then let’s play the game as well as we can and be as positive as we can be in salvaging what beauty and joy is still available to us, no matter how sick we are, or difficult it is to keep going.
Live now, every hour of every day in the present. When you are doing something that you can do (for me, it might be watering the garden), do it with every fibre of your body engrossed in the act of nourishing the vegetable patch that you intend to eat from that night. Bathe in the beauty of what you are doing. Look at the spray of the droplets as they glisten in the evening light coursing their way down to the very roots of this life you helped to create. Take time, slow down and think of nothing else.
If something more important occurs then give that your full attention with all of your focus. It might be one of my kids who have run out to ask to help use the hose. Great….let them grab it, learn and engage in some really meaningful discussion about their day. Give them your undivided attention and enjoy the talk. Before you know it a significant amount of time will have passed and you will not have thought about cancer. It may only be a few minutes initially when you regularly use this technique. When you get good at this you can go through an entire day without giving any thought to cancer, what you are dealing with and why you are unhappy.
Try it... It works.
Initially, you will doubt it and find your “monkey mind” will not allow you to let go of all those random negative thoughts that do occur. Over time I have developed it to the stage that I basically live my life like this. My wife is fantastic support in helping to manage all the “calendar and scheduling” requirements of a busy family.
It has not been an easy journey, but I’m still here and I’m still enjoying life with my family. And so can you!!!
I’ll just continue to play my cards to the best of my ability, enjoying every minute of life and trust that I have done my best in this beautiful thing that is life.
So be like me and “Seize the day to build hope for tomorrow”
Paul Beattie - August 2012