Relay for Life - Daniel Shockley
Here is my recap of the Hawaii Relay for
Life. The event commenced at 6 PM with the signing of the
National Anthem and making numerous announcements along
with recognizing the contributors for the campaign. This
was my first time participating, which made it that much
more special. At 6:30 PM I had the opportunity to walk with
the survivors for the initial lap. What a honor seeing the
crowd standing alongside the track cheering for us! I am
still trying to soak it all in. The night was a success
even though we had to cancel the remaining events after
1030 PM due to excessive lighting over the ocean adjacent
to the park.
Note: City Mill, was one of the major
contributors for the event and they had a wonderful showing
of support throughout the campaign. As you know City Mill
along with many organizations had been very interested in
my experience since 2012 as I had been, and continue, providing
them updates throughout my journey.
Back to the event: At approximately
9:15PM I had the opportunity to share my experience,
for five (5) minutes, as a guest speaker. It was truly
an honor and privilege being part of this lifesaving
campaign. BTW: I was the only guest speaker!
My speech went as follows:
My name is Daniel Shockley and I
retired from the Navy in 2003 after serving 22-years
on active duty. I am hear tonight to share my experience
with you in hopes of being a source of encouragement
and inspiration. First, I would like to give a SHOUT
OUT to the City Mill and Survivor tents! I would also
like to thank everyone for showing their support for
this life saving campaign.
In May 2012 I underwent my first colonoscopy at age
51. The procedure was performed May 2012 by the VA
Medical Center, Hawaii. Numerous polyps and a large
mass were discovered in my colon. Based on these findings
I was immediately referred to Tripler Army Medical
Center (TAMC), Hawaii for genetic counseling. It was
suspected I may have a gene mutation which can be
confirmed by DNA testing. The results revealed I have
a rare gene mutation which means the polyps have a
100% chance of developing into colon cancer if left
Throughout the consultations I was
informed surgery was inevitable as there is no cure
for this disease. Leading up to the colonoscopy I
considered myself to be in good health with no indications
of any health problems. It must be noted, during the
consolations the VA and TAMC medical teams encouraged
me to to read about my condition, the type of surgery
required and life after surgery. This is when my personal
research journey commenced in an effort to better
understand this disease and its impact on my life.
My genetic counselor and colorectal surgeon recommended,
based on the DNA test results, it is in the best practice
of medicine colon surgery is needed.
The surgery was successfully performed
at TAMC in July, 2012. The entire colon was removed
and the large mass turned out to be an 8cm tumor.
As a result of my surgery I have an ostomy which requires
a prosthetic device that collects my waste. I have
adapted to this lifesaving and life changing surgery.
To date, I continue reaching out to numerous organizations
in an effort of sharing my experience. My mindset
has been, and continues to be, I tend not to think
about things I am unable to control. Medical issues
I am unable to control. What I can control is my attitude
and after 51 years on God's green earth my positive
attitude has brought me this far, why change now!
Furthermore, worrying is not the cause of my condition.
Therefore, worrying will not make it go away. Based
on my personal research of this disease, I am able
to better understand my condition, overcome adversity,
adapt and persevere with my life. Sharing my experience
is important to me in hopes of being a source of encouragement
I consider this medical condition
to be a challenge rather than a obstacle and I continue
to overcome and press on with my life. As a result
I have adopted four (4) words to reflect on as part
of my new journey in life as an advocate for colon
cancer awareness and the importance of early detection:
1. Attitude = 100% (The English language
contains 26 letters. If the letter "A" represents
1 and the letter "Z" represents 26 take
the letters of ATTITUDE and add them up. ATTITUDE
= 100) It is important to note that the word ATTITUDE
is the only word in the English dictionary that equals
I am a firm believer my positive
attitude played a vital role with the successful recovery
and transition to this new way of life has an ostomate.
Furthermore, attitude is permanent and mood is temporary.
You can have a positive attitude and be in a bad mood.
By maintaining a positive attitude it will have a
direct impact on your mood and the outcome of your
life. Do not let a bad mood affect your attitude.
I remind myself of this daily and try to remain positive
while pressing on with my life.
2. Faith - Firm Assurance Influenced
Through Hope (My acrostic based on Heb 11:1)
Faith is having the ability of believing
in something you are unable to see, but you know it
is there. Example: You cannot see the prevailing trade
winds, however, you can see what affect they have
by the swaying of the palm trees. Along those lines
the same is true about God. We are unable to see HIM.
However, we see the affects of HIS power in the many
miracles that take place. By keeping the FAITH I have
a better chance of overcoming adversity and being
an example. It is important for me to keep the faith
and lean on HIM throughout my journey in life in all
situations. I leave all this in HIS hands since HE
is in control.
3. Adapt - Attitude Determines the
Ability for a Positive Transition (An acronym I created
on life as an ostomate)
My analogy of the word ADAPT is
evident on how my positive attitude aided me with
the ability to rely on my faith which directly impacted
my successful transition as an ostomate. From the
onset I embraced being an ostomate as a challenge
rather than an obstacle or disappointment.
4. Perseverance - My positive attitude,
strong faith and being able to adapt to my new lifestyle
as an ostomate allowed me the ability of successfully
overcoming adversity. This in turn, allows me to press
on w/my life with a business as usual approach after
being diagnosed with a rare disease and undergoing
colon surgery. Dr. Henry T. Lynch is credited with
the discovery of the disease I have and is one of
the founding fathers of genetic research. He visited
Hawaii last year and I had the opportunity of meeting
him and discussing my case. An important note to make,
it is estimated the disease affects <.03% of the
global population. Once diagnosed, leading up to the
surgery and throughout my recovery, I remained focused
and accepted this condition as a challenge.
In closing, I would like to add as a result of my
condition annual cancer surveillance is performed
since this gene mutation has the potential of affecting
other organs. Last summer cancer surveillance detected
the polyps in my stomach are to numerous to count
(TNTC) and biopsies were performed on three of the
larger ones. As a result, I have been diagnosed with
pre-cancer in my stomach which is directly related
to my condition. Next month I will undergo another
round of annual testing at the VA Medical Center.
The VA medical team is closely monitoring my status.
The gene mutation I have is not aggressive and no
side affects are present. My outlook is to continue
pressing on with my life as if nothing happened maintaining
a business as usual approach. My hopes are that by
sharing my experience on the importance of colon cancer
awareness and early detection I can be a source of
encouragement and inspiration for the masses.
Thank you again for supporting this lifesaving campaign
and have a wonderful evening.
That is my story and I am sticking to it =============
care and have a wonderful week.
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