I remember hearing that I had lung cancer at the V.A. hospital in Chicago, Ill October 2018. My wife, a nurse, immediately jumped to the ready and called Northwestern Hospital downtown Chicago, known for its cancer department, being #1 in Illinois, and made an appointment for a pulmonologist. I had just received my Doctorate of Business Administrate in Entrepreneurship and Business Management from California InterContinental University the month before.
That next month being November 2018, I had one half of my left lung removed and informed I was cancer-free and go home and relax and recuperate. However, in December 2018, I started noticing I was having pain in my lower back area. Nevertheless, I was scheduled to see my primary doctor at the end of January 2019, and at that meeting, he accused me of being a hypochondriac.
This lead to months of pain in my back, which lead me to tears, for I was in so much pain I could not even figure out how to get out of bed. In May of 2019, finally, one of the emergency doctors took some X-rays and found there was an issue with my back and later diagnosed with metabolic cancer, which means cancer has moved to another area of the body. In June 2019, I was given a one-time massive dose of radiation to my back, which I was informed later it was a few millimeters from my spine. January 2021, my diagnosis is metabolic cancer to the bone.
Insight From Prior Entrepreneurial Cancer Patience
Enterprise League did an article on February 4, 2020, on three entrepreneurs who had this dreadful disease. Their concept was they got their inspiration from entrepreneurship and want to share their experience with others. All three entrepreneurs dove into their work as entrepreneurs and found relief in the work process. They constantly surround themselves with a supporting cast of people to lift them up emotionally, including their customers, doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals.
Quitting the Business
All three entrepreneurs never thought about closing their business; matter-of-fact, they felt energized in what they were doing and felt this was their purpose in life. All three had to make some adjustments in their lives, with respect for their health and recognizing what is first their health. One of the three stated she lost friends while she was sick, but the real question is, were they ever her true friends?
Real friends will have empathy and take on some of that pain, and lift you emotionally. Continually build your network of supporters. Those who do not understand or support your new normal cut them off and disassociate yourself from them, for they will bring down your spirit and emotionally drain you. Remember, take care of yourself, for, in the end, you are all you got is yourself.
Common Health Issues Entrepreneurs Face
Janell Hazelwood, in her March 15, 2019 article in Black Enterprise, speaks about ten common health issues entrepreneurs face:
Marcel Muenster and Paul Hokemeyer wrote in the World Economic Forum about the mental health issues that we have in entrepreneurs. They state some 582 million entrepreneurs, which they quote as being some 8% of the global population, are identified with this phycological disorder. The lack of health insurance and getting treatment for this disorder is paramount, and the need to focus on this area of mental health is essential.
Believing in a higher power and believe that my life was being controlled by a force much greater than myself helped me through this illness even in the darkest of times. As I mentioned before, my wife is a nurse was my private caregiver that I am blessed to have. Being a deacon in the Baptist church for close to forty years, I found myself clinging to my faith.
In 2008 I was a manager in the mortgage business, and after the fallout in that industry, I went back to school to get all my degrees I left on the table in my twenties. After investing eight years, and $170,000 later, I had my professional doctorate in Business Administration in Entrepreneurship and Business Management. And one month after receiving my degree, I was diagnosed with this lung cancer. Some have said, man, that was a crappy hand to play, but it made me stronger through it all. Now at the age of seventy, it is like the scene in the Matrix, where Kenana Reeves could see things from a different perspective, life was like if it was in slow motion, and he could see things more clearer, so it is now with me.
Dr. Donald E. Mitchell