In April of 2004 I had just returned from an expedition where Greg Valentine and I had climbed a peak that had never been climbed. Going were none had gone before. When I returned from that expedition I was in my dream, climbing the high mountains in the Himalaya, exploring new ground both physically and spiritually. The peaks name was Nireka and it stood at over 20,300 feet. It was my 16th expedition. I was healthy, strong, and planning my future expeditions. I had a resting heart rate of 38 beats per minute, similar to Lance Armstrong.
By August, just 2 months later I was struggling to survive. I was diagnosed with a rare auto immune disorder. I had Aplastic Anemia. My body quit producing blood. Daily I was working with 40 percent of normal oxygen levels. A walk to my mail box just 30 yards away was my new expedition, at the end of which I was left totaled. My chances of survival were slim. I had severe Aplastic Anemia. Not only was I not producing oxygen rich red blood cells but platelets that keep us from bleeding to death were at a dangerously low output. A low normal platelet count is 150,000. My count was 14,000 and at one point would dip to 1000 platelets. I also had no immune system. My white blood cell production was so low that catching the common cold could have killed me. At one point I ended up in emergency because of a sliver in my thumb. My body could not stave off the minute amount of bacteria. My only chance of survival was to have a bone marrow transplant.
On October 5th 2005 I received the cells of a non related donor from Italy. Today October 5 2013 I am 8 years from transplant. I live with the understanding that there is no guarantee that you will be alive tomorrow or even within the next 10 minutes. Some may think this is a morbid view on life. It is neither morbid nor a view. It is truth. Once I accepted this truth the energy I used running and fearing death, scratching for security, and putting my dreams on hold, gets put to use in a more positive way. Think about this. There is a possibility that you may not be alive tomorrow. How are you going to live in this moment and the next minutes? Pursue your dreams now as if there is no tomorrow. The length of life means nothing if it is empty. I would rather live a short life being in my dream, following my path, doing what I love, then live 200 years as an empty vessel.
There is no guarantee that you will be alive tomorrow or even in the next 10 minutes. Security is an illusion and is a marketed idea with a high price, usually driven by fear. Get out there and follow what you love, mold your life into what you want it to be. Follow your path.
There is no guarantee that you will be alive tomorrow or even in the next ten minutes. Be alive now.