After Terry graduated from college at The Citadel (where he played NCAA Division I basketball), he was employed in the Marketing Department at the corporate headquarters of Wendy’s International in Dublin, Ohio. From there, he worked in hospital administration for Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. After getting married and moving to California for his wife’s job, he became the Customer Service Manager for an academic publishing company in Santa Barbara. After their daughter was born and they moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, he became a police officer with the Cincinnati Police Department, where he was a SWAT Hostage Negotiator. Following a family relocation to Texas, he started a school security consulting business and coached high school girls basketball in Houston. Each time he took on a new job, he had to develop new skills and faced different challenges. There was always a significant learning curve with every new position.
But his greatest challenge began in early 2012 when he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Acral Lentiginous Melanoma, which presented on the bottom of his foot. By the time the melanoma was detected, it had metastasized to a lymph node in his groin. Because his cancer is so rare (only about 6,500 people are diagnosed with this form of malignancy in the U.S. each year), he was treated at the world-renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center. He had two surgeries to remove the tumors, and after he healed, he was put on a weekly injection of the drug, Interferon, to help keep the disease from coming back.
He took those weekly injections for four years and seven months before the Interferon became so toxic to his body that he ended up in the Intensive Care Unit with a fever of 108 degrees. Fortunately, expert medical care saved his life.
The Interferon gave him severe flu-like symptoms for two to three days after each injection. He lost fifty pounds during his therapy, was constantly nauseous, fatigued, and chilled, his ability to taste food significantly diminished, and his body constantly ached. This misery went on for over 1,660 days!
One thing he learned during all his pain and suffering is that you have two choices. You can succumb to the debilitating discomfort and misery, or you can learn to embrace it and use it to make you a stronger and better human being. He chose the latter.
There were times he felt so poorly and was in so much agony that he prayed to die. Each day was a struggle to use his mind to override his body’s apathy and distress.
He realizes pain and discomfort can beat you to your knees and keep you there if you let it. But he also came to appreciate that he could use his hurting and anguish to make him stronger and more resolute. He recently wrote a book, entitled Sustainable Excellence, Ten Principles to Leading Your Uncommon and Extraordinary Life to help people find and live their purpose. The ten principles outlined in the book will provide the bedrock necessary to form the foundation of unshakable beliefs and dedicated behaviors to reinforce your attitude, no matter how much pain you must endure or how many obstacles you must overcome. His hope is that people who read the book will lead a life of significance, as well as a life of success. Sustainable Excellence is available for pre-order on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.
Unfortunately, his cancer experience hasn’t ended with him conquering the disease. The melanoma that had plagued him for over six years returned in 2017, and his only treatment option was the amputation of most of his left foot in 2018. The cancer reemerged again in 2019, requiring multiple operations. In February of 2020, an undiagnosed tumor in his ankle fractured his tibia. His only remedy was the amputation of his left leg above the knee. He also has tumors in both of his lungs.
He says “But I refused to be a victim of this malignancy. I vowed to continue my fight. I knew the only way cancer could win is if I gave up or gave in to the disease, or it killed me.”
You can read his daily motivational quotes and connect with him through his website. Head on over to motivationalcheck.com for more!