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Week 2 of Treatment… The Family Factor!

To know me, is to know that I tend to have a hard time slowing down and enjoying some of life’s simpler (and often finer) moments. I tend to feed off positive chaos, and embrace a lifestyle that, by the end of most days, can be exhausting. My whole life has been spent trying to prove to myself, and others, that I could create a perfect home life, build a better mortgage company, and develop cutting edge ideas that would inspire others to play at their highest level. For the most part, I have done reasonably well. I have a tremendous family, experienced some amazing adventures, and impacted the lives of many wonderful people all across the country to some small degree.

However, with the recent news of developing Brain Cancer (Glioblastoma Grade 4), there are some nights when I do get a little lost in my own thoughts about what I could have done differently with my life. Maybe I should have read more stories to my boys before bedtime? Should I have strategically planned out my finances a bit better to ensure my family would be well provided for? Could I have been a more consistent and positive leader for those who look to me for guidance in my industry? Volunteered more of my time at various community events? These are just a sliver of the millions of possible regrets that run through my head as the staleness of dusk begins to blanket my evenings. Even though I may have some regrets about the path that has lead me to my current place in life, I also realize that my time to build my legacy is not over. In fact, I believe my opportunity to make an impact on others is really just getting started. Whether I can make it the full 2 years I have been given, or defy medical science and beat this aggressive form of cancer. Each morning I wake up and realize that TODAY I have been blessed with one more chance to positively change the lives of those around me. All I need to remember is that I should pace myself and not forget about what is really important to me, and my family, during this journey :)

The Hughes Family at the Feazle family reunion

This last weekend I decided to slow down and attend my family reunion (my Mom’s side). I hadn’t seen many of my Cousin’s, Uncle’s, and Aunt’s in many years and normally my short attention span would only allow me to visit for about an hour or two. The time spent seeing my extended family turned out to be exactly what I needed. I had an absolute blast catching up with my cousins and teasing my Aunt’s (who are always so darn shy). I have attached some photos from this gathering for those of you who are interested in seeing these special people. A big “thank you” to Tommy & Laura (my aunt and uncle) who graciously allowed their entire rowdy family to wreak havoc at their home!

One of the personal bright spots for me at the reunion was spending some quality time talking with my cousin Zack, who recently overcame overwhelming odds and beat cancer himself. In fact, he was just officially declared cancer free last week! Throughout his battle he experienced many highs and lows, dropped almost 50 pounds, and lost some of his independence. But, he never lost his will to FIGHT. With his tenacious spirit and love for his family, combined with a handful of medical procedures, Zack beat the odds and is now beginning to rebuild the rest of his very long fulfilling life. It was quite frankly exactly what I needed to see and hear. It gave me a great deal of hope and inspired me to keeping pushing forward. Thank you, Zack!! I ended up staying at the reunion for 4.5 hours and enjoyed every moment of it.

So tonight, as the darkness once again encroaches into my home, and my thoughts begin to wander into the less glamorous sides of fighting a life- threatening disease, I will instead reflect on how I can overcome these obstacles, document my story, and inspire others who have to deal with similar health, family, and legacy challenges. I will not use cancer as my crutch. I will, instead, use it as a catalyst for empowering myself and others to fight this disease with every once of strength we can scrape together until victory is finally ours.

Thank you for allowing me to share my journey, fears, and hopes with each of you. While many of you may find it inspirational to know that I have a healthy fighting spirit, you’re doing just as much for me. It has been truly helpful for me to have an outlet to express these thoughts and latest adventures and for that, I thank you.

Don’t forget to go home and hug your children and loved ones today!

FIGHTING FORWARD!!

- Dustin

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