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From Boxing to Chess

As you may already know, when I experienced my 2014 – 2015 battle, I was 23 years old, just receiving a Masters degree, and working at the largest accounting firm in the world as a single man. When I was diagnosed back then, I battled this cancer via pure strength. I flexed my young mentality and laughed at cancer trying to take me in the ring. As far as this mentality goes, I saw myself as Mike Tyson versus this cancer – pure, unadulterated, physical superiority. I had the mindset that my ability to win this cancer battle was simply obvious.

As you read that opening paragraph, you can obviously tell that that battle was a pure boxing match and I threw most of the punches. The cancer was annihilated. But not this time. To put this in a sense where it can be imagined physically, and hopefully explained clearly to someone who does not live in my head (congratulations – I’m jealous), this battle has been a chess match, not a boxing match.

This battle has been the most complicated event of my life. No longer can I just take a medication and make it all go away like 2014 – 2015 seemed like. Allow me to attempt in explaining these new rules that cancer has incorporated into our relationship. For one, I cannot simply take a medication in the morning and be settled for the rest of the day. I wish I could even guess how many medications I have been on, and off, in order to identify the most effective batch to help me out. Back in 2014 – 2015, it was a few medications that I stuck with for twelve straight months, and then I was done. DONE.

Not this time though, because this disease has given multiple side effects from surgery, radiation, chemo, and anxiety. Side effects that are unable to be explained by doctors. And in order to give the best, scientific response to these side effects, I need to try THIS medication for a few weeks, but then THAT medication begins to hurt THIS, so I take THIS medication to help THAT, but THAT new one makes THIS unbelievably painful, so if I take THIS and THIS, I should be good – but if I stop THAT first medication, I need to reevaluate and start all over again with my medication list. Taking recommended medications from the doctor, I do trust, but taking more than you can handle is when your personal opinion needs to step in and balance what you take, and what you are confident in stopping completely. That is why this is now a chess match.

Yesterday, a former NFL quarterback and NIKE came together and are now using a quote “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” At first, I did not put much thought into it because, to me, it was a man complaining about how the NFL is against the United States and how African-Americans are dealt with. However, then I watched the commercial (highly recommended) and what is the one sickness that is mentioned in that commercial that is needed to defy all odds? Brain cancer. Tears roll down my eyes every time I think about it, and I am still unsure if they are tears of joy or tears of fear.

If you believe a boxer is much tougher than a chess player, then maybe you should reevaluate that opinion.


Stay Mindful.


  1. Judy & Nathan Judy & Nathan

    So glad that you posted a new blog. love to hear from you. Nathan and I are always in your corner so whether you are boxing or playing chess with this disease, we want you to know you are always in our thoughts.

    “Our dreams might be crazy, It’s crazier not to try, to be the best you can be” -Nike.

  2. Dean Salah Dean Salah

    Paul keep outwitting this cancer man!! your writings are very thoughtful and deep. Keep it up!!

  3. Marianne Marianne

    Continued thoughts and prayers for you Paul. Keep up the fierce battle, and thanks for your blog. As Dean says, outwit this crappy cancer.

  4. Karen Cunha Karen Cunha

    Paul, You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. ❤️🙏🙏❤️

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