by David Sandstrom 

December 7, 2020

In this episode, I talk with Terry Tucker who has a rare form of cancer. He's learned some life lessons through his trial that are worth paying attention to.

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Show Notes


Today's Guest...

  • Terry Tucker

Topics Discussed...w / Time Stamps

  • 0:00 - Intro
  • 2:43 Terry plays basketball with Michael Jordan
  • 21:23 The three Fs that keep Terry going
  • 33:48 Everyone dies; but not everyone lives
  • 38:47 No one's ever seen a Hears with a U-haul in tow
  • 42:53 Summary


Scroll through the text below to read the full transcript.

Terry Tucker 0:00
We're gonna talk about success. We all want to be successful. And I always tell people, be significant. not successful. You can be both you can be successful and significant. But success is about what we do. We started a company, we wrote a book, we fly an airplane. Whatever we do, we're successful at that. significance is what we do to help other people.

David Sandstrom 0:26
Welcome to the Holistic Health Matters podcast where it's all about maximizing your health potential in body, mind and spirit, so that you can pursue the abundant life more effectively. I'm your host, David Sandstrom, Naturopathic Doctor and Biblical Health Coach. And this is episode number 23.

This episode is a conversation I had with Terry Tucker. Terry has been battling a rare form of cancer for over nine years. Now, don't tune out because you think this is going to be a depressing episode. It's not, don't pull those earbuds out just yet. This is not a message about Terry's cancer battle. It's a message about persevering in the face of adversity. It's a message about choosing to allow only productive thoughts into our minds. Terry is a living example of Second Corinthians 10 five, where we're told to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. If ever there was a person who had the right to complain and allow themselves to become bitter and dejected, over their circumstances, it's Terry. But Terry's chosen a very different path. He continues to reject negative unproductive thinking, and he chooses to only allow thoughts that have an empowering message and are consistent with his life's mission, which is to motivate and inspire others. We can all learn a thing or two from Terry's message. I encourage you to stick this one out to the end. He really gets rolling as we get as we get towards the end of the conversation. I promise you, you'll be uplifted, encouraged, and inspired. Terry, welcome to Holistic Health Matters.

Terry Tucker 2:07
Thank you, David. I'm excited to be here.

David Sandstrom 2:09
Well, glad you took the time to to spend some time with us today. So you have a very interesting story. You've you've been diagnosed with the I guess we can call it a terminal disease, cancer. And you've got a lot to say about perseverance and leaning on God through tough times. So tell me a little bit about yourself.

Terry Tucker 2:28
Sure. So I'm the oldest of three boys. As we were talking off air, I'm six foot eight. I have a brother that is six foot seven was a pitcher at Notre Dame actually coached Michael Jordan's two sons.

David Sandstrom 2:42
Oh, wow.

Terry Tucker 2:43
Yeah. Wait and talk about small world I played against Michael Jordan, his freshman year, my senior year at the Citadel.

David Sandstrom 2:50
Wow. What was that like?

Terry Tucker 2:52
My brother tells kind of a funny story. So one day, my practice teaching my my students or my players a drill. And it's where the end of practice and I look up and none of them are paying attention to me. So I look over to where they're looking. And Michael Jordan had come into the gym, his he was there as just a parent to pick up his kids, you know, to take him home. And yeah, and but everybody was so enthralled with my brother looks at him and says, Hey, Michael, you know, would you mind you're kind of a distraction. Would you mind stepping out? And he was like, sure, coach, no problem. I'll wait outside till practice is over. And my brother thought later he said, I'm probably the only coach in the history of basketball that ever kicked Michael Jordan out of practice.

David Sandstrom 3:26
Yeah, that's right. I bet that's correct.

Terry Tucker 3:29
But just I mean, he was a super guy. I never tried to micromanage my brother as a coach, just you know, I'm here as a parent with my two sons in that. So he, he was great. And then I have another brother who was was six foot six, who was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers back in 1983. On that, so we were very much an athletic family growing up, and I play basketball at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. And when I graduated, I moved home to find a job. This was long before the internet. And I found that first job in the corporate office of Wendy's International, and unfortunately, I ended up living with my parents for the next three and a half years as I helped my mother care for my grandmother and my father, who were both living with us both dying of different forms of cancer. And my wife and I've been married 27 years, and our daughter graduated from the United States Air Force Academy as a lieutenant in the space force.

David Sandstrom 4:21
Wow. she's in the space force right now?

Terry Tucker 4:23
She is Yeah,

David Sandstrom 4:24
That's that sounds exciting.

Terry Tucker 4:26
It really is. It's, it's. it's a lot of fun, but it's very top secret. So I mean, I don't ask me what she does, because I have absolutely no idea.

David Sandstrom 4:35
Okay, I was just that was my next question. But okay. So we'll just we'll suffice it to say she's having been having a lot of fun. I'll bet she's really enjoying it. So so you work for Wendy's?

Terry Tucker 4:45
Wendy's International.

David Sandstrom 4:46
I worked for Wendy's when I was in high school. It was Wendy's of South Florida. And I really enjoyed working there. For me. It was a great job. I made a lot of relationships there and it was a great place to work. Did you enjoy your time at Wendy's?

Terry Tucker 4:58
I really did. You know As I said, I was the first person in my family to graduate from college. So you know, when I graduated with this newly obtained Business Administration degree, I thought I knew everything. And so here I go into this corporate environment, knowing absolutely nothing. And I learned a lot about myself. I mean, that was the really the first time I ever saw I eventually moved to New Product Marketing. And it was the first time I ever saw somebody stand up to their boss and say, You know what, I think this product would make it in the store, I think we should try it. And the boss was like, well, you better be right about it. And he wasn't I mean, it was it was a it was a beef, not opposed to a chicken nugget. And it was, it tasted great, but the visual appeal was horrible. And so people didn't buy it. And we all went to a Debrief meeting. And we're expecting to have this guy get his, you know, his hat handed to them, and be shown the door and and the boss kind of was like, you know, what, this person stood up for something they believed. And I hope you all will do that. And not just say what, you know, upper management wants to hear, or you know, what they expect you to say. So, this, this was, that was the first time I'd ever experienced that. And it was certainly a good lesson for me.

David Sandstrom 6:17
That's pretty cool. I like that story. You know, when I was working at Wendy's, I was probably 17 1617. They just put in the salad bar. And I was going through the cherry tomatoes in the back one day and the supervisor was there. And I said, Hey, Ron, is this cherry tomato good enough to put out there? Or should we just throw it away? He said, here's the standard to use Dave. Just imagine that a friend of yours that you've been bragging about how great our salad bar is to is going to eat that tomato, if you wouldn't serve it to him throw it out. So I think that's that speaks volumes to their commitment to quality, at least back then.

Terry Tucker 6:54
Really, it really does. And you know, even being in a kind of a corporate environment. Every year, I had to work for a week in a store, you know, to understand how things worked, whether it was a salad bar, whether it was I was there when breakfast kind of came out as well. And, you know, I remember one day serving hamburgers, and I was I was pulling the buns down and I got a pack of buns that that literally were as hard as hockey pucks. Yeah. And I throw them away and the manager came running over. It's like, what's the problem? And I'm like, I pulled one out, and I threw it on the ground. And you know, just went Clank. I'm like, I can't serve that to a customer. And he was like, you're right. You can't. Good job. Good. You know? So

David Sandstrom 7:39
Yeah. Yeah. I think this there's a life lesson in there somewhere for sure is, but someone who would tell me more about you. Would you were talking about your wife a moment ago?

Terry Tucker 7:47
Yeah, my wife and I, after I finished at Wendy's, I went into health care administration and my wife and I met each other. When my organization the hospital, put me through a leadership program with the ah. It was this was Columbus, Ohio with the Columbus area leadership program. And her organization put her through that too. And we were in the same project group and our project group, we liked each other. So we would do stuff, you know, we would go to movies, we would go to lunch together outside of this particular program. And we we'd known each other for about a year and started dating and you know, fell in love got married and moved to Santa Barbara, California, which is probably the nicest place I've ever lived in my life. And our daughter was born there. And I became a reserve police officer out there talking about a different career path. And then we moved back to Cincinnati, Ohio, and I became a full time police officer where I was on the SWAT team. I was a hostage negotiator. I worked undercover narcotics for three and a half years. And I loved that. And then my wife lost her job and you know you, you do what you have to do for your family. And so I had to leave law enforcement. We moved to Houston and I started a school security consulting business where I work with private independent schools around the United States on their physical security and I coach girls high school basketball, our daughter went to the Air Force Academy, but like I said, I'm six foot eight, she got my heights, she's six foot two and could shoot NBA three point shots. So they want her to play basketball there. And that's how she started until she blew out her knee freshman year and had to have surgery. And that was the end of that, but

David Sandstrom 9:23
Aah that's a shame

Terry Tucker 9:24
So yeah, so it was a lot of fun coach high school girls basketball and unfortunately, that's where I was, you know, I had a callus break open on the bottom of my foot and thought nothing of it because I was on my feet a lot and eventually went to a doctor and that turned out to be my biggest hte biggest challenge I've ever faced in my life.

David Sandstrom 9:42
And that was 2012?

Terry Tucker 9:44
That was 2012 Yeah, early 2012 when I was diagnosed with this very rare form of melanoma, you know, we all think of melanoma as a, you know, a spot on or scan or something like that. Well, there's that there's a second kind which is the kind that I have that appears on the The palm of your hands or the bottom of your feet are in your nail beds. And that's pretty rare. There's about 6,500 people in the US that are diagnosed with that every year. And then there's a third kind, which is even rarer, which appears in the mucous membranes. So in your nose and your mouth and your anus or something like that. And yeah, I was, I was pretty, I was pretty scared, you know, because I was one of those guys who've done everything right in their life. You know, I ride I exercise, they did all that stuff. And yet, I still got this rare disease.

David Sandstrom 10:29
Yeah, you know, that brings me to another question I was just thinking about as you were speaking, is when you got that diagnosis, the C word. It's cancer. How did you feel what what what was going on in your mind at that moment?

Terry Tucker 10:42
Well, the the interesting thing is, when I had this callus break open, I went to a friend of mine who was a podiatrist and, you know, he started out with the simple stuff here, put some pads in your shoes to to make your you know, your your feet more cushiony. And that didn't work and eventually cut out this little cyst. And he showed it to me. It's like I'm practicing for 25 years, you know, here's this little sack of fat. He's like, no big deal. I'll send it off to pathology, I'll put a couple stitches and you'll be good in two weeks. Well, two weeks later, I get the call from him. And as I said, He's been a friend. And the more he was unable to talk, the more frightened I got, you know, until he pretty much laid it out and said, as I said, you know, he'd been practicing for 25 years, he had never seen this form of cancer. And I was I scared to death. Yeah. And you know, I think as most people would be you kind of go through the different emotions share, then you have a choice. You know, you haven't how do you how you attack this, and I've been an athlete all my life. I've been in law enforcement. And it was like, if I'm going down, I'm going down with a fight. Yeah, I'm just not rolling over.

David Sandstrom 11:49
Uh huh.

Terry Tucker 11:50

David Sandstrom 11:51
That's interesting. Wow. So then, from there, what path did your journey take?

Terry Tucker 11:58
So I had two surgeries, they suggested that I go to the MD Anderson Cancer Center, which is probably the premier Cancer Center in the world. And I was lucky. I mean, literally, we were in Houston, MD Anderson's in Houston. We live 10 minutes from the front door. So I was extremely fortunate. People come from all over the world to be treated at MD Anderson. And yeah, so I had two surgeries to remove the the tumor and all the lymph nodes. So I was putting on a weekly injection of the drug interferon, which for me was a horrible, nasty, debilitating drug. And I, I took those weekly injections for four years and seven months until the medication became so toxic to my body that I ended up in the intensive care unit with a fever of 108 degrees, which usually isn't compatible with being alive.

David Sandstrom 12:46
Yeah, I was just about to say it, I've never heard of 108 that's usually fatal.

Terry Tucker 12:50
It is, I mean, they literally gave me some type of I don't remember much, I was kind of out of it. But they gave me some type of a hypo thermae drug to kind of protect my organs until they could get my and, and the thing about it is, is I was burning up. But I felt like I was freezing, I was just begging for warm blankets. And they were pulling my clothes off and packing me and ice. And I kind of felt like Mr. Freeze there for a little while. But but the drug itself, every week that I took it, it gave me severe flu like symptoms. After each injection, I lost 50 pounds, I used to joke that I was pretty sure I was so skinny that I could go hang gliding on a Dorito you know, with that, but you know, if you can imagine your we've all had the flu, you can imagine having the flu every week for almost five years,

David Sandstrom 13:41
I can't even imagine that I couldn't the horror of that.

Terry Tucker 13:45
When the doctor said that, you know, I'm like, that's, that's insane. That's just not something that you know, you can wrap your mind around. And so you don't, you know, you say like, Okay, today is today's today, I'll deal with today. And if I can get through today, and and I, I have a post it note that's that sits on my on my desk here. And it has three, three sentences on it. And I look at it every day, I say multiple times. And the first one is you need to control your mind or it will control you. And the second one is you need to embrace your pain and suffering and use it to make you a stronger and more determined individual. And the third one is as long as you don't quit, you can never be defeated. So I tried to let you know what i'm not going to think about being on this for five years. I'm going to think about it today. And that's kind of how I got through it. I mean, I took all that pain, I took that misery I took all that suffering and I turned it inside. And I use that as fuel or energy to kind of stay with it. I mean, and believe me, there were days there were days I felt so poorly and was in so much agony that I literally prayed to die, but everybody was kind of a new adventure. You know what, I've got it, I've got to get it today. That's all I got to worry about is today, I'm not gonna worry about tomorrow. So,

David Sandstrom 15:06
Terry, that was really good. And I want to make sure the double hm community that the people listening to this episode, really get those three points. Here's a guy that's been battling cancer for the last eight to nine years. And he used these statements to help motivate himself to get him through the tough times. So I'm going to repeat those. One was, you need to control your mind, or it'll control you. The second was, you need to embrace your pain and suffering and use it to make you a stronger and more determined individual. And the third one was, as long as you don't quit, you can never be defeated. That's some pretty good stuff. And I'll bet there's somebody listening that needs to hear that right now. Terry, I can see that God has given you a spirit of inner strength. You have a mental emotional, inner strength, and also a physical because when you told me you had a 108 eight, fever, 108 degree fever, from what I know about anatomy physiology, I'm a naturopathic doctor. So I studied a lot about the body, you know how the body works. And usually people that are on their, their deathbed, they they don't have the power, the vitality to generate a fever, then, you know, someone who's about to die doesn't have a fever. But you had 108, which meant you had a lot of vitality inside of you. And that was after four years, did you say of interferon,

Terry Tucker 16:23
Almost five years and seven months.

David Sandstrom 16:25
Almost five years, you still had that that inner physical vitality enough to generate 108 fever, that that's an amazing inner strength.

Terry Tucker 16:34
It was and I mean, I literally I remember looking up and looking down my body, and it literally looked like, you know, the hood of a car that had been left out in the sun, you know, in the middle of August, and there was just heatwaves guy. I don't know why. And this is gonna sound so funny. I for some reason, it just popped into my mind, I thought, if I had some Jiffy Pop popcorn right now, I could probably pop it on my abdomen, you know, there was that much heat that I felt. And as I told you, I was freezing. You know, I was so cold that I was just oh my God, please more warm blankets. And they're like, absolutely, you know, they're pulling the blankets off and packing me and ice and I'm like, Oh my gosh, what are you doing to me man? And then literally, I woke up in the intensive care and I don't remember much after after that I was I do remember my wife telling me that the nurse pulled her out of the ER and was like, you know, I've only seen two people with fevers this high. And one is your husband, the other one. He didn't live? I thought, well, that's pretty insensitive to say to somebody who's, you know, husband may be dying, right?

David Sandstrom 17:36
Yeah. Right. Well, doctors can be that way. Unfortunately, they see a lot and sometimes they can be pretty insensitive with their comments. I've, I've personally been on the receiving end of that myself. Yeah, your journey, your cancer journey is not over yet is it?

Terry Tucker 17:52
It isn't I so after, you know, of course, you know, you go through five years of interferon therapy and the disease does not come back. And as soon as you're off at bang it, you know, re emerges and came back in the exact same place that it had originally presented. And eventually I add some some biologic therapy that did nothing to the disease, but was designed to rev up my immune system to to fight it, that didn't work. So I ended up having to have most of my left foot amputated. That was in 2018 2019 came back again. And then earlier this year, I had an undiagnosed tumor in my ankle that grew large enough to fracture my tibia. And in April, of course, leave it to me in the middle of a global pandemic to have my leg amputated. Oh, man, you know, when it was the only surgery of the day was, you know, nobody can be with you. kind of thing. And you know, what should have been a week long stay in the hospital was less than 48 hours, because of COVID. And

David Sandstrom 18:58

Terry Tucker 18:59
So yeah, and then and then further testing found tumors in my lungs. I've been on a chemotherapy regimen that, fortunately has shrunk those tumors. And I just started last week, a clinical trial of a new drug that mimics interleukin two with the positive side effects but doesn't have all the nasty side effects. Although I think I experienced all those nasty side effects last week of the shaking and fever and yeah, went up and all that kind of fun stuff.

David Sandstrom 19:28
Well, you sound pretty alert and energetic this morning.

Terry Tucker 19:32
Well, you know, again, a lot of it is is taking that pain, taking that suck, pardon my French and using it to make you stronger to make you more determined. Yeah, and really, you know, when people ask me what my secret is, that's my secret. You know, it's it's taking pain and suffering, terminating it inside into your heart into your soul, and just using that to make you stronger, and I but don't ask me how I mean, maybe was, you know, the three knee surgery in high school? Maybe it was, you know, all the things I saw in law enforcement, whatever it was, I don't I don't know how that happened to me. I don't know why I'm lucky to, to be able to have that because I'm sure you know, in, in your career, and certainly me in law enforcement and in cancer, you just see people that quit. They did give up. Yeah. And, you know, people ask me, Well, you know, how did you do it? You know, I could never, you know, and I hate it when people start that, you know, I could never be a policeman, I could never be on SWAT, I could never do what you're doing. You're right. You couldn't with that attitude.

David Sandstrom 20:34

You know, why would you even think that? You know, I always tell people, if you want to do something in your life, and it's scares you go ahead, do it. Yeah, you know, make that happen. Because I promise you, when you come to the end of your life, like I have, the things you're going to regret are not the things you did. They're the things that you didn't do. And I have very few regrets. Really, I did things I had a blast a great life. And, and I'm not done yet. But I always tell people, you know, living dying, that that's kind of way above my paygrade right now. I don't focus on that very much.

Well, you know, Terry, there's a there's a verse that's coming to mind as I'm listening to your story. And it's Romans 8:28. God works all things together for good. For those that love him. Can you relate to that? verse? Do you have any comments on that?

Terry Tucker 21:23
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, my I was talking about the three F's, which, you know, people ask me what has gotten you through this? Yeah, I, you know, yes, I'm able to take pain and suffering and turn it inside and use it, you know, to get energy. But, you know, the three Fs for me are faith, family and friends. And I've had a tremendous faith in God. And I wrote a book literally, I wrote a book between the time I had my leg amputated in April, and the time I started chemotherapy in June. And I say, I wrote the book, I physically wrote it, but I really believe it was inspired by God. God was like, you know, write this book. And I'll tell you what to say. I'll tell you how to you know, and things like that, because I'm, I'm not a writer. I mean, I, you know, I guess most most authors, the first time they write a book, you know, they're not authors until they write the book, you know, and I get that but, you know, if it wasn't for my family, if it wasn't for my wife and I, I like to tell this story, called the push me pull me story. When I had my, the lymph nodes taken out of my groin, I had 40 staples that literally went from my thigh up through my groin and into my abdomen, where they had opened me up to remove all those lymph nodes. And I was offered pain medication on the way home. And I said, No, you know, it's, it's 10 minute ride, I'm good. Well, I managed to get into the house with the my crutches, three steps, no problem. Well, then I had to negotiate seven steps to a landing, and then seven more steps to upstairs to the bedroom. And I got to that to that landing. And those staples were pulling and pinching, and it felt like my groin was on fire. And I looked at my wife and daughter, and I said, I just had to sit down. I was covered in sweat. I was breathing heavy. I can't do these seven steps, these Lexa and my daughter who was probably 15, at the time, she was like, absolutely not dad, and she grabbed literally literally grabbed my shirt. And my wife pushed from the back. And they pushed me and pulled me up those stairs.

David Sandstrom 23:33

Terry Tucker 23:33
And when I talk to groups, I asked them this. I'm like, who in your life is pushing or pulling you to your success to your goals to your dreams? Or maybe more importantly, who were you pushing or pulling to their goals? You know, if it hadn't been for my faith, if it hadn't been for my family, if it hadn't been for my friends, I'd have died a long time ago. I honestly believe that. Because my wife there were there were some other incidences ran it up in the emergency room with a blood clot in my lung and fluid around my heart. And I was sure I was going to die. And I wanted to die. I remember looking at her with tears literally coming out of my eyes saying, I'm done. Just Just let me go. And I remembered reading an article that was written about the owner of a professional sports team, who hired a navy seal to live with his family for a month. And he taught them what they call the 40% rule. So when you think you're done, you're at the end of your rope, you can't go any farther. You're only at 40% of your maximum. You still have 60% left in reserve. And I don't know why at that moment, I thought about that article. And I remember blocking everything out. Everything was going on doctors, nurses, you know, technicians sticking me you know, doing all kinds of tests and just thinking I still have 60% left I'm not gonna, I'm not at the end of my rope, I feel like it. But I still have so much more to give. And I really think in a way that kind of saved my life at that point in time because I was really ready to give up.

David Sandstrom 25:12
Well, you know, that speaks to the idea of having the right mindset. You know, it's kind of a, it's almost a cliche these days, so you can have the mindset. But you've got, you've got the mindset for longevity, you know, one of the one of the stories I'd like to share in Norman Cousins book called headfirst. And he was on the staff at UCLA Medical Center. And he was not an MD, but he was shadowing doctors, and he was their mind-body connection guy. And he watched the doctor give a diagnosis to a woman that had stage four cancer. And he said, Mrs. Smith, I'm paraphrasing, Mrs. Smith, I'm afraid. It's cancer, and it's a very aggressive form of cancer, and I give you three months to live. I recommend you go home and get your affairs in order. And Norman Cousins says he saw the life just sink out of that woman at that moment. She walked out of the room completely dejected. And later he said to the doctor, why did you deliver the news in such a callous fashion? So Well, I have a legal obligation to be accurate, and I don't want to be misunderstood. And he said, Well, maybe there's a way we could tell somebody the truth, but give them hope. And and he suggested a policy, something like this for the for the hospital. And that was when you have to deliver bad news like that. Have a cancer survivor in the room with you. And start out the same way Mr. Smith, I'm afraid it's cancer. It's particularly aggressive form of the of the disease. But I'm here to tell you, there are people that have gotten the very same diagnosis you're getting today and have gone on to live healthy lives and enjoying the families today. Now, I'm not going to kid you, you got your work cut out for you. But the staff at this hospital is on your side. I'm on your side. And I want to do everything possible to help you be one of those people. That would leave room for hope.

Terry Tucker 27:05
You're right. And I, you know, I go back to my dad's experience with cancer. I mean, he was my dad was of the generation where, you know, men didn't go to doctors. And by the time he was diagnosed, he was in stage four breast cancer. And, and back in the 80s. That was very rare. They didn't know what to do to help him. They, they literally, they removed his testicles thinking it was hormonal, like it is and women and things like Oh, man, and so but he lived I mean, literally, they were like, you know, just go home and die. And he lived three and a half years. And and I believe that he lived three and a half years because he had a purpose. He went to work every day, almost every day, up until two weeks before he died. And if he hadn't had that purpose, I think he would have died much, much earlier than that.

David Sandstrom 27:56

Terry Tucker 27:57
And, you know, I looked at him. I mean, he was my hero. He was, you know, just a great guy. And I remember one day, I was helping him. He was so debilitated. And, you know, he was six foot five, he was 250 pounds. He was just he was a force larger than life, in my mind is that you know, as a kid, and I remember one day, I was cleaning, I was drying his hair. You know, he was so weak, he couldn't dry sounds drying his hair. And he held out his hand like he wanted to shake my hand. And I was like, that's kind of weird. But I shook his hand. And there was $100 bill in the palm of his hand. Give me $100 bill. And I'm like, What's that for? And he said, Well, that's for all you're doing for me. And I really kind of got indignent. I'm like that you're making me feel like a prostitute. Yeah, you know, everything you and mom did for me and my brothers. I mean, all of us have college degrees. All of us have master's degrees. You know, I mean, we're like, Are you kidding? Everything you did for us? And now it's the end of your life? You think I'm going to abandon you?

David Sandstrom 27:57

Terry Tucker 27:57
Absolutely not. Here's your hundred dollars. Don't do that to me.

David Sandstrom 28:14

Terry Tucker 28:15
It was first time ever yelled at my dad, it's usually the other way around. So, but I was like, Dad, you know, I love you. And and, you know, it's funny. When I was at the police academy, the, the instructor would have us bring a photo of the person or persons that we love the most. And we would look at that photo as we trained to, you know, defensive tactics trained to basically save our lives on the street. And his reasoning was, you'll fight harder for somebody you love than you will fight for yourself.

David Sandstrom 29:35
I believe that.

Terry Tucker 29:36
Yeah, you know, so here are these photos, you're looking at them. You're you're putting that in your brain. So there's some guys trying to stab you or shoot you or choke you or whatever. You're gonna remember that you know what, I'm going to go home to my wife and daughter. And it was it was a very powerful thing that I I don't think people realize, you know, I mean, whether you love God or whether you love your family, or you love them all, you know, love is I sent my, my dad's doctor, his oncologist, a letter after he died. And I told him, I said, you know, the thing that you gave my dad and the thing that you gave our family, as you mentioned before was hope. You know, you didn't say just go home and die and act like there's nothing I can do for you try things. And you gave him hope. And I think without that, you know, faith, hope and love abide. greatest of these is love. Yeah, I think I think it is. But boy, if you don't have hope, you know, you're you're kind of up the creek without a paddle.

David Sandstrom 30:33
Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Well, you know, another phrase that's coming to mind is, God does not waste our pain. And you've been through a lot of pain, but I can see there's a lot of connection with people that you know, people you love, you've written a book that will that will last outlast you on this earth, right. And I've done the same thing, I wrote a book, I wrote a good part of my book, when I was laid up, I had a ladder fall, and I fell 26 feet and drove my tibia through my heel bone, my calcaneus. And it was extensive surgery to rebuild my heel bone. And I was on the couch for seven months, pretty much. And I wrote a good part of my book then. And just the other day, I got an email from a guy that read the book. And he said, I really enjoyed your book, it changed my life. And I would like to become a holistic health coach like you. And you know, that just really warms my heart Even now sharing that story, I get chills, thinking that, yeah, my life will impact and touch other people's lives.

Terry Tucker 31:37
You're right. And, and it and it will. And you know, it's funny, because I, as you're telling me that story, I remember laying in bed at night after I had my foot amputated, and kind of looking up the ceiling saying, All right, what, what next God. What, what do you want me to do? Because I, I really didn't have any goals. I didn't have any dreams. It was like, What do you want me to do? And I was literally, you know, I was hoping that the you know, the clouds would open and God would you know, dare you will do that, you know, but but that didn't have there's there's that old Lily Tomlin joke that says, you know, when we talk to God, it's called prayer when God talks to us, it's called schizophrenia, you know, and I, I was looking for what you want me to do. And and then people started saying, hey, Terry, you aught to write a book. And I was dismissing it. You know, I'm not a writer, what are you talking about? Yeah. And then other somebody else would say, and somebody else would say that. And I kind of got to the point where sometimes I can be stubborn, you know, it's like, I think that was God trying to say, hey, dummy, I'm telling you what to do through these folks. Listen to that.

David Sandstrom 32:39

Terry Tucker 32:40
And, and so kind of, like, you know, I started putting things together and, and, you know, I had information when I you know, when I've mentioned I had my leg amputated, and wrote the book, I had, I had enough information gathered that it was it was easier to write it then just kind of, you know, from nothing, but I really do believe, I think my the book was inspired by God, so much of my life has been inspired by God, I, I been to the cemetery, you know, I have all my funeral arrangements made. And people like, you know, that's defeatist. Like,

David Sandstrom 33:13
No, it's not,

Terry Tucker 33:14
Yeah, that's a gift to my family that when when they are exhausted, and I've gone through all the stuff with me, and I'm finally gone, they make one phone call, and it's taken care of, yeah. You know, that's a gift to them. It's not defeatist, I'm not looking to die. And, and, and again, this may sound weird. I can't see myself in the casket yet. If that makes any sense.

David Sandstrom 33:36

Terry Tucker 33:36
You know, I can't, I can't picture myself there. I have a casket. But I can't picture myself in it yet. And that says to me, God's not done with you yet. You still have something else He wants you to do?

David Sandstrom 33:48
That's excellent. You know, we're all we're all these bodies are wearing out. Right? We're all headed for the same place, right? This body is going to be in six feet under one day. But we all have to come to grips with the idea that we are terminal. And if we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we get to live in paradise with Him forever. But I think that you've probably come to grips with that in a little bit more tangible way than the average person.

Terry Tucker 34:15
I have an in a lot of ways because people will, will feel sorry for me, you know, they like Oh, I'm sorry. You have cancer. I'm sorry, you're dying, or I'm sorry, whatever it is. And I was looking I'm like, Don't Don't be sorry. And when I when I sat down that is everybody dies, but not everybody lives.

David Sandstrom 34:34

You know, not everybody finds that purpose for which you've been put on this earth and and I I try to tell people I like think about this. You sitting here right now, you and I. There's never been a human being ever before us. There will never be a human being ever after us. That has the same unique gifts and talents that we do. And if you think think about that; If you think about the fact that, you know, God knew all the sins we were going to commit, he knew all the dumb things that we were going to do.


Terry Tucker 35:09
And he still wanted to create us, and put us on this earth and have a relationship with us. I was listening to a discussion the other day from a bishop out in California. And he was talking about he said, you know, we all talk, you know, our journey to God, our, you know, we're going up to spiritual mountain and stuff like that. And he's like, No, no, you got it all wrong. God, God's at the door knocking, we don't have to go to him. He's trying to get to us. Yeah. And it's, it's us that it's doing the blocking, that's us that say, you know, I can handle this, I don't need, you know, I'm no, just, he's knocking on the door, just open the door. Yeah, just open the door to have that relationship. That's all you got to do. And if you need to clear the clutter away from the door, then go ahead and clear the clutter, whatever that is, you know, you're you're focused on power, you focused on money you're focused on, there's a, there's a great story about Alexander the Great when he's dying, you know, probably the biggest conqueror of all times, everybody, you know, biggest meg, megalomaniac, biggest murderer, you know, of all times, and people talk about Hitler, Alexander the Great was 10 times worse than Hitler. But at the end of his life, he calls he calls his counselors together and he says I wnat you to do three things for me. He said, number one, I want my doctors to carry my casket to the grave. Number two, I want the road to the cemetery to be strewn with gold and silver and precious stones. And number three, I want my hands to be left outside of my coffin. And one of his counselors comes forward and says, Oh, you know, those are really weird suggestions, weird things you want us to do? Why do you want us to do that? He said, Well, number one, I want my doctors to carry my, my casket to the grave. Because I want people to realize that doctors don't cure anything. They just help the body to cure itself.

David Sandstrom 36:58

Terry Tucker 36:59
And that, you know, that's a very important lesson to remember. He said number two, I want the, the the road kind of lined with golden silver and precious stones. Because I want people to realize that I have spent my whole life conquering, I've acquired all kinds of wealth, and not one penny of it is coming with me. After this life, it's foolish to it's folly to be pursuing, you know, treasure or gold or whatever. And then number three, with my hands hanging out in my casket, I want people to realize that I came into this world empty handed, and I'm leaving it the exact same way I came into it. And I think that's a powerful story. You know, if you think that all the things we want, we want power, and I'm working on a second book about it'll have more principles in it. But people you know, we don't talk about success, we all want to be successful. And I always tell people, be significant. not successful, you can be both, you can be successful and significant. But success is about what we do. We started a company, we wrote a book, we fly an airplane, whatever we do, we're successful at that. significance is what we do to help other people, you can be successful and significant. But at the end of the end of the life, I mean, God's not going to judge me, based on what David did. God's gonna judge me on what I did, and not on what anybody else did. And I always tell people, it's like, don't worry about I want to be like, no, don't be like him, you are unique in how you are you were put on this earth, don't try to be like him, there may be things you want to emulate about him, be you. Because at the end of the end of your life, God's gonna judge you on the gifts and the talents that he gave you. And did you use them to make his world a better place?

David Sandstrom 38:47
Well, you know, you might mention a couple things I want to revisit one was, we can't take this stuff with us. You know, no one's ever seen a Hearse with a U haul in tow. Right? I think it's an important place to come to when you realize you know, all the stuff that people are chasing the wealth, the house that the fancy car, you name it, it's all going to end up in the junk keep one day, and what's gonna matter what's going to bring significance into our lives is relationships, the relationship we have with God, the relationship we have with other people. And I think that that speaks to what you were just saying. Another thing I want to revisit, is what you said a moment ago that all we have to do is Jesus standing at the door we have to do is open the door if we don't have to exert ourselves, but we had to get some of the junk out of the way. Well in Deuteronomy 28. This is a verse that really spoke to me over the years and it says if you do if you follow the things that I'm telling you, God's ways, these blessings will come to you and overtake you. And the picture I have in my mind is when I was a kid, I used to love to body surf out in the beach in Fort Lauderdale when I was growing up, and you'd be stroking you know, swim swimming really hard. And then a wave would just come and overtake you and then you just stopped you stop striving and you rode the wave all the way to the beach, and I kind of look that is the word picture God gives us is just, you know, stop the striving, the blessings are available. Just avail yourself to them. They're here. I love you, I want to bless you.

Terry Tucker 40:10
Yeah, I want to have that relationship with you, you know, and, and it's us, like I said, you know, it's, we don't have to be, you know, God, I'm struggling in my faith journey, just open the door, just open the door, I'm here, I just want to have a relationship with you. And, and like I said, it kind of blows me away. When I think about how, you know, God knew all my sins. He knew all the stupid things I was going to do. He knew how I was going to turn my back on him from time to time, he knew all that stuff. And he loved me enough to create me and put me on this earth. I mean, when you think about that, you really kind of realize how insignificant you really are that you know, like you say, you know, I want to be, you know, the best pilot in the world. I want to be a general, I want to be the, you know, a captain of industry, I want to be whatever. None of that matters, right? None of that matters at all. What matters is the relationships that we have in our lives, the goal or the the talents and the gifts we've been given? Did we use those to help other people? Did we become a person of significance, instead of just a person of success? And if we can say yes, at the end of our life, you know, kneeling in the presence of our Lord and saying, I did the best I could. It's not I know, it's not enough. But I know you love me, regardless. That's an amazing feeling.

David Sandstrom 41:31
Yeah. Well, you know, another verses coming to mind is I think it's Matthew 16:33. where Jesus says, Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you. So when we when we seek God and His kingdom and his righteousness, we are we are, you know, living that selfless life you were talking about a moment ago. But as a side side benefit as a byproduct of that life, we get blessed in the process.

Terry Tucker 41:55
Yeah. And think about it. I mean, though, just the word blessed, we are blessed we are, you know, nothing we can do. No matter how stupid we are, no matter how many mistakes we made, no matter how much sin we do. We can't stop God from loving us. We can't stop God from blessing us. And if you think about that, that is so powerful. That's so much more powerful than the power that we have on Earth, the power, you know, I'm like you said, You know, I run my own company, I make my own decision. That's nothing, that power is nothing compared to the blessings and the love that our God gives us.

David Sandstrom 42:33
Yeah. Excellent. Well, Terry, you're a real inspiration. I really enjoyed this conversation. And you keep at it, you keep doing what you're doing. You keep looking up, put God at the center, and it really reflects you;re reflecting His goodness in this world.

Terry Tucker 42:46
Well, thanks for having me on. Dave, I hope we gave your your audience something to think about.

David Sandstrom 42:50
Alright, thanks for being here.

Terry Tucker 42:52
Bye, bye.

David Sandstrom 42:53
Well, I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Terry Tucker, I know I did. I was very inspired by his attitude and his positive outlook on life. He dropped a lot of value bombs on us. And I'd like to just wrap up and summarize a couple of them. He asked us who in your life is pushing or pulling you toward your goals and dreams? or more importantly, who are you pushing and pulling towards their goals and dreams. He talked about the 40% rule that he learned from a navy seal. And he said, when you think you've got nothing left, you're probably only 40% of the way there you've got 60% of your effort left. He also mentioned God is near, he's always available, and he wants to be in relationship with us. All we have to do is invite him in open the door and invite him in. He also said doctors don't cure anything. They help the body to heal itself. I think that's a very important distinction. He also mentioned that we can't take any of our wealth with us. No one's ever seen a hearse with a U haul in tow. All the stuff that the world is assigned great value to will one day end up in the junk heap. It's important to remember that he told us that we came into this world empty handed and we're going to leave it the same way. He also encouraged us to pursue significance over success. When we're living a life of significance. We'll regularly ask ourselves, what do we do to help other people because it's relationships that gives our lives significance. His book is called "Sustainable Excellence" 10 principles to leading your uncommon and extraordinary life. His website is that's Don't forget to go to my website, you can check out the show notes there. This is episode number 23. I always post a full transcript of the conversation there. You can download it for free, put it on your device and take it with you and read it later. You can read it right there on the website. And I always put links to all the resources that we mentioned there in the show notes as well. Thanks for listening. I appreciate you. I enjoyed serving you, and I'll talk with you next week. Be blessed.

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About the author 

David Sandstrom

I am a follower of Jesus Christ, a Naturopathic Doctor, and a Biblical Health Coach. I am also an Airline Captain for a major airline based out of Atlanta, Ga. I've been helping people maximize their health potential by nurturing their body, mind, and spirit since 2005.

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