#6 What If

Scared of what lies ahead for me, I'm often caught in a cycle of worry, fear and uncertainty. I hate the fact that this cancer has shown up. I'm angry at it and what I need to do to fix it.

As a result, all sorts of "what ifs" pass through my thoughts on a daily basis. They hover like a gnat attracted by some ripening bananas.

What if I don't do well with the chemo treatment? What if I get some of the side effects of radiation? What if it the surgery goes poorly? What if they find more lymph nodes or cancer during surgery? What if the colostomy bag doesn't work? What if I need more chemo?

What if... what if... what if...

I try to swat them away, but they return with annoying frequency, buzzing around my brain. They seem attracted to my fear.

But, in those times when I stop, quiet myself and connect to this moment I'm in right now, another thought whispers within me.

Life is not happening to me, it is happening for me.

And, from that perspective, new, more powerful "what ifs" emerge.

What if this diagnosis is for my good?

What if this cancerous growth in me is a gift?

What if this sickness will save me?

What if the lessons that come in this process are part of a bigger, more valuable gift I have to give the world? Is there a greater good being birthed in this rectal cancer reality?

In these new "what if" questions, and the others that appear along with them, a bigger, more courageous part of me emerges.

From them, at least most of the time, I feel confident and ready for what is ahead.


  1. Mike Sullivan on October 18, 2016 at 10:54 am


    So proud of you, friend.

    Michael Sullivan President
    Automated Records Centre ShredPLUS

    • Tom Adams on October 18, 2016 at 10:55 am

      Thanks Mike. I appreciate your unquenchable support.

  2. Brian Woodcock on October 18, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your journey.

    Most Sincerely,

    • Tom Adams on October 20, 2016 at 6:44 am

      Thank you for sharing it with me Brian.

  3. Mary Lou on October 18, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    What a great perspective! Knowing you as I do, I know you will find a way to turn this into an opportunity to help others.
    … in the waiting room
    … your doctors
    … coaching clients
    Love you bro!

    • Tom Adams on October 20, 2016 at 6:44 am

      Love you back Sis!

  4. Dawn on October 18, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    Tom, I’m inspired by your vulnerability and your ultimate attitude of an overcomer. I agree with you that God is doing something big here. Bigger than we all see. You certainly are an inspiration to us. We’re privileged to be your friend and thank you for your updates and authenticity. Praying for you!

    • Tom Adams on October 20, 2016 at 6:45 am

      Dawn, Thank you. I am grateful for your prayers.

  5. Jane B Richards on October 19, 2016 at 4:01 am

    Tom, Steve forward your blog to me and I’ve been catching up on your challenging journey…I’m reminded of a verse that was shared with me many many years ago while going through a very difficult time, this has always been my go to when I realize that some things are just out of my control…”Let us even exalt in our present sufferings, because we know that suffering trains us to endure. and endurance bring proof that we have stood the test and this test is the ground of hope.” Romans 5:3-4. I pray through your suffering you will endure, that you will stand the test, and you will be stronger, wiser, and hopeful for the plans God has for you and Becky!! You’re an inspiration to me and my family!!! Please know that you and Becky are loved and continually covered in prayer…Jane

    • Tom Adams on October 20, 2016 at 6:46 am

      Jane, Thanks for sharing your “go to” and your prayers. It means a lot.

  6. Don Gerard on October 19, 2016 at 7:35 am


    The “What ifs” and “Whys” can and will be overwhelming at times. To me, the answers to these questions are quite simple – Because you can handle this burden when someone else cannot. You can inspire, encourage and motivate when someone could not. You have a wonderful support system of family, friends, employees and colleagues when someone else might not. You can have a positive can-do and I will beat this thing attitude when someone else may not. You know God (and all of us) will be by your side through this entire journey, and you will WIN this fight! Stay strong my friend.


    • Tom Adams on October 20, 2016 at 6:48 am

      Don, Wow! What a delightful and encouraging note. I am grateful to you and your support.

  7. Bryan Todd on October 19, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Tom, thank you so much for the candid and real sharing that you’ve done here. I feel privileged to be included as you share your journey.

    • Tom Adams on October 20, 2016 at 6:48 am

      Bryan, Thanks for your presence. It means a lot.

  8. Leslie on October 19, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    Sending hugs and prayers from Texas to you and Becky.
    Love, Leslie & Michael Marchand

    • Tom Adams on October 20, 2016 at 6:51 am

      Leslie, Hugs and prayers received. Thank you.

  9. Lori Osinga on October 20, 2016 at 5:51 am

    I think those “what ifs” are circling the thoughts of all of us who know you, love you, and are to some degree, sharing this journey with you. Admittedly, the initial reaction upon hearing all of this news is disbelief and almost paralyzing fear. How could this be happening? But you completely amaze and inspire me every time I read about a new piece of this puzzle. Every time. Your resolve to handle this frightening situation with optimism and look for the silver lining is ALREADY impressive and a valuable gift to us all. So you’re right! …the “greater good” is already underway! 🙂 I mentioned to Becky on more than one occasion that I honestly can’t imagine a couple that has a better combination of skills, traits and life experiences to step up to this challenge together.

    Thank you so much for sharing your information, vulnerability and wisdom with us! Sending a truckload of love and big hugs your way!!
    🙂 Lori

    • Tom Adams on October 20, 2016 at 6:52 am

      Lori, Thanks for your kind and encouraging words. Truckload unloaded and enjoyed.