The Secret to getting through hard times and being happy

This is a damn long post so if you want to get to the meat of it just scroll down to the list and the closing statement. Otherwise read on. I will start by talking about myself and then move on to my advice. I will start off by saying that throughout all of my early High school career I was negative and always thought of things the worst case scenario. I did not have a lot of friends because I was socially awkward and afraid to be around people because I did not want to embarrass myself. While all my friends had girlfriends and were going to parties and living life like it should be lived I was usually sitting at home on the computer hiding from people. I was miserable. I wasn't able to hold friendship with anyone and I didn't enjoy anything. The only people I had in my life were my best friend and my dad who is also my best friend. People made fun of me a lot and I wasn't able to hold friendships because something about me was just weird. I didn't know how to just be myself. I quit all the sports I played because people made fun of me a lot during school and it bothered me and I wasn't able to defend myself because I didn't know what to say. I was actually so good at tennis early on that I was on the road to play division 1 in college. As time went on I started to do worse and worse in school and got a 2.5 GPA freshman year. I didn't like anything and I was negative about life in general. I decided at the end of my freshman year that things needed to change and that I wanted to switch schools. I talked to my parents and decided to go to a different school. The school was much different than my old school because it was larger, more strict rules, and had a harder grading scale. I figured that if there were more people maybe I would be able to find some friends. I took an Economics class and became hooked on finance. We had a stock market game and I happened to win it. And it was here that I found my first educational interest in finance. I have loved it ever since. I thought it was so cool. I started to talk to people more and I became closer to making friends with people. I was always nice to everybody no matter what. I was just starting to play Ultimate frisbee with my new friend Paul (not real name keeping him out for privacy reason) and I really liked him. He was a cool guy and was popular at the school. Things seemed to be improving.

Throughout this entire period I had been feeling pain in my knee. It was really bothering me a lot and I went to the doctor. I had thought the whole time it was bursitis which is a type of swelling you can get in your knee and it happens from overworking yourself. I hadn't been doing any real physical activity other than the occasional frisbee practice but I never really put the puzzle together to realize that there is no way that it could have been bursitis. The doctor took an X-Ray and a doctor in his residency came in and told me it looked like bursitis and that I needed to stretch my hamstrings. My dad is a doctor as well and had been talking to his orthopaedic friends and they all said the same thing. He assigned me to a physical therapist and I was scheduled to go in the next day. This week happened to also be exam week. I was stressing about school and wanted to do well on my finals and hopefully improve my grades after last years fiasco. I started to become really stressed and skeptical that I would do well. It was getting in the way of being able to study and looking back it was just not a good way to do things. Being negative is a bad thing always but we will come back to that later. The day after my X-Ray I was in class during our Flex period and was talking to my buddy paul and stressing a little about exams. I got a call on my cell phone in the middle of school. My dad was calling. Which isn't a surprise to me because he never was able to understand the fact that I was in school and that I could get in big trouble for using my phone. He always used to text me during school and talk to me.

I quickly ran down to the bathroom to the bathroom for what would be the last time I ever ran and ever will run in my life to answer the phone. He told me that my X-Ray results came back and that they indicated that I had a tumor in my knee. We weren't sure and he was picking me up early to drive down to a big hospital to get a biopsy by the best surgeon in the world. I did not know or understand or even think about how serious this was this whole time and I was talking to my dad about how worried I was about finals and doing well in life and doing well in the future. He told me to not worry about it and that I am a lot like him being such a worry-wart and that I should just try the best I can and that is all that matters. Looking back I cannot believe that I actually cared about these things so much. As we arrived to the hospital I did a PET scan, An MRI, A CT scan X-rays and the doctors even looked at my knee. After all this I got a Biopsy to get a real test. We stayed the night and the next day we woke up and met the doctor at 8 AM. We walked in and I was worrying about my Exams and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to do well because of this because i had missed valuable time to study. We walked in to meet the doctor and the doctor told me that I had Osteosarcoma. Osteosarcoma is a type of Cancer that forms in the bone and is very agressive. It requires a heavy chemo regimen. Much heavier than the average regimen and I would be subject to some really toxic stuff to kill those cells. They told me I had to get what they called a "Limb Salvage" Surgery which is when they remove a region of your cancerous bone and replace it with metal. I was horrified. Suddenly all my worries about school went away and moved to worry about life. I thought I was going to die. I was scheduled for 4 months of chemo then the limb salvage surgery and then another 4 months of chemo afterwards to get rid of any remaining cells not removed. After doing another X-ray of my lungs they found two little notches in my lungs that were like 5mm big.

I had surgery a few weeks later to get them removed only to realize that they actually missed and did not get them because they were so damn small. They weren't even sure if they were actually cancerous but there was no way to know until they were removed. The cancer that I had is well known for Metasticizing into the lung and spreading really quickly. I had to get another surgery eventually and they planned it for a few months later. I was so worried I was done for. I spent so much time worrying and It wasn't helping at all. I suddenly realized that If I was going to die why would I continue to be so fucking negative. It was making life unlivable and I wasn't sure how much time I had left. I started to be positive about everything. Despite the fact that I was in the hospital for 7 days at a time and only got three day breaks in between and was unable to leave my hospital room at any point during the time. Despite the fact that I had had Surgery on my knee already for a Biopsy and it hurt like hell. Despite the fact that I was throwing up 7 times a day and did not eat or drink for the entire time I was in the hospital because the smell of food made me barf. Despite the fact that I lost 50 pounds, was unable to go to school and see any of my friends and had to do online school to make up for lost time, play any sports, hang out with my cousins, go to my favorite uncles wedding, or even get fresh air outside because my blood counts were so low that I was unable to even go near people because my white blood count was too low to fight infection and I was already incredibly weak from chemo. I stopped feeling bad for myself and stopped even caring about what was going on. I became a machine and just accepted that I had cancer and that there was nothing I could do. I just started to try to be positive. I went home at the end of a long week feeling terrible and kept the people I knew posted on what was going on. I always made it seem like it was really not that bad. I stopped getting annoyed at anything and became more accepting of others.

I would see people on twitter and Facebook complaining about having a cold or even about a friend not texting them back on time or doing bad in school and it was just foreign to me I no longer understood why people were negative when they have so much opportunity and they are healthy. I was the most unhealthy person that a person can be and I was under terrible circumstances and odds but I was still happier and grateful for life. I started to not allow myself to think I was going to die. Dying was not even an option for me because I just made it an expectation that I was going to be fine. I made it my goal to enjoy myself and be as good a person as possible. I wanted to make as much a difference on people as I could.

I wanted to inspire positivity and happiness and understanding of life in others. halfway through the treatment I finally got my surgery on my lung and on my Leg and they both went fine. I have a metal pin all the way through my leg in place of my Tibia and a scar from above my knee cap to my ankle and you can still see the staple marks from all 52 of them and I have a scar all the way down my side where they removed the lung lesion. It turned out it was simple inflammation from pollen getting in my lungs. I didn't even get excited about it because I didn't even focus on my health anymore. I only focused on making a difference and being happy because everything else is out of your control and should not be worried about. I finished up my last four months of chemo and got my final end of chemo scans.

The scans showed that I no longer had cancer of any sort in my body and that I was completely cured. Everyone around me was so excited. I had over a thousand people congratulate me and they were all so happy. I didn't even care because it was an expectation for me. I did not make death an option. I went back to school and people saw me as a totally different person and they were right. I was suddenly positive about everything, I was happy and smiled all the time, I was nice to everyone, I talked to everyone and I took advantage of every situation I could. I matured by at least 5 years during this year because of the situation and I did better in the first semester back to school than I had ever done before because I was just happy to be alive. I understood the value of life and I understood the meaning. I understood that the best way to live is the positive way and it is easy.

I no longer worried about my future and I ended up getting an internship at a hedge fund as a junior in high school, making more friends than I can handle, ate lunch with warren buffet and changed a lot of peoples views on life for the better and enjoyed every second of my what would be to most people a miserable experience. All during my time with cancer.

People witness death, lose their jobs, get divorced, lose friends, fail, embarrass themselves and worry about things that are not important. It happens to everyone and it is sad but it is the way life works. You are only given one life on this earth so you need to spend as much time enjoying it as possible. Just think on the bright side and just know that everything happens for a reason and there is something out there for everyone.
So with all that said here is a list of the things I think are most important in life and will lead you to success beyond your imagination.

1. Honesty: My dad always taught me that Honesty is one of the most important qualities a person can have. Everyone likes an honest person and it feels good to know that you are doing the right thing. Warren Buffet preached this to me when we met and I totally agreed with every word he said.

2. Positivity: As I've been preaching this whole time just be positive no matter your situation because it WILL work it self out. It is not worth your time to be negative and it gets you nowhere. No one likes a negative person and everyone likes a positive one. Being positive will make you stand out in the work place and lead you to success.

3. Don't worry: My grandpa always told me that he wasted so many hours of his life worrying about things that never ended up happening and it was the things that he did not worry about that bit him in the ass.

4. Work Hard and be persistent: Dont ever give up and work hard. I didn't understand how much of a difference hard work makes until I started to work hard in school and it was very rewarding. My dad went to a no name college and was consistently told by his councillors and teachers that he had little to no chance of becoming a doctor and he might possibly be able to go to dental school. He didn't let this bring him down and he tried harder than ever before and senior year when he applied to med school he got in. Now he is one of the most respected and certainly the best in the state. Just because the odds are against you doesn't mean that they are self fullfilling. You can change the odds by working hard and being happy.

5. Be confident: Everyone likes people who are confident. People trust confident people and confidence rubs off on people.

6. Don't work too hard: Contradicts rule 4 doesn't it? one of the biggest regrets people have before they die was not enjoying themselves and spending enough time with their families because they worked their whole lives. Why would you ever waste your life working all the time just because you will make more money. Take advantage of the fantastic time you have on earth and enjoy yourself, raise kids, do some hobbies, make a difference in the community and contribute to the betterment of the world.

7. Be Open: Leave yourself open to all different opinions. People are often so opinionated and never change their minds about anything. People continue to make the same mistakes over and over and over and are not accepting of other people or ideas.

8. Be grateful: Be grateful for what you have and take advantage of what you have. Be happy that you are able to put food on the table or that you don't have cancer in your knee. If you are under any of these circumstances work to get out of them or embrace them. Find the positives of your life and stick with them.

9. Be respectful and caring: Be nice to everyone you meet and try to understand everyones circumstances. Everyone loves a caring and respectful person and when things all go to shit they will support you over anyone else because of how you treated them.

10. Think Big picture: If you look at life all it is is 60-100 years of time that you have. You die at the end and never come back. So you should take advantage of all the situations you can because everything you do changes your life. Do the most good you can while your here and enjoy yourself. Don't fret about things too often.

Closing Statement(Finally)

There is no universal meaning of life and I think everyone makes their own. I've made mine and you will make yours everyone will have different beliefs and ways of doing things and different hobbies and religions. The less time you worry about what others believe, are doing, and own the more you can do something for yourself and be helpful to making the lives of others better. At the end of your life the way that you look at what you have done relies completely on positivity and expectations. Be positive about the good things you've done and forget about the mistakes you've made and only think about them to improve yourself. Every second you are alive is time you have lost and your clock is constantly ticking. Think about it.
I'll stop rambling now I just wanted to share my Ideas.

With all this said what experiences in life have changed you as a person for the better? What have you learned from these experiences and why do you think you changed from it.

If you at all enjoyed this let me know in the comments and maybe throw a SB if you really liked it that much

Comments (16)

Aug 26, 2012 - 1:21am

did not read this dissertation

Disclaimer for the Kids: Any forward-looking statements are solely for informational purposes and cannot be taken as investment advice. Consult your moms before deciding where to invest.
  • 1
Aug 26, 2012 - 1:23am

Skimmed. Honestly was a bit of a tl;dr post, but from the few keywords I did glean, sounds like you faced a ton of troubles and made it through fine - good for you!

(Now maybe work on getting ideas across more succinctly?)

Currently: future psychiatrist (med school =P) Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)
Aug 26, 2012 - 9:17am

Sorry about the length. 2378 words is a little long.

The important stuff is in the list.

The important stuff is in the paragraph. I read the whole thing. That is amazing. I'm sorry to hear about your cancer and all the pain you went through. It seems that it has made you a stronger, more mature person. I would use some of this story for your college applications (assuming you graduate 2013). I believe that many people like to hear about how someone responded in a positive way to something that was difficult. Anyway, that was a great made my day.
Sep 1, 2012 - 7:31pm

Thank you for sharing.

......just trying to save at least one hour a day for myself....for sanity purposes.
Apr 19, 2013 - 11:41pm

Re-read this post because it was bumped. Absolutely a phenomenal story. Easily the best post of 2012, if not of all-time on WSO. Congrats kyleyboy on coming through this experience with such an upbeat attitude. Completely blew my mind.

Dec 10, 2017 - 7:07pm

Thanks for sharing your story. I have had a great problem with self-pity all of my life and now at 54 I am extremely depressed. I am going to make it my New Year's resolution to end it, but right now I am not feeling so great. I have no one and I am completely alone. I have a huge amount of anger. I was doing well the last two years with therapy but now I feel like I've regressed. Good luck to you

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