An alarm starts to go off and a hematology and oncology nurse at Cook Children’s walks in to check on her patient. “Did you need some help?” Josh responds, “I already got it.” The nurse sort of chuckles, “Of course you did…”
Just after he turned 19, Josh Box was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma. He had just finished his freshman year at Weatherford College and was surprised to say the least. While I was working as an intern in Cook Children’s Public Relations and Marketing Department, my boss at the time decided to present me with a challenge. She wanted me to interview someone my age that was currently fighting cancer. My reaction, “Yikes!!”
In my life I had never done anything like this before and I was supposed to sit down with a complete stranger to discuss his cancer. It amazes me how the smallest nudge or push can cause someone to do something completely out of character. The reason behind her madness was to teach me some kind of life lesson. She told me, “What if that was you? Ask yourself, what would you do!?” Being 20, turning 21in less than a month, I was dumbfounded by her questions. What the lesson was that I was supposed to learn I wasn’t sure. But I would figure it out one way or another.
I met with Josh at the Medical Center in one of the recovery rooms. He had just finished his chemotherapy and was just hanging out. Now this already sounds bad, the intern is coming in to question the guy right after he finished his treatment!
Here is the thing you must know about Josh, he is the only person I have ever heard of who has GAINED weight during treatment. For him it is the easiest part of the process. Coming in, I expected to have a grim talk about the evil cancer but it ended up being quite the opposite. Josh was down to earth and easy to talk to about a variety of subjects. He told me one story of high school baseball days when Grayford played Poolville.
Josh’s eyes lit up with excitement as he spoke. “My favorite game is when we played Poolville. The thing you need to know about Poolville is it is the exact same dimensions as Ranger Stadium and I hit one left-center… I was the only person to ever hit it out of that field. It was pretty awesome.” As I listened to his story, I started to realize that this guy was pretty special. He had a winner’s mindset and a positive attitude that directly affected his current state. Then I started to wonder: how did he become the man he is today?
Josh Box is the “do it yourself” type personality who enjoys the simple
things in life. Going to school and being around his friends and family is what makes him happy in life. He believes in himself with the challenges that are presented and has a stubborn side that refuses to give up.
These following characteristics are the foundation to his fight against Ewing Sarcoma. He believes in himself and is surrounded by an environment that provides fuel to his fire. How does he do it? The answer is simple, he is confident in his belief of conquering the obstacle in front of him. But along with this he also has a family, friends and a community that believe in him!
“I knew I could overcome it. I knew it was just a challenge. It was another crossroad in my life so I decided to cross on over and beat it,” Josh told me. In the middle of all of it, the doubt sort of slips away because in his heart Josh knows he has bigger mountains to climb. In Josh Abbott’s song, “ Hell’s Gates on Fire,” he tells of the firefighters that fought against the wild fires this summer. At the beginning he says, “Hells gates on fire a million acres gone. But when the going gets tough, the tough get moving on.”
At this point in my own personal life, my main worry is not wasting the present moment. That’s my greatest fear, that time will rush on by and I’ll suddenly be at the end of my days wondering what just happened. However, one cannot give power to these doubts, the future will come whether you’re ready or not. When I asked Josh how he has changed for the better he responded, “I appreciate things much more because life can change (snaps his fingers) just like that.” You never know what’s around the next corner in life.
As the story of my life starts to unfold in front of me there is one thing I have discovered for sure, the future is uncertain. I am 21 years old and will be graduating in December and then my time as a “college scholar” will be over. I have no clue what is going to happen between then and the rest of my life. As I look into the eyes of a man whose life changed in just a moment’s time, I realize, so could mine.
Here is the lesson I’ve learned from Josh. We don’t know what the future holds; we are all full of uncertainties. However this should not restrict the things we can do in life (travel the World, hit a homerun, DEFEAT CANCER, possibilities are endless!). The point is to not empower the uncertainty inside you. There are times when life will knock you down, and you won’t know what to do. Don’t give into the negativity, instead believe in yourself! Surround yourself with an environment and people that believe and have confidence in you. This is the environment for success and happiness. I truly believe that there is no such thing as fighting too hard or loving your life too much. And that’s something that Josh and I definitely have in common.