I have reinvented myself frequently over my professional career. After I graduated from college at The Citadel (where I played NCAA Division I basketball), I was employed in the Marketing Department at the corporate headquarters of Wendy’s International in Dublin, Ohio. From there, I worked in hospital administration for Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. After getting married and moving to California, I became the Customer Service Manager for an academic publishing company in Santa Barbara. When our daughter was born and we moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, I became a police officer with the Cincinnati Police Department, where I was a SWAT Hostage Negotiator. In 2004, I obtained my Masters degree from Boston University. Following a family relocation to Texas, I started a school security consulting business and coached high school girls basketball. Each time I took on a new job, I had to develop new skills and faced different challenges. There was always a significant learning curve with every new position.
But my greatest challenge began in 2012 when I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Acral Lentiginous Melanoma, which presented on the bottom of my foot. By the time the cancer was detected, it had metastasized to a lymph node in my groin. Because my disease is extremely rare I was treated at the world-renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center. I had two surgeries to remove the tumors, and after I healed, I was put on a weekly injection of the drug, Interferon, to help keep the disease from returning.
I realize pain and discomfort can beat you to your knees and keep you there if you let it. But I also came to appreciate that I could use my hurting and anguish to harden my mind and make me more resolute.
I was no better at dealing with pain and discomfort than the next person. But every day, I found a way to survive, with the knowledge that I would need to do it again the following morning.
I wrote my book, Sustainable Excellence, Ten Principles to Leading Your Uncommon and Extraordinary Life to help people find and live their uncommon and extraordinary purpose. The ten principles outlined in the book will provide the bedrock necessary to form the foundation of unshakable beliefs and dedicated behaviors to reinforce your attitude, no matter how much pain you must endure or how many obstacles you must overcome. Sustainable Excellence is available on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08GLGVTVS), Barnes & Noble.com, (https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sustainable-excellence-terry-tucker/1137534840), or anywhere you can get a book online.
Unfortunately, my cancer experience hasn't ended with me conquering my disease. The melanoma that had plagued me for over five years returned in 2017, and my only treatment option was the amputation of my left foot in 2018. The cancer reemerged again in 2019, requiring multiple operations. In February 2020, an undiagnosed tumor fractured my tibia. My only remedy, in the middle of the COVID pandemic, was an above the knee amputation of my left leg. I also learned I have tumors in both of my lungs.
But I refused to be a victim of this malignancy. I vowed to continue my fight. I knew the only way cancer could win is if I gave up or gave in to the disease, or it killed me.
In addition to my faith, I use my 4 Truths to guide the decisions I make in my life. These 4 Truths are:
1. Control your mind, or it will control you.
2. Embrace the pain and discomfort we all experience in life and use it to make you a stronger and more determined individual.
3. What you leave behind is what you weave in the hearts of other people.
4. As long as you don't quit - you can never be defeated