Skip to content

Self Doubt to PMA

November 8, 2015

It’s been a while since my last post, mainly I have just been busy.  Jess and I went to Europe for 2 weeks in August and had an amazing time hiking and climbing in the Alps.  Plus a few days on the French Riviera.  We went with some good friends.  (I voted for more mountains, but Jess overruled me, so we swam in the Mediterranean Sea). Then once we got back I was busy with work (things just seem to keep getting busier and busier) and then back into coaching as I was an assistant with Colby’s tackle football team and then Cade’s head coach for flag football.   September and October were a little bit packed to say the least!

2015-08-12 09.41.47

Helicopter flyby near the summit of Monte Rosa


 Cruising on du Tacul

2015-08-15 06.50.11

Our view from our place in Villefranche-sur-Mer

A quick recap of Europe:  It was amazing!  We had such a blast, it was a worthy bucket list trip for sure.  I was able to set my altitude high point, post surgery, at 15,200 ft at the top of Monte Rosa – the highest mountain in Switzerland.  And I felt great doing it.  Unfortunately, the weather ruled out the Matterhorn (there was a descent snow storm that hit up high in the mountains, we got soaked in the valley below), but Monte Rosa was a great alternative.  The other climbing goal was Mont Blanc, but poor conditions up high on the glacier and some lost luggage (our bags with our climbing gear got lost and took 3 days to get to us, which was not in time to keep our scheduled hut reservation) did in that option, but we cruised to 13,000ft on Mont Blanc du Tacul – which was amazing on its own.  We hiked just about every day and then enjoyed great food, fondue, beer and wine.  In the Riviera, we swam in the warm salt waters of the Mediterranean Sea, then rented a small boat and cruised around for a day on the water.  I actually enjoyed the relaxation of the beach way more than I ever thought I would have.  Overall the hiking and scenery was spectacular.  The Alps are great!  With the trains and lifts, you can hike up steep things and then take a ride back down to avoid the downhill pounding on your body.  Its the only way to go.

Here are some links to some video clips of the climbing:

Monte Rosa

du Tacul

(Tons of picture rolled through Facebook, thus you can look there to see them if you wish.  If we aren’t connected, just send me a request.)

Despite the success of my new post tumor altitude high point and the fun of Europe, upon return, I still find myself dealing with some self-doubt.  Really I think its brain cancer related.  In 2011, I was 34 years-old.  I was physically fit and strong.  I had spent 2007-2009 being pretty serious about adventure racing.  I was on a team that received sponsorship money to race.  I was at my peak in terms of fitness.  Granted in 2010 and early 2011, through hindsight, I was experiencing the negative impacts of the tumor, that did erode some of my physical and mental attributes.  However I would have never known, had it not been for the seizure.  Since surgery and chemotherapy, I have not been able to reach my prior fitness levels I experienced before.  Yes I have done some pretty cool things, but I have not reached close to my peak.  Granted I am older now, however I think age is one of those things that only other people see.  We never like to admit that we are older, a little bit slower, a little bit diminished.  For me everything happened so fast.  I went from one day being 34 and strong, with no health concerns, to the next finding out that I need brain surgery and I have a massive tumor in my brain.  Plus I have also been on constant medication since my first seizure.  All of this plays a role, but it’s hard to understand what caused what.

Self-Doubt creeps in… will I ever feel as I did prior to Goliath?  Can my fitness level return?  Can I get back to my pre-tumor weight?  How much of an issue will the subtle stuttering that I have developed since Goliath be?  What else will I discover around the corner? Will it cause a new issue in me?  I am forever diminished from the person I once was?

A few weeks ago I had a few open hours, so after church, I rode over to Grand Ridge on my bike and rode about 20 miles that day.  As I was cruising up some rolling hills, a biker past me, he was moving pretty good.  As he went by, he provided me with some tips.  I probably should have been thankful as I think he really was trying to be helpful, however my first thought was what kind of rider have I turned into?  I used think I was a beast on a bike, especially when climbing up steep things.  However now I am thinking, man I must just be a shell of my former self.  I must look like the clueless weekend warrior dude, that doesn’t have a clue!  Why else would someone dole out tips to me. My how the mighty have fallen.  That is self-doubt smacking you right in the face.  I used to be the guy who was giving the advice!

As I finished my ride, I came up with this poem:

I Used to Be…

I used to be stronger

I used to be lighter

I used to be faster

I used to be younger

I used to be more desirable

I used to be better looking

I used to be just flat out better

Now I am just a shell of my former self

Will I return, will I breakout?

Only time will tell

But in the end, I can’t let the tumor win

I must move forward, I must press on

Because I used to be, it proves I can be so once again.

I am a basically 4 years out and still battling with the self-doubt that this tumor has caused.  But my only recourse is to press on and move past the doubt. I am living with a dormant volcano in my head, yes at times it can be a little bit freaky. I know I have written lots about being positive, pushing through and battling back.  But I will be honest, it’s not always as easy as it seems… But something I must press on with…

Thinking about the self-doubt I feel, brings me back to PMA.  Positive mental attitude.  You have to believe in yourself in order to achieve.  PMA was a lesson that my Dad brought home to me many years again, when I was in a low point.  He posted notes to me for several days, They focused on the mental aspect of things and winning the mental battle in life.  Sometimes in life we hit a road block and it causes us to mentally spiral downward.  Goliath has presented this challenge to me in a lot of ways.  Even 4 years later, it still causes self-doubt.  Doubt at a time when I have been experiencing some awesome highs, since surgery.  So now I press on.  Today marks 4 years since my seizure at the U-Village Starbucks and I am still here and healthy.  Goliath has been kept at bay (stable MRI’s) and I am back doing many of the things I love at a high level, it should be time to celebrate.  It’s time for me to let the PMA conquer the self-doubt.  Its time to move from self-doubt to PMA.  To push myself, I have thrown down a challenge this February, last year I ran a 50K ultra-marathon, this year I couldn’t find a race that worked, so I am going to do the Issaquah Alps traverse – Cougar, Squak, and Tiger Mountains.  Traverse over all three in one push.  I have actually done it before, however its been quite awhile.  That time I went the shortest official route, this time I am going to summit all major high points on all three mountains.  It should be epic.  My hope is that it will keep me motivated and pushing towards PMA and won’t allow me to wallow in self-doubt and pity.



2 Comments leave one →
  1. Pegi Berdan permalink
    November 11, 2015 12:40 pm

    Thank you for posting, David! You and your family have been on my mind! YES to PMA!

  2. Sally Sanden permalink
    November 17, 2015 7:41 am

    Thanks again for sharing your heart David. You are battling something that we all must learn to deal with. I know the older I get (63) I deal with all if those thoughts. I had polio as a baby and have dealt with those thoughts of inadequacy my whole life. I just wish I could take a long walk with my grandkids… Or climb that mountain! 😊 I would guess your mom can relate quite well too. You are learning to age. It happens to all of us but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier. Keep slaying Goliath and all those thoughts. Keep trusting that God knows what He is doing. It will get you through all the things in life that will come up. God bless you and your family big time. I know these blogs of honesty are good for who ever reads them!!

    Sent from Sally’s iPhone – God Bless You!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: