Newsletter – Volume 37


Newsletter – Volume 37

March 11, 2024

This Week

Confessions From the Back of the Pen
Meet Allen...

One of the first friends I made in Austin was Chief Allen Banks. Allen is the Chief of Police in Round Rock Texas. He has an illustrious and noteworthy career. He has served for 10 years as the chief here in Round Rock. Before that he served for 22 years on the force in Albuquerque, where he held a variety of roles from Internal Affairs, Deputy Chief and eventually Interim Chief before coming to Texas. Very impressive stuff. But I know him as the guy who met with me to pray for me before my surgery at 6:30am. A great man and a great friend. Here is part of his story.

I had the skill and background to pursue a career in basketball. My dad (6’5” 220 pounds) had the talent to go pro and my High School team made it to the state championship – only to lose on a last second shot hit by the opposing team at the buzzer. All the right athletic doors were open to me. But instead of pursuing an athletic career, I felt a higher calling; a calling to serve in law enforcement.
I grew up in the most depressed part of Albuquerque NM. My birth father, unfortunately, made a series of poor choices that played out negatively in our home. The streets got the best of him. Eventually my mom had to leave. This made a rough situation that much more difficult for our family. But my mother and grandmother were strict disciplinarians and they kept me and my brothers busy with church and basketball.
Over the years, I watched a lot of kids repeat the poor choices of those around them and it never ended well for them. Watching this play out in front of me, I realized what I didn’t want to become. I wanted to do/be different. I also wanted to show others that no one is destined to become a negative statistic. We have the power to choose different – and that is what I wanted to do!
Eventually my mom remarried a responsible caring husband, who I now call ‘dad’. The man had never been married, had no kids of his own, but he adopted us as his own children. Dad made the fatherly investments that proved vital for all of us to stay on track and out of trouble.
When I was in the third grade a classmate invited her dad to come to their class to talk about his career as a police officer. He brought his squad car to school and showed the kids all his crime- fighting tools. I was totally captivated. I remember thinking, “How cool is it that this guy took time away from his important job to be with us!” That day, I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I haven’t looked back. No regrets! It hasn’t always been easy, but I have lived out the mission I felt so strongly as a 9-year-old boy. Your past doesn’t have to define you. You can choose differently. I’m really glad I did.

Word of the Week

Look Up

Verb: to ascertain by the use of one’s eyes

When you walk, where do look?  I usually look straight or slightly down (a few steps ahead).  I rarely look up.  The other day, while at Lake Tahoe, I actually looked up a lot and just took it in.  I noticed the deep blue sky, the whisps of clouds hanging around the mountain tops, and at night the stars actually stood out brilliantly against the vast expense of blackness. After several days of this I took note of my mood.  Something had shifted.  I am reminded there is so much more ‘out there.’  Most days, all I see is what’s before me – what I have to do, where I have to be, and who I need to see.  It often feels heavy.  But, looking up inspires me – there is always more than what I typically consider!  I should do it more often… You?

A Podcast I Have Been Listening To

The Keto Antidote

Overview: Dr. Jordan Peterson speaks with author, researcher, and psychiatrist Chris Palmer. They discuss how metabolic and mental disorders might be mitigated through diet and fasting.

From very early on in my cancer journey, I heard the constant refrain from all my docs, “there is no verifiable correlation between diet and cancer.” That seemed nonsensical to me, but everyone said it. Finally, when I saw an oncologist at MD Anderson, he was at least honest enough to say that the key word is verifiable. When I pressed him on it, he said it plainly, “Piet, there is just no money in finding healing solutions through diet and exercise.” I appreciated his candor. However, with that said, I do believe that diet and exercise have a huge impact on our overall fitness and our capacity to battle disease (even life-threatening ones). It isn’t the only answer, but it is an important component, and thankfully there are more and more people willing to talk about it that way. I found this interview particularly compelling.

A Personal Request

My Visit To Mayo Clinic

Promise worth holding on to: Every twist and turn in life is a new chapter with a purpose.

For the last few months I’ve been praying about my next (best) steps for my cancer treatment. Along the way, I have felt several nudges around exploring the prospect of going to Mayo Clinic. At present I have urologists, oncologists, nutritionists, and holistic practitioners spread across 3 states and Mexico. They are all great at their craft, but they don’t talk to each other. What I appreciate about the system at Mayo is that they have all those specialties sitting around the same table discussing my case. They take into account how the treatment of one body part has impact on the others. That makes a lot of sense to me. So, with the help of Carol’s cousin (who’s super well-connected), I was able to secure an appointment there. In fact by the time you receive this newsletter, I will be in my first of five appointments on 3/11. As you think about it, I’d be most grateful for your prayers – as many of already do. Thank you!

What I’m Learning About Health & Fitness

Protein Is Really Important!

One of the things I want to add to this weekly newsletter is a brief review of what I am learning about health and fitness. As noted above, I really do believe that what we put into our bodies and how we treat our bodies influences what happens inside our bodies. I know – duh! But even when you agree with the premise, you still have to sort through all the data/analysis to get to reliable and helpful information AND there is a lot of conflicting information out there. So, I’d like to share some resources I have been finding helpful. And one of the key lessons is related to the importance of protein (especially as we age). Most of us get too little. Interested in knowing more? Two great videos – a 22 minute video with Peter Attia and Rhonda Patrick and a 8:00 minute video with Dr. Andrew Huberman and Dr. Andy Galpin.

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