Blog Episode 26: Pursuing Vitality When Your Body Hurts with Terry Tucker

Episode 26: Pursuing Vitality When Your Body Hurts with Terry Tucker

05/11/2022


🎶 Podcast Intro: Welcome to the pursuing uncomfortable podcast, where we give you the encouragement you need to lean into the uncomfortable stuff life puts in front of you, so you can love your life. If you are ready to overcome all the yuck that keeps you up at night, you're in the right place. I am your host, Melissa Ebken let's get going. 🎶

🎶 Episode Intro: Hi friends. Welcome back to the pursuing uncomfortable podcast. It's really a gift and a pleasure to have you back and tuning into this episode. Today I'm introducing you to Terry Tucker. Terry is one of the most influential people that you will meet. He's a motivational speaker. When you speak with Terry or hear him speak, you're just instantly uplifted. You know, that your life has a purpose. It can be more. And Terry is the guy that will encourage you and help you to reach those heights in your life. What you don't realize about Terry when you meet him, initially anyway, is the struggle that he has every single day, just to be alive. 
     Terry is an example of "been there, done that" he's had many different and varied careers, and it's so interesting to hear his background, but he has also had a decade-long battle with cancer that has left him dependent on a drug that makes him very sick. And makes every day a challenge and a struggle to be alive.
     Despite all of that. Terry continues to be an encouraging, uplifting and motivational person. And he's here today to share with you not just his struggle, but all of the stuff that he has learned in the struggle and his encouragement for you. 

Episode
Melissa Ebken  0:17 
Terry, welcome to the Pursuing Uncomfortable Podcast. I'm so happy you're joining us today. How are you?

Terry Tucker  0:26 
I'm great, Melissa, thanks for having me. I'm looking forward to talking with you.

Melissa Ebken  0:30 
Me too. And I had a really odd request, I asked my listeners who they would like on the podcast. And they said, Well, if you could find someone who has been, you know, someone who's played college basketball, who's run a hospital, negotiated with a SWAT teams, does motivational speaking, someone like that, that's who we would love to have. And I said, perfect. I know the exact right person.

Terry Tucker  0:59 
Yeah, one of these days, I gotta figure out what I'm going to do when I grow up, you know?

Melissa Ebken  1:06 
Terry, what a pleasure it is, and how much fun we're gonna have today talking. Let's start out with what you're doing these days.

Terry Tucker  1:15 
Yeah, these days, I am, you know, kind of in survival mode, I've been battling a rare form of cancer for the last 10 years. And I've been very fortunate that, you know, sets of circumstances have kind of aligned to the point now, where I'm involved in a clinical trial of a drug that probably won't save my life, but at the same time has kept me going. Has shrunk the tumors that I have in my lungs. Whereas some of the other people who started on the trial with me, are no longer with us because it didn't work for them. So I feel very fortunate. Kind of feel like I'm carrying the torch for the group that started this right now. And it's just, you know, I'm just trying to put as much goodness, positivity, motivation, love, back into the world as I can with whatever time I have left. So I am, I'm just enjoying it day by day and seeing where it takes me.

Melissa Ebken  2:08 
I love it. Now you've put a book out, what's the name of your book?

Terry Tucker  2:14 
The book is called Sustainable Excellence, The 10 Principles to Leading Your Uncommon and Extraordinary Life.

Melissa Ebken  2:22 
What a captivating title. I love that. Who doesn't want to have an extraordinary life? I do.

Terry Tucker  2:26 
Yeah, It's kind of a mouthful, though, you know?

Melissa Ebken  2:30 
Can you repeat it five times and say it once backwards?

Terry Tucker  2:33 
No. Not even close.

Melissa Ebken  2:37 
Well, before we get into all that you're doing today, let's back up a little bit and talk about how you got where you are right now. So you can jump back in your story and pick up in whichever career you would like to pick up in and tell us where how you got where you are?

Terry Tucker  2:53 
Yeah, I guess. Let me even start further back. If you don't mind. I am. I'm the oldest of three boys born and raised on the south side of Chicago. You can't tell this from from my voice, but I'm six foot eight inches tall. And I played college basketball at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. I have a brother who's six foot seven who was a pitcher for the University of Notre Dame baseball team. And then another brother is six foot six who was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the National Basketball Association. And then my dad was six five. So I sort of joke that if you sat behind our family in church growing up, there wasn't a prayers chance you were going to see anything that was going on in front. But you know, our five foot eight inch mother was the boss. You know, it didn't matter how big, tall, strong we were, whatever mom said, that's the way things work. When I graduated from college, I moved home to find a job. I was actually the first person in my family to go to college. To graduate from college. And I was fortunate that I found that first job in the corporate headquarters of Wendy's International, the hamburger chain, in their corporate office in Dublin, Ohio. Unfortunately, I ended up living with my parents for the next three and a half years as I helped my mom care for my father and my grandmother who were both dying of different forms of cancer. As I said, started out in marketing at Wendy's, became a hospital administrator, then made a major pivot in my life and became a police officer where I was an undercover narcotics investigator. You mentioned the SWAT team hostage negotiator.

Melissa Ebken  4:26 
Now, wait a minute, an cover guy

Terry Tucker  4:28 
I knew you're gonna say this this.

Melissa Ebken  4:31 
You don't blend.

Terry Tucker  4:34 
You're right at six foot eight. How do you do that? Yeah. And you know, I never changed my appearance. You know, I never grew a beard. I never grew my hair long. I never did any of that. And, and the way I describe that is that industry and certainly illicit drugs as an industry, is motivated by greed. And so if you have money, you're gonna find somebody that will sell you drugs. Now you have to act little bit. I remember one time I was working the night shift and had my former partner was working the day shift call me and said, "Hey, what would you buy tonight? I've got somebody coming down." This was Cincinnati, Ohio. "I've got somebody coming down from Dayton that wants to sell mushrooms, psychedelics, psilocybin." And I said, "Yeah, sure, what's the deal?" He's like, I don't know, we got to come up with a cover. So I posed as a professor of metallurgy for the University of Cincinnati. I don't know anything about metal other than you put it out in the rain, and it rusts. You know, I mean, that's my extent. Metallurgy Yeah, metallurgy, you know, I mean, but we had to have some kind of a cover. And so we had these five kids that were coming down from Dayton that wanted to sell the mushrooms to get money to party in Cincinnati. And so I met him in the park. And, you know, we did the exchange, and all of a sudden five cars swooped in on him. And instead of partying in Cincinnati, they were guests of the Hamilton County Justice Center that night. So it's it was an interesting time, it was also a very dangerous time. I mean, I was shot at a couple times, you know, people had, that I worked with had guns pulled on them when they were buying and stuff like that, so it was a very dangerous, you know, and we had a lot of fun with it, but it was certainly dangerous.

Melissa Ebken  6:13 
No, I do have another question about your time at Wendy's. And if this is classified, I totally get it. But did they share with you? Where's the beef? Were you privy to that knowledge?

Terry Tucker  6:26 
Well, I was there. So the actress Clara Peller, who was a former beauty operator from Chicago, was the woman who kept going around saying, "Where's the beef?" And, you know, it got adopted, I think Ronald Reagan when he was running for president, you know, adopted it and stuff like that. It was a huge success for us. The, you know, the Academy Awards are what you get in the movies, the Kleos, or what you get in advertising. And we had Kleos all over the place for the "Where's the beef?" campaign that we had, I, I never found out where the beef was. But I certainly had a great time being there during that time.

Melissa Ebken  7:07 
You know, and this is going to age the audience. If you're shaking your head and don't have a clue, right? Yeah, that's fine. You're younger than we are.

Terry Tucker  7:15 
Much. Yeah, but it was a great time. I loved it learned a lot. And you know, it actually helped me when I moved on to into health/hospital administration.

Melissa Ebken  7:28 
So after you finished helping guests check into their accommodations in Hamilton County, what was next?

Terry Tucker  7:37 
So my wife lost her job. And she's always been the primary breadwinner. She lost her job in Cincinnati and was not able to find another one. So I had to leave the police department. We moved to Houston, Texas. She found a job there. And, you know, that was the other interesting part. I worked with enough police officers that their identity was tied to the gun, the badge and what they did. And while I loved it, and I really felt that was my purpose to do that, to do that job. I it wasn't who I was, I mean, I was certainly capable of doing other things. And so I our daughter was in a private Catholic school. And so I went to them and said, Look, I've got certain knowledge and experience from my SWAT days and things like that. How about if I do a school security consulting gig for you? And they were like, Yeah, sure. And so I did that and was able to parlay that into now they told other schools so I started a school security consulting business around the world, or excuse me, not around the world around the United States. And then I also coached girls high school basketball. So those were those were my two diversions I guess from after being in law enforcement because they were they were definitely different and they were certainly definitely interesting because I you know, I grew up with brothers I went to all guys Catholic high school. I went to an all male military college so, coaching girls and having a girl was

Melissa Ebken  9:05 
it's a bit different.

Terry Tucker  9:06 
It was. I will never forget going to the OBGYN with my wife and our OBGYN said you want to know if it's a boy or girl? I'm like, Yeah, sure. She said, Well, you should buy pink. I said, Oh, no, no, no, no, you need to keep it in there till it's done. I don't know anything about a girl so you know,

Melissa Ebken  9:22 
You know and I do have to confess when you were talking about talking with her with her school administration, I got this vision in my head. I have a certain set of skills you know, the Liam Neeson reference from Take Cover

Terry Tucker  9:37 
they're not quite to that level, but you know

Melissa Ebken  9:39 
that's not how you did the call?

Terry Tucker  9:41 
It's a, no, no, it was more of a face to face kind of thing. I used my height to intimidate them to get me to give me the job. So yeah.

Melissa Ebken  9:49 
Excellent. And then what?

Terry Tucker  9:51 
Then I got cancer. So I was a as I mentioned, I was a girls high school basketball coach and one day I had a callus break open on the bottom of my foot, right below my third toe. And initially didn't think much of it because as a coach, you're on your feet a lot but after it didn't heal for a couple of weeks, I went to see a podiatrist, a foot doctor friend of mine, and he took an x-ray and he said Terry, I think you have a cyst in there and I can cut it out. And he did. And he showed it to me. Just little gelatin sack with some white fat in it. No dark spots, no blood, nothing that gave either one of us concern. But fortunately or unfortunately he sent it off to pathology to have it looked at. And then two weeks later, I received a call from him, and as I said he was a friend and the more difficulty he was having explaining what was going on, the more frightened I was becoming until he finally just laid it out for me and said, Ya know, Terry, I've been a doctor for 25 years, I have never seen this form of cancer. You have a very rare form of melanoma that appears on the bottom of the feet are the palms of the hands. And because your cancer is so incredibly rare, I recommend that you go to MD Anderson Cancer Center in in Houston and be treated. And so I did. I had you know surgery to remove the tumor on my bottom of my foot. I had all the lymph nodes in my groin, removed. And then when I healed, my oncologist put me on a weekly injection of a drug called Interferon, to help keep the disease from coming back. The side effects of the Interferon were that it gave me severe flu like symptoms for two to three days. Every week after each injection. I mean, I lost 50 pounds during my therapy. There was one point where I was pretty sure that I was skinny enough that I could go hang gliding on a Doritto. Ya know. Bad joke.

Melissa Ebken  11:40 
Well, and when you say flu like symptoms, I'm guessing you don't mean the respiratory type flu like symptoms.

Terry Tucker  11:47 
No, I mean, the shaking, chills, vomiting, throwing up headache, you know, all that. And, and that was every week, and I took those weekly injections for almost five years. So imagine having

Melissa Ebken  12:01 
Half of your life. Yeah, you're sick?

Terry Tucker  12:05 
Yeah, yeah, you're and I literally during that period of time, I mean, I was so sick of being sick, that I prayed to die. I mean, I was just like, come on God, this is ridiculous. You know? I mean, I remember when my oncologist suggested it, and I had a grandmother of a player on my team who was on Interferon for a liver issue that she had, and I was talking to her about it. She says, oh, yeah, I was on it for six months. Yeah, it's not real good. But you know, you can handle it. And so I said to my oncologist like, yeah, I can do this for six months. And she said, How about five years, and I looked at her like, You're nuts. You that's just not, that's not something that you should put anybody through. I don't care. It's; It was nasty. And so and then the funny thing is, it's not a cure, it's just we're trying to kick the can down the road and buy you more time for more therapies to happen. 2017, I ended up in the intensive care unit, with a fever of 108 degrees, which usually is not compatible with being alive due to the toxicity of the Interferon, so I have to stop it. And almost immediately the cancer comes back in the exact same spot on my foot, where it had presented five years earlier. And then 2018, my left foot was amputated. Two more surgeries in 2019, and then 2020, and an undiagnosed tumor in my, I guess, ankle area that grew large enough that it fractured my tibia, my shin bone, and my only recourse right in the middle of the pandemic was to have my left leg amputated above the knee and found out I had tumors in my lungs, which I'm being treated for now. And on that uplifting story.

Melissa Ebken  13:53 
Yeah, that's just a gift that keeps on giving.

Terry Tucker  13:55 
Absolutely. Let's get some popcorn and oh

Melissa Ebken  14:01 
my goodness, I'm glad you're here to tell the story. Me too. And I'm guessing that through your experience, you've learned some things along the way.

Terry Tucker  14:11 
I've learned a lot of things I've learned certainly that you know, you really don't know yourself until you've been tested by adversity, you know, until something really major in your life's happened. I'll be honest with you, cancer has made me a better person. It's made me a better individual. But the thing that I talk a lot about are what I call my four truths that I've learned and they're not they're not mine. I don't think you can you can own a truth, but they're they're four things that I've I've kind of come to understand and apply in my life. I call them the bedrock of my soul. They're just a good place to build a life off of and I'll give it to you. I have a post it note here on my on my desk. I see him multiple times during the day to constantly get reinforced So the first one is you need to control your mind or your mind is going to control you. The second one is embrace the pain and the difficulty that we all experience in life, and use that pain and difficulty to make you a stronger and more resilient individual. The third one is more of a, I guess, a legacy truth, for lack of a better word. And it's this, what you leave behind is what you weave in the hearts of other people. And then the fourth one, I think, is pretty self explanatory. As long as you don't quit, you can never be defeated. So I use those truths. And, you know, in making decisions in my life, do I want to do this? Do I want to get involved? You know, in this project, do I want to, you know, do this therapy for my cancer and things like that. And they, they certainly have helped me. And then the other three things that I call my three truths, which are my faith, my family, and my friends have certainly gotten me through this as well.

Melissa Ebken  15:57 
For sure. Yeah, those four truths. There's a lot of wisdom in those. Mindset. You know, that first one control your mind or your mind will control you. I remember as a kid, that first time that my mom and dad, let me stay by myself at the house. When they were getting ready to leave, you know, I was all grown up tough kid, like, I was fine. Why are you still here? Go ahead and go. And they hadn't backed out of the driveway. And I'm like, Oh my gosh, oh, my gosh, I'm alone. Oh, my gosh, oh, my gosh, and I'm watching out the window. Are they back yet? It's like, they haven't even gotten to the stop sign yet. And I realized, okay, maybe if I changed the way I'm thinking about this, it might go a little better. But that was the first time I remember having a significant moment where my mindset when I changed my mindset intentionally and experienced a better outcome. Because of it.

Terry Tucker  16:58 
Yeah, it's, it's amazing. You know, when I was growing up again, I'm gonna date myself a little bit here. But when I was growing up, Bobby Knight was the basketball coach at Indiana University. And yeah, I mean, Illinois. You're close. I mean, you know, Bobby, and I, yeah. And I had a guy I played against, in Chicago guy by the name of Isaiah Thomas, who went to play for Bobby Knight at Indiana, won a national championship, and then went on to the NBA and won a couple NBA championship. And I used to see him. Pardon. I've heard of him. You've heard of Isaiah. Yeah, yeah. So I was lucky to play with Isaiah. I'd see Isaiah in the summer, when he would come home and you know, we would come home. And, you know, I was asking him about night because night kind of had a reputation of being a little bit of a hothead for lack of a better and I said, What's, what's it like playing with Knight? He's like, No, the guy's great. I mean, he, he tries to get the most out of you. But he told me a saying that Knight had, which I thought was interesting. And, and it was pretty simple. And this is what it was, he said, Knight you should always tell us mental is to physical as four is to one. So here's this great coach, you know, teaching premier athletes how to use their bodies to be great basketball players. But what he's really saying with that quote is that your mind is four times more important than your physical body is.

Melissa Ebken  18:14 
absolutely and there was no more frustrating coach to be on the opposite side of. I remember watching countless Illinois games when they were ahead by 10 points. And you get down, you know, the game starts for Bobby Knight when they're about what 30 seconds left on the clock or so. 10 point lead with 12 seconds left on the clock. Not safe. Not safe at all. Yep, he might be onto something with that mindset.

Terry Tucker  18:41 
Yeah. Yeah, it was interesting. And and that's, you know, certainly as an athlete, you learn that you need to control your mind. There was a, there was again, here we go dating myself again. 1976, there was a US gold medal winning Olympic swimmer by the name of Shirley Babisha but one of the greatest quotes very simple quote, but a great quote, that she said, and this is this is all what she said, winners think about what they want to happen. Losers think about what they don't want to happen. So winners can override their negative brand, their negative thought and, you know, focus on what they want to happen, whereas losers only concentrate on the negative aspects and can't see the value of pursuing a goal or a dream.

Melissa Ebken  19:23 
Yeah, their fear. Yeah. You know, and came to, to a real fruition to me during the Winter Olympics this February with that ice skater, that guy that these Olympic events can in many cases, they're a test of the mind. Everyone in the world knew who the best was in more than one of the sports. There was one person who physically dominated in that sport, the Olympics test who has done the mental practice and the mental work.

Terry Tucker  19:57 
Yeah, yeah, I mean, it's It's one thing to put in, you know, the reps, whatever that is, you know, whatever sport we're talking about, but it's another thing and and my my brother who played in the national he didn't play was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers actually got was the last person cut from the team. Right? Six Yeah, the six foot six one. Yeah, exactly. You know, he, he and I have heard many times talked about, if we, you know, had the the knowledge that we have today in terms of training, not just training our bodies, but training our minds, you know, 30-40 years ago, when we were, you know, playing, we would have been so much better athletes than, you know, than we were because we just didn't know all the physical side, but more importantly, the mental side, and how important that is.

Melissa Ebken  20:48 
Absolutely. And you don't have to be a professional athlete at the top of your field for that to be the case, right day to day life, all the ordinary stuff. Mindset matters. So much, it does. Absolutely. And then your second one of the embrace the pain and difficulty we experience in life and use that to make you stronger and a more resolute individual. Well, that's the whole basis of this podcast. In 20, plus years of ministry, watching people who lean into those difficult experiences and situations in life, they overcome them, and they become stronger because of it. And conversely, watching others who shy away from it, or who deny it or tried to hide from it, they continue to struggle, and there's power in leaning into it, there's power in overcoming it. And, you know, if you lean into the difficult stuff, and you do the things that you're frightened of, eventually, you're gonna run out of things that you're frightened of.

Terry Tucker  21:49 
Yeah, I mean, we're all going to experience pain in our lives, you know, and it doesn't have to be cancer pain, or even any kind of an illness. You could, you know, break up with your boyfriend or your girlfriend or you know, not get the promotion at work that you think you deserve, or have a fender bender on the way to work, whatever, we're all going to experience pain in our lives. Pain is inevitable. Suffering, on the other hand, suffering is optional suffering is, what you do with that pain, do you take it and use it to make you a stronger and more determined person? Or do you wallow in it and want people to feel sorry for you, and feel sorry for yourself? You know, I always I try to do this every day of my life. To do one thing that makes me nervous. That makes me uncomfortable. That scares me, that's potentially embarrassing. You know, it doesn't have to be a big thing. But if you do those small things every day, when the big things in life hit you know, we lose somebody close to us, we lose our job or living out of our car. We've all heard the stories. If you do those small things every day, you'll be so much more resilient to handle the big things when they hit you to pin you in life.

Melissa Ebken  22:52 
Absolutely. I can't emphasize that one enough. I love it. And then your third truth that what you leave behind is what you weave into the hearts of others. That is beautiful.

Terry Tucker  23:04 
Yeah, I think, you know, people get so hung up with death, you know, and, and I like to ask people, you know, what, what are people going to say about you at your funeral? And maybe more importantly, what do you want people you know, to say about you at your funeral. And I remember when, when I had my leg amputated, and I found out I had these tumors in my lungs. I went with my wife to the mortuary to the cemetery and to our church, and I planned my funeral. And because I go on podcasts and give talks about motivation and need to keep moving forward, actually had some people kind of reached out and were like, well, don't you think that's kind of defeatist that you're planning your own funeral? And, you know, I kind of looked at him like, well, the last time I checked, we're all gonna die. I don't think anybody's working on a cure for life right now. But you know, everyone's 

Melissa Ebken  23:50 
Mortality is still 100%

Terry Tucker  23:51 
Yeah, exactly. There you go. I mean, everybody dies. But not everybody really lives. And I heard a Native American Blackfoot proverb years ago, that went like this. When you were born, you cried, and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a way so that when you die, the world cries, and you rejoice. That's what I want. That's what I looking for.

Melissa Ebken  24:14 
That's beautiful.

Terry Tucker  24:16 
You can use it, take it, steal it, use it,

Melissa Ebken  24:21 
And credit it appropriately. Oh, I love that. Thank you for sharing that one. And of course, as long as you don't quit, you will never be defeated. Failure is only failure when you stop.

Terry Tucker  24:36 
It is and the way I look at that. You know, I think it's pretty self explanatory, but the way it resonates with me is that someday my pain is going to end you know. May end through surgery, may end through some kind of a new medication that gets developed, quite frankly may end when I die, but if I quit, if I give up if I get into pain, then pain will always be a part of my life.

Melissa Ebken  25:03 
Very true. Are you still taking Interferon?

Terry Tucker  25:08 
No, no, I'm not taking the Interferon I'm on, I'm on a sort of a sister drug to it called Interleukin II, it's not, it's not Interleukin II, it's a, it's a clinical trial of a drug. You know, Interleukin II is just a really nasty drug that usually I have to get in, in the hospital, because it does all kinds of things to you. And they need to be able to take care of those things when they happen. But what this drug is designed to do is accentuate the good things about Interleukin II, and sort of take away some of the bad things of Interleukin II. That's why it's a, it's kind of a new drug. And hopefully, it's it's probably not going to save my life, but it may save the life of of somebody down the road, you know, somebody that I don't even know. And that's kind of when I go for treatment, and I go for a week, I have two weeks off, and I go for a week and I have two weeks off and I'm on I don't know, cycle 24-25, or whatever it is, and, and the way I look at it is and I think this is important. Regardless, you know, you get up in the morning, you go to work, which way do you look at that, I have to go to work, or I get to go to work? You know, I mean, which handle do you want to grab today? And, and we all get to the point where some days its like, I have to go to work, I really don't want to do it, you know, but I get that, you know. But for me, it's I get to go. Yeah, I get to go and throw up and shake and have a headache and all that kind of stuff. But that's that's one thing I learned from team sports, the importance of being part of something that's bigger than yourself, you know, and you realize on a team that if you don't do your job, not only do you let yourself down, you let your you know, your teammates down, your coaches down, your fans down. And if you think about the biggest team game that we all play, is this game of life. So like I said, this drug may not save my life, but it may save the life of somebody five years from now or 10 years from now, based on the data that the doctors are gleaning from all my tests and blood work and things like that. And for me that's being part of something that's bigger than me.

Melissa Ebken  27:09 
So Terry, how has all of this changed? And maybe changed? Isn't the correct verb here? But how does all of this come together? When you go to a doctor for for something else? And maybe you haven't had something else yet, but to the person listening to this, that goes to the doctor and is choosing among different treatment options? How can your experience help others to be discerning in their own medical care and choices?

Terry Tucker  27:43 
I think it's you know, and I am not one of these people, but I've seen people that you know, they get whatever it is, you know, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, whatever it is. And then they just sort of sit back and turn their entire life over to somebody with a white coat and a bunch of initials after their name. And I am not like that I want to be involved in my healthcare. I want to I want my life to be shaped by the decisions that I made, not by the ones I didn't, or the ones that somebody else made for me. Now, I'm not gonna sit here and say I have any medical background. I don't I mean, I worked at a hospital. But you know, I certainly wasn't in any way involved with patient care. And the patients were very happy about that. So. So I but I guess I would suggest people understand that you can do that you can turn your life over to a physician, if that's what you want to do, or you can be actively involved in it. But also understand, and because I did this, when I found out I had, you know, cancer, I went through all the emotions of grief that we would associate with grief, you know, with the denial, no, it can't possibly be I've done everything right in my life. And you know, then I got mad, and then I would bargain. And then eventually I got to a point where, okay, these are the cards that I've been dealt, and I'm going to have to play them. So if you get into that situation where you're feeling down and you're feeling gloomy, and you know, it's Oh, woe is me and stuff like that. And I get there, I get there. And you know, there's no s on my chest. I do not wear a cape. And I'm going to tell you a story. And it's going to sound really weird when I start but hang with me on this one. Okay, so I read a read a story about a research project that was conducted at Johns Hopkins University back in the 1950s. And it was a very simple experiment that this professor did. He took rats, this is where it gets kind of weird. He took rats and he put them in a tank of water that were over their head. And he wanted to see how long the the rat would tread water. And the average rat treaded water for about 15 minutes. And just as the rat was getting ready to sink and drown, he reached in, grabbed the rat, dried it off, let it rest for a while and then put that rat same rat back in that exact same tank of water. And the second time around, on average, those rats treaded water for 60 hours. So think about that first time, 15 minutes, that's all I can do, I'm at the end of my rope can't go on any further. Second time 60 hours, which said to me two things, one, the importance of hope in our life, never lose hope never, never think that, you know, I'm doomed that. I mean, a doctor may tell you, you know, you got six months to live, the doctor doesn't know you, they don't know your resolve, they don't know your courage, they don't know what's in your head, they don't know your mindset. So don't don't take that and take it as gospel and like, well, I'm going to die in six months, I'm not going to tell you not to plan, you know, get your final affairs in order. But at the same time, the doctor doesn't know you. So the first thing was hope, never lose hope. And the second thing is just how much more our physical bodies can handle than we ever thought they could. My wife works with a young man who's a former Navy SEAL some of the toughest men in the world. And the SEALS have what they call their 40% rule, which basically says, if you're at the end of your rope, you're done. You're you can't go on, you're only at 40% of your maximum, and you still have another 60% left to give to yourself. So I am, you know, I've just come to understand that our bodies can handle a whole lot more than we ever give them credit for. So I guess that was kind of a long winded answer to your question. But hopefully, there's something in there that people can use,

Melissa Ebken  31:20 
I love it. And I really want to thank you for acknowledging for all of us that you do have those dark days, that you know, because it's easy to imagine you as this conquering hero, the star athlete, the policeman, the hostage negotiator, or the school defender, security person, all of these things and to, to share with us that even in the midst of all of this stuff, that even you have the really dark days, and all the doubts and all of that that's really important for all of us to hear. Those come with the territory.

Terry Tucker  31:57 
They do. We're human, I'm a human being. As much as I talked about motivation, and the need to keep moving forward. There are those days when I'm at treatment, and I'm crying, you know, there are those days when, you know, my head is down, and I feel defeated. But I one of the things that helps me in addition to the stories that I told you was that when we're in that situation, we're looking inward, we're turning inward, you know, woe is me. It's all about me, and I found a way to kind of get out of that, at least for me, is to find somebody else to help, you know, to find somebody else that hey, you know, how's it going and stop thinking about me and project what's going on with you? Not project but but use what's going on with you to help somebody else, you know, to say, Hey, how's it going, Hey, let's talk you feel bad how things you know, and all of a sudden, now you're not focused on you anymore. You're focused on somebody else. And I don't care how bad and dark you're feeling, focusing on somebody else is going to brighten you and move your attitude in a better into a better space than it was when you're just thinking about how bad it is for you.

Melissa Ebken  33:01 
Oh, That'll preach.

Terry Tucker  33:03 
Amen, sister.

Melissa Ebken  33:04 
That is so true. So true. Go and serve in whatever way you can. If you can't get out of bed, you can make a phone call and encourage someone. And if you can't use your voice and you can't make a phone call and you can't encourage someone, you can pray for someone, you can picture them being lifted up and experiencing something good. As long as we are alive, we are able to serve someone else in some capacity. And like you said that has such a powerful way of of refocusing our thoughts, which changes our mindset, it refocuses what we are capable of. It helps us to lean into the difficult things. It has so much power to help ourselves and others. I think it's fantastic that there is a reward; an intrinsic personal reward for helping other people. It's kind of a win win. That's a good system.

Terry Tucker  34:01 
It is I like it.

Melissa Ebken  34:03 
Yeah. Big fan. Absolutely. Terry, as we close today, are there any parting thoughts or any parting words that you would like to share with these listeners?

Terry Tucker  34:15 
If I could out I'll end with a story if you don't mind. I love it. I'm always been a big fan of Westerns growing up you know, my mom and dad used to let me stay up late and watch you know, Gun Smoke and Bonanza. Again your audience is like what is this guy talking about? You know, Gun Smoke Bonanza, my favorite?

Melissa Ebken  34:30 
Don't let them fool ya, there's some that are hanging with us here.

Terry Tucker  34:32 
That's good. All right. I like it. You know, Wild Wild West. 1993 the movie Tombstone came out. You may have seen it. Huge blockbuster, starred Val Kilmer is a man by the name of John Doc Holliday and Kurt Russell as a man by the name of Wyatt Earp. Now Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp are two living breathing human beings that walked on the face of the earth. They're not made up characters just for the movie. Now Doc was called Doc because he was a dentist by trade, but pretty much Doc Holliday was A Gunslinger and a card shark, and Wyatt Earp his entire life had been a law man. And somehow these two men from entirely divergent backgrounds come together and form this very close friendship. And at the end of the movie, Doc is dying and a sanitarium of tuberculosis in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, which is about three hours from where I live, the real Doc Holliday died in that sanitarium and he's buried in the Glenwood Springs cemetery. And Wyatt at this point in his life is destitute, he has no money, has no job, he has no prospects for a job. So every day he comes to play cards with Doc and the two men pass the time that way. And then this almost last scene in the movie, the two men are talking about what they want out of life, and Doc says, you know, I was in love with my cousin when I was younger, but she joined a convent over the affair, but she's all that I ever want. And then he looks at Wyatt and he says, what about you? Wyatt what do you want? And Wyatt kind of nonchalantly says, I just want to lead a normal life. And Doc looks at him and says there's no normal, there's just life and get on with living yours. You know, Melissa, you and I probably know people are sitting out there, listen to us that are like, well, when this happens, I'll have a normal life. Or when this occurs, I'll have a successful life. Or when this arises, I'll have a significant life. What I like to leave your audience with is this. Don't wait. Don't wait for life to come to you. Get out there, find the reason you were put on the face of this earth. Use your unique gifts and talents and live that reason. Because if you do at the end of your life, I'm going to promise you two things. Number one, you're going to be a whole lot happier. And number two, you're going to have a whole lot more peace in your heart.

Melissa Ebken  36:37 
And the world is gonna cry as you rejoice. Yeah. Thank you, Terry.

Terry Tucker  36:43 
Thank you, Melissa. I appreciate you having me on.

🎶 Episode Outro: Thank you so much for tuning into today's episode. If this encouraged you, please consider subscribing to our show and leaving a rating and review so we can encourage even more people just like yourself. We drop a new episode every Wednesday so I hope you continue to drop in and be encouraged to lean into and overcome all the uncomfortable stuff life brings your way. 🎶


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Hello Friends!

Hi, my name is Melissa Ebken, and I'm so glad you found your way here. 

I am at home in the difficult spaces of peoples’ lives, willing to listen and to support those who work to grow themselves. I am a trained coach and have consulted with churches in conflict. Not your stereotypical minister, I embrace the Gospel with joy and laughter as I seek to help those around me grow in faith and understanding, always striving to leave people better than they came. An agent of wholeness, I create a safe space for people, especially those who have been marginalized, where they can understand how ridiculously loved and valued they are by God/Higher Power/Spirit, and to experience the difference that makes in life. 

I started the Pursuing Uncomfortable Podcast to share the stories of people who have faced life's most difficult challenges, to inspire you to lean into and overcome your own. It's helpful to know that you're not alone in your struggles and to see how others have navigated similar circumstances. You can listen to it here.
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