BOOT CAMP FOR THE MIND & SOUL

Terry Tucker | SWAT Hostage Negotiator & Cancer Warrior

April 27, 2021 Claire Rogers Season 1 Episode 9
BOOT CAMP FOR THE MIND & SOUL
Terry Tucker | SWAT Hostage Negotiator & Cancer Warrior
Chapters
BOOT CAMP FOR THE MIND & SOUL
Terry Tucker | SWAT Hostage Negotiator & Cancer Warrior
Apr 27, 2021 Season 1 Episode 9
Claire Rogers

Terry Tucker has been an NCAA division one college basketball player, a Citadel cadet, a marketing exec, a hospital administrator, a police officer and undercover narcotics investigator, a SWAT hostage negotiator, a motivational speaker, and most recently for the past nine years, a cancer warrior.  

TOPICS THAT I DISCUSS WITH TERRY

·       Being a SWAT hostage negotiator

·       Dealing with stress of being a police officer and hostage negotiator

·       Being given a terminal cancer diagnosis

·       Cancer treatment & clinical trials

·       Living a life of purpose and living a life of significance vs success

·       Accepting death

LIST OF RESOURCES AND CONTACT DETAILS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE            

'Sustainable Excellence: 10 Principles to Leading Your Uncommon and Extraordinary Life', 

By Terry Tucker, available on Amazon, Apple and Barnes and Noble.  

To learn more about Terry visit: https://www.motivationalcheck.com/

CALLS TO ACTION:

Subscribe, Rate & Review the Boot Camp for the Mind & Soul podcast on Apple at: 

https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/boot-camp-for-the-mind-soul/id1551178007 

Follow the Boot Camp for the Mind & Soul podcast on Spotify at:

https://open.spotify.com/show/5ysNJOKOifvr03THH8GKbG?si=mfvsjho1Tc2Hmmv4_XEiOA

Visit iTopia Coaching at: www.itopiacoaching.com

FOR SNEAK PEAKS OF UPCOMING EPISODES, GET SOCIAL ON:

https://www.facebook.com/iTopiacoaching

https://www.instagram.com/itopiacoaching

https://www.linkedin.com/in/itopiacoaching

Show Notes Transcript

Terry Tucker has been an NCAA division one college basketball player, a Citadel cadet, a marketing exec, a hospital administrator, a police officer and undercover narcotics investigator, a SWAT hostage negotiator, a motivational speaker, and most recently for the past nine years, a cancer warrior.  

TOPICS THAT I DISCUSS WITH TERRY

·       Being a SWAT hostage negotiator

·       Dealing with stress of being a police officer and hostage negotiator

·       Being given a terminal cancer diagnosis

·       Cancer treatment & clinical trials

·       Living a life of purpose and living a life of significance vs success

·       Accepting death

LIST OF RESOURCES AND CONTACT DETAILS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE            

'Sustainable Excellence: 10 Principles to Leading Your Uncommon and Extraordinary Life', 

By Terry Tucker, available on Amazon, Apple and Barnes and Noble.  

To learn more about Terry visit: https://www.motivationalcheck.com/

CALLS TO ACTION:

Subscribe, Rate & Review the Boot Camp for the Mind & Soul podcast on Apple at: 

https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/boot-camp-for-the-mind-soul/id1551178007 

Follow the Boot Camp for the Mind & Soul podcast on Spotify at:

https://open.spotify.com/show/5ysNJOKOifvr03THH8GKbG?si=mfvsjho1Tc2Hmmv4_XEiOA

Visit iTopia Coaching at: www.itopiacoaching.com

FOR SNEAK PEAKS OF UPCOMING EPISODES, GET SOCIAL ON:

https://www.facebook.com/iTopiacoaching

https://www.instagram.com/itopiacoaching

https://www.linkedin.com/in/itopiacoaching

Claire Rogers  

I'm Claire Rogers, and you're listening to Boot Camp for the Mind & Soul, the podcast that gives you an inner workout.  Before we get started, remember, just like in a gym where you may not be able to use all the equipment, pick up what you can in this episode and leave behind what you can't.  

Your inner workout starts now.  

My next guest has had a large and varied career; Terry Tucker has been an NCAA division one college basketball player, a Citadel cadet, a marketing exec, a hospital administrator, a police officer and undercover narcotics investigator, a SWAT hostage negotiator, a motivational speaker, and most recently for the past nine years, a cancer warrior.  

So, without further ado, welcome, Terry, and thanks for joining Boot camp for the Mind and Soul podcast. 


Terry Tucker  

Thank you, Claire. I'm looking forward to it.

 

Claire Rogers  

So, as I read your intro, it's obvious that you've had a very cool and variable career, but the one that intrigues me the most is being a SWAT hostage negotiator. I need to learn more about this. How did you become a hostage negotiator?

 

Terry Tucker  

You apply. So, I was a policeman for a number of years. And I think most people probably know what a SWAT team is. I mean, we used to tell people, when the public needs help, they call the police and when the police need help they call SWAT. So, we would deal with going after homicide suspects that we knew were in a certain location, barricaded people. I mean, some of them were, you know, the guy's drunk, and he's got his wife in there, and you just wait for him to pass out and get in. And some are a lot more intense, where people were in a situation where it's a major crisis in their life. And I mean, let's face it, if you're talking to me, you're probably having the worst day of your life.

 

Claire Rogers  

So, is it like the movies? Is it like a Denzel Washington movie...you're standing outside the bank, trying to negotiate to get 25 people out? Is it like that? Or is that just sensationalized?

 

Terry Tucker  

I mean, yeah, potentially. It could be. But I'd say most of what we dealt with was just a barricaded person, somebody who was in their house with a gun, they didn't have a hostage, but they were in a life crisis. And we were trying to talk them out. And I always try to describe it like a teeter totter at the park. So, when we start talking to them, their emotional side is way up in the air and their rational side is down on the ground. So, we ask a lot of open-ended questions, you know, hey, Bob, tell me why we're here today and let Bob burn off that energy by talking to us.  And the problem with being a negotiator is, as a policeman most of the time, the person I'm dealing with is right in front of me. So, if I'm watching them, and they're balling up their fists, they might be getting ready to fight me. Or if they're looking around, they might be thinking about running. So okay, I see that I can do something about that, I can put them in the back of my car and handcuff him, I can sit him down, stuff like that. But as a negotiator, that person wasn't in front of you. So, you're trying to figure out what's going on based on what they're saying? What they're not saying, and how they're saying, and a lot of times, it's trial and error, you throw out a question and see if you're going down the right path. And if you're not, a lot of times, they'll get mad, you know, heck no, what are you talking about? That's not what we're dealing with. Okay, now you got to pull back and go down another road and see if that's what it is.  So, eventually, over time, you want to get to the point where they're their rational side is up in the air and their emotional side is down on the ground. Because when you're rational, you can make good decisions for yourself. But you can't when you're yelling and screaming, and you're drunk or high or anything like that, you have to wait. And that takes time. And that just is burning off that energy.

 

Claire Rogers  

So, in your experience, were most of the people that were in that situation, were they quote unquote, normal people just having a psychotic break, or a lot of them, did they have mental health challenges? Do you know, or can you generalize like that?

 

Terry Tucker  

Probably the funniest story I had was that a man had barricaded himself in his house with his wife and a gun. And I got there, and I was talking to the officers and they're like, he's drunk. Okay, but they had him on the phone. So, I talked to him. We talked for a few minutes and established a relationship. And I said to him, because he wasn't really emotional, he was just drunk, I said, what would it take for you to come out? He's like, give me a beer. I said, if I gave you a beer, would you put the gun down, let your wife go and you'd come out? Yeah. So, I gave one of the officers five bucks is to go out of the store, buy beer and bring it back. We put it on the front steps... let your life wife come out, put the gun down, come on out. He did. We handcuffed him, let him drink the beer off he went to jail. So, they're kind of funny ones like that where you know the guy is just stupid.  But then there are ones where an individual tried to kill himself; he slit his wrists, that didn't work, he put his head in the oven, turned on the gas and that didn't work, and eventually he had a gun. And he called one of his relatives or the relatives called the police. So, we're talking to him for two hours. And finally, I think we just kind of wore him out. He's tired. He's like, I just want to come out. I said, Okay, so put the gun down. And come on out. I said, when you come out, I'll come down to the scene, we'll talk face to face and he's like, okay, but I said, bring the phone with you, keep the phone in your hand. Well, he hung up the phone, which is not uncommon, because it's just normal for us when a conversation ends to hang up the phone. And all of a sudden, one of the tactical guys who was outside his house said we heard a gunshot.  He shot himself in the head. However, he shoots himself in the head, the bullet goes underneath his skin, around his scalp, and out the other side and never penetrated his skull. So, it wasn't his day to die, despite how much he wanted to.  So, yeah, it just depends. A lot of it is, they're mad at somebody, I'm mad at my mother, I'm mad at my wife, something like that. And so, they're like, you know, I want to talk to my mom. Well, if we know there's a dynamic there, we won't let him talk to his mom, because it'll be like, ha-ha, mom, see, boom, and then they shoot themselves. So, we don't let them talk to the person that they're mad at.

 

Claire Rogers  

So, I'm imagining it's a very stressful job. So how do you manage the stress?

 

Terry Tucker  

Great training. We train every month. I was one of a group of probably 10 negotiators. And it just depended on when people were available and things like that. We had a psychologist that worked with us, and we would just run through different scenarios about how would we handle this? How would we handle a young person?  One time we had this 15-year-old kid who was in the house, he just would not come out. And we were kind of at our wits end, and then we kind of were like, he's a kid, let's scare him. So, we had the tactical guys break a window and throw in a flashbang. It's kind of like a grenade, it makes a loud sound and a bright light, it doesn't blow up or anything like that. We threw that in, boom, he was out in like 10 minutes. You just kind of got to read the situation and try some things. And like I said, sometimes you’re right, sometimes you're not, but I never lost any sleep.  We were probably successful 90% of the time of getting the person to come out, and nobody getting hurt, but 10% of the time, they made the decision to end their life. But again, here I am trying to solve this problem in a couple of hours or three or four hours, where that problem has been going on for 10, 20, 30 years. It's just not realistic. And, I'll do the best I can. But in the end, the bottom line is it's your decision on whether you want to come out or it's your decision, whether this is your day to go.

 

Claire Rogers  

You sound very pragmatic, are you pragmatic as a person or is that training?

 

Terry Tucker  

I think you kind of get to the point where you deal with a lot of, and I don't mean to use this term, lightly, goofs as a police officer, I've always said that if we didn't have alcohol, drugs or mental illness, you wouldn't need nearly as many cops as you do. So, a lot of the people we dealt with fell into that category. And it's hard to reason with a drunk, it’s hard to reason with somebody who's high on drugs, you just kind of have to do what's practical in the situation, whether that's taking them home, or that's arresting them or whatever it is. I mean, it wasn't like we always wanted to arrest people. We didn't. We wanted to try to solve the problem with the least amount of paperwork or intrusiveness into the person's life. But sometimes they didn't give us a choice, and we just had to be practical about it.

 

Claire Rogers  

Did you ever feel bad? I've always wondered about this as a police officer, or even as a hostage negotiator. Do you ever feel bad for the person who's gotten themselves in that situation? Like, good people do stupid things, and then they end up ruining their lives and going to jail or so forth. Do you ever feel bad about that? Thinking, I wish the next result wasn't what's going to happen to this person?

 

Terry Tucker  

Absolutely. I always tried to remember that these people were human beings; they had somebody somewhere, I don't care how bad their situation is, that love them and thought that they were special. But the bottom line is, so many of these people had just made bad decision after bad decision after bad decision. And you get to a point where, yeah, you made a bad decision. You've tied my hands. There's nothing I can do. I have to arrest you. I have to take you to jail. And then we'll see what happens, and we're not the judge and jury and executioner. We are just one part of the system. So yeah, they're humans, and you've got to remember that. And I think as cops, we tend to think that, everybody in the world is a criminal. Well, the vast majority of people are not criminals. And in a lot of ways, the same 80/20 rule that we apply in business... 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers, that same thing works in law enforcement. 80% of the crimes are done by 20% of the people and half the time, you know who did it. So, it's just a matter of proving it.

 

Claire Rogers  

But I'm sure some of the time as well is that some people who get into trouble with the law maybe never stood a chance from birth, as well. I'm not saying it justifies it, but you can kind of see why some kids join gangs and so forth. I don't condone or justify it, but I understand why.

 

Terry Tucker  

Oh, absolutely.

 

 

When I was a policeman in Cincinnati, we had a curfew law that people under a certain age under 18 and under 16, couldn't be out after a certain time. And you pick up a 13-year-old kid at three o'clock in the morning on a school night, and you are like, okay, I've got to take you home now. Where do you live? Well, Dad's in jail, and Mom is a crackhead, I live with my Grandmother, and Grandma's 80 years old. You look at that kid, you're like, yeah, you don't stand a chance. Because grandma just physically can't deal with you. She goes to bed at seven o'clock at night, and you're a carte blanche, I can do whatever I want.

 

Claire Rogers  

So, does being a police officer, because you see the worst of the worst, I'm guessing in humanity, does that impact your personal life and your mindset? Are you able to divorce your feelings?

 

Terry Tucker  

No, I don't think you can. I mean, some people maybe can, I couldn't. We see a lot of helplessness and hopelessness. And I think the thing we have to remember is that the vast majority of people are not like this. And you have to have something that grounds you, whether it's your faith, whether it's your family, whether it's your friends, but it's not going to be a bottle of alcohol, it's not going to be drugs, it's not going to be going home, and taking it out and beating up your wife and kids. And, and that happens. I mean, it's a very stressful job, the suicide rate is very high. So, you have to have something that grounds yourself. And for me, it was it was my faith and my family. And, when I walked in from the garage at home, the job was over. It was a job. It wasn't who I was.

 

Claire Rogers  

That is very fascinating.  I'm going to pivot now to completely an opposite discussion. You say that the biggest challenge of your life was not hostage negotiation, or police work or anything like that; it was actually your cancer journey. And that began in 2012. Can you tell me about that?

 

Terry Tucker  

Sure. So, at the time, I was a high school basketball coach, and I had a callus break open on the bottom of my foot right below my third toe. And I didn't think a lot of it just because of my job and being on my feet all day. But after a couple of weeks, when it didn't heal, I went to a podiatrist, a foot doctor friend of mine, and he gave me some pads to put in the shoe. And that didn't work. And I went back to him, he took an X ray and he said, yeah, it looks like you have a little cyst in there. And I can cut it out. And, he did, and he showed it to me and said. So, I see 1000s of these, I'll put a couple stitches in, you'll be good. In two weeks, everything will be great. It was the last good two weeks that I had because two weeks later, I get a call from him. And as I said he was a friend of mine. And so, the more difficulty he was having to tell me what was wrong, the more frightened I became until he told me, Terry, you have this very rare form of melanoma.  We think of melanomas as a skin disease, some mole or a dark spot. Well, this is another form of melanoma that appears on the bottom of the feet, or the palms of the hands. And he said there's only about 6500 people in the US every year who get your form of cancer. And then he kind of hit me with Terry, I've been a foot doctor for 25 years; I've never seen this form of cancer, so I would recommend that you go to the MD Anderson Cancer Hospital in Houston, Texas, probably one of the greatest if not the greatest Cancer Hospital in the world.  And I did and I had two surgeries to remove the tumor and all the lymph nodes in my groin and then when I healed, I was put on a weekly injection of a drug called Interferon to kind of help keep the disease from coming back. My oncologist used to say it's just like kicking the can down the road. We're just trying to buy you some more time. And I took those weekly Interferon injections for four years and seven months before the medication became so toxic to my body that I ended up in the intensive care unit with a fever of 108 degrees, which usually isn't compatible with being alive. Fortunately, I was at a level one trauma center and emergency room that was able to stabilize me and get me to the ICU. When I was on Interferon, I had severe flu like symptoms. So, imagine having the flu for two to three days every week, for almost five years. And that’s pretty much what I went through to try to just keep the cancer at bay, this wasn't a, we're going to cure you. This is just, we want to keep it at bay until we can develop more therapies.

 

Claire Rogers  

So, I can I jump in? Can we go back slightly to what it was like receiving the diagnosis? Did you feel good at the time? Or did you have some symptoms that you were feeling off, that you knew something was wrong besides your foot?

 

Terry Tucker  

No, I felt fine. I mean, I was like I said, I was coaching basketball. So, I was pretty active. Always had been active. And, on the day that I found out, my emotions ran the gambit. At first it was no, this has got to be wrong. I've done everything right in my life; physical exams, ate right, never abused alcohol and drugs, etc.   And then you get mad, and then you kind of get down. And then it's like, okay, now it's your choice, what do you want to do? I mean, we're all going to end up in those dark places, from time to time, you know, we lose a job, or our spouse leaves, something bad happens. Everybody gets there. But it's your choice to stay there. And I chose not to stay there. I'm like, you know, what, these are the cards that I've been dealt. Now, this is a whole new life for me. And I'm going to have to play it to the best of my ability.

 

Claire Rogers  

And did you ever ask yourself, why you? Did that ever cross your mind?

 

Terry Tucker  

I asked my doctor, why did I get this, and I had all 88 genes that doctors either know or suspect, cause cancer. I've been genetically tested. And I have no mutations in any of my genes. So that begs the question, then why did this happen? And my doctor is like, I don't know, the only thing we can think of is maybe there was a trauma to that area that caused it, but that can't be it. I never broke that foot. I never sprained an ankle on that foot, when I was playing basketball. So, we just don't know. And I don't spend a lot of time worried about why. Because is it happened. Now, I've got to deal with it.

 

Claire Rogers  

And how long did it take you to go from grief and denial and anger to a place of acceptance? And I have a choice here? How long did that process take?

 

Terry Tucker  

Not terribly long. With all my years of being in athletics, and I'd had three knee surgeries in high school and was told that I might not play basketball again after my second one. And, and certainly with my time as a police officer, where you don't have a choice. I mean, you have to deal with the problem, everybody's running away, but you have to run to the danger. That's just kind of how I'm wired, how I'm made up. I mean, if you tell me something can't be done, I'll figure out a way to do it. So maybe a couple weeks before, you know, all the emotions were done.

 

Claire Rogers  

That's it? I thought you were going to say six months or a year or something.

 

Terry Tucker  

No, no, no. It was, you need to hurry up and make an appointment at MD Anderson. And, and within two or three weeks, I had that appointment and was sitting in that doctor's office room.

 

Claire Rogers  

But what you said to me earlier was that they said that you're just kicking the can down the road. So how did you come to a place of acceptance of, oh, I'm not going to beat this. I'm just kicking the can down the road. Because I guess my thoughts are, all of us seem to think that we're going to get out of here alive. All of us think that we're going to live forever, and it happens to other people, not us. And so, I'm just wondering, how did you get to that place of oh, this is really happening. This is not curable. And we're just kicking a can down the road. How did you wrap your head around that?

 

Terry Tucker  

I guess because in my heart, I had felt that I had figured out what my purpose was here in life. And I live that purpose.  and tell me what that is. Sorry. I'm going to interrupt you. It was being in law enforcement.  I tried very hard to do that. My Dad was very much opposed to it. He's like, you know, you're going to go to college. You're going to major in business. My Dad had my whole life planned out and it was kind of like, No Dad, I don't want to do that. But after I graduated from college, and I was the first person in my family to graduate from college, my Dad got sick, and my Grandmother got sick, and I had to stay at home with my Mom for the next three and a half years helping her, basically help them die. And so, I didn't want to upset my Dad, I didn't want to say, hey, I'm going to go do this. So, I got my degree, I went into business, but it wasn't my passion. So, my passion was law enforcement. And so, when I got into that I did it, I lived it. And a lot of times I tell people, especially now, especially if you're young, think about the end game. Think about what people are going to say about you at your funeral, you know, what is your legacy going to be? Would your ancestors be proud of the life that you've lived? And if the answer for those is no, then you've got time to make changes and corrections. You can't make those changes at the end of your life where it's like, oh, yeah, I don't have much time. And you know, I haven't done a damn thing with my life.

 

Claire Rogers  

It's funny, I’m going to interrupt you. I think that we've all read the same book. And I don't even know where we read this or where we've learned this, but I've done this exercise on myself years ago, you know, what is my legacy? What are the people going to say at my funeral? I have done this exercise on myself. And that grounded me in purpose. I interviewed another guest a couple of weeks ago, he said the same thing. And now you're saying it. Have we all read the same book? Where have we learned this?

 

Terry Tucker  

I don't think a lot of people have read the book. That's the thing. You may have just gotten the right people. With all the people that I've seen die as a policeman and certainly in a number of people that have passed on that I've met over my nine years of having cancer, the people that I think you and I would say died peaceful deaths, and again, I'm making a huge generalization are the people who found their purpose in life and they lived it. The people who go kicking and screaming, you know, I want another day, or I want another month, or I want another year, those are the people who never did anything with their lives. They never saw their purpose as being something uncommon and extraordinary to live. And those are the people that I really feel sorry for. But you had all this time to figure out what you were supposed to do with your life.  I had a player, which was really kind of one of the impetus in my book, who had moved to Colorado where my wife and I live, and we had dinner with them. And I said to her one day, I'm really excited, you're here, because I get to watch you find and live your purpose. And she got really quiet. She was like, well, coach, what do you think my purpose is? I said, I don't know what your purpose is. But that's what your life should be about. A I mean, here's a young woman with a college degree, who was very smart, and she had never thought about that. It's like, I never thought about the end game. And so, I'm not so sure that a lot of people think about it, you just got some good people.

 

Claire Rogers  

I agree. I think in school, we're told, go to school, get good grades, go get a college education, get a good job, buy lots of stuff, and then die, basically, is what we're sold as a kid. And if I had my way I would want to teach kids that. What is your purpose in life? Not what's your career and what's going to bring in your money, but what is your purpose? So, for me, my purpose is to serve. My purpose is to help people.  100% that's my mission in life.  You do something similar in law enforcement.  So, going back because I digressed there slightly. So, going back, you said that you got to a place of acceptance that you're kicking the can down the road, because you've lived your life of purpose, which sounds logical to me, but at the same time you have a wife and you have a daughter. How do you reconcile leaving them and accepting that?

 

Terry Tucker  

I have a great family. And you know, people ask me, how did I get through this? or how have I gotten to this point, and I talked about the three F's faith, family and friends. And so, I have a tremendous faith in God. So that is certainly something that has helped to ground me. Yes, I have a wife and daughter and I would like to see my daughter get married; I'd like to see my grandkids; that's probably not going to happen. So, there’s not a lot I can do about it other than just fight every day.  When I got diagnosed, my wife and I made a conscious decision, to be honest with our daughter, she was at high school at the time, and we're like, you know what, we're never going to lie to you. We're never going to tell you that things are different or anything like that. We're always going to tell you the truth. Now she's a young woman, and she's totally involved. When I lost my leg last year and found these tumors in my lungs, they wanted me to do chemotherapy and I was like, no, no, I don't think I want to go through that.  I've had a good run. I don't think I want to do that. And so, I came home, and I told my wife and daughter and they're like, okay, family meeting. And we have a family meeting. So, I get out voted two to one. We laugh about it, but it's kind of true. My wife said no, no, no, you're going to do chemotherapy, we're not ready to let you go. So, I started doing chemotherapy. I remember in the police academy, our defensive tactics instructor used to have us bring a photograph of the people we love the most to class. And as we were learning how to defend ourselves, we were to look at that photo because he reasoned, you will fight harder for the people you love, than you will fight for yourself. So, at three o'clock in the morning, when you're fighting some drunk guy who wants to take your gun from you, he wanted you to remember that it's bigger than just you. There's a Mom and Dad or a Spouse or Kids or somebody out there who wants to make sure that you come home. So, I've always remembered that. And it's like, this isn't just about me. This is about everybody in my little circle, my Brothers, my Mom, my friends and stuff like that. So, I fight my butt off every day, just to make sure that I can have one more day to be with these people.

 

Claire Rogers  

Amazing. So, tell me about your journey as it is today. So that was in 2012. You said that you had flu like symptoms for five years. You had if I'm not mistaken, your leg amputated last year. Is that correct?

 

Terry Tucker  

Yeah. So, after the Interferon was stopped, and the disease came back in 2017, and in January of 2018, I had my left foot amputated. That was the first amputation. The disease came back again in 2019 in my shin; I had a couple of surgeries there. And then last year, an undiagnosed tumor in my ankle grew large enough that it fractured my tibia, my shin bone, and when they scanned it, they found that my entire lower leg pretty much was full of cancer. And at the same time, they also found I had multiple tumors in my lungs. So, my only option was the amputation of my left leg, above the knee. Right in the middle of a global pandemic, literally, my wife dropped me off at the hospital. I was the only surgery that day, nobody could be with me.  I was scared to death, but it's like, you know what, you got to do it.

 

Claire Rogers  

I appreciate, I got to do this, but how do you rustle up that gumption to say I got to do this? How do you push past that fear? Especially your wife can't go and hold your hand or say prayers with you? I mean, how did you dig deep?

 

Terry Tucker  

I'll tell you, people asked me what I thought about the night before I had my leg amputated, and before I had my foot amputated. And I don't know why I thought about this. But the thing that that really kind of came to my mind was D day when there are 1000s of 15,16,17,18,19,20 year old kids sitting off on boats and ships ready to get into these Higgins boats and hit the beach into tremendous machine gun fire, mortar fire, knowing that most of them will probably be killed.  I mean, so many of them were mowed down without ever getting out of a boat. And I thought about what courage that took. What courage to do something for somebody else, to do something that was bigger than yourself. And I thought you know what, when you start looking at that, and you put, you got to have your foot amputated, you got your legs, I am more than the sum of my parts. So, you can take whatever you want. And I'll still be Terry Tucker, I'll still have my heart and my soul and my mind. You can't take that stuff from me. So yeah, I thought about the big sacrifice that so many people had made, and my sacrifice didn't really seem to be that that big of a deal.

 

Claire Rogers  

You are so inspiring. I'm trying to imagine myself in the same situation. I've got gumption, but you've got gumption on steroids. (laughs)

 

Terry Tucker  

Don't tell my doctor.

 

Claire Rogers  

So, tell me after the surgery, and you've had your leg amputated, you must have had depression or something. You couldn't have just woken up and gone, hey it's another day and keep moving forward, keep on trucking. You must have had some sort of a sadness or something. 

 

Terry Tucker  

Yeah. There's no S on my chest.  I don't wear a cape or anything like that. Yes. Do I get, down? Do I get scared? Do I cry? Yes, I do all that stuff. I just don't do it very often.

 

Claire Rogers  

Is it because you don't allow yourself to?

 

Terry Tucker  

Yeah, it doesn't do any good. I mean, I can't be productive when I'm down, when I'm depressed. I mean, when you get there, it's just a spiral and it just keeps going and unless you stop it, people can get in a really, really bad place. 

 

Claire Rogers  

And so how do you stop it?

 

Terry Tucker  

For me? It was learning to take the pain, learning to take the discomfort. I have this post a note on my desk what's called my four truths. And one of them is 'embrace the pain and the suffering that we all experience in life and use it to make you a stronger and more determined individual'. So, we know our brains are hard wired to avoid pain and discomfort and to seek pleasure. So, for me, it was like, everybody wants to run through pain, no, I don't want to do that, and it scares me. I'm sad, I'm depressed.  For me, it was like, no, just do flip that pain inside, use it as energy or burn it as fuel to make you stronger to make you more determined, you can do it because if I can do it, and I'm a guy who when I was a little kid, and I knew my mom was taking me to the pediatrician for a vaccine, I'd wait till she got out of the car and lock all the doors from the inside. And this was before key fobs. So, she'd have to go get the pediatrician and his nurse. And we would play a cat and mouse kind of game before I'd get extracted. And literally, the pediatrician would put me over shoulder and take me in and give me a job. That's how frightened I was of doctors and needles and all that kind of stuff.  And now, I'm on this clinical trial, and they're taking blood and there are days when I get stuck with the needle, 14 or 15 times, and I always love the nurses, well, let me know if I'm hurting you.... Well, it doesn't exactly feel good. Of course, you're hurting me. But what you do with that pain, you know, you can whine and cry, or you can flip it inside and use it as energy to make you tougher.

 

Claire Rogers  

So, tell me about the clinical trial. Do you know if you're the placebo, or if you're getting the actual drug? Have they told you that?  Do you know?

 

Terry Tucker  

So, it's not a placebo. It's the actual drug. And it's a derivative of a drug called Interleukin two, which is a pretty nasty drug, if they give it to you, they usually have to give it to you in the hospital many times in the intensive care unit, because it messes with your body. So, what they're trying to do is enhance the good part of Interleukin two and try to take away the bad part. But for me, my doctor describes my body as very efficient for all those years that I took Interferon and my body knows what to do with it. So, when I get the drug, usually within two hours, I have a bad headache, I'm throwing up, I have a fever, I'm shaking violently, and other people who are on it don’t have that.  I was at the clinical trial a couple weeks ago, and the man right across from me was having the same drug, the same dose, and while I was experiencing all these physical manifestations of symptoms, he slept the entire time. My doctors explained that's because I had five years of Interferon, the interferon programmed my body to oh, yeah, I know what to do with this, okay. And you want that body reaction, because basically what your body's doing is saying, okay, I'm revving up to go fight this cancer. So, for me, it's working. It's shrunk my tumors by about 20%. For a lot of the other people on the trial, who don't experience what I'm experiencing, they're not having the success that I've had so far.

 

Claire Rogers  

Have you ever thought that with the awful side effects of the clinical trial that might pull the plug?

 

Terry Tucker  

No, but it's funny you say that, because I had a nurse who came to me and said, Terry, you know, and I have the greatest nurses, the nurses that take care of me in the infusion center are wonderful, and they say, I have to take you out of pain, I have to take you out of discomfort. And, and it took me quite a while to kind of look at them and said, Look, you're going to have to let this ride, you're going to have to let me shake, yes, it looks terrible, but it's not painful. It's not like I'm in terrible pain. It's just, I'm constantly shaking. It's okay, let it go. Now we want to give you drugs. No, I don't want the drugs and that kind of thing. So, I had a nurse come to me and say, Terry, this trial is kicking your butt. You know, it's devastating on your body. And it is for a whole week. It is devastating. And she said nobody would think anything less of you, if you quit. And I tried to explain her to her my four truths - one of the ones I just gave you. I'm like, you know, my doctor may take me off the trial, or I may die on the trial, but I will never quit the trial because that's just not who I am.

 

Claire Rogers  

So, tell me the other three truths.

 

Terry Tucker  

So, the first one is 'control your mind or it will control you'. The second one is the one I told you 'embrace the pain and the suffering'. I used to only have three I've added this new one just within the last couple of weeks because I've been thinking about it for a long time and it's this 'what you leave behind is what you weave in the hearts of others'. 

 

Claire Rogers  

Oh, I love it.

 

Terry Tucker  

And then the fourth one is 'as long as you don't quit, you can never be defeated'.  I always remember those, I always think of those no matter how bad I feel, no matter how sick I am, it's like, those are kind of what makes me move forward and keeps me going.

 

Claire Rogers  

So, you don't want to quit, is it for altruistic reasons? You want to see, because you're kicking the can down the road for you, so are you staying in the trial to give the scientists and the doctors the clinical data from you to help potentially other people? Is that why you're staying?

 

Terry Tucker  

That's one reason and like I said, I've had some success. I mean, the tumors have shrunk by 20%. I mean, if we can keep shrinking the tumors or if we can keep the tumors at bay, I mean, who knows? In six months or a year, there may be another therapy that might help cure me, who knows? I mean, there's some things on the horizon. Moderna is working on a vaccine that is patient specific, where they're taking cells from the patient's body, developing a vaccine for the patient based on their particular disease, and injecting it back into the patient like a vaccine like we're doing with Coronavirus virus, but they're doing it for Cancer. So, who knows, maybe that'll have success. And that'll be ready to go in a year. I mean, I want to stick around, don't get me wrong, but I'm not afraid if I do have to go.

 

Claire Rogers  

So, you said to me last time I talked to you that you feel as though and I can't remember if you feel it or if you've been told this, that you're towards the end of your life. How do you accept that? I mean, again, you've already accepted it from previous years because you've got like this rock star gumption, but how does it feel coming closer to that now?

 

Terry Tucker  

Exciting. I mean, like I said, I believe in God, I believe there's something. I mean, I've seen the birth of my daughter. I've seen a herd of elk moving through the snow in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies. There is so much beauty and goodness and love out there that I'm like, yeah, us humans, yeah, we're not capable of that. That's got to be something bigger than us. So, I believe that, so I'm kind of excited. You know, I've had a great life. I've done it. You know, you read my resume. I've done a lot of things. So why be afraid of the next thing? You know, it'd be like saying, okay, I'm working for Wendy’s, now I'm going to go into hospital administrator, oh no I'm scared, can't do that. You know, why not say, I'm living my life. Now I need to die. It's okay. It happens every year. You know, in the fall, everything dies, and then the spring things come back. It's okay. It's the way we're made up. It's a way of God kind of like cleaning house, we need to move on, the next generation needs to come on at your turn. So, I don't know why people are afraid of it. Especially when you find your purpose in life and you live it.

 

Claire Rogers  

I would agree with you. I'm 47. And I've had a very, very big life that I have magicked up through hard work and grit and determination. If I go tomorrow, and I get hit by the number six bus, I'm going to be okay with that because I've had such an amazing life. But at same time, I don't want it to happen. Yeah, I might be a bit pissed at God.  So, do you ever feel a bit pissed? 

 

Terry Tucker  

No, no, I've never blamed God. People are like, do you blame? God? I don't think God sits wherever God sits is like, today, yeah, Terry Tucker you're going to get cancer. I mean, at least the God that I believe in doesn't do that. This happened, and this happened for a reason, and I hope that reason, is like you, you know, starting your podcasts and things to help other people. People ask me, you know, how close do you think you are to die? And I'm like, well, the way I look at it is, in my mind, I can't see myself in the casket yet. So, until I feel that way, like, yeah, I can see myself like that, I’m probably coming to the end.  You know, everybody dies, but not everybody really lives. And if we all really live; death wouldn't have the sting that we all seem to be worried about when it finally happens.

 

Claire Rogers  

I agree with you. And I think what you're basically saying is you can't worry about what you don't know.

 

Terry Tucker  

Yeah, I always tell people, it's way above my pay grade as to when I'm dying.

 

Claire Rogers  

I want to move on because you've written a book called 'Sustainable Excellence: 10 Principles to Leading Your Uncommon and Extraordinary Life', which is available on Amazon, Apple and Barnes and Noble.  Is it available internationally?

 

Terry Tucker  

 Yes.

 

Claire Rogers  

 Awesome. So, tell me about the book and why you wrote it.

 

Terry Tucker  

So, you know, you asked me, did I get depressed after I had my leg amputated? Well, no, because I wrote a book. I had my leg amputated in April and I had chemotherapy. I started chemotherapy from the tumors in my lungs in June. And that’s when I wrote the book between April and June. The book was really born out of two conversations.  One was the one I've already described about the player that had moved to the area. The second one was a college student who had reached out to me on LinkedIn and said, what do you think are the things I need to know to not only be successful in my job or business, but successful in life.  And I didn't want to give them the, work hard, get up early, help others kind of stuff. Not that those aren't important, they are. But I wanted to go deeper to get something that maybe resonated in his soul. So, I thought about it for a while, and I wrote notes and stuff like that. And eventually, I had these 10 principles. And I was comfortable with them, and I sent them to him.  And then I sort of stepped back, and I'm like, I've got a life story that illustrates that principle. Or I know someone who has a life story. So, I literally sat down at the computer, and I had the principles. And then I just started building stories underneath them about either the principle itself or how the principle would interact in somebody's life.  And so, I had a book, or did I have a book? So, I gave it to some friends, some younger people, I said, read this, tell me what you think. Is it garbage? And they're like, no, no, you got to get this published. So, I went ahead and got it published. And once it was published, I was like, I got to sell books, I got to sell books, I got to sell books. And I had a guy that I had connected with on LinkedIn, who's a best-selling author over in the UK in business books, and he said to me, no, no, Terry, you're going about this wrong. Your job is not to sell books, your job is to help people, if you help people, the books will sell themselves. And for me, it was like a slap across the face. And I am so glad he slapped me in the face. Because I totally lost focus to why I wrote the book. I didn't write the book to make money. I didn't write the book to get to be famous. I wrote the book to help people. And by him telling me hey, forget about selling the book, help people, the book of sell itself.

 

Claire Rogers  

100% I agree. I think personally, and they don't teach it in Business School, and they should, I think our missions in life should be to serve and to help people and money comes as a byproduct of that. That's against everything, they'll teach you in business school, and in your case with books, you help people, and people will invariably relate to you. And the books sell by word of mouth.

 

Terry Tucker  

Exactly. The book is really about being successful; how you can go about being successful. And it's been out for a while, and I've sort of thought about this, I'm like, I think I'm missing the boat. I think that success is what we do. You know, you're a successful business person. I may be a successful author, whatever. That's what we do. I think the word that's missing is significance. Significance is what we do for other people; I think you can be both. I think you can be successful and significant. But the older I get are, the more time goes by and the more I think about it, I think significance is really what we ought to be concentrating on. Not about being successful. You can be both, like I said, but I think at the end of your life, nobody's going to care how much money you have, or what your title is or how important you are, you know what, you're going to occupy that same small piece of ground as the popper who has nothing occupying right next to you. 

 

Claire Rogers  

Yeah, you're right significance. In my case, I use the word impactful, you know, what's the impact that I'm leaving behind here? 

 

Terry Tucker  

Sure. 

 

Claire Rogers  

I have loved this conversation. So, for those of our listeners who've enjoyed this conversation, if you would like to buy Terry's book, as I say it's available on Amazon, Apple and Barnes and Noble and it's available internationally. You can also reach out to Terry at his website, which is https://www.motivationalcheck.com/ or alternatively you can contact me, and I will put you in touch with Terry. Terry, thank you so much for joining the show.

 

Terry Tucker  

Thank you, Claire. I enjoyed it.

 

Claire Rogers  

I loved it. Thank you.

 

Terry Tucker  

Thank you.

 

Claire Rogers  

That concludes this week's episode of Boot Camp for the Mind and Soul. Don't forget to rate and review and subscribe. Tune back in next Wednesday for next week's episode. If you have any questions about this episode or anything about the podcast then don't forget to visit https://www.itopiacoaching.com/