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Stage 4 Kidney Cancer Survivor & Podcaster - Amazing Story!

Hi, Friend!

I hope you have been doing well! 😊🙏 I am thrilled to be able to share this incredible interview with you of stage 4 kidney cancer survivor and the host of the Leave Your Mark podcast, Vince Cortese!

In late 2015 Vince had not been feeling well and was on his way to the doctor when he collapsed, was taken into the emergency room and found to have kidney cancer with a 12-pound tumor that spread into his heart and filled 80% of the left ventricle. The doctors gave Vince a 30-day life expectancy but said he may not wake up the next day since the blockage of his heart was so severe. He ended up having a 12-hour surgery to remove the cancer, which extended his life expectancy to 13 months. However, with a 90-day gap in his medical care due to moving across the country and changing his medical insurance, the cancer spread to his ribs, collarbone, lungs, femur, 3 vertebrae in his spine, his right lung and his liver in just 4 months.

Things looked very, very grim. In his own words: "It was so overwhelming I literally laughed, it was like, “I don’t have a chance.” Yet, he felt that he had more life to live. Vince waited for a new immunotherapy to become available and started on Christmas Eve; however that left him in the ICU after just the first dose and crippled in a wheelchair.

"The human spirit is not measurable. When we decide we’re going to fight back we’re capable of things that are going to knock our socks off... I marvel at how much the human body can take, knowing what the cancer and the medication put my body through and to be as healthy as I currently am, these are really hard to wrap my mind around."

Though it was extremely difficult, Vince fought back every day to go for a walk with his walker, because that's what he loved to do. “Fight back” may be: you’re on a drug that suppresses your appetite and you need to eat, and when you smell food it makes you want to throw up. You need to fight to get the food down, and those are the kinds of battles you go through when you have cancer."

Vince gives credit to nutrition, supplementation and ultimately his relationship with God that got him through to where he is today: "I wasn’t the one to memorize Scripture but there’s one that struck the deepest to me is, “When you are at your weakest I’m at my strongest.” [2 Corinthians 12:10] I was clear to let go and let God do His work... I didn’t have anything left to give. So what I did have to give, I gave it to God."

Vince is in remission, 7.5 years since the surgery and 3.5 years since finishing immunotherapy treatments, though his doctors won't admit he is cancer-free or share his medical records for public viewing (which makes me feel even more fortunate that I am able to share my records). Vince is so grateful for the gifts his experiences have brought him:

"Life teaches and that’s the only way to learn. Life is so much fuller, I said it by accident to a friend of mine. He asked “What’s it like?” And I said, “The best way I could describe it is life was 3D, now it’s 4k.” There’s just so much more going on because my level of awareness is so much greater. When you become more aware you’re more in the present, and that’s where God rests. You feel like you were given the answers to the test, and you’re like, “It was really this easy all the time? Why did I have to go through that to get here?... But you just have to keep reaching toward Him."

Now Vince is living a full life as host of the successful podcast called Leave Your Mark, featuring guests such as former Pittsburgh Steelers players Mel Blount and Charlie Batch, who has a school for kids with autism; former announcer for the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers, Stan Savran; as well as entrepreneurs, cancer survivors and others with incredible stories of perseverance.

On his second chance at life now at 60 years old, Vince says, "It’s kinda funny, I don’t know, it’s like everything is going my way. I’m on the completely other side of life. Before I was misfortunate, now I’m fortunate. Before it was bad luck, now it’s good luck. I really feel most grateful… that’s not my doing again again, that’s my God doing that. I’m enjoying the ride, like never before."

You can read the entire transcripts of our interview and watch the video by clicking on the photo below and find more about Vince and his podcast episodes on his website, leaveyourmarkvc.com and at the links below:

LinkTree YouTube Spotify Enjoy this BEAUTIFUL story, and PLEASE SHARE it!! Before I go for now, I also wanted to share that Vince interviewed me for his podcast earlier this year. If you care to listen, you can do so here: https://www.leaveyourmarkvc.com/epi-0052-melanoma-in-adolescent-bailey-obrien/ With gratitude and a full heart, Bailey 😌🙏🌻

2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

00:30 How did you get diagnosed with cancer?

A: Health had been declining, having some hardship in life, stress level was high. A lot of things went on leading up to having cancer so he wasn’t surprised because of the level of stress. A year of night sweats, not every night, occasional, about a ten month window. As it progressed had episodes of losing control of balance, would fall or had a couple blackouts, would come back to and finally had one on the way to see the doctor and found out in the ER that it was cancer that had metastasized in his body. The initial scan was only in the lower and where he had the most pain. It was a 12 pound tumor that had encapsulated his body. Knew he was in pretty bad shape. Through those night sweats probably lost about 83 pounds.


2:30 Had never experienced fatigued before. Had seen his PCP for about 6 months before he got the diagnosis. Cancer doesn’t reveal itself until it’s in a nightmare scenario. Went to UCLA for full body scans CT, MRI, X rays the tumor clotted and went up vena cava, blocked 80% of the left ventricle of his heart. They were mad he didn’t come in earlier but it hadn’t been consistent. He thought he was going to be ok, cancer never crossed his mind.


4:30 How long did the difficult time last leading up to your cancer diagnosis?

A: Probably about 4.5 years. Had a business that did 5 digits per month and he was enjoying that; then that marriage and business fell apart. Like a house of cards, everything fell at once. How low can you go? Ended up with a 30 day life expectancy. What would you do with 30 days left to live? They told him he might not wake up the next day because of the clotting and the rate of metastasizing around the heart, it might stop the heart from beating and his lungs could fill with blood. They didn’t know how much time he had left; the urgency was huge.


Dr. Chamie had to recruit a team of doctors. They estimated a 12 hour surgery. There were 4 oncologists to address the cancer and remove the kidney and 4 cardiologists as his heart was out of his chest for 125 minutes. 8 sets of hands… 3 anesthesiologists. They performed a cut and suck procedure, vacuuming the cancer and scraping it off the organ. There is no room for error. If the cancer burst that would be the end and he wouldn’t survive more than 30 days because it would spread throughout his whole body. It turned out it had; they couldn’t do a triple operation but it was miraculous in so many ways that he survived that double operation. However the cancer was still in his lungs. Maybe would have 13 months before he’d had to address it again, which he did. Mentally he went in a lot of different places. Really had a hard time identifying that he had cancer. Something inside of him said he’s not the guy who gets cancer.


8:25 Thinks that helped his healing because his self-talk directed his subconscious in a positive direction, his God to see that he was still in the fight. Let it go at that, didn’t give it more thinking than that. But the second time around it was more painful. Was losing a lot of dexterity; things that were habitually easy to do were now difficult. Felt like he was aging very quickly. Constantly felt stiff, range of motion, ability to sit up and get up. Felt sluggish. Picked up. The savior the second round was the immunotherapy drug on Christmas Eve. Went to ICU for four days after the first dose. Knew he was 83 lbs lighter and on death’s doorstep again. No operation would save him in round two. The medication would have to work. As designed, it did. His immune system had failed and he got cancer, but now it would be strong enough to heal him.


10:18 Really believes that the focus he had on the Holy Spirit in him and the trust he had in believing that His best for him would play out, whether he lived or died, he was confident of that either way, “and here I am to talk to you here today.” Doesn’t think anybody at UPMC can really describe what happened. They never gave him a remission status. Scan in August, the last for a period of three years. Been on the complete ascension of getting better and better; dexterity and mobility is coming back. 7.5 years since the operation and he’s still experiencing the effects of the surgery and the remnants of the cancer beating him up.


11:28 When did you first have a clear scan? You said that it had spread, or first, where else did it spread, besides your heart?

A: When he moved from CA to PA he was told he would be covered by insurance for his pre-existing condition, but nothing happened for 90 days. The same routine scan he had done in CA was repeated, basically, when he got to PA. The scan showed the spot that was already in his lung, but then it showed it was also in his other lung. It looked like the cancer had the potential to spread more and it did. There was a 90 day gap with no medications and no coverage. They were back on track for it to metastasize and it did. As fast as the next four months, he got it in 7 ribs, collarbone; hard tissue and soft tissue; in lungs, femur, 3 vertebrae in his spine, in his right lung, and in his liver. Both hard and soft tissue; it didn’t get into lymph nodes but if it did he doesn’t know if he would have survived. Believes in his faith, his trust in God and the timing of the medicine, it’s not a single miracle. Can’t wrap his mind around all the healing that had to occur to get his life back. “Your God… you’re so fortunate in so many ways, you just have no idea, it’s so beyond your understanding. It’s the beauty and the experience of having that trust and allowing it to become real. That which is unseen is real now. Life is so much better in so many ways. I’m grateful to have had that happen to me.”


14:15 What was your diet like leading up to your diagnosis? (I know it was part of your healing process.)

With the job situation I was really in the fast food thing, eating what I could afford rather than eating what I needed to eat. The food, along with the stress I was incurring, it was a contributing factor. It was funny because when I realized I was going to make it, I have so much to learn about food. The learning curve was on. I was so upset to find out how much food in our stores, 80% of it is not good for you. This idea that fake ingredients are permitted since the 70s, or late 60s, then you begin to realize that cancer, heart disease and these things are prominent in America, why is that? They’re not doing us any favor with what they’re giving us on a daily dose. And then when you have a lot of stress with what’s going on in your personal life and you’re taking that food, it’s almost inevitable that your body is going to break down. My diet was atrocious - pizza, burgers, hot dogs, tacos, nothing like a home cooked meal/healthy balanced diet; that’s where I rest now. What life’s like without those levels of stress and how you can heal and move forward when that environment is all appropriate.


16:45 So diet was part of your healing process, your mindset, believing you could get better, right?

A: Yes, I also went to great lengths, found out I had two root canals and I didn’t know it was considered a dead tooth, which can leach poison into your blood and I already had a contaminated bloodstream from the cancer; so I went into a purist mindset. I was juicing in the beginning of the healing process but had three teeth removed that had root canals. I got rid of any fragrance - deodorant, soap - or flavored toothpaste - no fluoride - any of these things that were harmful to my sistem. If it was in there before it won’t go in there again. Incorporating the diet and the mindset of those small things that are habitual, which you don’t give a second thought to; don’t do fabric softener or detergent that has fragrance in it either because those things go into your skin. Your skin is like a sponge, you’ll ingest those things; then when you add stress, poor diet, lack of sleep, you have a recipe for cancer or something like it. Those things become obvious.


18:30 Where did you learn these things?

A: Fortunate there was a cancer group at the local church where the one lady was a former nurse and she cultivated a library for people who had cancer, family members, caregivers. She was a huge resource. I literally had like an encyclopedia of content to look at. Had peace of mind that he would find what would match his situation; though there’s so much information, it’s like how can I cut through all of this? Once you get your match with what your situation is, then it’s pretty straightforward. At first I said I don’t care if I like what this tastes like, I’m going to make my food my medicine. I had the mindset that I’d learn to acquire a taste for this, so it was kinda funny I had to talk myself into enjoying it. Then when your body gets used to it you would crave it. I was completely now on the other side of the stress and poor diet. I was pulling myself out of it but just staying focused.


20:05 Can you talk a little bit more about your stress and how that changed/how you were able to manage it better?

A: What’s interesting is I went to LA for the wrong reasons, seeking money. I was looking for what was going to make me healthy. I did that through an apparel business, which I was pretty good at. But it wouldn’t be my fate. I have been spiritual my whole life, brought up Catholic. My mother is a twin sister; her sister was [into] open Christianity, so we were exposed to both religions in our youth. So God was always something simple for me; somebody I’d have a talk with. It wasn’t all sophisticated with a lot of rules and things of this nature; I was able to tap into that a lot easier. But I didn’t really feel like prior to being sick I was really in alignment with it being on the other side of sick and healing. We can lie to ourselves or not allow ourselves to see the truth. In the process we find our true identity on the other side. I’m not actually somebody who is money hungry, even though that’s what I was doing. That wasn’t God’s will for me. When you line up for God’s will for you; life changes; it’s just different.


22:00 Were there any spiritual practices or ways that you figured out that those things were not for you?

A: I didn’t want to have any judgment toward it; if it was something that was intended to be positive, if that was the method that those people did it then it was ok with me. I would look at myself as being chameleon-like that way. I didn’t have judgment if it wasn’t the same way that I learned, if it was more of an energy thing. If it was the same energy he felt, even if it was different words, it was still God, just to let Him speak to you another way. It wasn’t any different, you still felt the same grace, all the goodness.


Q: So through prayer?

A: I did a lot of journaling; it was good for me to write down and measure where I was and how far I’ve come. I was pretty beat up physically, learning how to walk again and feed myself; it was extremely humbling; I used to be athletic and was in a wheelchair; I didn’t want it to last that long. I was eager to get on my feet again; I went to a walker right away, so that was the beginning of the progression, when I was walking again. I still get up and walk a mile and a half each day because they’re two things I appreciate the most.


24:05 Was Bible reading and church part of your recovery?

A: Yes, I went back, got involved in the middle school kids, 12 year old boys in catechism in the Catholic church, and helped with videos to promote the church, and part of their cancer ministry as well. The cancer ministry was difficult because people were in much worse condition than I was; you’d see people who didn’t have the mindset that they could overcome it. They were scared and you could tell they were going to be overcome by it; they didn’t have the ability to fight back. It’s kind of interesting, “fight back” may be: you’re on a drug that suppresses your appetite and you need to eat, and when you smell food it makes you want to throw up. You need to fight to get the food down, and those are the kinds of battles you go through when you have cancer and things of the sort. The torturous part for me was that I was hungry but the whole wall of being nauseous and it was going to come up out of my belly was awful; when I was on those types of drugs, when I went off them it wasn’t an issue, but it was probably 8 months, and it was really hard.


26:05 Q: Were there any tips or tricks that you found that helped you deal with the side effects from the treatment?

A: Sleep helped a lot - drinking water helped a lot. I’d try to learn to do stretching or yoga and focus on breathing/holding position. It was really important to me to get my mobility back; I could see myself and my strength getting better, and it was encouraging. I was coming from square one; the ability to sit on the floor and touch my toes was a big deal. It was a big deal to get out of the wheelchair. You take the little wins day by day. I really felt confident that just because I made it through the operation and because the medicine I was taking was working that I was going to stick around, because it was a momentum thing in my body. I felt that when I was getting sick, I was getting sicker and sicker and sicker. Whereas now I’m getting better and better and better. I can tell my body - the morning walks, drinking more water, the habitual things are paying off now, 3, 4 or 5 years later for sure.


28:00 Going back to the immunotherapy treatment, how did your doctors determine which treatment would be appropriate for you? Did your doctors test the tumor?

A: They biopsied the tumor. They knew that the drug that would be available wasn’t on the market yet. It would be the legality in 2015; I held on until Christmas Eve; until it made it to the market. I was one of 17 people who took the drug. As far as I know I was the only one who took the drug and healed. A lot of people didn’t make it, a lot of people were on one or more other drugs; I’m 3.5 years removed now from actually taking the drug.


29:15 Do you know if they (the other people on the drug) did any of the other things that you did like stress management, sleep, nutrition, exercise?

A: I went with a dietitian over there but felt like it was more traditional. I went off dairy, besides ripping my teeth out, because I didn’t want to put more bacteria into my body and my cancer feed off of that; one of my friends said it’s like drinking pus anyway. That steered me away. Sometimes I have a hard time eating cheese thinking about that. Is that true? That’s terrible. But anyhow… I cut out the dairy; these little chips in with the teeth, the deodorant, no fluoride in toothpaste, it makes a big difference. Now I’m progressing to the next level of juicing – finding out what beet juice does, celery juice does, and mixing different cocktails of juicing. Differences between juicing fruits and vegetables, primarily just vegetables. And now I’m into macro nutrients and micro nutrients. I was just a vitamins and minerals guy a while ago. But the learning… and you come across other people who are complete purists like Chris Beat Cancer. The level of discipline he had is admirable.


31:22 I would go down that road, it was so difficult to maintain but it was also, I had begun to experience the recovery, I didn’t need the discipline so much on the diet because the medication was working; I focused on getting a lot of sleep, getting my walk and drinking a lot of water. That was as simple as I could keep it. But then I learned so much about diet. It’s a tragedy what’s going on in America with our food. We’re feeding people garbage and the results they’re getting on the other side… of the modern day illnesses and diseases. It’s because of the food, it’s terrible; it’s a terrible quality and it doesn’t have to be, which is disturbing.

Bailey: It’s either fuel or poison for our bodies.

Vince: For sure.


32:30 Vince, did you take supplements during your treatment?

A: I didn’t take supplements during treatment; after treatments I met a gentleman who claimed you do a DNA swab and they take your DNA and claim they can give you a vitamin that can detox your DNA, made specifically for you off your DNA. It’s one of those cryotherapy, where you gotta go in. I’m a believer that icing things down helps the beginning of the healing process… so why wouldn’t freezing your body down work in the same way? So I tried it. After 90 days, after the first 30 days I began to feel really, really good. What came of it is I had another 10 day platform where that went up and it stayed there. And the next 60-90 days I didn’t feel a difference so I didn’t know if it was my health or the pills, and they were rather expensive, so I went off of them. I actually maintained where I was, so my thought was it actually detoxed me because I didn’t have that fog or tiredness anymore. But I also had incorporated health habits with sleep, diet and exercise. And I think all things contributed to me staying at that plateau.


34:33 So it was genetically tailored vitamins and nutrients.

A: Yeah. It was all natural ingredients like ashwagandha and things like that. Probably 26 different ingredients for my blood type and DNA. I actually had a pretty clean bill of health when I started it. So when I was done I was definitely cleaner than when I started, according to their scale. I had felt it and I hit the plateau; and I thought the previous detoxes I had done in other areas of my body worked that way too. I felt better, didn’t go back to sluggish right away, but that’s why I did it, so I wouldn’t feel that way anymore.


35:40 What was the name of it, do you remember?

A: Uforia. I believe it was an MLM. If you don’t have an agent they’ll put somebody in front of you and send something in the mail or have someone local meet up with you. They swab your nose then they’re good to go and they send you the stuff. It’s $180 per month, so it’s not cheap. For a detox, I took it for 90 days. About 10 days in I started feeling really good. Windows in the day I started feeling tired but I wasn’t. I was able to stay a bit more focused while reading on the internet. I experienced better focus and better rest.


37:15 You mentioned there were other detoxes you did?

A: Yeah, I did, had the detox where I was gonna work on my health for my 50 for the big proctology exam, so I did colon cleanses. A lot of mood and energy swings, the best part is the energy you have. I do psyllium husk regularly. I get 35 grams fiber per day but I do it before bed. I am completely regular but when I wake up my stomach is balanced. Whatever I start the day with is crucial, I start with an avocado, protein driven because I’m going to be active right away. These things have become habits. Now when I wake up and go through these routines I’m not even thinking about it now, five years later. It was really important to me to create that core lifestyle moving forward. Nobody wants to get sick. It’s only more difficult as you get older because you get more stiff, you don’t need as many calories. Get your sleep, drink water, eat smart and be active - which may just mean be vertical and take a walk. You have legs to walk, not legs to sit. So go use them, it plays to your benefit.


39:23 What kind of colon cleanses did you do?

A: I would drink a tea, then I had capsules. It was a green tea cleanse. It wasn’t horrible or anything, you were in the bathroom a lot. Energy was fantastic, I did it about 4 times from about 35 to 50.


40:00 Q: How old were you when you were diagnosed?

A: I was 51. [Now I’m] 59, on the cusp of 60, I’m holding on. It’s just a number, when you know you maintain your health and maintain a soft spirit and allow God to pour His grace on you. It’s hard to not smile and not feel good. Just sitting around and being grateful for all that’s going on in my life. I’m getting to be myself on a podcast and share the good news of other people surviving like me and talk to people like you. I get to share with other people that you can have hope. I wasn’t the one to memorize Scripture but there’s one that struck the deepest to me is, “When you are at your weakest I’m at my strongest.” [2 Corinthians 12:10] For me it couldn’t have been more clear, because I was clear to let go and let God do His work, and it’s because of that mindset, I didn’t have anything left to give. So what I did have to give, I gave it to God.


41:40 And God worked through you.

A: Yep… It’s awesome.


41:50 (Curenav) I’m so grateful to have been invited, I’d like to share your story with all my patients I work with at Curenav, because they’re looking for hope. And I think that your story can help them with that a lot. Anxiety, keeping focused on nutrition. Finding that outlet, a way to find that energy. A lot of them are confused about nutrition and they’re not sure where their energy is coming from, so I’m glad I got to hear your story.

A: You’re welcome, I’m glad I get to share.

Bailey: So powerful, your story, Vince, in many ways.


Vince: Yeah, so much that went on in such a short window and how sometimes moments just get micro - they get really granular, you go way in, way in, way in, and it almost felt like the deeper in you would get or where I was, I was most comfortable being in God’s presence, realizing that that’s where He was speaking the loudest. And I preferred to be there. I felt I was weak, but I felt strong at the same time. It was most comforting. It felt like I was further on the edge, but I was closer to being comforted. It was just a feeling that would come over me. So I really thank God for that. My mind could’ve gone in so many other places. But to go there as quickly as it would happen and to find that peace that quickly, and there was really no other place else I wanted to be. The healing happened a lot quicker. It was almost like a joining of my will with God’s will.


44:17 Bailey: Obviously it’s had a tremendous impact on you emotionally. I love that you said earlier how you wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. You’re grateful for what you have now because of what you went through, and that’s really really hard when we’re in it, in the most difficult process. But also like you said, you had the mindset that it was temporary, that you were going to get through it. And just to rest in the comfort of God and His presence. It’s just so impactful and powerful, so thank you for sharing that.


45:15: Curenav: I want to learn more about organic products like when someone makes a lotion from goat’s milk that has a fragrance - that’s something that I use daily. I need to drink more water. Vince, did you notice a difference in your skin, do you drink much water and do you use lotion?

Vince: I drink alkaline water; I did want to use the one with the electronic process, there’s the Kaegen filter but I don't use that. The idea was to build my bones first; I drink collagen daily in a beverage, either tea or coffee (coffee black, no dairy, if I drink it). The alkaline water has a pH of 9. The collagen goes from the bone marrow out - if I make my bone strong then I build a strong core; I can build me. My lotion is coconut oil, all over my body and in my hair, I also add it to my drinks.


Curenav: I used to do that and I think I’ll go back to it, thank you.

Vince: To answer your part about the organic food you notice a difference in that too. I notice more when I’m juicing; organic vegetables versus store bought (conventional) vegetables. It’s probably what it’s grown in than the pesticides on top. To me, the regular grocer is what’s like the produce is doubly contaminated - how it was grown and the ground in which it was grown. Whereas, the organic is all natural compost and there’s no chemicals on it, so there was emphatically a different feeling. Kinda like the difference between a roasted piece of chicken versus fried chicken, how your stomach feel after you eat those, and that would be the difference between organic food versus the processed or store-manufactured food.

Bailey: conventional foods


48:30 Vince: Yeah. The food thing, moving forward, I’d be more than happy to be part of a group of people that advocates for good as a whole. The whole idea of fake ingredients has to be absolved. You’re killing people. There’s no nutritional value in it. It’s like they don’t care; the company is too big, a monopoly which shouldn’t exist, and it’s controlling the health of your country, because it’s about capitalism. Enough is enough. The land can provide. It’s very bothersome to me. People just deserve to eat clean food.


Curenav: I’ve been on your podcast website and I’ll be sharing that resource with my Curenav patients as well. Do you have resources Vince that you may have been able to utilize when you were going through everything? Particularly for people who don’t have the best insurance; or, you were part of a clinical trial, I’m always interested in resources.


Vince: I have a library resource for you; but the clinical trial I actually avoided. They wanted me to stay in Los Angeles because it was in my lung. But my family was in Pittsburgh; I had the best chance of community support, my dad was the HS principal, there were only 600 kids in the whole school, it was a small community. So I had a whole community around to rally around me. My belief that when these people said the prayers out loud, God doesn’t let any prayers go unheard. It served out as an army of angels of putting the law of God’s will out loud. There’s no way I can die; there are too many people praying for me in this manner that I’m going to survive. It reinforced the thought that I’m not the guy who gets cancer but I’m definitely gonna be the guy who heals from cancer. And that was because of the people and environment around me. I’m very blessed; it’s just good fortune. There was none of that I could’ve orchestrated; it was just a blessing.


52:10 Curenav: It is so inspiring because my mother passed away of cancer that was in her pancreas and I always wonder, had I known more... I do question what was the faith in our family; what did we know about diet, what did we know about anything? Knowledge is power, so you are doing a great thing when you are spreading the word with your podcast and Bailey is as well, because there are so many people who have no idea where it starts.


Vince: Yeah, I can agree with that. You feel like you’re lost, almost like a ship without a rudder. You have no sense of direction and your priority has to be about the cancer and getting better. You really want to place your mind in the right spot. But also, for mine, the idea was being weak was when I realized God was strong. It strengthened me in so many ways. It was like this is too heavy, I can’t lift this anymore. When we surrender to Spirit, it’s probably the most powerful act we can do of trust. And I wouldn’t know that until I did that, and look at the response. I didn’t see it so much as something courageous as much as I thought it was something I needed to do. It’s like “you have to do this” is where I was at.


54:17 Curenav: Well, you’re going to inspire many people, so thank you.


Bailey: Absolutely. Maricel, do you have anything you have to share?


Maricel: I’ll have to re-listen because there’s so much wisdom in your story. What you said is so deep. One thing is that you don’t even look your age, you don’t have grays.


Vince: They’re coming in, they’re coming in.


Maricel (maricel@maricelrocha.com): I think that you have so much to share with people, you’re an example of surrender and surrounding and all the components. It has everything - community, the way you talk to yourself, your mind, your body, give everything to Spirit, joy and gratitude. As you were speaking I was drawing a flower, which was the base to what was the foundation for how you came out of that time. It’s like your story completes all of the parts.


Vince: Wow.


Maricel: I’m really humbled to be a witness of what you just shared and I appreciate you sharing this with us. And what better way to share your story than with a podcast. I’d like to learn more about that.


Vince: Ok. I’m gonna end up teaching people how to do a podcast, I can tell. It’s just the experience I’ve been given. I’m still old school that way; I need to do it first before I can claim to be an expert on the subject. This process has happened rather quickly; we have fifty guests already and It’ll be two years in July; we’re not having trouble finding guests anymore. It’s two-fold, I wanna find the stories and if people reach out who have a story then it’s easier for both of us. That’s something we’re working on for the website. We will have a questionnaire on the website that if you want to do an interview then we’ll get back to you.


57:22 Bailey: Vince I have some people I want to send your way to interview.


Vince: Debbie is the one who handles the schedule, so just give her a holler. We’re working on, one of the companies we’re working on is a company out of Australia that teaches you how to grow your own food. They’re doing really well, growing a lot so maybe the beginning of next year we can get them on as a sponsor. They’re cancer survivors and wanted to share their story too. But I’d really like to talk more about food on my podcast. We need to make people more aware. We’re just so consumed with our daily lives and current culture we’re not thinking about what we’re putting in our mouth. We’re just putting it in our mouth and moving to the next thing and we’re destroying ourselves. And we need to be more mindful of our food, period.


58:38 Bailey: That’s so true, it makes such a big difference. Vince, is there anything else you think people with cancer or who are survivors looking to prevent a recurrence need to know?


Vince: I think take a strong note of where you were when you got the cancer because I think that’s the biggest difference for myself. Those stresses and thoughts I had prior to becoming sick don’t exist. I feel like I’m new only better; and new because of the experience of the whole thing. Life teaches and that’s the only way to learn. Life is so much fuller, I said it by accident to a friend of mine. He asked “What’s it like?” And I said, “The best way I could describe it is life was 3D, now it’s 4k.” There’s just so much more going on because my level of awareness is so much greater. When you become more aware you’re more in the present, and that’s where God rests. You feel like you were given the answers to the test, and you’re like, “It was really this easy all the time? Why did I have to go through that to get here?” And that’s how our Creator works. If He doesn’t have these tools to teach us, how are we ever going to learn? But you just have to keep reaching toward Him. I always get the statement, the world/life is your teacher. That’s a pretty interesting statement and you can take it a lot of different ways, but if you’re seeing it through the lens of how God wants to show you it, it becomes completely clear. You become more in touch with your intuitive, your inner voice, your conversation with God gets stronger. Your sense of direction, what you didn’t know instinctively before, you know exactly what to do. How did that happen? You’ve gotten out of the way, your level of connection with your Creator is kicking. Now you’ve got a good one going. Now go enjoy it!


1:01:20 Maricel: I just shared a quote in the chat that hit me a couple of weeks ago, and everything you said confirms that. It says, “God whispers to us in our pleasure, speaks in our conscious, but shouts in our pains. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” - C.S. Lewis. It’s basically what you just said, Vince. Why do we have to go through that to learn? Because it’s needed.


Vince: I also felt it gave me an opportunity to not take myself so seriously. Our God obviously has an incredible sense of humor and it’s a great tool when we use it the right way. Looking at ourselves from a different angle helps quite a bit. We don’t know until we do that or the situation forces us to. And so, here we are. It’s all about growing and healing, and if you’re going to get anywhere, do your part. And I find on my side of things, it’s self-discipline. If I want to expect results or pray and ask for things then I need to be disciplined to stay the course of what it is you’re seeking. It’s revealed to you. Not necessarily in the ways you think but that’s the whole point. It’s like a map of a treasure hunt. One of the things I write in my prayer journal every day is to act as if my prayers have already been answered and seek what God has waiting for me today. So I’m going out in my day like I’m looking for God’s treasure map. What does He have waiting for me that’s in general? What miracle am I going to witness today? What’s going to happen that will make me think beyond what my level of thinking was before? And now it’s like every day is a present, it is a gift because those things happen when you’re aware and when you’re conscious of them. When you’re walking around in your own thing or thinking you’re going to get rich, you’re all wrong. You focus on your Creator, be grateful you’re alive and watch how life rolls out for you?


1:04:17 Bailey: Vince, is there anything that you would like for us to pray about for you?


Vince: I’ve switched roles, so I’m now healed and my parents are now 87 and 88. My dad has dementia and my mom has a touch of it and I’m taking care of them. We can pray for God’s grace in their lives and being gentle with them and letting them continue to learn in their walk and what they’re experiencing and that we get to enjoy our time together while we have it.


Bailey: Mind if we pray now?


Vince: Fire away!


Bailey: Dear Lord, what a privilege to come before You, God, our loving, heavenly Father, our Protector, Provider, Comforter, strength, Healer, Friend, Teacher. Father thank You for this precious time together today, hearing about how Vince’s life was changed through cancer and coming into greater relationship/contact/fellowship with You Lord and how his life has been blessed as a result of that. I pray that his story reaches everyone who You intend it to reach, many many people God, who can relate to things that he went through and who will find hope in his story in the way that he presented it. I pray You continue to bless him God, as he delights in You that You give him the desires of his heart, that You protect his health and keep him healthy, keep him on this path that he’s on with his nutrition and lifestyle and trust in You. And I pray Lord as he’s asked that You’d be with his parents, God, that he’d be gentle with them and help them as they experience this dementia and if it’s possible to have the dementia go away, whether it’s through their nutrition or their lifestyles if they’re open to it; and I pray that you give Vince the grace and patience to meet them where they are and understand where they’re coming from and what they’re dealing with. And that their time together would be sweet as he’s caring for them and spending lots of time with them. I pray you bless their home, may Your presence be known there and may others see You there in their home and in Vince’s story and his podcast and each of his guests, and I thank You again so much for this wonderful time, and I pray this won’t be the last. In Jesus’ name I give thanks and pray. Amen.


Vince: Amen. Wow, you’re really good at that.


Bailey: It’s the Spirit of God, that grace of God. Thank you.

1:08:05 Wow guys, amazing. Amazing time together today. Hope you guys can come back soon and thank you again so much, Vince for offering your time to share with us today.


Vince: Let me put my stuff in the chat.


Bailey: Oh yeah, how can people reach you.


Vince: I’m very excited about the podcast, it’s been going very well. This is great here doing this with Bailey. Now that’s my email (vinnie@vinniecmarketing.com). Now I have a LinkTree that shows my whole thing here. I’m getting into, I’m coaching. That’s what I said, I”ll probably end up doing the course and the coaching, teaching people how to start with podcasts. Now that was my email, now here are all my websites:


Bailey: Your podcast is on lots of different platforms, I noticed.


Vince: I was on, that BuzzSprout, when I published on them I did the premium publish, and they roll it out to 17 different podcast channels. Then you can submit to iHeart music, Amazon music and Pandora. So you’re on all the big channels as well as all the 17. So if people listen to podcasts or they’re familiar with where to go to listen to a podcast, you can find me. It’s kinda funny, I don’t know, it’s like everything is going my way. I’m on the completely other side of life. Before I was misfortunate, now I’m fortunate. Before it was bad luck, now it’s good luck. I really feel most grateful… that’s not my doing again again, that’s my God doing that. I’m enjoying the ride, like never before. You’ll see my social medias, podcasts.


1:10:15 Maricel: How frequently do you have the podcast?


Vince:Right now we’re posting one per week. I’ll mix some people in there like entrepreneurs, I played sports. I was a coach’s son, so sports were a big deal to us growing up. I get a lot of athletes on there. I got a couple of Steelers, one announcer - Stan Savran did the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers. He’s been very helpful. Charlie Batch, he played football for the Steelers. He’s big in the local community with autism and he has a school where he teaches kids, so we’re going to interview him. Another one who played for the Steelers was Mel Blount. He has a house for little kids who are orphaned. Those are the stories along the sports we’re finding more interesting.


Bailey: It sounds like a lot of fun.


Vince: It is, I have one today at 7:30. It’s a really sad story, Debbie found them. It’s a little girl, with something like LDMC, it’s a disease that’s irreparable. THey only live 2 years after they’re diagnosed. Generally it’s in infants, and they’re passing away before they’re 5. Her caregiver is her 11 year old sister. I’ll be interviewing the 11 year old girl about her experience of her little sister before she got sick and now what they’re going through and I’ll talk to her father. It’s going to be highly emotional. Her survival rate is, the highest you hear, is about 1% of them make it to 5 or 6 years old. She’s 3 and has been going through this for 8 months now. I feel like this is stuff that needs to be heard. You can’t measure the pain that this father is going through or the 11 year old daughter. And nobody shares this, we’re being blessed to share this. The idea of being the person that gets to share this is an incredible blessing for me. We’re going to more than run with this. We’re going to step up and brag on people and their accomplishments of stepping up to life’s challenges and showing that the human spirit is not measurable. When we decide we’re going to fight back we’re capable of things that are going to knock our socks off.


Bailey: And God who empowers us to do it.


Vince: God and you. God and you is all that you need to be concerned with. You just focus on that and the most incredible, wonderful things will begin to happen for you.


1:13:45 Bailey: Vince, you were gracious to saying yes to sharing your medical records, so you didn’t have them handy, you reached out to your doctors and…


Vince: Yeah, I have a set of records and it comes through their service and when I told them I wanted to access them and wanted to share the record they asked what I was doing and I could do it and they asked that I not do it, and I just thought it would just be better to let it go. I could see why they wouldn’t be comfortable with me sharing it. I wouldn’t have a problem with it, it’s part of my healing and story; people are in worse condition than myself or not as bad… you have something to measure by and it was like, it sounded kinda weird but in the beginning I was looking for someone who had a situation worse than mine and I don’t know why I was doing that but my curiosity was, is if somebody healed who was worse than me then I could definitely heal, but I think that I was seeking that example. So that medical record, I mean, a twelve pound tumor, and it’s like, babies aren’t that big. When the guy showed me in the ultrasound what it was, I was looking and thinking are you kidding me? Then it’s like internalized going, “That’s in me. I’m totally screwed. I don’t know how I’m going to get through this!” It was a big white blob. Part of my liver was gone, and it looked like a snake going up my vena cava. He said “here’s your heart, and here’s where the tumor is.” And the tumor looked like a hand coming up over the top of the heart. And that’s why they were like, “Your days are numbered.” And I’m like, it was only the grace of God could I get through that. It was so overwhelming I literally laughed, it was like, “I don’t have a chance.” But I wasn’t scared either though. The part of having no remorse, no regrets, all of this “Oh you didn’t do this,” I already felt like I had already given all that I had in my life at that point. I felt that there was a lot more to go and it was extremely sad if I was going to go, I’m going to die I’m going to go right now. I’m like “Man, I have so much more to give.” But I was willing to accept my fate. I wasn’t trying to squirm out of it, I guess. I’m prepared to take whatever is going to happen. I don’t know what could prepare you for a 12 hour operation when you wake up on the other side, I didn’t really know what to expect there. I felt like the Jetsons. I was so queer from the drugs and I thought the walls were moving and everything was on wheels and the room was changing and I thought I was flying. It was crazy. The first two days after the operation I was really way out there. I thought I was flying.


1:17:40 Bailey: Yeah, my last surgery was 12 hours also, or almost 12 hours, maybe 11, and I hallucinated when I woke up, from that one, it was not fun.


Vince: You’ll have to watch Dr. Chamie’s episode, because he was the lead surgeon.


Bailey: Yeah.


Vince: Now what he does is talk about robotics, and the reason for the amount of doctors is because they tire, and as they tire they don’t focus as well, their hand work..It is a human managing the robot but the robot doesn’t tire and the robot is always precise. It’s better. But if you had a 12 hour surgery, did you have the same doctor the whole time? My [goodness], that’s like a marathon.

1:18:35 Bailey: Yeah. There were a couple of doctors. There is the preparation and then when they’re winding down as well, so it’s not literally 12 hours, start to finish, but. If there are any records you could share with us, that would be awesome. That would really just hammer it home, the magnitude…


1:19:00 Vince: Yeah cause I have some x-rays they sewed my chest back up from my throat to the end of my sternum, is all twist ties. I have four metal ribbons stacked across there to shut my ribcage. Where I had 102… I’m like a peace sign. Off my rib cage I’m cut almost to my hips. They basically opened me like a potato. That I actually can feel, which x-rayed looks like fish lines. I’ve got maybe they’re about… it looks like it’s a knot, tied in a knot with about half an inch in each direction. So I have about an inch of fish lines all the way across my whole belly. There are about 18-20 of those. Now as I’m getting stronger and more into a physical routine I can feel them now. But I don’t know if they’d removed them but again, we were just trying to save my life. Now I’m completely on the other side trying to clean this up. They said they’d dissolve but now it’s 6 years later and they’re showing up on an x-ray. But I marvel at how much the human body can take, knowing what the cancer and the medication put my body through and to be as healthy as I currently am, these are really hard to wrap my mind around. Where you realize, it’s your God, and He’s alive in you and He’s given you life and life abundant. And it’s like this is how He works, and this is how it goes down here. So, I feel encouraged on so many fronts, there’s no reason to feel bad about anything. And so, this side of life, it’s incredibly precious to me now.


Bailey: Absolutely, yep. Awesome, well I think we just finished part two of the interview. It went longer than I was planning but it’s really really great, all of it, and will resonate I’m sure for a long time to come. Yeah thanks guys for such a powerful time together today, and Vince, I hope you’ll join us again some time soon.


Vince: Yeah it would be my pleasure.


Bailey: Awesome.


Maricel: Thank you Vince, thank you Bailey.


Bailey: Sure thing. Have a great week everyone, God bless you.


Vince: Nice meeting you, Maricel. Alright, bye bye.


Bailey: Bye.


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