This is the hardest post I’ve ever had to publish. The following email from Paul O’Byrne was sent out on May 14, 2007 to his VeraSage colleagues.
Many of you know Paul, have heard him speak, read his case studies, or just know about the incredibly innovative things that his firm, O’Byrne & Kennedy (OBK), are doing.
This email demonstrates Paul’s indomitable spirit. Everyone wishes him well and a speedy recovery.
Dear fellow Fellows,
I know I don’t write much (but Hey, I talk a lot!) but
there’s something I need to tell you. Sorry about the
impersonal method of a bulk email, but I’m sure you’ll
I’ve not been feeling well since I came back from my
two weeks in Australia in March. I mostly put it down to
doing too much on that trip; it was jam-packed.
Anyway I’ve been to my family doctor practice a few
times and three weeks ago I got impatient and found a
consultant who gave me some tests (failed!) and
referred me for an ultrasound scan…then a CT scan.
The CT scan confirmed that I have advanced renal cell
carcinoma with metastasis (secondaries) in my liver.
Not at all good. My right kidney is doing sterling
work on its own but some of my liver function is badly
impaired. Everyone is surprised how advanced it all is
given I have none of the classic symptoms. They say
I’m special! So special, neither surgery nor full-on
chemotherapy is on offer. Instead, I’ll be starting a
drug treatment, Sutent, that is aimed at getting me
into remission and holding there.
Apart from that, I’m very well! I look well; I feel
very positive and energetic and am looking forward to
a reasonable quality of life once I get used to the
drugs. I’ve always followed a carpe diem philosophy—waaaay before it was fashionable. This has happened,
what matters now is how I deal with it. I’m choosing
to be determined to do what I want and not be a
victim. Strong-willed I call it (my wife says:
I decided from the start that once I told my family
(also magnificent) I would be very open with everyone
about all this and hope they don’t (to use an
accounting term) write me off. Obviously, as I have
no clues at present how I am going to be, when I might
be back fit after the initial effects and what will
happen long-term. But I really want to continue
doing what I have come to love these past seven years:
travelling all over and engaging with fellow
professionals and helping them change their way of
working, to the benefit of themselves, their firms and
their clients as we have done at OBK.
Sorry to write at such length, and to drop such a
bombshell, but I want to be honest—and I don’t want
to be written off before my time.
I hope to be irritating fellow professionals around
the globe for a few more years yet, though I may have
to cut down on all my blogging activity!
Don’t be shy to say Hi!