Rob Price Aug. 19, 2017, 4:46 AM
- Scott Riddle’s life was suddenly upended after being being diagnosed with metastatic cancer.
- The 35-year-old Google employee is coming to terms with the fact that he may never see his three children grow up.
- He’s now urging people not to take their lives for granted, or to assume they still have decades ahead of them.
A few days ago, Scott Riddle sat down at his computer and began to write.
Just three weeks before, the 35-year-old Google employee had received life-changing news. He had been diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer, and was coming to terms with the fact that he may well never see his three children, aged five, three, and a few months old, grow up.
As he grappled with the news, he wrote a 1,200-word piece on blogging platform Medium, titled: “I’m 35 and I may suddenly have lost the rest of my life. I’m panicking, just a bit.”
At the heart of the post sits a very simple message: “Stop just assuming you have a full lifetime to do whatever it is you dream of doing.”
‘Life was good’
“Just three weeks ago,” Riddle wrote, “life was good. The newest edition to our family had arrived on Christmas Eve, joining his two sisters aged 5 and 3. A month later we were on a plane home to Sydney, having spent four great years working for Google in California.”
And then he fainted.
His chances are no better than ’50/50′
The following Monday, he went for the colonoscopy, where a doctor identified what appeared to be a cancerous lesion. It was subsequently confirmed as Stage 4 metastatic colon cancer — indicating it had spread to elsewhere in his body.
And just like that, his life changed forever.
Riddle is currently on a treatment of chemotherapy and radiation, with plans for surgery, and currently doesn’t even feel ill — just a little tired, he said. But his condition in the months ahead may change.
‘Stop just assuming you have a full lifetime ‘
It’s this message that Riddle felt compelled to share, and sits at the heart of his blog post: You can’t take for granted that you’ve got your full life ahead of you.
And there’s a more down-to-earth side of it too: Get tested. “On the very pragmatic level … take this stuff seriously, no matter what age you are whether it’s a lump on your balls, or something in your boobs, or whatever, not necessarily colon cancer, but just take that stuff seriously.”
The Riddle family plans have been thrown into doubt
“It’s going to be really interesting: How do you manage time and priorities in a situation where you can never really plan beyond 6 months or beyond a year? … I’m totally going to have to change my way of thinking, because I’ve always been a 30-year kind of guy. I was always like, ‘by the time I get here I’m going to have done x, y, and z, whereas now it’s going to be like: ‘Okay I should be good for another year, or good for another two years.”