As far as powerlifting goes, I can’t be of much help unless you’re really weak or really inexperienced. I’m pretty weak myself after a 50-lb weight loss and I wasn’t strong by competitive standards to begin with. But I don’t have to squat 1000 lbs—or even 500 lbs—to tell you what I learned about life, death, and strength in just a few email messages from Bob Youngs.
First off, I don’t know him personally, but as many of you know, Bob recently survived a horrible ordeal with leukemia. His book, Extraordinary Resolve: Six Months for the Rest of My Life, is an intense account of suffering, determination, and family support throughout the experience. Organized around his fiancee’s day-to-day family blog entries with Bob’s post-recovery reflections on events following each entry, it tells a brutal but inspiring story of guts and teamwork.
Personally, much of it is sickening. Nothing in Stephen King, Clive Barker, Richard Matheson, or any of the horror masters combined could equal what cancer and its treatments do to those living with it. I’ll take Hell House over chemo any day. Anyway, here is how our emails started.
My cousin is fighting brain cancer. He lives out of state away from family. He has survived cancer twice before and never asked us for any favors. He had just gone through treatment for lung cancer when doctors found a tumor in his brain. We knew this wasn’t good, but we didn’t know how bad it had gotten either. A little over a week ago, he emailed my wife asking if she could fly down and “hang” with him for a few days. She’s a go-to person in my family. It couldn’t have come at a busier time, but she looked into hooking up a buddy pass through a client of hers and told him she could come down in a couple weeks. They emailed over logistics (and costs) a few times until finally he just sent her his credit card number and said, “Just f***ing charge it to my account. I’m serious!” or something like that. So she did and flew down the next morning.