Why I’ve Been So… Strange, Lately…

Friday, 11:07am
Reno, NV


I haven’t quite been myself these past couple of months…

… and I think I owe some folks an explanation.

Michele and I spent our tenth anniversary seeing specialists (including flying over to Palo Alto to hit up the Stanford teaching hospital) and doing our best to be as proactive as possible about a very tough situation here.

We’ve seen eleven doctors, and had a review board that included radiologists weigh in.

Now, at last, we’ve got a plan.

On Christmas Eve, Michele will go in for major surgery.

We both feel good about this decision, aided by the best medical opinion and advice we could muster.

Four to seven day hospital stay, three to six week recovery. We’ll know more about what we’re dealing with at some point during the recovery.

I’ve only told a few close friends…

… but the unreturned calls, and unexplained lapses in dealing with colleagues is catching up with me.

And now, of course, I’m going to be focusing on taking care of Michele for a couple of weeks. So I’ll be even harder to reach, and even slower to respond.

We’ll appreciate any good thoughts and good energy you can send our way.

Oddly, several of my colleagues and friends are going through similar gut checks. I just traded emails with Michel Fortin, who will be helping Sylvie recover from surgery during the same time frame. One of the other speakers in Dubai is about a week behind us in deciding on a surgery plan. An old buddy from high school just suffered his first heart attack.

It’s like… wow.

I’m not asking for special favors. There’s trouble enough to spare in the world right now.

Just cut me a little slack here for a few weeks while we deal with this.

I won’t be entirely out of touch… but Michele is, of course, my first priority and will remain so.

I’m all fortified with Zen-level positiveness, and we’ve got a small army of friends and family eager to help out. It’s nice to see how the ranks tighten up when necessary. Michelle and I agreed to stay upbeat, remain engaged with our professional lives, and laugh as much as possible whlie we’re gearing up.

In a way, it’s like training for a marathon. At some point, the day arrives, and you gotta take a deep breath and just get on with it.

If you take anything away from this, please realize how important it is to enjoy your friends and family during this holiday period. Maybe re-evaluate some old grudges, maybe make that call you know you should make. Say what needs to be said.

Life is wonderful and strange and unpredictable. As Halbert loved to say, “If you want to make God laugh, just make plans.”

Live your days with gusto, and spread the good vibes around generously and with abandon.

I love all you guys.

Stay frosty,

John Carlton

P.S. Small piece of biz: I just found out several friends have been following the wrong dude on Twitter. I’m at www.twitter.com/johncarlton007.

No promises, but if I do post anything in the next couple of weeks, it’ll be there.

In the meantime, don’t neglect the archives here. Good time to catch up.

Be well.

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  • Words always fail me in these situations, but know you’re in my prayers John. I truly hope Michele has a speedy recovery.

    John Carlton replies:

    Thanks, Jeff. Much appreciated.

  • Hey John,

    I’m sorry to hear about your situation. You and Michelle will be in my prayers as well. Good luck!


  • John,

    I’ll be praying for you amigo.

    These are tough times yes, but do what you gotta do.


  • John and Michelle, Joan and I will sure have you in our thoughts, wishing you both strength all the way from Amsterdam.


    John Carlton replies:

    Thanks, Ernesto.

  • John, there’s also a time in every marathon when you know – deep down – all the training paid off.

    My best thoughts and wishes are with you both.

  • Shama Hyder says:

    Will keep you and Michelle in my prayers! May the tough days pass soon.

  • My thoughts and prayers are with you both!

  • Lisa says:

    I don’t know either of you personally, but I understand the challenge you face. I’m a firm believer in humor and upbeat and since I don’t really pray, I’m sending you lots of energy. If Louise Hay is right, Michelle can benefit from forgiveness. Dunno if it’s accurate, but You Can Heal Your Life was a good read, and she healed herself from cervical cancer…

    I figure whatever you do, just keep focusing on what you want. All the best to both of you.
    (student of SMS and addicted to your blog)

  • Hey man… I’ll be praying for you both…
    Thank you for the willingness to reveal this stuff, you’re a good man brother and I wish only the best for you, and all those you love.

  • Oh John, I feel for you. I remember meeting Michele over dinner at one of your events. She’s such a spitfire, there’s no way she’s not going to be up and around in the shortest time frame. It’s great you have the agreement to stay positive and laugh. That’s gonna make all the difference. I know a lot of people are saying so, but if there’s anything I can do….

    Meanwhile I’m sending you guys lots of love and light!


    John Carlton replies:

    Thanks, Lorrie.

    Thanks to everyone.

    The Little Spitfire will get through this like a champ, I’m sure of it…

  • Jean says:

    Dear John,

    It sounds as if you have approached your situation exactly right. Be thankful for modern medicine! Because of it I am a cancer survivor twice over–breast cancer in 2001 and uterine cancer in 2007–and now I am fine, cancer free and in great health. Would that one year from today Michele can say the same.

    Friends and family are invaluable in times like the one you are facing. Let them help–remember that they, too, will feel better for having something positive to do instead of just worrying.

    Also, may I recommend that you find out if your local hospital or wellness center has a support group for Michele’s condition and join it? Most survivors (Michele became a survivor at the moment of diagnosis) tend not to join the support group until they have completed the most frightening part of their treatment, thereby missing the opportunity of support from people who are going through or who have just gone through what they are facing. They think a support group of people with a particular disease in common will be dreary and depressing. Nothing could be further from the truth! Our cancer support group spends more time laughing than anything else–and we have our own Relay for Life team, made up completely of survivors. Year in and year out, we win the “most team spirit” award.

    All good hope and wishes coming your way. May Michele come through treatment as easily as possible, and quickly regain her health and strength.


  • Kimberly says:

    A lot of people will be thinking good thoughts. As a former R.N. I can only applaud Jean’s suggestion to get involved in a support group right away.

    Sometimes when things like this happen to you, you feel like you had to quit your favorite club or something. Do people look at you differently; do they not know what to say and so avoid the topic, or avoid you?

    You may feel permanently altered, but it can be a positive experience when you are surrounded by those in a like situation. You will be more inspired, and probably less inclined to dwell on dark thoughts.

    A friend of mine just got a clean bill of health yesterday from a gastric lymphoma. It happens more all the time and can for you too!

  • All my love and prayers.

    I appreciate you!

  • Peter says:

    Although I don’t know either of you personally, I have been following your blog for a while and wish Michelle a speedy recovery and you John, the strength to support and encourage her. Remember how much strength you get in a marathon from all the supporters along the route.

    From the comments above, there will be energy and prayers flowing towards you every step of the way.

    My thoughts are with both of you.


  • edward says:

    Hi John

    So sorry to hear your (joint) news and just wanted to say that Nattinee and I are thinking of you at this difficult time and send love and prayers for a speedy recovery… 🙂


  • Ian says:

    John today I gave a homeless person all the money in my wallet.

    I’m sending the karma to Michelle.

    I wish a speedy recovery.

  • Lisa Manyon says:


    Good energy and thoughts coming your way and of course Michele’s way, too.

    Don’t hesitate to ask if you need support.


  • Karen says:

    Love you heaps (ya know that don’t ya).

  • Will says:

    Our prayers are with you! Scorpios rise through the challenges and so will Michele! Count on it! Your angels are with you both! I wish you both the very best. You are never alone!

  • Hello John and Michele,

    A difficult time for both of you but stay positive. I am a crystal healer and have a couple of crystals that might help you get through this firstly Michele might like a Moss Agate to help her recover after the surgery and a piece of Amethyst healing crystal for the condition that she has and if there is chemo involved a piece of Atlantasite (this is an Australian Crystal and I would be happy to send you a piece on me if it is needed) I will also put both you and Michele into my healing grid. Know that all our thoughts and love are with you and you will get through this.

    Love and Light
    Colleen The Crystal Dragon

  • Peter Frank says:

    Hi John,
    So sorry to hear of Michelle’s problems. Been there myself over the past 4 years with my gorgeous wife… helping fight her battles as needed and being the solid rock to cling to at other times.

    I know you’ll be whatever Michelle needs of you.

    Love to you both.


  • Laura says:

    John, lots of good, positive energy to both of you during this time. I cared for my mother when she went through her masectomy (right side), and that was rough on both of us, but we found a way to get through it and laugh. That’s important.

    That was almost 9 years ago now, and she is still ornery and stubborn and laughing, and enjoying her grandchildren.

    Michelle will be fine with you at her side. My prayers are with you.

    Laura 🙂

  • Yoda says:

    Prayers are with you John and Michele. Stay positive, keep hope active, all WILL be well. Life is precious, enjoy each day with love and happiness.

    Love to you guys

    Denny Lauritsen

  • Alan says:

    Hey man you gotta do what you gotta and everyone understands that. You both will be in my prayers and many others too!

  • Dear John,

    You and Michele are in my Prayers. Loads of Positive Energy and Wishes towards you both.

    Good Luck and God Bless!

    From Dubai,

    Gopal Chandanani

  • Ray Edwards says:


    I’ll be praying for you and MIchele.

    All good wishes,


  • James Legacy says:

    I wish the both of you very well, John. Did you happen to see any alternative medicine doctors? Sometimes they can really help out with the nutritional side of things… and these nutritional considerations can be combined with any standard medical treatment that you may be seeking.

    John Carlton replies:

    Yeah, we’re including alternative docs in the team. Mostly for the recovery side, right now… I’m a big fan of alternative medicine, especially as a way to counteract some of Big Pharma’s excesses and stupidity…

  • Deb Williams says:

    Please know that you & Michelle are in my thoughts & prayers during this time of dis-ease.

    May I add you & Michelle to any energy Healing lists? I must have your permission to do this.

    Meantime, sending loads of Love & Light your way.


  • Lara says:

    John you and Michele are in my thoughts and prayers. I’m glad to hear you are including alternative medicine in the mix…very smart to combine the best of both East and West.

    Many blessings to you and Michele for a speedy recovery and good health from here forward.

  • JL says:

    Stay strong as you always do John! We are all hoping for the best recovery for Michelle.

  • Jeff Walker says:


    I’m pulling (and praying) for you and Michele… plus sending hippie-groovie four corners vibes your way.

    – Jeff

    John Carlton replies:

    Thanks, Jeff. Much appreciated.

    (And re: prior post: I knew there was something cooler about you than the others… turns out you’re a Sag. We deserve our arrogance…)

  • Hi John

    Positive energy coming to both of you.

    You might want to check out this report about how vitamin C and E help patients to recover quicker from surgery.


    Take care. We’ll be staying frosty for you 🙂

    John Carlton replies:

    Thanks, Martin. We’re already on the Vit C protocol…


  • Harlan says:

    Hey John,

    Love meeting Michelle at the Hot Seats in Reno. She seemed a bundle of energy.

    Hard to imagine her now.

    She must be friqhtened – in fact, you both must be.

    Tell her I’ll put on my Rabbi hat and keep her in mind.

    Looking forward to good news.


    John Carlton replies:

    Thanks, Harlan.

    She’s very upbeat. We’ve done our homework, including chatting with folks who’ve gone through this gauntlet themselves. Helps to know the path has been trod before.

    I’ve got a lot of experience on dealing with this shit, too. It’s one long reality-check, and you don’t awfulize anything or pretend it’s not what it is. Very much like a marathon you didn’t really want to run, but you gotta.

    I’ll be good about letting people know how it goes.


  • Corinne says:

    Hi John,

    I am so sorry that Michelle and you are facing such a difficult situation. I wish you both continued courage, strength and wisdom. My thoughts, prayers and positive energy are with you both.

  • John, Sending you positive thoughts and prayers your way. Keep strong!


  • Tim Schaefer says:

    I’ll be keeping you and Michelle in my thoughts and prayers, with plenty of Holiday-laced posi-vibes headed your way.

    All the best,


  • Jeff says:

    Dear John & Michele,
    Best wishes, you two. My Michele and I will keep you both in our prayers.

    Warmly, Jeff.

  • John Rogers says:

    You both are in my prayers.

    For what it’s worth, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer nearly 10 years ago. He kept his head, modified his diet, and stayed positive throughout the treatment. A decade later, and all is well. Intention is one bad mutha.


  • Jay says:


    As you’ve said in so many posts and audios, work is a means to an end, not the end in itself. The end in itself is family, health, and happiness. Take care of Michelle and don’t feel the slightest bit of guilt for neglecting the blog/Internet community. We’ll be here!

    All the best to you and yours, and try your best to have a happy holiday.

    – Jay

  • Copywriting Kid says:

    Hi John,

    another one praying for you.

    A friend of mine was diagnosed with bladder cancer early this year. Urine in his blood and drained of energy and quiet the days before the diagnosis.
    Some more testing and two days later they had to operate him. Then, four operations in a row.

    First thing he did when he was fit? Get out of the hospital bed, walk out, get a cigarette and a beer. “I don’t need that nonse. I want to enjoy life while I have it.” Wouldn’t listen to anyone.

    Surely nothing I recommend. But I guess it’s his attitude that saved him. Late November the doctors told him he’s fine. Just gotta regularly show up for the screenings.

    Hope it’s gonna be as smooth for Michelle. And wish that both of you come out of this stronger than ever.

    Copywriting Kid

  • Dear John,

    Nothing can ever really prepare you for this big hard rug pull that leaves you flat on your back.

    Let your love for one another, (and the many more who love you) and the wisdom (found in this) lift you up from worry to the joy only one story higher.

    And a potent tip – if your mind drifts to worry, FOCUS on what you want instead.

    Sending you peace and relief,

    Debra Sale Wendler

  • Fabio Henri says:


    I don’t know you or Michele. I’m just a student of yours…

    Prayer is My life. Michele and You will be with me.

    I’m claiming the power of the Keys of Heaven for her healing.

    love and prayers


  • Margaret Gedde says:

    Oh, John.

    Godspeed to both of you on this journey.

  • Joe says:


    You will be in my prayers and thoughts. I just lost my brother last month. Saw him in the morning and he had a heart attack that night. He was only 45. Went home that night and hugged and kissed my 3 year old son. Every night since then before he goes down for the night I spend that last hour either reading to him or watching “Thomas The Train” no matter what is going on. You would be surprized how strong you can be when things look shakey. I wish you and Michelle the best and will pray everynight for her recovery.

    Joe D.

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