Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Staying Healthy and Fit helps in times of Adversity – Brain Tumor Removal

Big Dog 2 days after brain surgery

Overcoming Adversity

There is a French proverb that goes, “Good fortune and bad are equally necessary to man, to fit him to meet the contingencies of this life.”

I’ve been a health advocate and runner/walker for most of my life.  I have always believed in taking good care of my body to avoid problems associated with high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.

Until about two weeks ago I was logging 55 miles per week on the roads of East Hawaii doing my daily jogs coupled with long walks.

My wife, Randee, a physical education teacher at Keaau Middle School, is the perfect mate for me as she too also logs many miles at home on her treadmill.

I’ve been able to avoid the trapping of high fat foods and for the most part limited my sweet intake.

During a recent MRI visit, following the one year anniversary of my only episode of having seizures, it was discovered that I had a brain tumor.

Having an eternal caring and insistent wife, because I can be quite stubborn, I took the first available opening to go to Queens Hospital and have brain surgery to remove the growth.

Now here is the tie in to why it is important to stay healthy and fit:

What was to be a five hour surgery last only three and a half hours, record time they tell me for a man of 64.

What was to be five to seven days in the hospital ended up being just four days.

I was up and moving the day following surgery, taking baby steps at first around the hallways of the hospital.

The medical staff often remarked at how quickly I was recovering and the pain level was minimal and my attitude remained happy, cordial and at times even funny.

I credit all of these things to my overall health and fitness level that has served me well for many decades.

Exercise and diet are not the panacea for all that ails us, but both will contribute to a better attitude and a more resilient body.

Since being released from the hospital I am only walking about 30 miles per week as I need to take things slowly as there are still 14 staples on the right side of my head.

The brain seems to work fine as four days after surgery I voluntarily wrote a 1,000 word story on high school wrestling.   Of course, the Running with the Big Dog columns will continue as long as people out there are reading them and I do appreciate the community who takes the time to read over my stories.

The tumor was malignant and I am still waiting for the recommendations of a hematologist/oncologist.

Life is filled with adversity and challenges will crop up when we least expect, but our attitude, spiritual beliefs and a healthy body will stand up to those challenges.

I’ve already been blessed, escaping death twice in my life.  

When I was 9 years old I was fishing in a river bank with high walls when a flash flood roared through.  Fortunately my older brother was with me, grabbed me and threw me up the side of the bank, saving my life.

Another episode happened when I was 17 when the cargo plane that I was in lost both its engines during a lightning storm.  We were told to prepare for a crash landing as the plane nose dived, helplessly.   My prayers were answered just seconds before plunging to the surface as one of the engines sputtered back on.

Big Dog 10 days after surgery

Death is not something that we have control over and is a process of the life experience.

We can only do as much as we can to keep the quality of life at a maximum by controlling what we eat and making sure that we have an ample supply of exercise to keep it moving.

My wife had to endure the burden of my experience as it was difficult for her to see me is such disrepair.  I am blessed to have someone that loves me so much that she would hold my hand, every step of the way.

I was told at the hospital to find myself a friend, a rock, which I could lean on to relieve the stress that my wife was going through.  This was great advice!

That “rock” is former mayor Harry Kim, who I speak to in my most terrifying moments. 

Kim was another blessing as he went through a similar experience when his son Garrett was diagnosed with cancer.

I promised Harry that through this experience I would offer myself to be someone else’s ‘rock’ in their time of need.

If there is someone out there that feels alone, battling adversity, and needs someone just to talk with don’t hesitate to contact me.

You are not alone, there are many that are battling to fight this horrifying disease, called cancer.

Stay positive, enjoy each day, and if at all possible keep your body moving.   Movement will make you feel better which will then lead to a feeling of well being.   And above all, keep the faith.

Helen Keller said it best, “Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world.  So long as you can sweeten another’s pain, life is not in vain.”

And someday should you happen to see a happy man with an incredible wife remember to smile, say ‘woof’ and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”


February 20, 2012 - Posted by | Health and Fitness | , , , , , ,


  1. May your Faith and Fitness sustain you in your adversity. All things happen for a reason and your example of continuing fitness is a reason for all of us to keep ourselves fit. As a 75 year old male who just recently got into running I feel better about myself and look forward to many more years of continuing my adventure through life.

    Comment by Paul Hanson | February 20, 2012 | Reply

  2. Wow. What an inspirational experience Wayne. Thank you for sharing this with me & everyone. I kind of feel that if someone who knows you reads this, and doesn’t get off the couch, that nothing will ever motivate them.


    Comment by Joey | February 20, 2012 | Reply

  3. You are such a positive and strong inspiration Mr. Joseph! The positive attitude that radiates from you is touching. I am sending you, through the universal waves, my positive thoughts and prayers. Wishing, hoping and praying for the best. Thank you for sharing.

    Comment by Leia Marie Ngirmidol | February 20, 2012 | Reply

  4. Wishing you all of life’s many blessings!
    And in the words of Bob Dylan, “May you stay forever young”.

    Comment by David | February 20, 2012 | Reply

  5. Wow Wayne! So glad you got to the hospital ASAP.

    Comment by Damon | February 20, 2012 | Reply

    • Hello, I am Bill Hubbards little sister, and just wanted to say you are an amazing person! Our dad passed away from cancer this last July, and it was an ordeal for all of us. I like to think he is in a better place now, without pain and sorrow. I pray for you and your family, peace, happiness and love.

      Comment by Robin Hubbard | February 20, 2012 | Reply

  6. Wayne,

    We are all thinking of you over on this side of world. Wishing you a speedy recovery, and sending my positive energy your way!

    Comment by Carrie | February 20, 2012 | Reply

  7. Wayne, you are an inspiration to us all. We will continue to pray for a recovery. Our thoughts are with you. Hang tough!!

    Comment by Cheryl | February 20, 2012 | Reply

  8. And never forget that you have a loving daughter who adores you. No one is stronger than you, pops. I know you’ll make it through this because you are the strongest, bravest person that I know. You are my hero. Never forget how much I love you!

    Comment by Jaclynn | February 20, 2012 | Reply

    • I’ve loved you for more than 30 years and I will always love you. You are the best daughter anyone could ever ask for. Can’t wait to see you graduate in Taiwan next year. From a very proud dad, love you Jacko!

      Comment by waynejoseph | February 20, 2012 | Reply

  9. Big Dog, You’ve touched a lot of people’s lives in the best possible way and continue to inspire by your example. May you be blessed with a speedy and complete recovery.

    Comment by John Burnett | February 20, 2012 | Reply

  10. You are an absolutely amazing person and you set such a great example to all of us runners. Mahalo for taking time to give back to the community and to write great articles for everyone’s enjoyment, even when you have so much going on in your personal life. God bless and best wishes for your full recovery!

    Comment by Emily | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  11. Thanks for being such an inspiration to so many Wayne!

    Comment by Stephanie Donoho | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  12. Hey, coach, I heard the news from my brother. I’m glad to hear that despite this troubling event, your spirits remain high. I hope every thing works out and your health remains strong.

    Comment by Gary Sur | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  13. Big Dog,

    I have not met you but I have been lucky to know your amazing daughter.

    From what I know of you, you have a resilience and fortitude that few have. I see where Jackie gets her fighting spirit from.

    wish you a speedy and complete recovery from the operation

    Comment by Daniel | February 22, 2012 | Reply

  14. Sending so much healing and happiness your way. Bless you for being so inspiring!

    Comment by KB | February 22, 2012 | Reply

  15. Thanks for sharing your story! As a nurse/educator I’m a firm believer that many diseases can be reversable with a good diet and healthy living. You are a testament that a health conscientious lifestyle does pay off even in the face of pre-disposed genetics. I look forward to your track & field reports as we kick off the 1st pre-season meet today!

    Comment by D. Cuadrado | February 24, 2012 | Reply

  16. Hey Coach – I just wanted to send my thoughts and good wishes for your recovery. If you hadn’t let a slow kid join the cross country team back in the late 90s and then encouraged him to keep at it, my life would be very different than it is today. Despite finishing nine marathons and one ironman, the hardest runs I ever did were my first few, sophomore year in high school, because I didn’t know if I would be able to finish. Your encouragement and keep-at-it attitude meant a lot. Thanks for all that you have done for so many.

    Comment by naupaka | February 25, 2012 | Reply

  17. In most cases, the brain tumour cause is unknown and they do not discriminate on gender, class or ethnicity

    Comment by Tumour brain | March 18, 2012 | Reply

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