07/25/2013 10:22 am ET Updated Sep 20, 2013

New Beginnings

So I officially accepted a position I was offered on Wednesday, took the physical on Friday, and flew to the national sales meeting on Sunday. My wife was worried I'd fail the eyesight or hearing portions, as I have Jewish husband selective hearing, and occasionally I use reading glasses. Regardless, there I was heading to a new company, having not been in the work force except my own company since 2000. I brought extra milk money in case I met any bullies. However, I was hopefully optimistic that I'd fit in, as I have known the company for twenty years. I was right. The group was larger than I expected, but essentially it was a group similar to me. Previous small business owners, entrepreneurs, experienced healthcare professionals - people who have seen healthcare at its best and most recently, worst, yet keep striving to make a difference. All stars in their own right. And while I didn't hide my medical history, it wasn't the usual top-of-mind conversation. We were there to learn, mesh, and move forward as a company. I was a more than willing participant, and cancer wasn't discussed, although my digestive growling did make for a few facial expressions.

Just before the end of the three days of discussion, we gathered for a company wide theater-style presentation. Ironically, I was asked to be the voice of the presentation (the male voice only, not the female as I'm not that good). There was a dedication to a fallen representative, someone who passed away just a few weeks previous from lung cancer. He had been with the company for a dozen years, the last three of which were under great difficulty from the diagnosis. Barely early sixties, mentor and friend to many in the room. In the same presentation, the company made mention of me, and how I make the best of my situation. More than a few people became curious and asked after. I won't say that I'm a reincarnation of Ray, but I hope that I can exemplify what he represented, both from a company and family standpoints. He sounded like an amazing man, and I imagine I would have been a better person to have met him.

Without hesitation, I can honestly say that I enjoyed meeting everyone while there. I came home feeling more than satisfied that I made the right choice, also with a vow to avoid eating as much as I did while traveling for business. The shrimp and grits, fried chicken and waffles, and peach pie was worth it, however.