In January 2007, three separate events collided to create a perfect storm in my life. First, my wife and I had sold our home, and we were in the process of packing to move to a rental. Second, my wife received news that her father had suffered a stroke and was in hospital in Switzerland, so we travelled to see him, and within a week he died.

After his funeral, I had an appointment for an MRI scan on my colon. As it happens, they discovered that I had a giant cell (bone) tumour, the size of a large eggplant, sitting on my pelvis. The oncologist told us that in 98% of cases, bone tumours are secondary cancer, and I had 6 months to live.

After three weeks and dozens of tests, I was informed that I belonged to the luck 2% club in that my bone tumour was benign, albeit aggressive, and so required an operation to remove it. The operation was successful, and after gruelling seven nights in hospital, I spent the following six months recuperating in the comfort of my home. 

The trajectory of my life was changed forever. An encounter with death provides a clarity of mind unequal to any other event in life. I realised that time is precious, that I must focus on working on what I enjoy, and that love is everything.

The light only comes through us, when we are broken. For me, this bone tumour was not a curse; it was a gift, a blessing in disguise.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you’d like to learn more about my retirement coaching and consultant programs, visit my site at or contact me at [email protected].

George Jerjian
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