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I'm Just Saying...With Rick Carone

Published: Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 9:39 p.m. CDT
Caption
Former Cary-Grove football and baseball standout Rick Carone was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer last spring. He said fighting the illness has made him a better person. (Shaw Media file photo.)

Rick Carone still feels a twinge of excitement – and a surge of pain in his right arm – each year about the time when pitchers and catchers report to spring training. But Carone, a former Cary-Grove baseball and football standout who spent four years as a catcher in the White Sox organization, looks at life with a new perspective nearly a year into his fight with Stage IV pancreatic cancer.

I'm a better person and I'm even more blessed (since being diagnosed with cancer last May). God works in mysterious ways, and He is using me each and every day to not only spread the word but to also look to others for strength. The community in Cary has been there each and every day in some form or fashion. It may be an email, it may be a text message, it may be social media. But each and every day. It's something else.

Each night in my prayers, of course, I asked to be cured. I know God is the ultimate healer, but if that's not in His plan, then (I ask God) to please use me in ways that benefit the greater good. Just that prayer has carried me farther than any type of chemotherapy could. It has given me the resolve to live as much of a quality of life as I can, because of the people around me. I believe that 100 percent – it's the positive people around me that are truly carrying me through this.

I've been on the other side of (cancer) with friends and family and it's almost a surreal feeling to be going through it myself. I laugh and I shake my head at how people can be so positive knowing that each and every day could be their last. It's almost cliche' when you hear people say that each day is a gift and see you all these different inspirational thoughts and quotes. When you're feeling good and you're feeling healthy, you kind of take everything for granted and I think this has just opened up my eyes to a whole new world and has taught me to appreciate even the smallest of things.

Physically, I'm the same place where I was (after starting chemotherapy last year). But spiritually and personally, I'm just a better person. I've learned more about myself since I was diagnosed than I did the last 30 years. It's crazy. Just having a true connection with God has really opened up my mind and opened up my heart to truly listening to people and what they need and what they aspire to do. I'm trying to spread that word and not really throw it down people's throats but say, 'Hey, I understand what it takes to overcome that pain day in and day out and that negativity day in and day out.' I approach it like baseball. If I have all these negative things happen to me, if I can find three positives each day, then I'm hitting .300. If you can do that and you can do something to make someone else feel better, that, in turn, is going to make you feel better.

I can take each and every day with a smile on my face whether it's my last day or whether I'm cured and it's the first day of a new beginning. It's a win-win either way. I'm either going to be there with my family and friends that have already passed away or I'm going to be cured and I'm going to be able to live each and every day trying to spread positivity and do everything I can to be a better person not only to my family but to my friends and try to inspire each and every day.

I'm Just Saying is a regular Sunday feature. If there's someone you would like to see featured, write to me at jarnold@shawmedia.com or send me a message on Twitter @NWH_JeffArnold.

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