Scott Hamilton

ScottHamiltonWINNING THE GOLD AND BEATING CANCER

   My name is Scott Hamilton, and I am an Olympic Gold Medalist and figure skating commentator. I know a thing or two about preparation and dedication. This sport demands that a competitor come as close to perfect as possible. No break or fault goes unpunished by the judges. I mastered the sport and its nuances to become the world’s best.

 

   Yet as good as I was, I could not on my own handle some of life’s biggest challenges to my health. I battled cancer, in the form of a re-occurring brain tumor. In the times that I needed someone by his side, there was always Someone there. Someone I have grown to know, to love. The one who introduced me to my wife and who has made having children possible. In this film he recalls a journey that many others are also traveling, and its telling never gets old.

   As I go out in front of a billion, two billion, three billion people on an Olympic stage and you're scared out of your mind. On a 200 foot by 100 foot surface of ice, you wonder why you do this because you're so nervous. My ice skates are on two 10-inch lengths of quarter-inch wide steel. Through this, just get me through this. And you're going to manipulate those edges for four and a half minutes and do triple jumps and athleticism, and not make a mistake. It's impossible. But I found a way to be just, just good enough to win the gold medal.

   When I look back on it, it's unbelievably awesome. Like that was me? You know, I always thought if I could be really good on the ice, you know, I could become famous. I think I'm probably more known for my health problems now than I am for anything I ever did on skates.

   When I was very little, I suffered from a disease that stopped me from growing. It was in and out of hospitals for years and I was never really home. And so what ended up happening was I came back from kind of being in and out of hospitals and I ended up going to the skating club thing just by accident. And I found skating, which kind of took on a life of its own and then it progressed, and pretty soon I'm competing. Pretty soon I'm living away from home with all my role models and the people that were teaching me how to live day to day were older skaters. So there was a lot of it that was terrific but a lot of it that really wasn't guiding me in any real direction.

   It wasn't until I suffered the devastation of my mother losing her battle to cancer that something was awakened in me. I knew I needed something more, something better. I think I needed to have some strength and my mother was my source of strength. When she was living, I would disappoint her. But when she was gone, I just didn't ever want to be less than she thought I could be.

   I was happy to just work. I was happy to just entertain. I'd do well and I think that was good enough. Skating had given me life as a child and had given me, you know, kind of the strength as an adult. But what was about to happen really changed my life forever.

   You know, cancer, it put me into a phase of my life where I just needed to kind of sort it all out. I just survived something. Why? I survived something that took the most important person in my life off the planet that was my mother. She died of cancer and I survived. What's my purpose now? What do I need to do? How do I-- And a big part of the dust settling was getting with Tracy. And she brought me to the church. She took me to a minister, a man named Ken Durham. And the first thing he said to me, which was extraordinary was, he goes, "You have to understand that Christianity is a faith of history. These things actually happened." And I go, "Okay, that's a good starting-off point." "And just study what has happened. And see how that resonates in your own life." And it grew. It just sort of - it was like, "Okay, I get it."

   When you survive testicular cancer and you want to start a family, you don't know what the issues are going to be. And I prayed that I would someday become a father. Tracy and I, we got engaged and married and then my son was born nine months and two days after we got married. So I guess there was a plan there.

   I thought I paid my health dues when I had cancer, but this was a whole another issue. I have a brain tumor. How do I tell my wife? And we have a 14-month old son. How do I tell my wife that I have a brain tumor? I'd just gotten the news an hour before. I met them at the hotel and she asks, "What's going on?" And I said, "I have a brain tumor." And she took my hands and without hesitation, she just started to pray. And it was in that moment I knew where I was going to put everything. My trust, my faith, everything is in Jesus Christ. So this is the most powerful moment of my life. From that moment forward, we just said whatever it is, whatever it takes, we'll face this.

   When they're going to do a biopsy, they tell you, "We're going to drill a hole in your head and then we're going to take a needle down through your brain and take a piece of the tumor." They said, "We seem to have found a safe corridor to do this." And I go, "Well I'm not using most of it." But they tell you all the things that can go wrong in that surgery. And I remember waking up and I looked at the clock and it was 10:20. I knew where I was. And then the next thing I saw was my wife come in with a smile on her face. She said, "They know what it is." And they'd found out that that brain tumor was one that I was born with. One that I'd had since birth, which inhibited my growth as a young child. That was the mysterious illness I had that they never diagnosed. That got me into skating. Who would I be without a brain tumor? I'm 5'4". If I were 5'8", if I would've grown those years, by 10, where would I be? Who would I be? I could choose to look at it as debilitating, choose to focus on the suffering. I choose to look at that brain tumor as the greatest gift I could've gotten because it made everything else possible.

Tracy Hamilton is holding Miracle Max   I didn't see past it this time. I didn't think I would survive. At one point I was starting to really feel weak. And one nurse in particular, I was up at 3 o'clock in the morning and I was just uncomfortable, and she goes, "Can I get you anything?" And I just said, "No. I'm just a little scared." She said, "Do you pray?" I said, "Yes." And she said, "What do you say when you pray?" I go, "Well, I just thank God for all the blessings in my life." "Do you ask Him for anything?" "No. I just want Him to know I'm grateful. I'm grateful." "Well, who is God to you?" And I said, "Well, I guess He's my Father." "Oh. You're a father right?" "Yes." "If one of your children were hurting, wouldn't you want him to come to you for comfort and strength?" "Yes." So I changed the way I pray now. I ask, uninhibitedly, I ask to heal; I ask for strength, I ask for courage. I ask for another child. I'll tell you about miracles. It's after surviving with a pituitary brain tumor; it's impossible, practically impossible. I did six injections a week for two years. No luck. We're not meant to have another child. We gave that to God. A month later, we found out that Max was on his way. Miracle Max.

   When I look back and I see all those little moments in my life where I needed a great deal of strength, I understand that through a strong relationship with Jesus, you can endure anything. I just learned that the only true disability in life is a bad attitude. God is there to guide you through the tough spots. God was there every single time. My name is Scott Hamilton and I am second.

Tracy Hamilton is holding Miracle Max.

Scott Hamilton Hearing His Voice Testimony

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