Mitch Schneider
July 2, 2021

I will never be 67 again.

I was 67 when I was diagnosed with Primary Myelofibrosis and told to go home to get my house in order. Sixty-seven when my life was turned upside down. I was in pretty good health. Ate well enough. Worked out regularly. And was completely oblivious to the possibility of serious illness let alone terminal bone marrow cancer.

I had a choice. A pretty clear choice as far as I could see. Either accept my diagnosis, roll over and watch my health slip away. Or suck the life out of every day I was fortunate enough to enjoy. To continue working out as if nothing had changed. Eat more responsibly. Practice guided meditation and mindfulness. And attack the future as if it was really a possibility.

I realized almost instantly that my internal narrative would be crucial to whatever quality of life I was about to experience. So, I monitored my self-talk to ensure it was nothing less than powerful and positive. I was dedicated. Determined. Disciplined. And driven. All the D-words I wrote about in Misfire: What to Do When Things Aren’t Running on All Cylinders. And it worked. I was accepted into the stem cell/bone marrow transplant program at the City of Hope just as my symptoms turned violent.

Five years after my initial diagnosis and more than two years post-transplant, I’m still here getting stronger every day. One of the ways I am managing that is by getting on a stationary bike almost daily.

I am, I can, I will, I do

I’m on my Peloton at least five times a week. One of my favorite instructors is Christine D’Ercole. I was a true believer in her mantra of I am, I can, I will, I do, years before I heard her share those words during a Power Zone Endurance ride.

Like Christine, I believe the most important dialogue we are involved in takes place in our own heads. The one that goes on constantly, either reinforcing our journey toward success or undermining our every effort to succeed.

If Henry Ford was right when he said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!” then I am, I can, I will, I do has to be the pathway to success. The road to a life full and rich in possibility.

I’m not going to choose the words that follow each of those four pronouncements. I’ll leave that to you. Just remember that how you complete each sentence is important. That words matter. None more than those we use when we are talking to ourselves.

How will you answer? I am… What? Amazing? Indomitable? I canbe whatever I can imagine? Achieve greatness in everything I do? I will… Succeed? Overcome all obstacles? I do… the impossible every day?


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