Dave Fuehrer is the CEO of GRYT Health, a company run by cancer survivors and caregivers that’s changing the face of medicine.
As a senior in college, just after winning the New York State Natural Bodybuilding title, Dave was diagnosed with cancer. Dave beat cancer that year, but he would battle cancer again just a few years later.
This interview is a raw, honest conversation about losing your identity, learning to turn inward, and the good that can come from living through adversity.
3:30 – “Growing up, my father’s motto was: ‘The difficult we do immediately, the impossible just takes a little longer.’ That belief in ourselves and in accomplishing things has always been a core part of my values.”
5:15 – “The real difference for me now is having lived through trauma, I have more ability to be empathetic with how my parents made it though trauma to arrive at those values… we don’t arrive at values willy-nilly. They’re shaped through the fire that we live.”
9:15 – “I just felt that something was different but didn’t really realize what was going on or know. And of course, we all think we’re invincible or certainly more impenetrable than we are in our 20s.”
9:45 – “I’m only now – and it’s been more than 15 years – really reconnecting with those moments because I blacked them out.”
10:30 – “Cancer is like a shovel to the face. It is just a completely numbing experience.”
11:30 – “I gained 50 pounds from the anxiety I was repressing.”
13:00 – “I don’t want to just go back to who I was before. I want to learn and grow and help others as a result of going though all that. And for many people, that isn’t comfortable.”
15:00 – “The possibility of going through another different type of tumor wasn’t in my mind at the time. I reacted to it the same way I tried to the first time, which is to just power through it… that whole going back into that experience was way more traumatic than I was able to understand at the time.”
17:15 – “Here I am, sitting at a kitchen table, broken, and I remember vividly saying to them, ‘If this is what the rest of what my life is going to be, I don’t know how long I want to be around for.'”
18:30 – “I didn’t react well immediately and I think we all have to forgive ourselves a little bit and be kind to ourselves with how tough those moments are.”
22:00 – “That’s what I thought I had to do as a man – project that I’ve got it, and I can handle it, and it’s not more than I am, and I don’t need help – and those things weren’t true. I really needed help.”
24:15 – “Life isn’t the way we planned. In small ways and big ways, it’s never going to be that life. But the way we can turn those things into who we really are meant to be, that to me is where we find our purpose.”
27:00 – “Even now, all these years later, being okay with who I am even when it differs from the way people expect me to be, I’m just finding peace now in that, and it’s a new place of resilience that I didn’t know was beyond some of the things I worked through in the beginning.”
28:30 – “We don’t know what help we need until some somebody shows us.”
30:00 – “Those moments of real compassion and empathy happened because I learned how to start opening up and then people met me there. Just that process of starting to open up and asking for help, people will show up and meet you in ways that we never can expect.”
30:30 – “[GRYT Health] is a community of people around the world that live and are free of judgment for how different each of our own experiences are and we come together to empower each other to get through that pain but also find our identity, live our lives, and also advocate for ourselves and for others.”
41:00 – “As patients, we are the experts in our experience. For a regulatory body like the FDA to acknowledge patients being the experts in their life, their lived experiences, is really starting to change healthcare in wonderful ways. One of those ways now are actually guidelines that say new treatments have to be developed by considering how they affect the people on them.”
42:30 – “Cancer and many diseases in general were every different 40 years ago. A cancer diagnosis 40 years ago was more or less a death sentence…. we’ve gotten to a point where just treating is not enough… we have to think about what they’re going through and how this will affect them and what that experience is.”
44:45 – “Our team with GRYT is more like a family with people who really empathize with what we’ve each been through, and by extension, want to share that empathy with others.”
47:20 – “To really affect people and affect humanity, and be a part of things that are bigger than ourselves, it is not about our individual ability to do those things, it is about our ability to respect and hear and see others.”
- Dave’s company, GRYT Health
- Dave’s TEDx talk: The Science of Living
- Lucky Man: A Memoir by Michael J. Fox
Get in touch
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- Web: chrisbordoni.com
Thanks so much for listening!