At the age of around 18 months, my parents rushed me to the doctor after I fell down a flight of 30 steps. I was diagnosed as being blind as the result of a rapidly growing brain tumor.
I had surgery and the tumor was successfully removed—I would live, but I didn’t escape unscathed.
Besides being blind, I had no sense of smell, and no endocrine system, which meant that I had no thyroid, no adrenal function and the list goes on.
It could have been much worse. It was supposed to have been much worse. The doctors didn’t think I would make it, or if I did, that I would never walk or talk. (Two things I do quite well— just ask my wife, especially about the talking part.)
Life was hard for the next 14 years with most of my childhood spent in the hospital or at home recovering. I was fighting hard every day just to go to school and survive all the health challenges.
But I had three things that kept me happy and fighting for a better life of worth and intention!
First, I had my parents. They never let me down and taught me to always find the good in every situation! For example, instead of thinking of the day of my surgery, September 29th, as the day I had scary surgery and almost died, they taught me to think of that day as the day I beat the odds and lived. A simple but powerful difference in attitude and thought that makes all the difference!
Second, I had my mind—and my parents encouraged me to use that gift and to explore my imagination. Not to waste time on wishing for things to be other than they were, but to imagine a better tomorrow where I used my gifts and left behind my limitations. I still use this concept today and always focus on my strengths while recognizing my limitations so that I can compensate for them or overcome them. It all comes down to your will and belief in yourself!
Third, I found the life affirming power of music!
The Magic of Music
Music is an amazing force for positive change. It has no boundaries and is the closest thing we mere mortals will ever come to knowing the language of the angels!
The discovery of music, my passion for it and my skill in making it was the watershed moment that set me on my path for the rest of my life.
I have had the privilege to share the stage with the likes of Lee Brice, Trisha Yearwood, Clarence Carter, James Brown, Ted Nugent, Bad Company, Smash Mouth and many, many more. In my other roles as producer, recording engineer, journalist and educator, I have also had the honor of working with heroes of mine like Alan Parsons, George Thorogood, Mike Mills of R.E.M., Randall Bramblett and the list goes on.
Even better, I have had the opportunity to put my gifts to work for other artists at the beginning of their journey and assist them to be their best. I speak all over the world about music, music technology and how I live a successful life as a blind brain tumor survivor!
Of course it isn’t all roses. I have health challenges from the brain tumor I still have to deal with, but I am gloriously alive and have so much left to do!
My point is just this: we all have our limitations and we must recognize those limitations while never defining ourselves in terms of those limitations. Yes, I am a blind brain tumor survivor, but I am so much more—and so are you! Live the life you want by following your passion and you will be amazed at how worthwhile your life is to you and those around you!
Don’t be afraid to do what you are good at—what you were meant to do! Others might not understand or support you, but that is okay as long as you are happy!
About the Author
Joey Stuckey is the Official Music Ambassador of his hometown of Macon, Georgia. He is professor of music technology at Mercer University, the music technology consultant for Middle Georgia State University, and an official music mentor for the Recording, Radio and Film Connection in Los Angeles as well as an active voting member of the Grammys. He is the owner and senior engineer at Shadow Sound Studio, a destination recording facility with state of the art analog and digital technology.
He has spoken and performed all over the world including at the University College of London, the Georgia Music Hall Of Fame, and the Audio Engineering Society in New York City, just to name a few. In his roles as producer, engineer, recording artist and journalist, he has worked with many musical legends.
Joey’s newest album, “In The Shadow Of The Sun,” is available on both iTunes and Amazon Music. For more information, visit Joey’s website, JoeyStuckey.com. You can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.