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November 28, 2020 1:00 am
Join Nikita for a heart-to-heart about how short life really is, as he opens up about the loss of his wife, Mandy, to cancer.
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Podcast network. This is the Truth Network. Once a world champion wrestler, now a champion for Christ. Once the Russian nightmare.
Now the devil's worst night in your tagteam partner not keyed a call time. Welcome back. It's time to man up with Nikita Cole law there is not a soul on gods green earth that does not have a burden here. She doesn't understand what today show. I'll share with you not interview but a personal tragedy.
Now this may be challenging, even difficult for some of you to listen to, but it's relating to the brevity of life. Stay tuned, about we just talk heart-to-heart then no interview just some more of my story as as many of you have either emailed or messaged me on social media, how much you're enjoying the show enjoy the broadcast, enjoying the podcast today I want to talk to you about it, a subject that is will relate to each and every one of us at some point in life is I want to talk to about the brevity of life and just how short life can be. I'm reminded of Scripture in the Bible. Psalm 90 verse 10 says this the days of our lives are 70 years and if by some reason of strength they are 80 years not let that settle in, just for a moment 70 years or if by some reason of strength 80 years now. I realize looking back some you have mentioned the story I shared about my my dad who actually even stretched it beyond that he lived to be 92.
My mom lived to be 93 and so we can even I guess you would say take it a step beyond that but but there's no guarantee of tomorrow.
Write clearly, the Bible illustrates that there is no guarantee of tomorrow there is no promise of tomorrow. Hence the importance of of taking care of our life today having a heart in the right place because we just don't know. Honestly, for honest with ourselves from day-to-day. What tomorrow even holds in fact I was reading a devotion this morning and was referencing worry how many of us worry when everyone of us has or does right and and again to say what why are you worried about tomorrow.
Today has enough challenges of its own. Essentially, the Bible is saying and and yet even though my mind, my mom lived to be 93 my dad lived to be 92. I bet other Family members that have lived into their 70s, grandma, grandpa's, some into their 80s. Friends of mine.
In fact, not long ago some of you avid wrestling fans might remember the passing of road warrior animal. The interesting thing about that for me is his wife had just reached out to me just about 10 days prior and said, hey, his 60th birthday is coming up the big 60 I really want to do something special for him. Would you do a video you know wishing him a happy birthday. Of course you know the story about me and animal we go way back. We go back to 1978.
Because I recruited him out a high school iron Dale high school in new Brighton, Minnesota to play college football with me.
We became the best of friends. In fact, his mom and dad and adopted me as a sense of prodigal son and I remember one Christmas where I had more presents under the tree than his him and his two brothers and they were not happy about that. But that's just how much Laura loved me and I just loved Lorna and his dad Joe Joe Senior and and so I did this video for his 60th birthday on. By the way, again, if you know the story turnabout is fair play right so I recruited him at a high school to play college football. He recruits me from college football. Upon graduating, headed for pro football trial into professional wrestling road were animal gets the credit for that call and course I had the career that I many of you know that I had but all that to say. Fast-forward. I make this video for his 60th birthday, little knowing that only 10 days past his 60th birthday, and on on his anniversary day him and his wife were in the Ozarks celebrating an anniversary that he did have a massive heart attack and die with new the brevity of life, so Joe had 60 years, summer are not as fortunate.
What I want to share on a personal level with you today is a late wife of mine Mandy.
Now some of you know some of this story mean back when it was happening back in my wrestling days in the height of my career back in the late 80s main event wrestling map step into the ring every night with the nature boy Ric flair wrestling the road warriors of Russian Lex Luger on wrestling staying. I mean just go down the list lavishing Rick rude Ricky the Dragon steamboat.
I mean the Who's Who of wrestling and stepping into the ring with and in the midst of the height of that grip the peak of my career. Main event wrestling I'm in Las Vegas and on and I get a call from Mandy who at the time was was just my girlfriend and for transparency. This is before the days of of credit. This is what I call BC before Christ. Before Jesus in my life and so yes like many others I that I let a very heathen life and in the head actually moved Mandy in with me and and so we were living together and doing all the things that are contrary to what the Bible says.
Just as part of the testimony and transparency for you today and I get this phone call that she had been diagnosed with cancer. The big C right cancer. The call that nobody wants to get and she's 24 years old so she's 24 and unbeknownst to me, she had been she had been experiencing certain symptoms and different things that that she was, not sharing with me. She did, she did wanted she just didn't want me to be. I guess concerned or didn't want me to be worried. And so it reached the point where she could no longer hide it or keep it from me as it was getting worse. Her symptoms are getting worse. You know that I can remember that phone call that night and I was just in the sense just kind of speechless. On the other end of the phone and this is not in the days of of cell phone so you can kinda picture in your mind's eye. I'm standing at up. Really, I think a payphone in the arena of ivory if I can full recollection. It's one of those like hey Nikita there's a call for you.
You're at the arena in Europe. Call for me at the arena. What and she shares that news with me in and so you know I had some some decisions to make and in the course on flying back home we are and I discussed some of the different options and back in those days as is still today in some of the options were chemotherapy, radiation, you know, we met with the doctors there going over this this whole regiment of treatments and what she might be facing her what she might be looking at orc or considering in order to get this cancer into remission. So we go ahead and we talk it through and put together what would she was comfortable with what she felt was a strategy if you will, and on how to eradicate this cancer in interbody. She begins to go through a series of chemotherapy treatments and it was just eye-opening for me on a personal level not keep them, I am not a believer not a Jesus follower, not an atheist or not an agnostic. I'm just I'm just not a Jesus follower I'm living for me it's my world you're just living in it on have this incredible wrestling career world champion numerous times already wrestling the in the in the pinnacle of wrestling against the guiding nature boy Ric flair, and and just in the sense living the high life traveling around the world. At this point I think I've already wrestling in the Middle East and wrestled three or four times in two or three times I think in Japan, Puerto Rico 00 in Canada and some just on this path of success right and then this news hits kinda rocks your world. Some you may be about have been there. Maybe there right now.
Maybe you're in the midst of this yourself. Maybe you've been diagnosed with with cancer. One your loved ones has been diagnosed and you're wondering for yourself what we do with this. How do we handle this. How do we move forward with this so she she begins these these treatments of of chemotherapy and and she my picture of me just it just a gorgeous gorgeous girl gorgeous gal 24 years old, flowing beautiful sandy brown blonde hair and an as she goes through this regiment of of treatments little by little.
Her hair starts starts falling on the keep in mind at this point I I know what all the schedule treatments and all that are so am on there for her supporting her walking with her through that wall at the same time still on the road at this point. Again we talked about it.
It was agreed that I would continue my career while at the same time supporting her on the days that that she needed these treatments and and and get some good some good friends around her some good girlfriends around her and so she's walking through this whole process of of treatments that eventually eventually through all the series of chemotherapy and then they they convinced her to then take the radiation in addition to that, through the whole process sheet she loses all all of her having all of her hair. She's as bald as I am realistically and I can remember I can think back and and and you know just how devastating it was to her as as as a woman as it would be for anyone but you know just losing what in her eyes and her mind her her beauty by losing all her hair and is certainly changed the whole look right and so did everything I could on my part in. And so we we found a awake company that would took her to photo you and we took photos in and so they they matched up. I can recall.
You know I I forget how many now modern no, maybe two, three, four weeks, it that we had made up for her that just give her just a slightly different look and just try to restore some of the beauty that she felt in her mind that that she had lost and so I'm holding her hand through this through this whole process and it does get to a point where it reaches remission and so you know how grateful are we. How thankful are we as it is, as it reaches that point where static rated reaches the point of her mission. There's there's still a series of radiation treatments that that they wanted her to to follow up with. But if you had been there holding her hand walking through that whole process and you know just I can remember sitting the room and they would give her the IV drips of chemotherapy and just the minute that self would would hit her vein that the vomiting and and that would continue until the entire treatment time until it stopped, and then even beyond the end of the treatment for a while and how we could meet her and and and and just her complexion and just the whole thing and so when she got the news that it was in remission.
By her own decision and again I am thinking that having conversations that it you know it is her life and I'm there to support her and whatever decision she makes because it's her life right I said honey help. I'll make I'll support whatever decision you make. And so she she makes a decision, she does not want to finish up with the with the radiation treatments because it just because how sick it made her through the whole entire process of of months and months of treatments and so I supported her in in that decision and on. It was during that time that I thought what can I do you know to try to, and in the midst of this crisis bring some joy to her into her life and so was during that time that I made a decision know what, let's let's get married let's get married and and lotů Let's lock that in and so she agreed to that.
She wanted to do that. I wanted to do that and and so we went down to Florida. We rented a small boat.
We had a a few few friends there that were part of that fact. Lex Luger was was was there and they're very small, quaint group that we had to to celebrate celebrate that wedding and and and bring some joy into her life and so there was a period of months, there were she's in remission were released were really enjoying it over and join the marriage at this point and then we get more news and the more news was that that the cancer is back and really and more in a more full force that was even initially in an and so they were talking about all alternative treatments. You know the chemo radiation we don't know that that's that's the right path and really was an eye-opener for me in terms of medicine and and and what it what what there was to offer because what they were offering was was a bone marrow transplant this. It was like stage foreigner like Bono transplanting and and the caveat that though was as a wrestler I was in a sense, uninsurable writer. They said you like about a high risk is a high trapeze artist you know you high risk and in those days, you know you Russ is responsible for their own medical bills and insurance was just way off the charts.
He really didn't even consider insurance you to stick took a chance, roll the dice if you will think while I get injured all just you hope they got the money to paid out-of-pocket and and that's what we didn't. So this particular case there's no insurance involved here and so the remember the Bono transplant. The doctor sitting in Charlotte North Carolina said you have to write a $250,000 check for her to get on the list to be considered for bone marrow while wit.
We didn't have $250,000 cash to sling around so that wasn't an option in an and we we look for alternatives.
At this point and we found a doctor in Greece. Dr. Oliver Santos and Ed heard all reports of of what kind of success he was having with cancer patients and so some friends helped us that some Greek friends. We we knew helped us fly over degrees helped us put us up at the relatives house in Greece where there for three weeks. We got a lot of who actually was flaunted to tour the Parthenon and different things in Athens and got to experience some joy in the latter part of her life and and and what do the treatments and although they help Psalm they just she was so far gone in terms of state.
She was at that that it didn't it didn't resolve the whole entire issue we fly back home and worldly home like a deer to she goes. Can I go back to Alabama like to see my family.
She does add and within within two days. She's in the intensive care room in Huntsville, Alabama, and I end up spending the last six weeks of like to.
She never leaves the ICU. She's she's it's obvious it's evident she's not leaving there factor gets to see the progression of her health declining, so I spent the last six weeks of her life sleeping on a crate next to her bed in Huntsville, Alabama, and I'm not a believer. I remember going to hunt a little chapel there in the hospital and just praying to the Lord prayed to God. God why does this young woman have to suffer through this and and and and and that I I have to witness this right of the big Y question. I don't think there's anything wrong with asking God why think is big enough to handle it.
I me Jesus on the cross right. Why have you forsaken me in. You know why is more intent in today's modern world. More about what I will call Greek mindset versus a Hebrew mindset which what is the Hebrew mindset right meaning Going through this God. What do you want me to learn from this this trial. This tragedy this tribulation. Whatever it is a phone call because so-and-so had a car wreck in as a pastor just did recently as 17, eight-year-old grandson and son-in-law got sandwiched between 218 wheelers because there's no promise of tomorrow that just happened just recently with the pastor that I know no promise of tomorrow so we can ask the why question and that's what I was doing at that point time why God this young woman beautiful young woman has to go through this. And sometimes we get an answer. Sometimes we don't look for me what it taught me personally, not a believer. As I witness this whole journey of Mandy's was the brevity of life.
Just how short life can be that there are no promises of tomorrow. There are no guarantees. Hence the importance of having your heart right with Jesus today today if you're listening to this today and you had. Maybe that never experiences with any loved ones or any family members or friends of yours and all but whether you have or you have it.
If you don't have a relationship with Jesus. There is no promise of tomorrow. Hence the importance of surrendering your heart today it's it's as simple as ABC except the fact that Jesus lived, died and rose again believe that in your heart of hearts of the just confess with your mouth and invite him in to live inside of you and so no matter what tragedy my face. Whether it's cancer or or or coalbed or or anything else. That's the new C word right COBIT I think is trumped, no pun intended cancer. At this point right is coalbed or or whatever it might be whatever your face whatever health issue.
Whatever life issue.
Jesus is the answer. He's the answer Psalm in that chapel. I watched and I'm there the day that that it's obvious she doesn't have much life left and I'm there to witness and watch the monitor as as the heart rate drops consistently drops till it flat lines and she's got she's gone in and that experience changed me and I will tell you this. I didn't come to Christ that they hadn't come to Jesus.
The next day or the day after, but it was an experience for me on my journey that led me to the foot of the cross that eventually led me to the foot of the cross.
I would take some time off from wrestling for those you remember my career in the process.
All of that and eventually I would go back in Russell for a few more years. It was never the same was never the same.
It was it was that it was different. The company had changed hands.
It went from from Jim Crockett promotions to corporate America Ted Turner stepping in and buying it changing the transition from the NWA to world championship wrestling. Things were just different but I look back to it with with a heart of gratitude on that experience is painful as it was at the time to watch her go through that this beautiful young woman walked through that challenge of life and eventually lose your life at the age of 26 she battled it for two years diagnosed a 24 and and passed away at that age 26, but it just taught me this that life is short, life is brief. In fact, Scripture was on sick life like a hand breath is like a morning fog. I me ever step out of your house and saw fog out out in the field and it seems like it's there and and also in poop.
The fog is gone. That's the brevity of life.
That's the brevity of life, which I don't know where you're at today is your listening to the stories you learning a little bit about my story.
I guess more than anything I just want to emphasize to you if you don't have a personal relationship.
I'm not talk about you.
A regular church attender you grew up in a Christian home. You grew up in a Christian family, not on what you like Nicodemus when Jesus said Nicodemus you must be born again man this learned man had trouble Rupp rapid is that this Pharisee had trouble wrap his head around that right. What would he mean I go back. My mother's womb. Nominal born of the flesh.
Yes, also born of the spirits, born of the spirit. So if you have an experience that today that's really in my heart of hearts. If you take anything away from today, take that away that if you don't have a personal relationship make that decision today and if you do praise God that you've already been made that decision and let me just encourage you with this as I begin to close the show.
Death is not a. It's a, if you got Jesus in your heart of hearts, then there's no fear of death because Jesus defeated death on the cross and so death is just a doorway on the threshold into eternal life. And so there's no fear of death is no fear of a virus.
Those no fear of cancer. You don't have to be fearful of any other health issue.
You can just have peace and confidence and trust in knowing that Jesus defeated death and Paul said to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
And so that's the message to you today.
Make sure you have your heart right with Jesus you've given your life to him. There is no fear of death.
You don't have to have a fear of data because you have eternal life. Looking at you in your future just waiting for you.
Thank you for tuning in and dialing and let me sharing a little bit of my personal story with you today and it's time to man men. I would like to challenge each of you to consider spending five days with Lex Luther and I and pursuing the heart of ladies you're listening.
Will send your men home with God godly husband and God do you give them your blessing them. Sign up today at band camp in full. Pastors you would like to bring Holland for Christ ministries and man up conference to your community. Go to cloth.org and email me remember this. It's time to man up.
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