Anthony Hale is both the least lucky and luckiest man in the world. I mention this to him and he laughs, then grows thoughtful.
“I’m just super thankful and grateful to be alive,” he says.
This gratitude is because Hale has had not one, but two brushes — actually, more like collisions — with death.
The first was a life-altering diagnosis when he was 21. While his peers were finishing college and starting their careers, he was hospitalized, receiving chemotherapy and radiation for brain cancer.
The second was a freak accident last year. He was standing in front of his home when a stranger approached him — and stabbed him in the neck.
After all of that, it would be easy to give up or give in to fear. But he has a lot to live for: his wife, Kylie, plus a love of making music and a new career in occupational therapy. His struggles could have defeated him — instead, he believes they saved him.
A life-changing diagnosis
It was 2010. Hale, a pre-law student at the time, was at his primary care provider’s office in Bremerton, Washington, hoping for answers. He’d been getting bad headaches almost every day and didn’t know why. His doctor told him he was probably dehydrated, so he went home and drank a bunch of water.
But the headaches kept coming, so he kept going back. He was told his desk was ergonomically incorrect, so he fixed it. No change. He was told he sat too close to his computer screen, so he adjusted his chair. No change. Then, he started getting double vision.
At last, he went to an optometrist. He says he’ll never forget the doctor’s reaction after examining his eyes.
“He was going, ‘Oh, wow.’ He said, ‘Hold on one second,’ and left, and I could hear him on the phone. He comes back in, writing frantically. He said he was writing all this down for me and that I needed to go to the ER right now and give them the paper,” Hale says.