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Fighting Cancer - The Bushido Way

With Kirk Akahoshi

Published on: Jul 5, 2019

Cancer is a global killer. However, despite its bad reputation, there are lessons to be learned from the experience and the process, especially from the patients. Kirk Akahoshi, a licensed psychotherapist and executive life coach in San Francisco, was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. As part of his healing journey, he created a YouTube channel expressing his authenticity and the reality of battling cancer. He joins us to talk about the lessons he’s learned from cancer throughout the process and shares his message to others about advocating and being more proactive about their own health.

Fighting Cancer the Bushido Way with Kirk Akahoshi

Before we introduce our guest, I’d like to read a review. This one is from Lani K., “Asian Women of Power is a catalyst for healing and getting rid of stereotypes which Asian women continue to endure. Kimchi and her guests candidly discuss thought-provoking challenges which Asian women and their families face, which affects our self-esteem, dreams, aspirations, careers, family life and more. Bravo, Kimchi, for teaching us how to live life loud. You are inspiring.”

Thank you, Lani K., for your kind words. What other coaches and I found is that by speaking up and sharing what we experienced in life would help us heal our wounds. Please keep reading and sharing this show. We appreciate your support and review. I have a new tool that I want to share with you. Using your cell phone, text these four letters, AWOP, to the number 64600. You will get a link to my virtual business card brought to you by EZcard. With that link, you have access to all podcast episodes. You can search by the guest’s name, by their ethnicity or by the keyword from the episode’s title. Check it out.

Kirk Akahoshi is a licensed psychotherapist and executive life coach in San Francisco, California. He primarily works with men through one-on-one work, sacred circles and wilderness retreat. He is ranked as one of the best coaches by Expert.com and also voted Best of Yelp. He is a California native and has worked in Japan for three years, New York for four years and traveled to over 25 countries. He continues to study and deepen his personal and professional life in psychology, spirituality and self-development work.

On March 21st, 2019, Kirk was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. For part of his healing journey, he has created a YouTube channel expressing his authenticity and the reality of battling cancer. Please pay close attention to what Kirk is about to share because it might change your life. Welcome, Kirk. Thank you so much for accepting my crazy idea to bring you on this podcast during this time. I have been following your posts on YouTube and your message really resonated with me. I thought there is no better time to capture this moment in life to share with our audience than now by coming here as a guest on the show. You are offering a gift about what’s important in human life, for that, I thank you.

Thank you, Kimchi. Thanks for the opportunity.

What triggered you to see a doctor?

The first time that I sensed something was last year in May. I had a cramp in my abdominals and it was really painful. I went to the ER, they did an x-ray, an ultrasound and they couldn’t find anything. They were like, “We want to do more tests. You’re probably passing a gallstone,” and they didn’t do anything. Almost a year later, in March, while I was working, I had this pain over by my lower right side. This is while I was working with clients, and every time I stood up to walk my clients to the door, it was painful.

I thought it was around the appendix. I went to see some friends that night and we went to some gallery. I had a friend carrying my backpack because they were too painful. I was like, “If this is appendicitis, then this isn’t something to mess around with.” I called the Advice Nurse and they agreed, “Why don’t you go into the ER?” That night, around midnight, I went to the ER and they did blood tests. They did an ultrasound and they couldn’t find anything. It wasn’t until they did a CT scan that they found that there was growth around my colon and lesions on my liver. That’s when I found out that I had pancreatic cancer.

Do you think in one year it spread out that fast or is it because of the misdiagnosis they did a year prior?

What I hear is that pancreatic cancer is what’s called a ghost cancer. It doesn’t show symptoms until much later stages. Stage four, what that means is it spreads where right now it’s inoperable. Maybe it was showing signs a year ago and it could have grown within the past year, it could have been growing a lot longer. I’ve heard more and more that we all have cancers in our body. It’s just are not showing up or that it takes a long time until big symptoms start to show up. I wonder if they did a CT scan back last May, whether that would have been stage one but it wasn’t until much later that I had this really bad reaction. That’s what got me motivated to go and get it checked out but before then, I was having a lot of digestive issues for the past several months. That’s when I went to go see other different doctors. I thought it was maybe some allergies and I went on an elimination diet. I cut out alcohol, dairy and gluten because those are the biggest inflammatories and the biggest allergens and that would maybe help the pain that was happening in my stomach but that wasn’t it.

What went through your mind when that news was confirmed?

One thing, I was really fortunate. That night before I went to the ER, my wife was actually visiting friends and family on the East Coast. I had sent this text out to all my friends, a group of nine other individuals. One of my friends was a nurse who happened to be working that night, took on an extra shift and she got the text. For her, it was like, “I should be with Kirk.” She was able to get out of her shift early and around 2:00 in the morning, she came to where I was in the ER. She said, “Nobody should sit in the ER by themselves.” Right after she came, about five minutes later, the ER doctor came and said, “Kirk, you have pancreatic cancer.”

It was blunt and it was hard because there was no bedside manner like, “You have this,” versus, “The imaging looks like you may have but we have to run further tests.” It was like, “You have pancreatic cancer.” In a way, it was a gift because then I had to deal with it right then and there. It wasn’t this prolonged thing of, “We’ve got to do further tests.” Right then, I went into shock. My mind went into prepare mode, I thought I have one month to live and I didn’t know much about this. The way he was saying it, I have a short time to live. What do I need to start doing? What are the loose ends? Who do I need to call? How do I shut down my business? How do I start saying goodbye?

I didn’t even think about the things I want to do. I felt like I had a small window of time. It was all about tying up loose ends. I went back and forth into despair and shock because the few months before I was doing the opposite. I was looking at expanding my business and opening up a clinic. My wife and I were thinking about expanding by trying to have children. It was this rug pulled out beneath me and it’s like the opposite is going to happen. I’m not going to have a business. I’m not going to have a family. I’m not going to have a life. I went into deep despair. Fortunately, my friend, Leanne, who was with me was really great being with me and letting me go into that darkness and despair. Sometimes, I would go into hope and be like, “All my blood tests are positive. They’re normal but it’s the scan that’s saying this. Maybe it’s wrong or maybe I’m healthy.”

It wasn’t until I came home after the ER and Leanne accompanied me. I started doing some phone calls. I called my wife, my parents and my brother. When they heard the news, they were all devastated. That was the scariest moment and the saddest moment for me. Hearing that sadness from my mom, you don’t want to hurt the people that you love. With my wife, I was dreading that phone call because I knew that this was her worst fear of me dying and I have to deliver this message that her worst fear is coming true. Hearing those reactions that I’m causing this pain, it was far more hurtful for me to hear that than grappling with my own pain. What was amazing was after this brief period of shock and pain, everybody turned it on. My parents were like, “We’re going to call our family friends. They knew this woman who had pancreatic cancer, who happened to be in this clinical trial.”

My wife who was on the East Coast was like, “I’ve got to start making plans. I’ve got to figure out the fastest way back home.” When that text message went to my group of friends, when they started waking up because it was about 6:00 or 7:00 in the morning, by that afternoon, I had both my parents, my brother, my wife and eight of my friends all in my living room showing up. From that point, I started to shift and to get different feedback from my friends and hearing about how people have survived cancer and how this seems like an anomaly that all my blood tests are showing healthy. That’s when I started to switch from despair and hopelessness into, “I have a chance and I’m going to throw everything at this and I’m going to beat this.”

Most of us rather carry that than to see our love ones carry the pain, especially that’s caused by us. I can understand what you shared, especially for parents. They don’t want to see their children suffer. What are the lessons from this process that you’ve learned?

One is shifting my perspective around cancer. I know that there’s a whole hashtag about cancer and that doesn’t resonate with how I work and how I work with my clients. Instead, I bring the shadow and the darkness in and how do we incorporate it because that makes us a fuller being versus denying that shadow side. That’s where I saw cancer not as an enemy but as my spirit animal, my spiritual guide. I say spirit animal because it makes it light and fun. By creating that relationship, I use it as my teacher and my guide. What’s it teaching me? One of the lessons was looking at about all the things that I’ve been putting off.

It’s like, “I have a limited time to do this.” One of the things was I want to do a YouTube channel. I want to do videos. I have been thinking about this for years and I didn’t put any videos out because of perfectionism. I thought I would say the wrong thing, being politically incorrect and all these pressures. Once I got the diagnosis, it was a clear message. Do you want this emotional pain, emotional fear of looking bad, of not being perfect, of saying something wrong or do you want the physical pain of cancer? I felt I could take control over this in the sense of, by the more that I’m able to speak and being able to be more authentic that’s going to heal the physical pain of cancer.

All the emotional pain slipped away because those weren’t actually real. The cancer is real. As I started to put out my videos, I started to get a great response, and people were very moved by my authenticity and by my expression. All those fears that I have about saying the wrong thing or not being perfect, none of that has ever happened. That was all in my head and instead, it’s been the opposite. One of the lessons is that a lot of my fears are made up and that they’re my own but then once I put it out there, it’s usually the opposite that’s happening.

What about the lessons of forgiveness, letting go or speak the truth, are they fully expressed?

Speaking around forgiveness, this seems to be directly related to intergenerational trauma. It seems like cancer that I have shouldn’t have happened to me. Pancreatic cancer usually happens in your 50s, 60s or 70s, not something in your 40s. Once I got the diagnosis, what I found out when we did a cancer history, my great grandparents on my mom’s side actually had pancreatic cancer in their 80s and eventually died from that. That’s more of a normal something to happen but not something early as me. I started to think about the intergenerational trauma that it seemed significant that they had pancreatic cancer, that they were the first-generation Japanese Americans. They came from Japan and moved to America. As immigrants, they’ve probably had a lot of trauma leaving Japan and also starting up life here.

They had a certain trauma and then the second generation, which was my grandparents. They experienced trauma during World War II when all of them were put into the internment camps. Even though they’re all American, born and raised in America, American citizens, all their rights were taken away and they were put in the internment camps and they had that trauma. The third generation, my parents, they grew up in internment camp. My mom was born in the camp and my dad was one. They had that trauma as well. I’m the fourth generation. With this thing called epigenetics, that trauma was actually passed down in our DNA. I still have some of this trauma in my body. It feels like on a spiritual level that I have an opportunity to transform, transmute this trauma into something different so I don’t pass this onto my children or the next generation.

I started doing this with my grandfathers, especially as I got deeper into men’s work, I started to see about the masculinity and what roles they played when they were becoming men. I saw in their early twenties that they were both married, had at least one child, at the time building their families, they’re starting their careers and that’s when World War II happened. That’s when everything was taken away. I put it upon myself that with Japanese culture, there’s a lot of oppression of emotions. Both my grandfathers had passed. I want to take on the role to be the vessel for their unexpressed anger and sadness that they weren’t able to express anger and sadness in that situation and to start letting go of that. As I started to do that, I started to see that a lot of times people talk about anger and resentment are also fueling cancer. I had to take a deeper look at where was my anger and resentment at. Part of that I saw, “It’s the oppressors and the people who’ve oppressed me or oppressed my people.”


 I was doing some ceremonial work with a group of people. While I was doing that at the beginning, I put out an intention of how I forgive my oppressors. There’s a lot of anger about the war in the internment camps in all of this. During that ceremony, what happened was there was another guy, a friend of mine that was in the circle, he came and sat right next to me and he was crying and sobbing. He said, “Kirk, I’m sorry I hurt you and I’m so ashamed.” I was like, “Why do you feel that way? From all the time that we’ve been together, that I’ve known you, you’ve never done anything that’s ever been offensive at all.” He was overwhelmed with guilt and he said, “I’m so sorry for Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” even though he was not responsible for that, he was taking responsibility as a white person, as a white male and even though he was Jewish and his people were put into camps in World War II.

He felt like he needed to take responsibility, apologize to me and ask for forgiveness about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That turned everything around from me. Here I was asking for how do I forgive my oppressors and the person’s symbolizing the oppressor was actually asking for my forgiveness. We cried and cried. It was so cathartic and healing to have that happen. After we had that exchange, there was a Chinese American woman who was also in the circle. I went directly to her and I said, “Wendy, I want to really own what the Japanese people did to you and your people with all the different atrocities and the raping of Nanking and all the horrible things that Japanese people did to the Chinese people.”

It was similar, we both cried and she gave me forgiveness. This whole lesson around how we’re both the oppressors and we are both the oppressed and that we might not have been the direct people who’ve done this but to really heal. If we, this generation or any generation, can take ownership of that because the act of owning it and the act of going to the people that were hurt and asking for forgiveness is a very healing thing for the whole culture. That may be the people who are actually the culprits may never do these but we still can have a profound impact. Do you remember Standing Rock? At Standing Rock, there was a bunch of American veterans that went to the Native American chiefs and asked for forgiveness about how the earliest settlers and Americans treated the Native Americans horribly and asked for forgiveness. It was a similar thing and that action alone is going to help future generations to go beyond this.

I’m Vietnamese and in Vietnam, the Japanese had been there for 100 years, the Chinese had been there for 1,000 years, the French had also been there, maybe ten or fifteen years and then the Americans. It’s really difficult to see that we all beat up the weak one at that time. One time or the other, we allowed greed to do inhumane things. I totally agree with you that the way to heal is to practice forgiveness and in my work, I also want to do that, too. Maybe I’m thinking of sharing that practice on one of my episodes about forgiveness and ask for forgiveness even though you have not directly done something to the other person. Have you asked the questions of why you and why now?

The why me, it’s different from a lot of people where sometimes this happens like, “Why me?” I didn’t sink into that so much of like, “It shouldn’t have happened,” but taking more responsibility of it. It seemed odd that, “Why actually now at this point in time?” I was doing all this personal development and spiritual work to expand, to be bigger, to be more authentic and to expand my business. I’ve been doing this intergenerational trauma with my grandfathers. It was like, “I’m doing all the right things. Why has it happened to me?”

The only thing that I could get from that was the universe was saying to me, “Kirk, we need you out there more fully expressed now than later. That the process you are doing to become fully expressed, it’s taking too much time and the fastest way that we’re going to get you fully expressed is that you’ve got to go through this hard thing called cancer. You’re going to learn lessons. You’re going to see your inner strength and what you’re about. You’re going to learn new things about who you are. You’re going to have so many more lessons that once you’re past this, you’re going to be more fully expressed. This is the quickest way you’re going to do that and we need your light out there sooner than later.” That’s what I see on a spiritual level. We’re at this time where there’s a lot of darkness out there and I feel I’m one of the light bearers. The faster I get there to be a stronger light, then that will help to create more balance out there in the world.

What message do you want others to hear and take to heart? Is there a specific group that you want this message to reach?

I can break that down to two things. There are a couple of things that I want people to know. First, more specifically with health, to advocate for yourself. Before the diagnosis, I gave my power up to the doctors and most of us feel like, “Doctors are the experts on your health.” Therefore, whatever they say, it’s like, “I’m going to follow.” If you have an intuition or if you think something is different that they’re human, they might be experts in medicine but they don’t know everything. When I went to the emergency room for that pain, my wife Jacki was like, “I think you have pancreatic cancer,” but all the doctors were like, “We’re going to do these tests.” If we advocated at that point, then we might’ve caught early and said, “That’s what you think but I really want to push for a CT scan. This is my health and I’m paying for it anyway.”


To be way more proactive with your health and I’ve seen that in this treatment too that I’m getting more of a voice. I’m pushing back because there was something where my white blood cells were down for one of my treatments, therefore I couldn’t have chemo that week. They were going to give me a shot, which boosts up my white blood cells. My wife was like, “Do we have to give him another shot because it’s been a whole two weeks before his next chemo? Can we take a blood test instead of taking this shot? There’s going to be side effects and Kirk already has too much in his body.” They were like, “This isn’t part of the protocol,” but my wife was like, “I don’t care if it’s a protocol. This is my husband, why can’t we do it?” and they agreed. We got a blood test and my white blood cells were fine. They were back really high. I didn’t need to take the shot. We actually taught the doctors as well. They were like, “Thank you for pushing back.” That’s one lesson that I want to teach people. Take control over your health and get second opinions.

I have a whole group of people, I have Eastern medicine doctors, alternative medicine doctors, nutritionists, other pharmacists and psychiatrists that are my friends and family that could give me more information than just the doctors that I have. You asked about a certain group that I’m speaking to. I’m really happy and honored that you’d asked me for your show because you speak to Asian women and probably a lot of Asian men too, Asians read your blog. There’s a cultural piece that I want to speak to and it may be different. We’re all different and maybe me being the fourth generation is also different than being different generations but I still feel that there are some underlying cultural things that get tricky in American culture. Things I feel like biting my tongue and about not rocking the boat, that we’re “the model minority” that I feel this has contributed to my cancer.

When I was living in Japan, all that stuff worked because that’s the culture. We live in a collective society that I don’t have to say, “I did this.” Somebody else is going to say, “You did this thing. Thank you.” I don’t have to be the one promoting myself. I don’t always have to look out for myself that in a collective society, people are always asking, “How are you doing?” Everybody’s looking out for everyone. Being an American, it’s individualistic culture and it’s different. If we don’t speak up, oftentimes we’re passed over or we don’t get what we want. I hear this a lot from my clients. They’re the ones doing all the work and somebody else is stealing their ideas or are the ones that are claiming, “I did this,” yet my clients were the ones who actually did the work.

The person who was higher up or talks better is the one who’s claiming the work. I feel like those are the things that cause anxiety, stress and frustration. When we don’t express that, that’s very harmful on a physical level. I believe speaking up and fighting for ourselves, getting that visibility, speaking our mind, in American culture, that’s what’s healthy and that’s what’s needed. By not expressing ourselves, we’re really hurting ourselves. It doesn’t work that way here. Maybe it might work within the Asian communities and within that Asian community because you’re still in that mindset but in a broader context that doesn’t. That’s part of some of the work that I’ve been doing myself and also with my clients about how to navigate this bicultural existence.

Let’s talk about fun stuff. Who gave you the idea of dressing up for chemotherapy treatment?

I came up with it. Chemo is such a harsh thing. I have a lot of fun clothes and I have a lot of fun costumes and the same thing with full expression. I’ve held back from wearing my fun clothes because how am I going to be received or some are going to be looking at me like, “That’s weird. Who is that guy?” I said, “This is an opportunity for me to have fun.” I thought every chemo that I do, I’m going to dress up as something. My philosophy has been I want to express a part of me. We all have different aspects of who we are and different parts of our personality. Sometimes I dressed up as a warrior. Another one I dressed up in a unicorn onesie and that was really fun and playful. It’s a way to make that day fun because I’m going into something that I know is helping me fight cancer but afterward I know I’m going to be for at least one to two days out of fatigue, not feeling good in my body or any other side effects.

It’s going in with the mentality of either this warrior spirit, this fun spirit or whatever my costume is trying to evoke in me like, “I’m good now and let’s approach it that way.” Even there’s been twice where I had to be real with myself where I set that rule of, “I’m going to dress up,” and twice I didn’t. The last few times because one I was feeling like a mess and a bigger principle of mine is to be authentic and to be loving myself. Instead of forcing myself to dress up as something, I’m going to dress up and be comfortable in being me and be pouty. It’s started out with something that was fun and then it was something about how do I attune to myself in that day and what’s going to help me get through this day?


How did that help you and your family members? Did it bring their mood up?

I definitely think so because it’s fun and usually, all the nurses and the staff get a kick out of it and now they know my face, they’re like, “Where was your bathrobe? You’re not wearing a bathrobe now.” I have people too that are also taking me to chemo and we’re talking about having costumes and dressing up together. It lifts everybody’s spirits up that we don’t always have to stay at this very serious cancer mode that we can just be like, “We’re going to have fun.”

How many more treatments do you have?

That’s up in the air. Cancer is very individual and I started a couple of months on chemo and immunotherapy. I’m on this clinical trial and I’ve been on it for two months and I got a CT scan. I won’t know the results. There are all these different factors that they’re looking at to see what my cancer is after a couple of months of chemo and immunotherapy and then they’re going to readjust. If there was a miracle, maybe it shows the cancer’s gone, then I’m done with chemo. Maybe it shows it advanced. We’ve got to retool the treatments or it’s slowing down or whatever. About every couple of months, they’re going to be doing a CT scan to check in and see where I’m at, how big the tumors are and what the tumors are doing. Are they shrinking or are they on a pause? Are they growing?

I won’t know but they do say around eight or nine months that after doing chemo, oftentimes they will give a break to the patient. There’s an accumulative effect that the chemo and all these medicines that had been in your body for so long have some side effects, too. Every round is a few weeks and the first round are chemo and immunotherapy. The second week is chemo, the third week is chemo and on the fourth week there’s a break. After a few months, they’d give a much longer break, whether it’s a month or a couple of months, I’m not sure. I’m not looking that far ahead yet but when we’d get to it, we’ll assess and see, “Do we continue going pass that or give myself a break?”

In the meantime, how would you live your life? Do you plan to?

The biggest change that I’ve had to make and it’s forced upon me is I have to live in the present moment. I can’t plan ahead. That’s been the hardest thing for me because I’m very ambitious and I’m very goal-oriented. As you said, “How many more treatments?” I would love to know that so then I know after this much, this is what I’m going to do. Even this interview, I want to do it. I needed to let you know the caveat that I might have to cancel the day of. Every day there might be a new side effect that comes up. Therefore, I have no energy, I’m laid out or I’m in pain and I don’t want to talk.

I might be able to plan a week in advance, but everybody that I planned something in advance, I have them all give me a caveat of check in with me in that morning and I’ll let you know whether we can go ahead and do that thing that we planned. If you’re coming to visit, know that I might only be able to see you for fifteen minutes. That might be my energy level, maybe 30, 45 and maybe an hour max. It’s teaching me about I’ve got to be present because that’s all I have and having faith, trusting that the universe has my back, that when I’m ready to work, things are going to show up.

My anxiety in trying to plan ahead and trying to figure that out isn’t going to help me. That’s actually a waste of time and energy. I don’t have a lot of energy. Things that I was able to do like I always used to multitask, be efficient and do ten things in a day and feel really good about it. I’ve got to look at my day and what’s the one central thing that I want to do and know that that might be the only thing that I can do now, like this interview. In a normal day, I’d plan, “I have you like my interview. I’m going to make these other client calls. I’m going to do some other sessions. I’m going to go and wash my dishes. I’m going to run some errands.” It’s like, “If I get through this interview, great,” and that’s all I can do. The rest of the day, I’m not counting on much, maybe I’ll crash. I have to lower my expectations on my capacity on what I can do.


Thank you for being here. Did you have any regret in your life?

Oddly, no. I feel very fortunate. Every decade that I’ve lived, I’ve lived it well. When I was in high school, I wanted to do all the high school things. When I was in college, I wanted to do all the college things. In my early twenties, I wanted to do all those things that people in their twenties do. When I’m done with that decade, I can look back and I could be nostalgic about it, but I don’t necessarily feel like I needed to do that again. I was in a fraternity in college. I partied hard and did all the fraternity thing. I look back at it and with fond memories, yet I would not go back and do those things again. I felt like I did it to my heart’s content.

In that way, I don’t have a lot of regrets. I have small regrets. I do remember that my grandmother, she was 100 years old and somebody in my family has said, “She might be passing in the next few days.” I was driving, I was tired and I could’ve stopped by where she was living and I remember, “I’m tired. I’d rather go home and relax.” In the next couple of days, she passed and I had seen her maybe a week or two before but that was maybe one specific regret that I didn’t see the opportunity there. I should have gone to be with her one last time.

What do you need now and in the near future? How can our audience support you?

I did a video on YouTube which talks about how to support me. I laid out four different things. Number one was I view my healing not just individual healing but communal healing. When people watch my videos, hear about my story or read my posts, if it has impacted you in a positive way and it started to change your life in a positive way, I love to hear that. That gives me fuel to get through some of these hard times to know that I can bear down, I can get through this grueling thing. I know that it’s just not my healing but it’s also your healing and to hear that ripple effect by sending me those comments, emailing me or putting a comment on a post or on YouTube.

The second thing was if somebody feels moved to support me financially, I have a GoFundMe campaign and you can put in my name to go find me and that helps me financially. As you can imagine, a ton of new medical expenses and all these different things that I need to maintain where I’m at. I’ve also put a pause on my practice. I have no income right now. My wife has to be the bread earner and the money is helping me give a more breathing room to focus on myself versus hurrying up to try to get back to work with clients, to have an income so that I can pay for rent and all this stuff.

The third thing is when people come to visit, sometimes little things that I really need help with like washing dishes, doing errands for me or going grocery shopping. Those simple things, those daily tasks that I would tell you, “I’d be so efficient in doing those things,” but I can’t and placing it on my wife, she works full-time, has her own stuff and she’s got to take care of my stuff, too. It’s hard. That’s what’s been nice, we’ve been creating a system where our friends and family that lived near us are doing that now, stepping in to take me to appointments, to do my laundry or to do the dishwashing and to cook dinners for us and bring them.

The newer viewers, what would be supportive for me is if you like my YouTube videos and like this show. Liking them, reposting them and sending them to friends because I want to get this message out. I feel like biting my tongue, about not rocking the boat that we’re “the model minority.” I feel this has contributed to my cancer. When I was living in Japan, all that stuff worked. That’s the culture. We live in a collective society that I don’t have to say, “I did this.” Somebody else is going to say, “Kirk, you did this thing. Thank you.” I don’t have to be the one promoting myself. I don’t always have to look out for myself that in a collective society people are always asking, “How are you doing?” Everybody’s looking out for everyone. Being an American, it’s an individualistic culture. It’s different.

If we don’t speak up, that often times we’re passed over. We don’t get what we want. I hear this a lot from my clients. They’re the ones doing all the work. Somebody else is stealing their ideas or are the ones that are claiming, “I did this.” My clients are the one who actually did the work. The person who is higher up, or talks better, I feel like it’s only going to happen by all the different people that are viewing this. I can only do so much myself but that will start to spread this message. I believe that as it starts to spread that’s also going to help support me and maybe new opportunities for how I might start to work in the future.

Thank you. I’m so grateful that you are here in this interview with us and I’m sending you healing power and healing prayer to win this thing. For our audience, you can follow Kirk’s progress on his YouTube channel. Until next time, live life loud. Thank you.


Links Mentioned:

Episode Quotes

"Cancer is my spirit animal, my teacher, and guide."

"I want to be a vessel for their unexpressed anger and sadness."

"Speaking up, speaking our mind, and being visible is healthy in American society."

"The biggest change that I'm forced to make is I have to live in the present moment."

"Take control over your health and get second opinions."

"The act of owning it and going to the people that were hurt and asking for forgiveness is a very healing thing for the whole culture."

About Kirk Akahoshi

Kirk Akahoshi is a licensed psychotherapist and executive life coach in San Francisco. He primarily works with men through one-on-one work, sacred circles, and wilderness retreats. He is ranked as one of the best coaches by Expert.com and also voted “Best of Yelp”.

Kirk is a California native and has worked in Japan for 3 years, New York for 4 years, and traveled to over 25 countries. He continues to study and deepen his personal and professional life in psychology, spirituality, and self-development work.

On March 21st, 2019, Kirk was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. For part of his healing journey, he has created a YouTube channel expressing his authenticity and the reality of battling cancer. You can watch his videos on Youtube by searching for Kirk Akahoshi.

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