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Telling their stories
Alan Gurvey’s life changed forever after a three-week
period in 2011.
I played softball that night, got home, and started
experiencing some incredible pain. I’m pretty good
at pain—I was an athlete and played football, so my
tolerance is pretty good—but this was overwhelming.
It became so excruciating I went to my neighbor, DJ
Ashba, who was in Guns N’ Roses, and he and his
buddy called an ambulance. I got to the hospital expecting a diagnosis of kidney stones. They put me on
pain medication right away. This was about midnight.
They called a urologist friend of mine who lives in
I was going to have surgery on Monday, and
Santa Barbara, and he came down. I was like, “Why
is he here for a kidney stone?” They said, “Well, we
did an MRI and CAT scan and it looks like you have a
tumor on your kidney the size of a softball.”
I was not in any condition to have surgery done;
they said I was too weak because I had lost so
much blood. They did a number of small surgical
procedures, including four blood transfusions, to
get me healthy enough, but they were leery about
my prognosis. My family came in from Canada.
the Friday before they took an MRI. On Sunday
the doctor called me and said, “I have bad news.
LAW FIRM OF ROWEN,
GURVEY & WIN
Alan Gurvey was given a second chance, and it’s been carpe diem ever since
AS TOLD TO TREVOR KUPFER
It looks like everything has spread. We see spots
everywhere in your upper torso.” The next day I was
scheduled for surgery. I got up early and was walk-
ing around with all of my IVs, listening to music to
get pumped up, and convincing myself that ev-
erything was going to be OK. I remember hearing
“Wake Me Up When September Ends” by Green
Day, and this was Sept. 19, and I just wanted to be
asleep for those 11 days. I was doing every trick I
could to get myself in the right frame of mind.
In the meantime I decided to ask my girlfriend to
marry me. I had a ring made, and my office man-
ager brought it to the hospital. The surgery was at
11 o’clock, so at 10: 15 I got off the gurney—I was all
hooked up—and got on one knee and proposed. Ev-
eryone jokes and says, “Of course she said yes. Who’s
gonna say no to the guy about to go into surgery?”
The surgeon was running late, so they held
off [anesthesia] a little. A half-hour later, he ran
in—he was literally running—and said, “Stop! Don’t
put that man under!” Everyone is like, “What?!”
He says, “Over the weekend, I went to another
radiologist—something didn’t add up—and I
wanted her to review the films. And she’s saying
it’s not a tumor; it’s a hematoma—a massive ball
Alan’s Excellent Adventures
“I’ve had some crazy experiences in South America, Morocco,
the Middle East and India. In Africa, I met this couple and they
said, ‘You have to come to Mumbai to see us.’ I did. When we
traveled around, they had a driver, all the people welcomed
them, and they never paid for anything. I’m like, ‘Who are
these people?’ I went to see where they worked, and the
building said Dalal on it and the street was Dalal Street. I said
to the wife, ‘Why is everything Dalal—isn’t that your name?’
She said, ‘Yes, Sushil’s father started the stock exchange in
India.’ Wall Street in America is Dalal Street in India. They
were Janists, which is a religion that is non-materialistic.
You’d never know their wealth.”
– Alan Gurvey
Gurvey attains nirvana at a Buddhist monastery in Tibet, May 2010.