It's with mixed emotions that I celebrate the 12th anniversary of my kicking colon cancer in the proverbial butt. That's because of the untimely deaths of two men that I admire greatly: Actor James Gandolfini and author/patriot Vince Flynn. Billy Joel says it best when he sings, "only the good die young!" One common thread between James and Vince is that they left their mark. They left legacies, which is a lot more than most can say we did!

James gave us the incomparable Tony Soprano and Vince gifted us with his fictional character Mitch Rapp ... my alter ego. Both of these enigmatic characters were men of passion, power, and violence. You can bet many fans lived their lives vicariously thru them.

No more escapades for them, or us, but they are never to be forgotten despite their lives being snuffed out. Their legacies will live on. And their deaths got me thinking as to how lucky I am.

Heart disease and prostate cancer are just a couple of widow makers. In most cases the cashing in of insurance policies can be put off simply by a process called screening. When's the last time you got screened for anything? And if you are saying never, why not, what are you afraid of? Screening saved my life 12 years ago ... simple as that. Just to get Janet, my wife of almost 20 years, off my back I got a colonoscopy. You know, that test you won't take because of the prep. Well, my scope tested positive and kept me from winding up on the wrong side of the grass. I'm sorta getting to like that test ... my last one detected my fathers shoe up there!

I also just got a cardiac screening but not by choice. My knee gave out and i'm getting it replaced and part of the procedure for any operation as you know is the pre-op. I got a stress test that I was absolutely positive that I would nail like a Dallas Cowboy returning a punt. However, it was my breath that got taken away as it tested positive according to the cardiologist. Clogged artery and a heart attack in my past, it read.

Wham, I was floored and darn near had a heart attack hearing the not-so-good news. Last week I got the old cath-up-the-groin treatment that showed that the stress test was a false positive: Heart perfect ... No history of heart attack. Geez. In the end all good though because at least I know it won't be my heart that might put me out for the count. Nor colon cancer.

Rest in peace James and Vincent. You will never be forgotten and your respective legacies will live on forever. You made an impact on the lives of so many that you may never realize. Only the good die young and you guys were great!