A Fort Worth man fighting cancer is choosing to help himself by bringing joy to others.
"When someone looks you in the face and tells you you have cancer, suddenly, you're thinking about life in different ways than you ever have before. At least that's how it was for me," said Dustin Aguilar of Fort Worth. "In a matter of a day, I went from being a young, healthy guy with a big mop of hair to literally being the sickest person I know."
Aguilar has plenty of pictures showing that big mop of hair before doctors found cancer in his colon back in September, and before the chemo that took his hair that now wrecks his body.
"Right now, I'm on round four of 12 and each round is really miserable. It's just hard. And I feel like, in some ways, this is the worst thing I've ever gone through. And in some ways, I'm in one of the best places I've ever been in," Aguilar said.
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That perspective, he says, came the first night after his diagnosis as he sat in his hospital bed.
"So, when cancer came along and tried to steal my identity, I discovered that my identity was not there to be stolen. My identity wasn't in being a young healthy guy. My identity wasn't in having hair," he said. "I sort of realized my identity was sort of like a locked box with God, and it wasn't able to be taken, it wasn't able to be threatened," he said.
Aguilar moved past doubts to finally release a book he'd written years ago. A month after he learned he had adenocarcinoma in his colon, he showed off his first copy to followers on social media on the day he turned 37.
"I was too afraid to release it in 2017 when it was ready until I got that cancer diagnosis. Suddenly, I could see my life differently and life's too short to release a book that I essentially worked on for 12 years," he smiled.
Then a month later came the dance video that's been liked and shared over and over. The video shows Aguilar in defiance of what his body showed even as the chemo seeped into his veins.
"I just thought, 'you know what, right when they hook me up, I still feel okay, I still feel good. Wouldn't it be cool to do a dance video hooked up to the chemo stuff?'" Aguilar smiled. "I had a GoPro, so I set it up. That's how I got the feet and everything. I danced a couple of times and when I came out, the nurse was like, okay, I was wondering where you were!"
The youth pastor, husband and father did the video for those who love and worry about him but it was also good medicine for him.
"Doing something for the people in my life is really, really helpful right now," he said.
It's also really helpful to lean into faith, one of the best places he knows.
"For some reason, there's stuff we can only learn about God when we're going through something really hard. So the something good I would point to is that God is good even with things are hard," he said choking up. "There's certain things you get when you go through something hard if you're willing to not curse God. And if instead, you're willing to go through it with Him, He will do amazing things."
Aguilar also raps updates on his social media pages to keep others in the know and to stoke his creativity.