But that didn't mean he was ready to quit life. No, he was just getting started.
"With the advent of the Internet, I always thought that it was the perfect medium to share fine art with people," he said. "As I was exploring my limited options for things I was physically capable of doing after my treatments for throat cancer, I kept coming back to this idea of fine art marketing and sales over the Internet."
With that, Siedlecki started theartgallerist.com, a website dedicated to helping fine artists succeed in the long term.
A jury of art professionals selects the pieces for Brian Siedlecki's theartgallerist.com to assure the artists that their work will only be exhibited alongside their peers.
"Our concept is simply to provide our customers with a fine-art-gallery experience online, while providing 'gallerist' services to the artists we represent."
The online gallery is separated into student, emerging and professional art exhibits. Siedlecki does this to make it easier for visitors find artwork in their price range and to assure the artists that their work will only be exhibited alongside their peers.
According to Siedlecki, all artist participants must apply and pass a jury process before they can be accepted to show their work.
"We don't think it is necessary or helpful to our customers to show them the work of as many artists as we can," he explained. "Our jury is comprised of a group of art professionals who are commonly interested in maintaining the quality of the original fine art, limited-edition fine art prints, and photographs we sell from our exhibits. Simply put, we are looking to make accessible to our customers only the most talented artists we can find in a variety of mediums."
Although it hasn't been easy for Siedlecki, he's a believer in the old saying, "When God gives you lemons, make lemonade."
"It would have been so much easier if I had just given up, but through TheArtGallerist.com, I have found a new purpose in life."
To be honest, he did have some time to prepare, as he had been diagnosed with cancer twice before: first as an infant.
"I only remember what my mother told me she had to do with me and what a miracle my survival was at the time," he said. "My skin had turned brown, the color of mahogany, from the massive doses of radiation I received. My survival was written about in the medical journals."
The second time came when during Siedlecki's freshman year in college.
In retrospect, Siedlecki says it was almost inevitable that he'd come down with cancer a third time.
This time, the cure has come at a great physical cost.
Doctors have given Siedlecki what is technically called a head and neck dissection and resection. That means that the right side of his face, including my right jaw and neck (the area and lymph nodes surrounding the cancer) was surgically removed, and rebuilt using one of his ribs and latissimus dorsi muscles.
"It sounds terrible, and it was, but the cosmetic results are incredibly good," he said. "I now also have limited use of my right arm due to a damaged nerve, and limited movement of my tongue that causes my speech to be a little thick."
Now that he has mastered basic human survival, the challenges of running a business seem small by comparison.
"The biggest challenges for any new business are time and money," he said. "It takes a lot of both to build and support a business until it can sustain itself. Never knowing how much time I had left to live, I've always done everything with a sense of urgency that few understand."
Siedlecki is trying to get the word out about his gallery, and while the economy isn't helping, he does have faith that the quality of the art he sells will find an audience.
"There are still a lot of people out there with money. As one of our artists put it, 'The sofa will last a few years; the artwork you buy will last a life time.'"
But for every challenge Siedlecki faces, both personally and professionally, there is an experience that makes it all worth it.
"The most gratifying experience, however, happened a couple of months ago," he said. "When we first started the business, many told me that fine art would never be purchased online because of the high price points.
"I think the most gratifying experience to date with TheArtGallerist.com has to be the first five-figure sale we made, proving all those that said it couldn't be done wrong."