“I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’.” Andy Dufresne uttered these words in a pivotal scene from the movie Shawshank Redemption, and it came back to me today as I contemplated the news I just received. I’ve invested a lot in “gettin’ busy living” over the past 2 years… achieving many new goals in my life. It rose to a new level when I learned that my brother Jeff was fighting Multiple Myeloma.
You faithful readers know that I took on my first marathon to raise money for research. I picked a marathon because I knew it would be hard. I wanted to push the envelope of what I was capable of… and to show Jeff that I was willing to do anything to help him. (He also enjoys being a running coach and Lord knows I needed one.) It was an investment of my time, physical effort and emotion that culminated in crossing the finish line with over $4000 raised for MMRF. (Thank you again to all who gave.)
I have eagerly awaited Jeff’s day of triumph too – when the doctors would say “the chemo and stem cell transplant worked and you are in full remission!” Unfortunately, that was not the news I got today. His overall blood numbers look good but there are couple of spots on his vertebrae that need a closer look. He needs further testing and further treatment to beat it completely.
Honestly, I had prepared two different speeches in my mind for the phone call. The first one was easy. It was all about “Woohoo, let’s celebrate!” The second one was much harder. Basically, I offered, “OK, that’s round 1, and you looked pretty good. Now let’s get back in there for round 2. When you look back you’ll see a lot of friends and family still in your corner.”
Is there any other choice than to fight? Jeff is a fighter, which is good because giving up is not really an option in this challenge. I have drawn strength from watching him take on the challenge with remarkable composure.
I have also experienced quiet moments when I thought about my remaining time here on earth and wondered if I was making the best of it. This experience has awakened me to the truth that every day really does count.
To paraphrase the words of Rick Warren, “If you’re not pushing forward and striving to give yourself to help others, you’re not really living. You’re just existing.” I sincerely believe I have more to give and that I can do more with each day I’ve got. How about you?
Let’s get busy livin’.
NOTE: With Jeff’s blessing, I continue to make this story public as a means of creating awareness for MMRF and offering a donation channel for finding a cure.