We’re surrounded by uncertainty. It’s a destabilizing force that keeps us on alert, keeps us focused and keeps us from becoming lazily complacent. In a way, it’s a good thing. The trick is to NOT let it devolve from destabilizing to debilitating…. to NOT let it paralyze us with fear. I think I just learned the key to doing this from my brother Jeff.
Wednesday was the scheduled big day, when we would find out if his second round of treatment wiped out the Multiple Myeloma or not. On Tuesday evening, Jeff published these comments on his Caring Bridge website:
This will be short because I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to say on the 25th. I will get the results of my restaging tests and receive my official report card on my cancer status. It will be exactly one year since I received my official diagnosis on this same Wednesday in May, in Dr. Singhal’s office on the 21st floor of Lurie Cancer Center. Mo and I refer to it as “Club 21.” It softens the feel of this deadly serious facility where so many cancer patients come from all over the world to seek treatment, hope, and guidance.
I don’t know what the results will be, even though I feel so good and my strength is returning so noticeably. But here’s what I do know:
- I do know that I am alive today because of the treatments and protocol that I received at this amazing facility.
- I do know that softball saved my life. Not playing in that game on April 26th, and not getting hurt would have postponed my tests that lead to my diagnosis at a critical point. In a best case scenario I would have had kidney failure and lived on dialysis the rest of my life.
- I do know that I couldn’t have lived this last year, the way that I have, without the volume of support, prayer, and love from all of you.
- I do knowthat I have the best wife/ best friend in the world, in Ramona!
These things I know! The news I receive on Wednesday will be another sign post on my journey. It would be real nice if it was a “keep on truckin” sign with no more hospital rest stops! If not, I’ll deal with the news like we did last year; methodically, focused, determined and with passion to overcome.
Bless you all! Jeff & Ramona
So what’s the actual news from Wednesday? He had a good, but partial, response to the second stem cell transplant. Jeff has only 10% of the disease compared to this time last year, and there is still a little way to go for complete remission. His numbers are good but the doctor wants them perfect, which will mean more treatments.
What inspires me the most about Jeff’s list of blessings above is that he lists what he knows for sure, and doesn’t dwell on uncertainty. He may not yet have the final victory he wants, but he has victory in progress.
The “passion to overcome” is essential when you’re going round after round in a fight with no set number of rounds. Keep this truth close to your heart as you take on this uncertain world we live in… you may not win every round, but you must keep your fighting spirit.
David, as a colleague of yours and friend, wanted to state that I am truly inspired by your blog. I started reading them last year and now look forward to each and every one. I even read them aloud to my wife and two children aged 14 & 11. The topics are powerful, provoking, emotional and motivational. I thank you and also bless you and your entire family. Godspeed to Jeff as he continues his fight for a cancer free body!
George this comment humbles me more than any other today… I’m honored and hope that your kids are getting some benefit. This is why I write.
Dave, that is so well said!
I have admired how Jeff and Mo have handled the knowledge and treatment of this horrible disease from the beginning.
I have no doubt that they will continue to deal with it with the same determined, positive approach that they have for this whole last year.
We will continue to pray for full remission.
Love, Aunt Marge
I think the prayers are working Aunt Marge. Progress is progress!
This acronym is from Alan Osmond who has suffered with Multiple Sclerosis for the last two decades. His son was bitten by a mosquito that had West Nile and his son’s autoimmune system kicked in and he got M.S. and ended up paralyzed in a wheelchair and is finally able to walk again. From deaf family members, to a brother with a brain tumor who recovered from brain cancer, family suicide and more… they’ve all been through everything in the book. And they’ve endured to the end.
His son has carried on the theory that it doesn’t matter if it is multiple sclerosis, cancer, financial issues, addiction, depression… pain will come to all of us BUT SUFFERING IS OPTIONAL.
This “ideal statement” helped me through my Dad’s cancer, my mother’s 26 year battle with Alzheimer’s and breast cancer, my own cancer battle and the death of more than twenty-something family members and friends.
SUFFERING IS OPTIONAL.
We need to look at life in all its glory and beauty for what it is.
This attitude of gratitude for LIFE BLESSINGS is indeed the ultimate life lesson we’ve been talking about in the past few blogs. Cup runneth over… not half full, not empty… it runneth over.
Because in the end… all there is, is TODAY. All there is is LOVE. All there is, is HOPE. That’s all that matters. We need to make the most of what we do know, and what we have. For without that, there is no purpose or point.
Your brother Jeff is doing just that.
Blessings to you and your family, David.
Thank you Stacey! You are adding so much to the conversation here and I know it is making a difference to readers (I heard so:)
“Suffering is optional” is a powerful concept!
David, as always thanks for sharing.
To have someone such as your brother Jeff demonstrate the ability to focus on the positives and even manage to find things to be grateful for in a seemingly unknown and challenging situation, not only speaks, but shows volumes.
It gives us a huge kick in the pants to realize we are all have much to be thankful for even if we might be jobless, worried about job security, going through relationship problems, or whatever current life challenge.
I’m happy to hear of Jeff’s improvement which I am sure is only progress to the more perfect health to come.
Thanks Mike. Perspective can be a powerful motivator!
Hi, David. As long as I can remember, you have always been a positive thinker. This strength must run in your family as we examine how your brother has handled his life. Your family sets the bar quite high when it comes to striving for improvement.
The message I derive from your post today is that we focus more when challenged… that is, if we don’t give up. For me, as challenging as life can be, giving up is not an option.
What is so clear is that if we are not challenged by the kind of issues that your brother has we tend to relax. If we do that, there is less accomplished, both in the real 3d world, and spiritually. These challenges give us an opportunity to “go deep” into ourselves, and connect to our Universe in a different fashion, which inevitably generates new information, new experiences, and new actions… and of course, NEW RESULTS.
My challenge for today, in lieu of your enlightening post is to not take life for granted, live in the now, and continue to take the lesser challenges before me with the same vigor and focus that you and your brother do in life. Maybe in this way, I can still reach deep, get more out of life today, and accomplish greater enlightenment.
Thanks for the spiritual boost.
Thanks for reading and responding Roland! You are enriching lives by joining this conversatoin. BTW, you and Stacey need to get your own talk show 🙂
David, thanks for sharing your thoughts.
We should be thankful to what we have and keep striving for better health, wealth and happiness for ALL.
Glad to hear things are improving, if not 100 percent. Continued prayers for you and your family.
Thanks for sharing, David!