The Mechanics Of Inspiration

Started by Tonia, February 26, 2015
8 replies for this topic
Tonia

Member
558 Posts
Posted on
February 26, 2015
When Inspiration Knocks

Most cancer patients hear this, at one time or another: "You're such an inspiration to me!" It's meant with real heartfelt sincerity and may make you feel flattered, humbled or unworthy. The thing is, you didn't ask to be an inspiration. It was done to you.

By now, I think my readers have figured out I'm the guy more likely to say what people are thinking, rather than what they might eventually say. So here's Lesson Number One in Kevin Blunt Talk, "How to be an inspiration."

Step 1 - have something horrible happen to you
Step 2 - don't die right away
Step 3 - don't suck at living through it afterwards

That's it! Steps 1& 2 aren't your choice. The cancer comes, the heart fails, the house floods. Done. Now, though, you have a choice.

Clergy and medical professionals will tell you they can predict a person's long-term success pretty well with one early indicator: are they talking about it? Some people, reserved, shy, embarrassed, or self reliant, don't want the attention that comes with a major illness or family trauma. These are the folks who quietly go about their lives, sometimes seeming fine, but often with a much reduced quality of life, and even possibly, worse medical care.

Others, who seek out clergy, counselors, support groups or online information soon find themselves receiving helpful tips, sources for better care, and may live a better quality of life with their disease than they had before. For some, this outspoken approach is part of their nature. For others, like me, not so much. It took a direct Call from God (I claim He bludgeoned me, He says I listened. Either way, a shy nerd rocket engineer now has two international blogs, several books and talks to people about their feelings. You be the judge!).

However it happens, through friends, co workers and neighbors you'll be introduced into a new circle. These are a combination of cancer people, people who know people who had your cancer, and those that want to help you. It's tough to accept help. Having someone do something you used to feels like defeat. Human beings have an innate desire to help others, and feel good when allowed to do so. Letting people help you is, oddly enough, one step to being an Inspiration. The second is speaking out. For me, this happens like this: About once every three weeks, for the last eight years, I'm approached by someone. "My husband just was diagnosed with XYZ cancer. Do you have any advice for him?" And so a conversation starts. Often, I help some and we kind of drift along staying loosely in touch. Many times, I have no idea what happens. Two times, though, these people have become MY inspirations.

Let me introduce you to Super Caleb and Dave Graham.

Super Caleb is a three-year-old neighbor, who was diagnosed in March of 2014 with rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of sarcoma. Sarcoma is cancer of soft tissue (such as muscle), connective tissue (such as tendon or cartilage), or bone. Caleb had a 12 cm tumor removed from his abdomen along with discovery and removal of other abdominal satellite tumors. He was diagnosed with stage 4, group 4 rhabdomyosarcoma and is almost done with a 54 week intense chemotherapy and radiation treatment plan. His two brothers, his parents, grandparents, their schools, and co-workers have rallied behind this gutsy little boy. He's become a rock star with local sports teams, firefighters, businesses, and across the internet. Jesus tells us to approach life with a "child like wonder." Caleb has taught me how to do the same with cancer. Most kids with cancer just break your heart. They don't understand what's happening to them, and we all feel sad for them. Caleb, somehow, is the super hero of cancer kids. He just charges through his treatments, often sick or miserable, but with a spirit that can't be broken. I encourage you to visit his Facebook page.

Here's a picture of Caleb and his Dad, between hospital stays, at his benefit 5K I was privileged to run in.




























My second inspiration during this relapse and transplant is a friend I never met, Dave Graham. The internet allows unique friendships. I "met" Dave as one of my writers, for the Combat Robot section I edit for Servo Magazine. Right after he started writing for me, he came down with lung cancer. I started off mentoring him in how to live with cancer. He wound up mentoring me in how to die from it, if I ever have to. As the relationship changed, we could talk (via email) in a way no other two men could. The in your face reality of one maybe living, one probably dying, brings a frankness that little else can. Dave died in March 2014, after doing cancer (and death) right. Well lived, well planned, well performed, well ended. I have every one of his emails, and they, along with my personal blog, Taking Vienna, are becoming the sequel, Taking Vienna Again.

The down side of being an inspiration, is that sometimes, well, you aren't. You fail to give good advice, you are cranky to someone who was expecting niceness, you disappoint yourself when you don't follow through with a contact, and sometimes, people die, like my friend Dave did.

Nobody ever said cancer was easy. But if we open up and help each other, we can make it just a little bit better.



Report

Page 1 of 1 1

Anonymous

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
February 26, 2015
When Inspiration Knocks

Most cancer patients hear this, at one time or another: "You're such an inspiration to me!" It's meant with real heartfelt sincerity and may make you feel flattered, humbled or unworthy. The thing is, you didn't ask to be an inspiration. It was done to you.

By now, I think my readers have figured out I'm the guy more likely to say what people are thinking, rather than what they might eventually say. So here's Lesson Number One in Kevin Blunt Talk, "How to be an inspiration."

Step 1 - have something horrible happen to you
Step 2 - don't die right away
Step 3 - don't suck at living through it afterwards

That's it! Steps 1& 2 aren't your choice. The cancer comes, the heart fails, the house floods. Done. Now, though, you have a choice.

Clergy and medical professionals will tell you they can predict a person's long-term success pretty well with one early indicator: are they talking about it? Some people, reserved, shy, embarrassed, or self reliant, don't want the attention that comes with a major illness or family trauma. These are the folks who quietly go about their lives, sometimes seeming fine, but often with a much reduced quality of life, and even possibly, worse medical care.

Others, who seek out clergy, counselors, support groups or online information soon find themselves receiving helpful tips, sources for better care, and may live a better quality of life with their disease than they had before. For some, this outspoken approach is part of their nature. For others, like me, not so much. It took a direct Call from God (I claim He bludgeoned me, He says I listened. Either way, a shy nerd rocket engineer now has two international blogs, several books and talks to people about their feelings. You be the judge!).

However it happens, through friends, co workers and neighbors you'll be introduced into a new circle. These are a combination of cancer people, people who know people who had your cancer, and those that want to help you. It's tough to accept help. Having someone do something you used to feels like defeat. Human beings have an innate desire to help others, and feel good when allowed to do so. Letting people help you is, oddly enough, one step to being an Inspiration. The second is speaking out. For me, this happens like this: About once every three weeks, for the last eight years, I'm approached by someone. "My husband just was diagnosed with XYZ cancer. Do you have any advice for him?" And so a conversation starts. Often, I help some and we kind of drift along staying loosely in touch. Many times, I have no idea what happens. Two times, though, these people have become MY inspirations.

Let me introduce you to Super Caleb and Dave Graham.

Super Caleb is a three-year-old neighbor, who was diagnosed in March of 2014 with rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of sarcoma. Sarcoma is cancer of soft tissue (such as muscle), connective tissue (such as tendon or cartilage), or bone. Caleb had a 12 cm tumor removed from his abdomen along with discovery and removal of other abdominal satellite tumors. He was diagnosed with stage 4, group 4 rhabdomyosarcoma and is almost done with a 54 week intense chemotherapy and radiation treatment plan. His two brothers, his parents, grandparents, their schools, and co-workers have rallied behind this gutsy little boy. He's become a rock star with local sports teams, firefighters, businesses, and across the internet. Jesus tells us to approach life with a "child like wonder." Caleb has taught me how to do the same with cancer. Most kids with cancer just break your heart. They don't understand what's happening to them, and we all feel sad for them. Caleb, somehow, is the super hero of cancer kids. He just charges through his treatments, often sick or miserable, but with a spirit that can't be broken. I encourage you to visit his Facebook page.

Here's a picture of Caleb and his Dad, between hospital stays, at his benefit 5K I was privileged to run in.




























My second inspiration during this relapse and transplant is a friend I never met, Dave Graham. The internet allows unique friendships. I "met" Dave as one of my writers, for the Combat Robot section I edit for Servo Magazine. Right after he started writing for me, he came down with lung cancer. I started off mentoring him in how to live with cancer. He wound up mentoring me in how to die from it, if I ever have to. As the relationship changed, we could talk (via email) in a way no other two men could. The in your face reality of one maybe living, one probably dying, brings a frankness that little else can. Dave died in March 2014, after doing cancer (and death) right. Well lived, well planned, well performed, well ended. I have every one of his emails, and they, along with my personal blog, Taking Vienna, are becoming the sequel, Taking Vienna Again.

The down side of being an inspiration, is that sometimes, well, you aren't. You fail to give good advice, you are cranky to someone who was expecting niceness, you disappoint yourself when you don't follow through with a contact, and sometimes, people die, like my friend Dave did.

Nobody ever said cancer was easy. But if we open up and help each other, we can make it just a little bit better.



Report
Anonymous

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
February 27, 2015
Kevin, you can do this! Try taking one minute at a time then thank the good Lord and ask for one more. Looking back, this technique helped me get through these hard times. Also I had a very very soft blanket that I used daily and just the simple act of touching it, relaxed me and made me feel better for those minutes (I know it's kind of child-like and silly, but at times I felt reduced to a little girl.) Also we were allowed to decorate our rooms any way we wanted, so I got neon colored paper and wrote positive affirmations (I am whole, healed and healthy) and short Bible verses on them. Repeating them changed my mindset. Keeping you in my prayers.
Report
Anonymous

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
March 04, 2015
Kevin, I to was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma in 2005 and underwent surgery to remove my spleen. I received many rounds of in patient chemotherapy. I had a few scraps with death but with faith,friends prayers and my wife's care. I made it to remission 9 months later in 2006. Taste revealed my oldest brother was a match. So, on January of 2007 I received his stem cells. Then I had to rent an apartment for 4 months in Tampa so I could be close for twice a day Ivs which I am sure you know this protocol. Afterwards, I was in remission for7 god given years. Then in May of last year I relapsed. More chemotherapy,radiation and oral chemotherapy (Imbruvica). This drug specifically for the treatment of mantle cell lymphoma was approved by the FDA in February 2014. So, I was among the first to get this drug. I am now cancer free as of fall of last year. Have been advised of this drug? Please, let me know how your are doing from time to time. God be with you and we will be pulling for you. Let me know if I can help in any way.
Report
Anonymous

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
March 05, 2015
Kevin Thank you for the blog and the opportunity to speak out about cancer. A few years ago I read a good book that I think was called 50 things to do when you got cancer. One of the first things to do is to find a support group and start talking to the survivors. In 2010 I was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer. As you begin the cancer experience it consumes your life for several years. Naturally you want and need to talk about your feeling and experiences. Some of your family, friends and business associates might not be as comfortable talking about cancer as you are. In fact some of them are going to treat you like cancer is contagious and you may not like the way that makes you feel. Also this condition will consume your personal support group because you will not be able to cope alone. Finding help to share the burden is important for you and your care givers. In my experience other cancer survivors are non-judgemental and speaking with them has little risk for me. They have been there and might be able to help me with something I am going through or perhaps I can help someone else just starting the journey. Either way I find it therapeutic. One of the best things I did was find a great local support group where I could talk about cancer. This helps me keep some of the burden off my wife who was my primary care giver through the experience. My local support group is Healing Pathways Cancer Resourse Center in Rockford, IL and I thank them for being there when I needed them. I am certain they will help many others in the future. If cancer has entered your life in any way it helps to someone to talk with about what you are feeling and experiencing.
Report
Anonymous

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
March 05, 2015
Living with cancer was one thing, living with advanced cancer is SOMETHING ELSE! February,2002 I felt a lump and said "Ut OH, I know what this is" My mastectomy was done in Split Croatia, with chemo in Mostar, BiH, then radiation in Split. Then in March,2005, a wonderful doctor arranged a Bone Scan which showed 5 tumors on my spine & 2 on my hip. Radiation took care of these. After 101/2 years I was returning to the USA, excited to get back in the grove. A bone scan to verify I had a degenerative disk also showed more cancer in the bones. The Oncology found it had spread to the lungs. SO this started a whole different way of life, Now, 3 years of chemo and some other drugs it has spread to the liver. The best part is fining an Advanced Breast Cancer Group, also being in touch a friends in Australia, England and Ireland who are all dealing with cancer. You are so right. There is nothing like helping each other, saying what is on your mind to each other, etc. I always thought I would never do anything if I got caner and I sure would not talk about it al all. Reality is I have not stopped talking about it. Happily I have a support group pf friend who have all known each other since the mid 1970s. The silence about living with Stage 4 Cancer is deafening. Please keep writing articles like this, where we can find them. Cancer opened many doors for me in Bosnia, to doing old fashion Social Work. Seeing the look of a 15 year old boy when I share, in 2005, that my cancer was back, as his had, was such a gift for both of us. By the Grace of God I have no pain with the cancer, YET. What a journey. What a treasure to share with each other. Janet Leff, Cleveland
Report
Anonymous

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
March 05, 2015
Thank you for this article. You see, David Graham was my dear husband of 35 years. He is missed every day. Thank you again for remembering him in such a positive way. David brought so much positive things to so many while he was here on earth.
Report
Anonymous

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
March 06, 2015
A couple years ago, I went through breast cancer, surgery, chemo, radiation....the works. At the same time, my sister's niece who was 16, was going thru treatments for Ewing's sarcoma; her grand-daughter was battling brain cancer, and one my friends was also going thru breast cancer. We spoke often, shared our stories, and inspired each other to "not give up". Sadly, my sister's niece passed away. I felt terribly sad for her and her family, whom I barely knew. My sister, in the mean time, kept encouraging me, telling me how strong I was, and reminding me to keep that fight on. Little did we know, that just a year later, it would be me doing the same for her, as she discovered she had metastasized colon cancer, which spread to her liver. She too, put up a good fight, but in December, the Lord took her home. The rest of us are still here, still battling cancer, and so far, winning! I don't know how we all would've fared, had we tried to "go it alone"...I just know that the inspiration we all gained from each other was priceless, and it was a powerful reminder that we are not alone, and even when we think things are bad, there's always some else out there who understands. Thanks for the article, and keep up the fight! Prayers to you!
Report
Anonymous

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
March 07, 2015
Lori, thanks. I had a near collapse last week, and took until a few days ago to bounce back. Now, I'm at that "only miserable" stage we know so well. And I've been in here a month! Time is ticking away. James, thanks for sharing. I went a different direction. After an auto transplant in 2006, I relapsed in 2012. Despite multiple approaches, only achieved partial response. I was in on the early Imbruvica usage, started in Dec 2013. Went immediately into remission. I took it for 14 months, very stable as I came into transplant. Literally a miracle drug. Steve, my problem with talking to family and friends is that it always left them sad or guilty. I used my blog, and facebook, and connected with people that way. Janet, my loving and outspoken sister in law once told me: "whats the point of having cancer if you can't play the cancer card." I use it for good, not evil, but sure can change the dynamic of one of those conversations where folks don't think there's any hope. Barbara, Dave Did It Right. I can think of no higher compliment. Sarah, as we've all said, support makes the difference
Report
Anonymous

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
March 11, 2015
After diagnosis with Carcinoid cancer 4 years ago, I found that I had to talk about. I began writing a blog about both having Carcinoid and also about my musical hobby. Since this cancer is misunderstood by even the professionals, I try to do some education while talking about it. As you said, I regularly get thanks from people.
Report

Page 1 of 1 1

You must log in to use this feature, please click here to login.
×

Sign In

Not a member? Sign up now!