I've been worrying about you, since I haven't seen you posting lately. What's up buddy? Is everything okay? Are you just taking a break?
Hoping you just need a break
Hope you are doing well and just trying to figure out with Dr. Phil how to publish that wonderful book you have there. Miss you on the boards.
Where are you Craig. We miss you and are concerned.
I am concerned, too. We miss you and your posts. Hope all is well and you are just taking a break. But I have a feeling.... We care.
I expect Craig will be in to give his own update, but as of recent communication he was doing ok except for some vertigo which gets him now and then.
Not to worry...Craig WILL return!
Marie who loves kitties
Hoping the best for you!
i am glad to see that you on here! i hope you are doing ok.
Just learning how to breathe all over again.
hope he checks in to say hi at some point!
El queso era viejo y mohoso ¿Dónde está el baño?
Please Craig, we do care......
What is happening.....
¿Dónde está el baño?
Anywhere you can find a Mickey D's:)
Wow - first, thank you everybody, one and all for your concern about me...as always, you were right. It's so good to see some familiar faces this morning...
Much has been going on, Marjan...I logged in and saw a message from Marie to check in here...that was right after I checked my phone and saw a text from Cyn telling me the same thing.
Here I am...
I'll see if we can talk about some of this...gotta' pee first though!
Phil just got done asking me where the bathroom was:)
:-) So glad you responded ! I have only been here 4 months but start to get nervous at silence !
Love the question mark. Ok, now that's been a long pee, so start talking. LOL. So glad to see you posting and answering.
Luv you guy,
I hope everything is ok!
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your humanness and compassion towards me – I truly appreciate that. As most of you have figured out, I generally don’t have any problem with reaching out to others to try and help them…but in my time of need, I find that I can’t pull the trigger and ask for what I need.
Try as I might…I just can’t seem to do it…
It’s a character flaw of mine and ends up usually requiring one or more honey pies forming a posse to beat the bushes and round me up and head me back to the corral.
If anything, I’ve been blessed with that part of my life to have a few that look out for me when I wander astray…in many ways, I do wonder what would happen to me if someone chose to do nothing.
I wanted to point out that I understand that this board is for the sick – and when one gets well, or is perceived well, we write them off and move on to the next one – content in the fact that they will be ok, until cancer revisits them.
But, are we really OK?
Life After Cancer is still very difficult on many levels – even when the bullets have stopped whizzing past your head…I want to talk about this at a later time…
Physically, I am well as I know, the last scan showed no indications of any cancerous activity. I’ve had some nagging issues again with vertigo returning to my life and knocking the pegs right out from under me, literally.
The last 3 episodes have been some kind of wild ride…I even woke up with it one night about 4:30am (The Witching Hour) and when I opened my eyes, I just knew it wasn’t right…I was physically sick for the next 3-4 hours, utilizing every orifice known to man, along with profuse sweating, extreme nausea and so dizzy it hurt to open your eyes.
Those spells are horrendous – and to be perfectly honest, they scare me worse than cancer, because they can leave you completely debilitated and helpless in just a single blink of an eyelash – or a single heartbeat. You don’t know how you are going to get to the bathroom, much less home from work – or how scary it can get when it attacks you and you are behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.
These spells lead to depression, because of their uncertainty and their propensity to attack out of nowhere, leaving you crippled and vulnerable, until the spells subside…often times 8-12 hours after they attacked…and even when they are over, they leave you so physically drained, that it takes a full day to re-engage….makes sense with your head spinning and you tossing your guts…dehydration and electrolyte levels and all of that need to be replenished.
Of course, that’s only part of it…with me, there’s always more, isn’t there?
Let’s move on to the Emotional Sickness I’ve been experiencing…2nd Verse – Same as the First…but there have been new additions as well…
I’m in to my 10th straight month of living my dad’s life now…for those of that you that have been riding along with me when all of this started at the beginning of this year, you know some of the unbelievable stuff that my wife and I have been going through.
But, Dad is the gift that keeps on giving – the whole year ‘round:(
It wasn’t enough that we had to wrestle his estate out of predators and almost the state of Texas itself….no that would be too easy…
The hoarder house clean-up has been sheer Kryptonite to me…which is funny, because I caught a few minutes of Superman the other day…right at the exact scene, where Lex Luthur opens a box that contains Kryptonite in it…and immediately The Man of Steel began to wither from its effects.
And that’s exactly what is happening to me…
Dad’s passing has forced me to not only handle all of the legal and financial obligations that are required…but it has gone much deeper…down to an unimaginable depth that threatens to cut my very soul in half.
It might be a little easier and more bearable if the word Love were involved…but it’s not, because there is no feeling…I never even shed the tears of What Could Have Been – And What Should Have Been.
With all we’ve got going – and all that is yet to do…there’s never gonna’ be any tears shed either. With every hoarder object I sort through, Bitterness, Anger and Resentment take up residence inside my soul that threaten to unhinge the very fabric of my being – that which I’ve tried to become and be, so that I would not emotionally wither and die on the vine.
I’ve been forced to finally confront those demons head-on and it has been more than I can bear at times…a constant reminder of the tyranny and oppression I’m trying so desperately to try and free myself from after five decades of torment.
As I sit here, I have spent every vacation day that I have on him handling his $hit – most weekends or a part of them included – all year long…and still so many miles to go before I can rest…it just makes you want to give in and quit…no mas.
He’s laughing at me right now – mocking me from the grave!
He told me, “I’ll Make You Work for It.”
Real nice, dad…too bad I couldn’t grow up to be just like you…
After 34 years, I saw my half-brother for only the 2nd time in my life when Dad was in the final days of hospice care.
He told me that my other half-brother was dead – had died from a heart attack several years ago. They were dad’s sons from his first marriage. Apparently, my ½ tells me that dad grew angry when the other ½ was a toddler (1.5 yrs) and was crying, so he slammed him up against a wall and damages his hip.
He apparently roughed the first wife up on occasion….I know that anger as I was the lucky recipient one evening when I feared I would be beaten to death as a young boy.
And his neighbors have come forth telling me stories that just sadden me…he was not really a good neighbor either…lied to them and did everything he could to get out of any situation.
We found a letter from a neighbor (many moons back) asking if dad would cut back some trees and bushes as they were bleeding over into that neighbor’s yard….dad told her that his ex-wife “owned” that piece of property and that she had to ask her…
Know what’s ironic? We were cleaning out some of the garage the other day and this woman drove up to the house and stopped…turned out to be the neighbor that wrote that note…know what she asked me? If she could cut down part of the tree that was still in her yard.
Wanna’ hear another one?
How about the time I was in the hospital with my very first surgery…my mom had called my room and somehow someone handed the phone to my dad…guess what happened?
He told my mom, “I don’t know you.”
Yeah, he actually tried to pretend that it wasn’t him and that he did not know who was on the other end of the line…instead of saying, yes our son made it through surgery and is doing well.
What a guy!
But, it gets even better…this is the same man that told me that I was not “Worthy” to carry his last name…unbelievable! He told me to change my name to my mother’s name, because for him that was an insult and he associated that name with weakness.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been tempted to change my name. But you know what has stopped me?
It’s because I’m bound and determined to make the name Craig Harrison stand for something – and not something to be ashamed or embarrassed about. I’m fallible and all f’d up as a result of all the carnage I’ve endured, but at least there’s no mistaking who I am or what I stand for and what I hope to still become.
So, going through all of this stuff has been very hard on me…I’m too close to it…for all the obvious reasons - so many bad memories contained within those walls.
This reminds me of the time I visited Alcatraz on one of the few trips I’ve ever gotten to take…I can’t remember the guy’s name, but he was a prisoner of Alcatraz at one point – and this particular day, he was over on Alcatraz Island signing autographs for his book and talking about his experiences.
I boldly stepped up and asked him, “How can you come back here with the memories that you have?”
He told me something along the lines, that he was telling his story of how things were there at that time and that it was important to remember those times and not forget.
That’s sort of how I feel right now…I’m returning to the scene of the crime…I made a prison break mentally all those years ago…but as always in this Life – you can run – but you can never hide – not for long anyway.
The bill always comes due…
And now I’m payin’ for all of my father’s sins that he passed down to his son…and the quicker that I can get this house done and on the market, the quicker I can begin the healing process and bury all of the atrocities I’ve suffered along the way.
Dad wrecked a lot of lives – and he destroyed the lives of those that were supposed to be the closest to him…as the Captain said in the movie “Cool Hand Luke” circa 1967…
“That’s the way he wants it – well, he gets it…”
Now, I’ve just got to find mine…rest of the year cleaning up his house, it’s been unbelievable…25 bags of trash every week….over 200 so far, have lost count. I’ve got 9 cases of aerosols, solvents, and other chemicals that we’re gonna’ take to the hazardous plant that accepts those things.
Most of you know that my so-called family (except for Uncle Doug and my sister, Suzanne) have been nothing but a “Four-Letter” word to me all my life.
And true to form, they have yet to disappoint…
Here’s the latest from that loving family of mine…
When I did the Dr. Phil video, I told you, a couple of my remote friends and a few of the ‘family’ members about it.
Of course, nobody ever said one word about it…until…
My other uncle emails me back and says something like “ok, good.” But, he didn’t stop there, huh-uh…yep; they’re great support alright – whether it’s cancer or your dreams…
He goes on to tell me that God will not grant me my book project…because I have not reconciled with my mother.
I don’t have time in this post to tell you about her…except to say that if my dad was bad, then my mom is the worst…she literally sucks the life blood out of me and I had to walk away 6-years ago after a nasty exchange from her on how I was never there for her…it’s deeper than that, but that conversation broke this camel’s back.
Never there from helping her clean up her house for sale when her other husband died – and me with full blown cancer at that time….or the other time where dad’s current ex was substituting herself as Suzanne’s mom and was set to stand in for my mom at the execution of my sister’s killer…
The Lion slapped that down and that smug look off her face – and I got the district atty to make sure my mom (the real mother) was there to witness the execution…and I arranged to have the original news reporter there to cover the story.
But, I was never there…
Anybody ever watch “Everybody Loves Raymond?”…remember his mom?
There you go… bingo!
Anyway, my mom is poison – her venom rots the inside of your soul and her nastiness and spitefulness will destroy any good in you and turn you to the dark side…just like my dad, she takes delight in your misfortune. If she can’t have it, then she doesn’t want you to have it either….
I had to save myself…
The only good thing that came out that union was Suzanne…my precious sister…gone when I should have her here – I yearn for her…
If indeed there is a Heaven beyond this earthly world, I’m hoping for a temporary visitation pass, so that I can look back into those beautiful, hazel eyes that mirror mine and hold her in my arms one more time and tell her how she was the truest, purest thing in my life…and that I love her…
…and to also tell her I’m sorry I wasn’t a better brother, because I didn’t know how to be one and that I’m so sorry for how everything went down, because of our parent’s ignorance and arrogance…and then God can send me packin’…
You know, it’s strange…I can stare down cancer 3x, maybe even more…I can stare your cancer down too…but the emotional sickness I’m finally having to face has proven to be a more worthy adversary for me.
It’s amazing how strong we can be in some areas – and failing and faltering in others…
The key is always to know where those strengths and weaknesses reside…
Anyway, I’m a little upset obviously…and my uncle recently threw down that gauntlet at me…used my email of watch the video – to God is holding your dream hostage until you can reconcile.
Know what I told my uncle?
I said He doesn’t bargain and make deals…plus if His will is not for me to help others….then so be it…I’m finished….I’m gonna’ stop trying… not just the book, but all of it, life itself…what’s the point I told him.
This game of life is rigged for me…the fix is in…I’ve just been too stupid to get it…until recently.
He said we love you can care about your health…and I said, well, if that were the truth, then you wouldn’t be asking me to walk back into that snake pit, because you know it’s not healthy for me…and would kill me.
The night I wrote my mom out of my life, I was hyperventilating so bad, I thought I was going to have a stroke, I could see my heart heaving out of my chest…I was so angry, I ripped the phone out of the wall and I don’t know what else.
My mom is mental and won’t seek help…she can change personalities by literally walking from one room to the next…sad and pathetic, but I had to move on.
I know what they are trying to do…they want me to re-introduce me, so that they can all walk away now and be guilt free that I’m gonna’ clean up yet another nasty mess…mom has a hoarder place too…and you can’t work with her, because you can’t reason with her…she lives in her own world…which last I looked was about 1956 when Elvis was still the King…she don’t hang out in the real world…very frustrating.
So, for those that know me and all I’ve been through since you’ve known me…I’m gonna’ mop up dad’s $****…and then race right on over to mom’s…when Hell freezes over and not even then.
All I want is the opportunity to help people with or without cancer – through my experiences and my story…to show that the human condition is a hard one, even on a good day, but that we are equal and united in our common struggles that this life presents us.
And if His plan is not for me to do that…then so be it…I’ll move on… I also went on to say that if what I said ends this vapid, vacant relationship that we’ve had for 51-years, then so be it, as well.
A lot of my feelings have been further amplified by the environments in which I spend my time in...one of the hot spots is where I work. I’m isolated in a test lab all day – every day…
There are a couple of goons in there with me…one of ‘em I hired many years ago, when I managed this department – before cancer took that job away…he’s a hateful individual towards me and has a vendetta…he’s tried to get me fired before, but much like cancer, he never seems to win…the other guy is just plain weird.
For whatever reason, they won’t speak a word to me and have not these past 10-months…so I’m spending 45-50 hours a week up here in total silence…that’s a couple hundred every month…and over 2,000 hours so far, year-to-date.
They’ve seen me with vertigo – seen me fall – seen me have a hard time working…and they never break stride…they’ll walk right over you…they won’t call for help…they just keep their glued to the pc like what they are working on is rocket science or something.
They simply pretend they don’t see you…
I’m good at handling isolation and loneliness….but it’s a long day – a long month – and an even longer year…it rings a little hollow…I run into someone for a second or two in the elevator or passing in the hall when I do get out….but mostly, it’s a lonely day and as the days add up…they wear on you…and wear you down…
And then all of the deaths and the bad news finally caught up with me – to the point where I just couldn’t stand it anymore…it’s crazy really…3 years ago up here on the board, I was talking actively with as many as 100-120 people at a time….it was a glorious, magical time in my life.
Now, those numbers have dwindled substantially with death and attrition….and I guess my own problems have just compounded the matter to where I tried to reach, but found on some days, that my own tank was empty and there was nothing left for me to give anyone – or at least, it felt that way.
Jennie’s death hit me pretty good…she knew me the best, because of the physical time that we spent together with her and her family…so it touched a deep root…one night I was laying in bed and all I could think about was the first time that Jenny came to town.
Eric38 had already met a couple of times….I met him when he was in the hospital…and he came all the way to see me at UTSW when I was doing the da Vinci robot surgery…I had opened up a post before surgery where I had added the song “You’ve Got a Friend” by James Taylor into my expressions page….because I wanted everyone to know that with me, those words rang true.
When Eric walked in, he had a tape player playing that very song with a big smile on his face and that bald head of his:) Inside a sack, he pulled out one of those big battery operated robots and handed it to me:)
The community, unbeknownst to me had taken up a collection and Eric must have bought this on Ebay or something…
He was so sick…but he had time for me…thinking about somebody else’s cancer besides his own…those are the good kind of folks that we’ve lost here…
But, that’s the way it was then…we even had prayer posts…and nobody freaked out. I found those after I got out of the hospital…Chicky and some other folks had posts opened and everyone set their watches to say a prayer for me…when I read them back, I could still feel the chills and the connections going on then, must have nearly burned the internet wires to a cinder.
Yeah, I’ve seen what this board is capable of and what it represents to so many of us…
Anyway, it was my first time seeing Jenny in person…and so I recalled this image of us all together, sitting around the table, having a light meal and several glasses….of H2O. I remember the camaraderie, I remember the faces…but mostly, I remember them and that moment in time that remains forever etched into my soul.
When Jenny and I went to see Eric38 for what we knew would be the last time, I can tell you it was extremely difficult to witness that. Jenny couldn’t take for awhile, so I was rambling on about anything…and I finally said, “Jenny, you can jump in here anytime…”
And he would pass a week later…from brain mets…to this day, I firmly believe that he “held on” that extra week, so that he could see Jenny one more time. I’ll never see it any other way, ‘cause I know that’s the truth of the matter.
So, then Jenny passing a week before I would see her again….and passing from brain mets…after the many years we both talked about it privately…well, it just hurt me bad…’cause all I could see was us sitting around the table that evening…
And my mind flashed back to the time we spent last year in Chicago…she bought me a Wrigley Field t-shirt, because I was unable to take the stadium tour…she was so thoughtful and good to me…she cared more than I ever imagined…
And I’ve been worried about plenty of others here too, like Steved and Rick, Cyn’s husband…I’ve meshed with her for many months and have become very close to her…we started getting to know one another after AnneCan passed away….she and I used to talk quite abit and shared deeply as well.
And then I went over to another board to check on a couple of friends there…and found out that Joanne (JDuke) had passed away…that one hurt too. She came to the rectal board when she first started and I was privileged to be the first or one of the first to greet her at the door.
As I got to know her, she told that my writings and stuff with cancer had inspired her to take on her endeavor – and she worked with CSN to create the Anal Cancer board…she stopped talking to me after awhile and I suspected something was wrong…and then reading those words….
Just Click – Click – Click….like the tumblers spinning on a lock…you just get to a point where you have to back up…the pain, sorrow and suffering on this earth is too much.
The last thing that sent me over the edge, was I found out last week that my credit rating had taken such a hit from all of those bills in 2009 that had gone to the collection agency…I spoke of this in my “Road to Ruin” post, when Angel sent me the money for the scan that would reveal the last cancer fight I came out of.
Anyway, there were about 8-9 bills and they all went to collections and a lifetime of hard work at maintaining a good credit record were now gone – and gone from cancer…another nice, fringe benefit of this disease. I’m slipping on a couple of new ones going over 30, but have paid most of the new ones from that time…but the specter of the old bills continue to haunt me and hurt me…and apparently will for some time.
I guess the point is that everywhere I look – no matter how hard I work – no matter how much money I can save and use to try and pick up the pieces in our lives….I find that it’s never enough…I find that I’m not enough…and with my mental reserves already on empty…it does not take much sometimes to get the boat listing to the other side…
We’re always searching for something in this life – whether it’s apricot seeds, or what our role and place is here on this earth and in another person’s life…we are The Searchers…
If all of that wasn’t enough…- and don't you think it ought to be - stay tuned for Part II a little bit later this afternoon.
Wow, now take a really deep breath buddy (((HUGS)))
Welcome back Craig. It sounds like you've got so much pressure on you that you need a hyperbariac chamber to decompress! I'll be sending prayers and thoughts of strength and peace your way.
Too much going on. Please try to manage the stress level to help avoid the physical issues. Can you hire someonento get your fathers house ready to sell? Ignore the relatives...you cant let them bring you down or make you sick. Try to find some time to walk..enjoy the cooler weather...read...play a game. I hope you are able to find some peace.
It's running over...
I've probably scared the majority of you off anyway:)
I know that none of this makes any sense to any of the new folks...
Thank you all for touching base today:)
I should have told you to lock up your back doors - and run for your lives:)
But thanks for wading it through it...
You are experiencing many, many emotions, memories (some simply unconscionable).
I always think it isn't so hard to just block or erase the horrendous pain that some people cause. A personality test that I took as part of a job interview many moons ago....said that i was "quick to fire". LOL. At least the test was accurate. I'm not so horrible that I can't give people a second chance.....but sorry... not a third.
While I am also quick to advise stuff like.......just stay away from that person, get them out of your life - it's not healthy to have that stress.....
I really don't know how i would feel if i had lived your life. My parents, especially my mother, had few flaws. I couldn't imagine what it would have been like to have 2 unsupportive parents. I don't know if i would be in jail....divorced 4 times.....sleeping under a bridge.....i just don't know. But what I do know, Craig, is that you endured so much, and yet you turned out to be a most DECENT human being. You beat the odds, and you pretty much did it on your own, no thanks to any role models. You really, really beat the odds.
AND, somehow you knew how to pick a wife. Good wives are crucial....ya know...lol.
I had really thought that you and Kim got away for a while. I didn't think you were still going thru your dad's stuff.
I may be quick to fire, but I'm quick at filling a dumpster, too. IMO, the quicker you get stuff out of sight.....then it's hopefully out of mind.
I shouldn't reveal my less-than-stellar character again, but my M-I-L was so cruel towards me (i'm the bad person that took her son away....oh brother). One Christmas, one of my presents from her was a framed picture of "her" (passive-aggressive? )
Well....... the next day, I took the picture to a nearby apartment complex dumpster....i winged-it into the dumpster.......it felt good......surprisingly I never regretted it. About a decade later, i felt it was safe to reveal that to my husband because he was coming to terms with ......"oh, maybe my mother wasn't so perfect after all"........duh......thanks for finally supporting me, dude. He laughed about what I had done. Better late than never.
You can't change the past, and you can't change "stupid" (like relatives), but by gosh, you can start fresh and create good memories. Craig, you've got a running start with the friendships you've created. YOU created those. Yes, it's hell on earth when we lose one another, but would you rather not have known that person?
Now, you take your wife and go to the beach at dusk, lay on some cheap recliners, look at the stars, watch the airplanes (hopefully they are not American Airlines)....just kidding....referring to their seats becoming detached......no biggy.....just a joke.
Oh, and pretend you are in Margaritaville or something. Talk and laugh good stuff. New, good memories..... starting right NOW.
I am praying hard for you sweet Craig
- for the torment you carry to be lifted
- for the lonliness you feel day in and day out at work to be replaced with worthwhile people in your and Kim's lives
-for the burden of a bat$hit family to be off your plate.
As many above you have said, you are drained and then some. Whie this board may not be the "magical" place it once was for you, maybe its BECAUSE of the emotional toll the past year has taken, it can't be what it once was for you.
As you wind down on hoarder palace etc....maybe it's time to think of new ways you can direct your love and passion voice and giving heart in such a way that feeds your soul without draining it so.
Welcome back Craig. I am always reading your posts.... you are not alone. we are all here for you. I've had my down days too... some days I feel like almost a hermit. I see no one and talk to no one for hours and hours until my huusband and kids get home. But then what I really want to talk about ... this cancer is just too hard to bring up. I don't really want to talk about much in front of the kids and when I get my husband alone - he doesn't want to talk about some of the things we need to do... loke getting me to a pecialist in another city. I go to all of my appointments alone and still have to take care of all of the household stuff wether I am feeling physically or emotionally well.
I guess my point is... You are not alone. I am here for you - if anything just to listen. We all need a voice ... a way to unwind in some tiny little bit emotionally.
So, I got in from work Monday night and tuned it to the MNF to watch the Cowboys. But, I had no interest, because I was so emotionally flattened like a pancake.
I turned the game off and instead tuned into Dr. Charles Stanley to search for some food to the bare pantry in my soul. I sought refuge and maybe an answer or two that I couldn’t find between the hash marks.
And the message was life affirming…
It was about healing and how it can involve other people. Stanley went on to say that you must “Call for Help” when you are sick – either physical or emotional.
He also said that one can give and give and give, until there’s nothing left to give – and that this is dangerous. (I get that). That used to get me at Xmas time, when I’d send cards and cds to everyone’s house as part of my Santa Craig project. I wanted to touch lives and bring a smile to folk’s faces, because my Xmases were very lonely with just the wife and I.
And come Xmas Eve and Xmas Day, after everyone had their packages and surrounded by the love of their families, I’d be depressed and even lonelier than ever…happy for them, but sad at my own plight, because I couldn't taste what so many had - real love of their families.
He also went on to say that prayers for healing are sometimes answered – but sometimes they are not. I won’t get into the spiritual aspects of it, but he was quoting scripture.
He spoke of something so profound that it resonated to that lost part of me that I need to find again. He spoke of us as being “Healing Agents” – to help each other with our troubles and that the spirit works on your heart to give us the sensitivity to “listen” to someone – Their Hurt – Their Pain.
He said that sometimes “Just Listening” is the thing that we can all do to help one another, when we find ourselves in a troubling time of crisis.
And here’s the great tagline of all time…
He said, “We just need to be heard – and the more that we hurt – the more we want to be heard.”
I’ve spoken about this on many occasions about shouting from the rooftops to anyone that can hear you. Which is ironic, because this is what I’m doing today. Isn’t that marvelous?
A few months ago, it was Tommycat that initiated a call to arms and once I opened my mouth to explain what was wrong, the love of the community poured in.
Because, we hurt and just want to be heard. Yes! Yes!
He stated that most of us are too embarrassed to admit our needs to others. I’ve never been embarrassed, but have always felt that anything I’m going through that is not cancer related would not mean much here – and I didn’t want to unnecessarily burden the community with what I thought was trivial when compared to a cancer dx.
He said we need “Someone” that we feel we can say what we want without the fear of being rejected and that we shouldn’t be embarrassed that we told someone.
It dawned on me that my outlet has always been through you – because I have nobody else to turn to – even my spouse for deep problems like this. In essence, you have always been a life-line for me when the stormy seas have proven to be too rough for me to handle.
And he said that many of us are too prideful to ask for help when we need it – and that all of us need help at certain times in our lives – like now for me. I don’t know if it necessarily pride with me; rather, I can’t open up a non-cancer post to talk about myself, even if I need to, when cancer is the purpose of the board.
As I mentioned in Part I, when we get well from cancer, or in a remissive state, the attention shifts to another case, which it should. But always, there are still pieces of the puzzle to fit back together for the person(s) that survived.
While all may appear well, sometimes there are troubling undercurrents that threaten to drown another person, who needs help, but lacks the necessary ingredient to ask for help. We can’t always look to the outside of a person and it’s hard to always tell what’s going on with our insides.
It always has made me feel selfish and useless to discuss my own problems when others around me are suffering with cancer by opening my own post about it - just never seemed right to me.
So, I stay quiet…
And there are many of you who know that silence is rarely good…several of you are good at reading between the lines.
Stanley goes on to say that we are to embarrassed to confess our problems to others…but after reading this post, I can think we can agree that I don’t have that one:)
How are we going to learn from one another if we don’t tell the truth?
And he said, people don’t help one another much anymore (in the real world, not in the cancer world) because we are so consumed with our own needs – we don’t have time to “feel” for someone else.
We just want it to be over with…the last 12-years have been tornadoes, 3x cancers...and now all of this...so I've lost a decade of my life that I will never get back. It takes a lot of patience to chart those kind of deep waters...
I knew this would be a difficult chapter in my life…and not for the reasons that one would suspect…it would be hard enough in a loving situation.
Just imagine the post I might write when we finally wrap all of this up?
One funny little story in the midst of things…The Question Mark...
I’ve always questioned in life – apparently from the earliest of ages…
One day, I was in my pediatrician’s office for some kind of check-up. I would have been 2 years of age…apparently, I was having one of those “Why?” days and kept incessantly asking Dr. G question after question….
As legend has it, the doctor turned towards my dad and said, “Mr. H., your son has more questions than answers.”
That’s so funny, because for a time here, I thought I knew all the answers….several years later and after much enlightenment…I find that I don’t know my ass from a hole in the ground:-)
But don’t tell anybody…
Deepest love for the friends who continue to stand with me.
somehow with your last comment about not knowing your ass from a hole in the ground stirred up so many thoughts in my head with colonoscopies, etc.....sorry.....
i am new to the board but i want you to know i applaud you for posting what you did. that took courage & i admire you for that. i am so sorry for everything you have gone thru. i wish i could take some or all of your pain. my thoughts & prayers are for you to keep on going & keep your head high. you are a wonderful beautiful person & do not ever forget that!
I go to Charles' son's church. It is incredible. He talks a lot about his dad and growing up.
And his son (Andy) talks a LOT about relationships. He is realistic, and very funny about the human behavior things.
A couple of weeks ago he and his wife talked about "parenting". It was sooooo good. You don't have to be a parent to appreciate a message like that.
Do u care if I send you that link? All of his messages can be watched online.
CRAIG....would you have any objection if I emailed your above (Part 2) to Charles son? I think he would be so delighted to read that about his Dad. While Father/Son are so very, very different in their delivery and content........you can see that they are truly Father/Son.
Oh, and don't worry about the ass thing. He is very down-to-earth and "gets it". That's why the church is full every Sunday.
BTW - - there is much humor in that message about parenting.
Also, Andy loves emails from people......he loves people. He is very much a deep thinker. Most of his ideas for his sermons comes from emails...
Oh this is so cool.
Not only can you send Part II to him...but I wrote "part 3" for Dr. Stanley and Andy to read. It would be an honor an privilege for you to send those both to him.
I'll post that behind this...I just wrote it up this morning after reading your post.
This is so cool, is right.
Told you it would be okay to get to know me...amazing what can happen when we go the extra step and share...:-)
I would consider that an honor and a privilege for you to send Part II to him...and while you're at it...be sure to send him this one too, because I want his son and the man himself to hear what I have to say.
Dear Dr. Charles Stanley and Andy,
First, I'm just so delighted to be able to talk with you today; Janie's message was an unexpected surprise, but after watching several of your sermons that I taped this week, I'm beginning to ask myself if this was by chance that any of this is really happening?
I want to tell you that I admire you and what you stand for and have for many years. On another time in my life when I found myself at one of my lowest ebbs and standing once again at the crossroads, I used to go to my car on my lunch hour and listen to your sermons on the radio.
They were a literal life-line to me at a time I so desperately needed someone to cling to. I even ordered a cassette tape (dating myself now) and still have it.
What I love about you is that you are able to blend The Word and somehow relate it to the current, everyday life that each of us find ourselves in - that’s a gift. The gift of communication seems to be one of God’s greatest blessings and is the straw that stirs the drink.
Recently, I’ve once again found myself standing at the crossroads at another critical juncture in my life – that can be a lonely place to be sometimes – especially without the guidance that one needs to navigate through this life.
That was last night’s message on “Discernment” – wonderful by the way.
One evening, as I was flipping through the channels I saw the channel for In Touch ministries with you and was so glad that I finally found you once again. I immediately set up a series recording, so I could once again start listening to your sermons on a regular basis.
Perhaps, in some way, the Lord is once again trying to reach me through your ministry. It’s always easy to dismiss these feelings, but I do believe that at certain times in our lives, that things do indeed happen for a reason.
You see, I want to “Believe” – I really do…but, I just haven’t figured out how to yet. My faith has been tested many times in my life and I’ve failed – you’d have to know my life story to understand my perspective, but apparently God has not given up on me.
I’d like to take this opportunity to talk with you about something, Dr. Stanley….
I’ve written a book about the topic of cancer and my experiences and thoughts and feelings about it…being a well renowned author, I’m sure you can appreciate someone who is new to it and struggling to get their manuscript noticed.
Well, the other day, a member of my family told me that God would not grant my wish of having my book published, due to an estrangement with my mom, (long, painful story), so that I would have the opportunity to spread a different sort of ministry for the Lord – helping other folks who have cancer and need some guidance along that part of their life journey.
That flock is quite large and they do need help…
It is a mission that I’ve taken very seriously and has brought me the greatest joy in my life – to be able to touch and change people’s lives to some degree and provide some comfort to them during their time of need.
I thought this was God’s plan for me…
Then, I saw your sermon last night – you spoke of us as being “Walking Healing Agents” for the Lord. It made me cry, because that’s what I’ve tried so hard to do and be here on the cancer board that I mentor on.
It’s been the truest, purest thing in my life so far…and I hold it sacred…God knows this.
So, what threw me on last night’s sermon was that if we weren’t of a clean heart and living in His way, that our counsel to one another, was in effect, not effective.
This hurt me – made me begin to doubt if any of the things I’ve done to help those folks over the past several years was really valid in the eyes of the Creator. The one thing that has given meaning to my life and it came across as it should be invalidated, because I’ve yet to measure up to what He requires of us as his children.
I’ve known I can’t build a Stairway to Heaven just on good deeds alone – the Good Book tells me that. Still, I’d like to think that a part of Him was flowing through this sinner’s body (you said we weren’t sinners – we were saints) so that I could try and pay the goodness of His works forward and reach and touch the multitudes through His grace.
That’s probably grandiose thinking and as you alluded to in an earlier message, not the right thought process for someone, who lacks the biblical understanding necessary. I will admit that my knowledge is rudimentary at best, but I am willing to learn.
You also talked about how if you weren’t of a clean heart and did not completely believe beyond all, that God doesn’t hear you – and therefore, will not answer your prayer.
So, not wanting to be a hypocrite until I can get my life right and can 'trust', I listened and decided not to waste His time praying for this book project of mine. I believe in Him, but have had doubts at different times, so this is what I am referring to when I say believe...and I want to believe completely and turn it all over...but I'm scared too...and don't know why. It's hard to trust.
Do you think if any real believers prayed for me and this project that God would listen to them?
I found it so interesting to hear of you talk about how he might answer prayer – or might not…but that you had to believe completely one way or the other. And that if that prayer were answered, it might take a long time.
And that if we rushed it, without “waiting” for Him, that trouble always happens.
I’m generally a patient man, but with metastatic Stage IV cancer, I don’t how much time I’ll have. I’ve been fortunate to be in a remissive state for the last 15-months. I want to make a difference in this world, through Him, before it’s time for me to leave this world.
I would appreciate any insight you would love to share with me on this.
I just wanted to tell you how much you mean to me – how much I admire you – how much I revere the work that you do. I could listen to you hours on end – I always get something out of whatever you have to say.
Somehow, I’ve always felt that for me to turn the corner in my life that the motivation necessary would come from you, Mr. Stanley. As far as pastors and ministers go, I hold you in the highest esteem and feel you are one of the earthly connections to God himself.
I mean this as the ultimate compliment…
I don’t know if you would ever consider meeting and chatting a moment or two with a regular guy like me, but I would love to be able to meet you face-to-face and thank you for all that you’ve done for me – and all that you trying to do.
I’d get in my car and drive from Texas to Georgia to meet you and possibly have the opportunity to hear you minister The Word in your congregation.
At the very least, I’d like to thank you in advance for taking the time to read this – you make a difference in folk’s lives and that stands for something and means so much to me.
People on the board always tell me that I’ll never know who I touched and what my words meant to someone on that day when they found themselves on the precipice of a precarious situation in their lives.
And I think the same of you…you may not have ever known of me or know that you have reached out and touched me. I just want you to know that you have – and that you and the Lord have gotten my attention once more.
I feel closer to God when I listen to you – thank you so much for that.
As you are so often fond of saying...“Are you listening? Say Amen.”
See, I am watching…and I’m listening...and you can see I did my homework:)
With the deepest respect and utmost admiration…
P.S. One last thing…you said that God does talk to us, but how do we know when he is speaking to us? I believe this is one of those times when He is talking to me and trying to get me to understand the bigger picture.
“Sometimes the needs of the One – can be greater than the needs of the Few – or the Many.”
This just might be one of those times…
My heart aches for you Craig. You have such a big caring heart especially for all of thr rejection and tragedy that you have endured. I have been a fan of Charles Stanley for over ten years now.
You touched me when you said that your work on the forum is the purist thing that you have done (Forgive me for butchering your quote). I feel helping others with cancer is the reason I am still around. That is why I love all the people in this forum so much. Lately I have been distant from the forum for selfish reasons. It can be so hard to hear all of the bad news and suffering that others are going through on here.
I hope you can find faith. Cancer has only stregnthened me and my faith in God.
What doesnt kill me will only make me stronger. That goes for you to Craig and everyone here.
Thank you for stopping by to see me today!
I needed to see you here. Thank you for your post. It can be hard on many days...I've seen 'em drop by the bushel and after 3.5 years, it can take a toll on you, even for a lion.
I am glad I still have friends such as you around to keep me company...
We'll see what the plan is, eh?
It is just the people with bad news that need to hear from you. Those of us who are NED need to give hope to those still on the roller coaster.. Don't go away, Inspire us all!!!
Hey Craig, Good to see you back on the board my friend, missed ya out here. :)
I'm sending you a BIG HUG tonight(((())))!! :)
We'll chat again real soon.
Done deal, Craig.
(did you read my first post, right above your Part II......i think we were typing at the same time and you hit submit first)
And I must say that it was powerfully moving this morning...especially the part about me beating the odds, despite the lack of role models for the most part.
You really touched me today and I've spilled tears all over the place at work, it's embarassing, but I just can't help it...
I feel there is something going on....
Thank you for that post and for all of your support - you've been so great!
So, yes to sending him Part II and the open letter to Dr. Stanley and son...this ought to be good...perhaps, I'll hear from them.
I can't wait to hear back from you!
BTW: You tickled my heart today by seeing a lift in your step with that part of the post...I could feel some excitement with you and it is so wonderful...I wish only good things for someone like you...
Hallo Craig and Amen to your letter to Mr. Stanley. This is just unbelievable awesome, all together. You know why, because you are writing, and writing it all out is an outlet, just like crying. Just let it spil and spil again and again. Nothing among friends and family and that is what we are here is embarassing, we talk about diapers and poop and hopes and fears and pain. PAIN, in the physical sense of the word, but your pain is in the heart.
So here it goes Craig, I stretch my left arm out alllllll the way and then my right arm, alllllll the way and this way I am giving you a enormous big HUG.
I always told my kids and grandkids, oma (Dutch word for Grandma) loves you this much and then some.
Same to you, Soooooooo glad you finally posted and trusted us with your pain and love and trust. I hope you finally get it.... You are stuck with us, because we love and care for Craig Harrison the man who shows us how things are done and shares his experiences and helps and encourage us, just like other do on this board.
Love you man, Hugs, Marjan
i am so sorry for your pain. I have been trying to come up with something wonderful to say to you. Haven't had much luck.
So I will just tell you that you are going to get through this. We love you, we need you and we will not accept any thing else. By the way, you simply cannot let 'them' win. They simply can't stand it that you have turned out so amazing and they will always be azzh--es. ; )
Hugs, Love and many Blessing, my friend.
You know that old saying? We don't chose our parents. I'm so sorry you got stuck with such a sorry pair of people. But this shows a lot of your character and strengths, that you went through your childhood and adult with so little love from them and here you are sharing your love with us, giving what you cruelly didn't receive and yet having an abundance of love within you and giving it so well, without any expectation of anything in return.
It shows you that DESPITE your parents you are a man of worth and character and worthy of being called friend to many people.
My heart goes out to you, I have a brother that our birth mother treated especially cruel, I still cry when I think of his first 6 years of life and I weep for yours as well.
Love you my friend,
They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger but It sure as hell erodes your soul. I sometimes wonder if the prize for living life to the fullest goes to the one who can fit the most crap into one lifetime and still be sane. Not sure I qualify there. One thing I do know is that if you look around you there is not too many at your side. I guess that suits me now I really don't feel the need to inflict myself on anyone. Life can be very lonely and I don't personally know any diseases quite as lonely as cancer. I've been on this board now for eleven years. I can't say that I have that many friends here but I have the memory of many many friends here. At times like the present when we have lost so many the feeling of loss is at its worst. I wish I could sit under that tree with you today and suck on a few beers ,forget ca ,forget the world and just rejoice in the fact that we've been bucking the odds for over twenty years between us. Cheers ron.
I am sure that thru the years here you have formed many close friendships, only to see some lost to cancer. Unfortunately we have to risk that in order to enjoy the time we have with them.
You and Craig share many traits, not the least of which is that you seldom ever tell us what you need. I know that are many here who will gladly help with the emotional support even if we can't be there in person.
Cancer does change the world we live in. It takes away those we care about, either by death or because they can't face our disease. But always remember, you have us to reach out to. You do not have to be alone, as long as the cyber world exists.
Hugs and love and wishing you happier days,
Yes Ron, ditto to what Marie said. Holler, send an email, a private message, a carrier pigeon whatever but please do reach out.(I have already told Craig this too.)
I am trying to get the facilitator at the physical ACS support group I attend to get a speaker in there to talk about the mental & emotional aspects of this disease, especially long term effects.I have been reading a lot lately and my own gut feeling has become an accepted fact....many of us suffer PTSD to some degree or the other.
Best wishes to you,
I took a break to sit down and rest...couldn't help myself, I turned on the good doctor's message from last week.
It was about building truth back in our lives...
The first thing he said was, "Where is truth in your life?"
I started to cry, because you know where truth ranks with me - anybody within earshot knows how I value that virtue above all others...and have bled my truth all over these walls...
This just can't be all coincidence or circumstance, can it?
I'll have to watch this when I can see it all...it looks like one powerful message.
I'm inching a bit closer to you all the time:)
Big hug to my J:)
I'm still learning myself. A lot of things are circumstance, but I know this isn't. In fact, one message by Andy was just about that....is it a coincidence? I can't even remember how it was explained, but it made sense. (I need to start writing things down.)
I don't even know how to speak intelligently on this subject. I just listen and listen. I've learned so much in the last 5 years. Makes me mad I wasted so much of my life......but better late than never. I think God knows just the right time to intervene.
So many people try to control every aspect of their lives, and it just doesn't work that way. That was probably one of the first things I had learned when I really started listening. It was EXTREMELY comforting when I learned that I needed to give up some control. You can drive yourself nuts.....LOL....and I see people every day trying to do every little thing just right, or making sure they are "Right" on every freaking subject. Who cares about all the minor little details. There are much bigger fish to fry.
I am so glad you like Dr. S. I don't see his messages very often. I got into the groove of Andy's messages and it has been no turning back since. My husband loves him. He "gets" him. And he provides so much clarity it is just incredible.
I'm telling ya, he has contributed to saving a lot of broken relationships. Of course, he would take "zero" credit, cause he would say it's right there in the "Book". I just enjoy someone showing how that relates to life now.....and boy does it. I am truly dumfounded week after week....lol.
Keep at it Craig........there's a whole lot that will blow your mind. :)
- J -
p.s. I hope that maybe, maybe, this makes a big difference in your life with Kim as well, and hers, and that you could embark on a new journey together. It's none of my business, but I have seen the difference it's made in so many. Truly exciting.
p.s.s. We look forward to Sunday mornings. If you are interested, there is a church in Austin (not Dallas) that is a strategic partner of "A"'s church. They show his messages on the Big Screen. Now....he doesn'