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Sundance as Guest Speaker at Cancer Seminar TODAY - UTSW Hospital

Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Good afternoon, Everybody!

I had a wonderful story to share with you all today – it caught me by surprise!

The social worker down at the new hospital I’m going to sent me an email and asked me if I could come down to their support group today and speak to their group about my feelings and experiences with Cancer.

The class was titled “Communicating Concerns and Feelings.”

This one was right up my alley :)

Let me take a step back…..

A month ago, I was at the hospital doing labwork and getting a port flush and meeting with the new onc.

I happened to pass by Infusion and was looking into their rooms there – they were amazing – private suites with comfortable chairs for the patient and room for family or friends to be with you privately. They had flat panel TVs with DVDs, a sink and so on – it was so neat (my previous infusion lab was a dump quite frankly)…this place was very nice and comfortable. In the kitchen they had drinks and snacks and such, 1st class all the way.

Anyway, the social worker spoke to me (Angela) and I told her I was just checking it out. We began talking and I began telling her about my cancer and such, so she decided to give me a tour of the place. While we were talking, I told her about how I found the board and was talking to people around the world trying to help in any way that I could. I told her my favorite tag line: “The Cancer does not define us, but how we live and fight with Cancer DOES define us.” That one hit home and her eyes welled up and she asked me if I had ever thought of speaking in person to a cancer support group before – would I be interested.

Well, I sent her an email last week, but she was out of the office and I did not hear from her. Then this morning – Whammo! – she emailed me and asked if I could come out today and speak with the group they had today.

There was the main speaker, a psychologist, and the social worker and about 6 cancer patients and one who had a caregiver with her…so it was a nice group of people.

I overcame my shyness and tried to contribute some meaningful dialogue about what we talk about here in Our World everyday.

I spoke about my 2 main themes:

1. The Mind Has to be Right – to Fight!
2. Cancer does not define us, but how we live and fight with Cancer DOES define us.

We also talked about DEPRESSION and the role it has in our individual battles. We also talked about ANXIETY. And we talked about the difficult role of being a CAREGIVER. And we talked about ANGER and its underlying causes.

It was a beautiful experience and I was able to reach out and touch some people in person and hopefully something I said just might help them in their battles. The more I talked, people seemed to loosen up and the forum opened up and the conversation flowed.

I did not get much notice, so I was a few minutes late – and you know me I came crashing through the door "literally" like a bull in a china closet. They stopped the meeting and I introduced myself and told them that I had been invited to come down and sit and talk with them today. It was certainly different seeing and speaking to people in person vs the board. I'm normally shy, right? But after I get warmed up, I can really rock & roll. The nice thing was that when I talked, the people actually listened to me…it was very gratifying and satisfying.

I was thinking about each one of us when I was speaking and tried to CHANNEL the board’s energy into what I was saying. All of you were riding right along with me on this one too.

I told them about the Cancer Survivor’s Network and encouraged the people to visit the various boards that related to their cancer – and that there were many wonderful people all spread out on the board that would help them in the journey. I mentioned the CareGiver section to a gentlemen caregiver and told him to look there for support.

Then, just as quickly as it came, the seminar was over and I wished everyone the Best of Luck for their cancer battles and thanked the psychologist and the social worker for having me out for their seminar - it was very nice of them to invite me.

It was a true blessing to me to get the opportunity to be able to do something like this – a first for me – not quite as big as Leslie’s radio show was – but it was a good 1st step.

So, I feel good that I made the effort to try and make a difference in somebody’s life and that I was sincere in my endeavor. That’s all that any of us can ask to do of ourselves, isn’t it?

Well, I just wanted to share that with you today :)

Again, very nice to be able to speak with each of you again today.

Over and out!

PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

Great job Craig!

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

What a great thing!! And such a wonderful opportunity to SHOW people that cancer is NOT a death sentence!!!!

Hugs, Kathi

grammadebbie's picture
Posts: 456
Joined: Jun 2009

That's wonderful Craig. You have a great ability to communicate and I'm so glad you are able to share it. I know it blesses you when you bless others. I will write more later, I have an appt. Just wanted to touch base with youbefore I leave.

God Bless You,

Debbie (gramma)

lesvanb's picture
Posts: 911
Joined: May 2008

and I think what you did and will be doing is in the same ball park. i think for all of us working as a team there is no bigger or smaller. We're just getting the job done and some of us are better pitchers or shortstops or outfielders...well you get my drift.

I took the following from a reply to you from the post I had about the radio show;
"Glad you're spirit is renewed, and you are breaking news every day for me."

Smiles, Leslie

PS As a ham radio operator, I'll pass this along to you. Over and Out means you're moving to another frequency or turning off the radio. However, I think you're always connected so "Back to you" might be the more accurate signature.

Muzzy's picture
Posts: 178
Joined: Sep 2009

way too go !!!!!!!!

shrevebud's picture
Posts: 106
Joined: Aug 2009

Hey Craig - way to go. You rock man! I know this is going to be a great experience for you and for the people in the group. You have so much to share. Thanks too for replying to me when I've had questions, etc. I appreciate you. Have a good evening. Take care. Roy

robinvan's picture
Posts: 1014
Joined: May 2007

CHANNELLING the energy of the semicolon's! How cool is that!
You Rock Craig! I am inspired and encouraged by your ethusiasm.

Rob; in Vancouver

"There are people whose presence is encouraging. One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement. When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise never have crossed on your own.
John O'Donohue

Posts: 186
Joined: Jun 2009


I'm sure you uplifted lots of folks today. What a great idea..
Always enjoy reading your posts!

Take care

mommyof2kds's picture
Posts: 522
Joined: Mar 2009

You are one amazing person....

ittapp's picture
Posts: 385
Joined: Jun 2009

Great job Craig, it does not surprise me that you would be a great speaker. Your an inspiration to people. Thanks for all of your words of encouragement to all of us! God Bless, Patti (can't imagine that you are shy) :)

tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5063
Joined: Feb 2008

That's fabulous, Craig. It sounds like you did a wonderful job. I'm so proud of you, and so grateful that you would take the time to help the others who are suffering. What a wonderful ministry.


Mike49's picture
Posts: 269
Joined: Nov 2008

I am proud be your friend.

Posts: 163
Joined: Apr 2009

Wow, thanks for sharing the content of your talk with us.
You are so "right on"
What a blessing to others you are.

idlehunters's picture
Posts: 1792
Joined: Apr 2009

yes Craig... that was right up your alley. I sure would have been front and center for that speech. I think you found your calling!!!


luv3jay's picture
Posts: 534
Joined: May 2009

Well, I must say, I'm proud of you. It takes a lot of courage to stand in front of strangers and speak from your heart. But, I also need to say, that it wasn't just today that you've made a difference in the lives of strangers because you made a difference in my life from the first moment we "spoke". Way to go, my friend! Be blessed!


lizzydavis's picture
Posts: 893
Joined: May 2009

Thank you for sharing that with us, Craig. It made me feel real good to read it. Thank you for taking your time to be with us. "Go forth and be a blessing."


Fight for my love
Posts: 1530
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi dear Craig,sorry I am late here.I am so happy that you made the speech and I wish I was there.I am so pround of you and I am so happy that you got a chance to show your talent.Take care.

Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6691
Joined: Feb 2009

What a wonderful opportunity to speak at what you know of. It sounds like you delivered one heck of a speech. Very proud of you.


Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Thank you for all of your posts - I love hearing from you guys :)

It brightens my day - I don't open too many posts but when I do it's like unwrapping Christmas presents as a child waiting to see what everybody had to say. It really means alot to me to "hear from you."

You guys and my wife are just about all that I really have...so thanks for being there :)

I've discovered that the real blessings in life are when you give yourself to others - it enriches the human experience.

Continued Blessings and Best Wishes for US All...


angelsbaby's picture
Posts: 1171
Joined: May 2008

I thought to my self if any one could be a speaker it would certanly be you. I am proud of you , you do have a way with words thats for sure.


Posts: 233
Joined: Feb 2009

I go to the cancer center at George Bush Highway & Renner in Richardson. It's a new center so I was wondering if that is where you were.

Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

I was down at the UTSW campus down on I-35 @ Inwood. They've got alot of buildings down there. I was at the Simmons Cancer Center building of their campus.

Thanks for asking...Craig

Posts: 233
Joined: Feb 2009

I had a CT Scan there. Wish I could have heard you speak - I'm sure it was very good.

Posts: 61
Joined: Aug 2009

Darn it. I wish you would have known sooner. I would've made the trip to hear you speak. Like someone else said - you - shy???? You have been such a tremendous source of encouragement, inspiration, and insight for me that I just can't quite believe that. I'm so happy that you accepted the opportunity to share yourself like that. I know it must have been a little challenging. I tried to stand up in church and talk about my mom and forget it, I couldn't even do that. I am so proud of you, proud to know you, and inspired by you. Keep it up, you really have a wealth of things to share.

Shayenne's picture
Posts: 2370
Joined: Jan 2009

If anyone can be a guest speaker at ANYTHING, it would have to be you, you are such a eloquent, inspiring person, and so glad you have came to this board, I am very proud to call you a friend, a brother, and a fan of your posts here.

I wish I could see you there, maybe you can tape it, and upload it for all of us to see? that would be so cool!

Did you like your new doctor?


Paula G.'s picture
Paula G.
Posts: 596
Joined: Apr 2009

Wish I could have been there. I'll bet you helped a lot of people. Glad you shared with us.

Anonymous user (not verified)

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lisa42's picture
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

Hi Craig,

I've been out of the loop lately, and just read this post of yours. That's so great that you were given the opportunity to speak and share with the group. I'm proud of you for it!
You go!!


Posts: 148
Joined: Sep 2009

Hey Craig,
Great job!
I have been invited to speak to other Cancer Patients on several occasions and have always been able to discuss openly and freely all the Fear, Anger, Resentment, and self pity that accompany a diagnosis of a life threatening disease, most of which I've handled very well with my own condition and remained very positive throughout the two Cancers I've successfully fought with, including a difficult BMT/Stem Cell transplant which the BMT Unit Doctors were reluctant to perform because of my very Uncooperative Bone Marrow that refused to produce and give up a suffient number of cells for the procedure even after 3 attempts to harvest.
I insisted that they perform the procedure with what they had and in the end amazed the Doctors in my quick recovery, in less than a week my marrow began to accept the graft and produced new cells rapidly and I was on my way home in 30 days. Practically unheard of in the BMT Ward, the graft normally takes 3 weeks just for the marrow to begin to accept and produce new cells.
My depression seems to be caused by the loss of so many close, personal friends and close relatives that have died in the past year and with whom I was in contact with daily and sharing all our hopes, dreams, plans, encouragements, and support as only fellow Cancer Patients can.
Now I find myself without any support group, or person to whom I'm close and am reluctant to connect with anyone else for fear of just more disappointment and despair. At a time in my life when I should feel the most grateful and happy, I'm probably at the lowest ebb of my life, any joy I express is mostly just because I think I should, I really don't seem able to really feel it and in fact, I don't even want to. I've always had deep beliefs and am usually very spiritual, but I now find myself doubting everything, and questioning why I'm even here an searching for some clue as to what the Lord wants me to do now. To make matters worse, I'm embarrassed by the way I feel and have to literally force myself to even talk about it, it all seems so selfish and foreign to me, yet I don't feel apprehensive or fearful about my own condition, I've overcome cancer twice and I'll do it again if I have to, it's just an overwhelming feeling of tremendous loss of others that I loved that have not survived, fifteen souls in all, including two close family members, all in the past 12 months. My recently deceased (July 25, 2009) Sister in law expressed it quite well just before she died, saying, "It's like 10 little Indians", as she spoke to her friends and siblings in anticipation of her iminent death.
Not to fear though, Craig, this too shall pass and I'll wind up a stronger and more determined and wiser and hopefully a more helpful to others person because of it.

Shayenne's picture
Posts: 2370
Joined: Jan 2009

...Don't ever feel embarrassed about your feelings, I am so sorry for what you're going through, alot of us have lost loved ones to cancer, I lost both my parents within 4 years of each other when I was 16 to the dreaded C word, my aunts, uncle, and friends, and now I have it, I never knew anyone who actually survived it, once they got it, in fact, I think I'm the one who's had it longest and still here, they all died so quickly, it was devastating, and still is. Not one day has ever gone by that I don't think of them all. I then have to stop and think that wow, there are still people out there who are suffering with this disease, even worse then me, and then try to focus on that when I feel the negativity and despair coming on...it's very sad to lose people, and to feel alone..but, you aren't alone! we're here for you to talk too, and we're all scared, I wouldn't believe anyone who said they weren't afraid. I think the ones who aren't afraid are the ones who take their own precious lives.

You have beat this disease before, and you'll do it again, just keep the faith, and remember, we're all on this journey together, and we're here whenever you need us, just please focus on more pleasant, happy things, get out and take a nice twilight stroll, maybe some coffee in a cafe, read a good book, see a movie, just get out more, and be around friends, don't be afraid to be around people, you are special, and everyone needs someone, are you on any anti-depressants? I am on Zoloft, and it works pretty well, I'm not as weepy as I used to be, but I also try not to think of the past, and try to move forward, and to be strong so I can fight this stupid disease.

I wish you well, and please keep in touch with us, we're here for you!


Posts: 148
Joined: Sep 2009

Hey Donna, :)

What a wonderful and thoughtful post, I appreciate your kind and intuitive advice. How did someone so young get to be so darn smart?
My Counselor prescribed a couple of different drugs I can take, one is Lorazapan which can be taken every 6 hours and sort of takes the edge off things without a lot of side effect, I don't recall the other one, but I took a grand total of 2 of the Lorazapan and got through my sister in law's funeral and several days of visiting with the family without being overly emotional, which is what I was worried about at the time. I'm not a big drug user, though I'm not exactly a faith healer either, I'll take them if I have to.
I've never allowed myself to go through the grieving process before and have always found a way to just isolate myself from the loss and sort of put things in a bag that I lugged around, or at least that's the way the Psychologist described it. Lyn's death was the proverbial Straw that broke the camel's back for me, and all my pent up grief came spilling out at once.
I am finally beginning to accept and deal with things a lot better, I can recall memories of much better and happier times with those that I've lost, and am able to find comfort from them instead of just overwhelming sadness.
I am so sorry to hear of all your family members passing, I hope everything continues to work well for you, and again, Thank you so much for your encouraging post. Please keep in touch.

Shayenne's picture
Posts: 2370
Joined: Jan 2009

I'm sorry Craig, I hope you don't feel like I'm hijacking this thread, I should open a new one, but this is probably it for Dennis before I do open a new one.....

Lorezapam only pretty much makes me feel relaxed, where I can sleep, and it's good for nausea, I don't think of it as much as a anti-depressant, but more for anxiety, I think maybe if you try something else you'd feel much better. Maybe try the Zoloft, talk to your doctor about your feelings, it takes a month to kick into your system, but it has helped.

And, please, take some time out to grieve, it's ok, and it makes you feel better, now you know your loved ones would not want you to be living like this, and would want you to move on and be happy, and so do we all... we're with you, and if you ever want to chat, just pm me, I even have a facebook and myspace should you want to play some apps, keep in touch, whatever :)

Hugssss and talk soon!

Shayenne's picture
Posts: 2370
Joined: Jan 2009

For the double post....site was lagging I guess! :)

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