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Excerpts from Chapter XIII....

Sundanceh's picture
Sundanceh
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

I had posted this to Winter's thread in response to her's. I second guessed myself after posting, thinking I had said too much on her thread. Before I could edit, that option had been removed.

I thought since it was out there, I'd just go ahead and share it with the group. Comment if you would like too. I have been "knee deep" with this project, literally living each word that I write....it's taxing, but rewarding all the same. Enjoy and we'll talk soon!

CHAPTER XIII - "The Four Horsemen" (EXCERPTS ONLY)

Awareness acts as the compass that points us towards the path that we will have to travel tomorrow, armed with the knowledge that we gained from the road we walked down yesterday.

Awareness doesn’t force himself on you – rather, he is that gentle soul, who taps you lightly on the shoulder and imparts his knowledge by whispering softly in your ear like a rhythmic melody that mimics the sounds of a slow, trickling brook.

Awareness comes to us in his own time, but on our terms. He seems to have the uncanny ability to recognize when each of us is ready to get to know him. When you least expect it, you awake one morning and find that he is not only with you, but has also become a part of you.

BREAK

Enlightenment can also announce its arrival with a bolt of lightning and a clap of thunder that carries the message of ‘that’, which we have been searching for. It comes crashing over you with a sudden intensity that can only be described as an epiphany, as the waves of awareness – understanding – and acceptance wash over you.

BREAK

Empowerment is that swelling of pride in your chest that comes from the satisfaction that you feel when you stare down your fears without being afraid of what you will see, even when the odds look stacked against you.

BREAK

Personal Growth’s biggest accomplishment is getting us to a stage in our life where we now unselfishly think of other’s needs, rather than solely focusing on our own. Its truest gift comes from one heart reaching out to another and establishing that human connection, which in turn helps us to become a little bit more of a person than we were yesterday – and offers us the hope of becoming an even better person for tomorrow.

BREAK

It’s a beautiful process to see someone grow right before your eyes, isn’t it? I’ve seen them come to the cancer board time and time again. Initially, they arrive frightened and scared about their futures and what cancer really means for them, beyond the stereotypes that they’ve been taught to expect.

Over time, you watch them acquiring the knowledge they need as they take those first steps into their treatment programs and surgeries. You see how their attitudes begin to change as time goes by. It starts out slowly at first, and then gradually becomes bolder as they gain the confidence they need to be able to stand on their own.

As you watch from the sidelines like a proud parent, you see a stronger person emerge, like a butterfly does from a c o c o o n Gone is the scared, uninformed person whom you met in the beginning – in their place instead, is a wiser, more determined person, because of the experience they went through and the belief they gained in themselves for having stood up and accomplished what they originally thought was impossible to do on their own.

BREAK

On the flip-side, enlightenment has also showed me ‘the dark side’ of the fight. The side that shows us the danger and damage that the treatments do to our bodies – the side that shows us that our treatments of choice may inevitably fail us at some point – the side that shows us that our friends and loved ones can pass away, despite the best of intentions – and the side that shows us the harsh reality that we may not all come out on the good side of our fights.

Enlightenment is the truth and the way that shows us both sides of how things operate, because we can’t learn only the good, and not see the bad as well. For the knowledge that comes from enlightenment doesn’t discriminate - it educates.

BREAK

“The Road to Awareness leads to the Path of Enlightenment, which takes us down the Trail of Empowerment, where we finally reach our destination in The Land of Personal Growth.”

It can be a very long and winding road at times. You certainly won’t get there overnight. It’s taken me seven plus years now of self-discovery to find these out for myself. It’s going to take some time, some experience, and some pain and suffering, in order to fully understand what it is that I’m trying to tell you.

You can’t get to the land of personal growth through any shortcuts – it has to be earned, if you are too fully appreciate the changes that have taken place inside you. And the only way that you get there is to just keep taking those next steps and keep your mind open to seeing some of the good that can come out of cancer, when you step back and look at where you were then – and what you’ve become now.

Remember, at the start of the book, where I told you that we could take one of two paths when we are diagnosed? We could take the road of Bitterness and Resentment or we could walk along the path of Grace and Dignity?

BREAK

a post one day that was titled, “Has Cancer Been All Bad for You?” There were a variety of mixed responses, but most of them were overwhelmingly bitter and resentful. As I recall, the majority of posters who held those negative feelings were from caregivers, who had lost their spouse, or from family members who had lost a loved one.

From their perspective, I can certainly understand and see how they felt the way they did. They watched someone very close to them suffer for a long time and then ultimately pass away right in front of them. That feeling of being helpless and unable to change the outcome has got to weigh heavily on a person’s mind when there is nothing they can do to help their loved ones.

What surprised me more were the negative responses from the posters, who had cancer. There were a lot of ‘I Hate Cancer’ and ‘I Give Cancer No Credit’ responses as well as the ‘Nothing Good Comes From Cancer’ replies.

Of course, everyone has the right to feel they way they do about their cancer, because it’s theirs. That’s the way that they feel about it and I think it’s important to acknowledge and respect their feelings on the subject. There is certainly a whole host of unresolved anger and bitterness issues underneath all of those statements though.

For me, I see Cancer from a different viewpoint though.

First, I’d like to say that I don’t like what cancer has done to me physically and the compromises and concessions that I’ve had to make that go along with all of that. It’s definitely taken its toll and made me less of a man than I was before all of this started. I feel like a shell of the man that I once used to be.

I’m not fond of knowing that cancer is trying its damnedest to blow out my candle and dim my world earlier than I had planned or anticipated.

I dislike the fact that the specter of cancer always looms on the horizon and invades my thoughts, even when I’m in that ‘watch and wait’ state and should be trying to enjoy my victories. Or, that it haunts my dreams and taunts me with its ever-present threat of another recurrence for my future.

I’m not thrilled with the prospect of knowing that cancer will more than likely end up claiming me at some point of my journey, despite all of my best efforts, stubbornness and tenacity.

I know that given a choice, that none of us would choose to have cancer in our lives in any way - shape, form or fashion. I guess, you could include me in that list, as well. It is a “Country Club That Nobody Wants to Join.” And for those of us that do qualify, we find that the membership dues are one hell of a price to pay for admission.

It doesn’t change the facts one iota, though. We do have cancer and how we choose to go forward is ‘our decision’ and whether we’re angry or resolved to the fact, the meter is running and it’s going to run out, whether we have cancer or not.

It’s how we represent ourselves and show the world that we can still bring a little grace and dignity to a seemingly grim situation. It’s showing the world that the human spirit can never be squelched, but that we live on and strive for more – even in the face of such adversity.

More importantly though, is not what people think of us, or how we portray ourselves to them and our loved ones. It comes down to what each one of us can live with when we lay our heads down on our pillows every night.

Anger and Bitterness will consume us just as surely as the cancer will. And if we give in to that, then cancer ends up taking it all from us – and we even furthered its cause by the way we reacted and handled this quandary, when the spotlight was finally shined on us.

BREAK

Folks get inspiration from watching how you conduct yourself during the most difficult trial in your life and draw a sense of comfort and contentment from what they see through your living testimony.

BREAK

IN PROGRESS......

LivinginNH's picture
LivinginNH
Posts: 1458
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Craig, Wow, I wish that I could write with such heartfelt emotions, you always amaze me with your writing skills. I'm truly looking forward to reading the completed version - great job so far. :-)

mukamom's picture
mukamom
Posts: 402
Joined: Oct 2010

Such a gift you have and such insight to recognize what you have learned, and be able to put it so eloquently. I, too, am looking forward to reading your book.

Angela

lesvanb's picture
lesvanb
Posts: 911
Joined: May 2008

I really needed to read these words tonight. Thank you.

all the best, Leslie

rogina2336
Posts: 188
Joined: Apr 2011

I am my husband's caregiver and your words not only relate to the patient, but the caregivers in so many ways. The way you put the heartfelt words out there is amazing!!!!! you truly have a gift!!! Can't wait for your book. Hopes and prayers. Kim

pepebcn's picture
pepebcn
Posts: 6352
Joined: Aug 2010

When are you expecting to finish it?

Sundanceh's picture
Sundanceh
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

I'm hoping I'll have it all wrapped up in 6-8 weeks or so. Just finished up the 13th chapter the other day. Was my longest chapter so far, this excerpt post is only a fraction of the content in there.

I switched gears and decided to write another topic that's been on my mind for quite some time and make it the 'new' chapter 14. I have no answers for this topic, but am using it to explore the topic, look under the rugs and raise a few questions to myself and to others.

What I was going to write for #14 will now be combined for #15 and should segue nicely and then for #16....well that one should be pretty good as I try and turn the boat around and take everybody back to shore safely:) LOL!

I've written 13 chapters in just a shade over 3 months, so I've exceeded my expectations to date. End of October or Mid-November and I'll probably have the full manuscript in hand.

Much more to talk about.

Just thanks, Pepe, for really showing a sincere interest with this book. You've been a big cheerleader from the get-go. Can't thank you enough for that.

-Craig

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4907
Joined: May 2005

Great job Craig
-p

Sundanceh's picture
Sundanceh
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

It's nice to get a little encouragement to keep me going. I appreciate your kind comments.

Phil, Cynthia, Kim, Angela, Leslie and Pepe:

Ya'll have been very supportive and enthusiastic about this project and I just wanted to say thank you for that.

So much more to talk about coming up, but for now just thanks for being there.

-Craig

pf78248's picture
pf78248
Posts: 209
Joined: Jul 2008

Dear Craig,

Your book excerpt is wonderful! Do you have a publisher yet? I've always been so impressed with your strength and inspiration and although I rdont come to this site as often anymore, I never stop thinking of you and many other "old timers" on this board. I'm thrilled you've made it through seven years. I know how hard it is and how tough you really are!

Wishing you the very best with your book and your journey! Glad you took the path you did!

Hugs and Healing,
Priscilla

pf78248's picture
pf78248
Posts: 209
Joined: Jul 2008

Sorry for the duplicates!

pf78248's picture
pf78248
Posts: 209
Joined: Jul 2008

Dear Craig,

Your book excerpt is wonderful! Do you have a publisher yet? I've always been so impressed with your strength and inspiration and although I rdont come to this site as often anymore, I never stop thinking of you and many other "old timers" on this board. I'm thrilled you've made it through seven years. I know how hard it is and how tough you really are!

Wishing you the very best with your book and your journey! Glad you took the path you did!

Hugs and Healing,
Priscilla

HollyID's picture
HollyID
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009

in your writing... A pure gift. :) You're so spot on. LOVE THIS!!

Love and Hugs

Holly

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

I am so looking forward to getting my copy.
Winter Marie

laurettas
Posts: 372
Joined: May 2011

Craig, you have such a gift for expressing those oh so difficult emotions and stages that we all need to go through. Thanks so much!

I wanted to make a few comments about what you have said as well. I have issues with one statement that you made. You said that you are less of a man now because of the cancer. I would have to strongly disagree with that, sorry! You are more of a man and it comes through strongly in this book, the words of encouragement that you give to so many on this board and many other ways. The word man in Latin is vir which is where we get the term virtue. In other words a man is a male who possesses virtue and everything you have described in this post is expressing a growth in virtue. So, cancer has caused you to become more fully a man in the way that you were designed to be. Not everyone allows that to happen either so that shows a strength of character that you already possessed even before the cancer began its work on you.

For me as a caregiver second time around, my issues are different. I have gone through all of the things that you talked about from his first cancer and other life experiences and have that understanding even if I don't always live it. I went through a small period of fear about the future without my husband but have worked through that and look at things from a different perspective. For me, I want my husband to enjoy life as much as he can, especially if his time is limited.

My biggest frustration is not knowing the future. If we knew that the chemo was not going to help that much as far as life expectancy, I would just as soon not go there. It drags him down a lot and he just can't be himself when he is on chemo. And then there is the expense. We will be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on this first six months of chemo and if it doesn't extend his life that much, I will be very distraught. Not only for us and the loss of quality of life, but for the fact that we will have used so much insurance money that may have been able to be used for someone else that would have benefited a lot more from some treatment.

People on here comment that the only good way to extend life if through surgery. Well, that is probably not going to be an option for my husband since his mets are in his peritoneum and his lymph system. There are numerous mets in each location, pretty much ruling out surgery. The only thing we are hoping for is that some major break through will occur soon using T cells or something else that cures without destroying the individual in the process.

Anyhow I thoroughly enjoyed your post but have been out of town for a few days and not able to comment. Thanks again!

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