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How the Letter “S” Has Redefined HOPE for Me – and Maybe You?

Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

While I wait now to go to the appointments that have been set up, I’ve also been looking to give myself some strength to wake up and face this down once again. 


The sudden uncertainty of the fight plan and having to get to a point to bunker down and fight once more has left me looking for encouragement within myself – while trying to hold onto some remnant of Hope I can turn to – when needed.    . 


I’ve always found that Hope can be taken away – just as surely as it has been given…


A lot of times, while we are searching for Hope, we find her somewhat elusive message intricately hidden behind the walls of Symbolism – and what that stands for – and what that can represent for us, as well.


And so it was for me over the 4th


On a whim, we decided to go to a movie (haven’t been in years) just to have an activity out of the house and an opportunity to blend into the corridor of society.  We’ve been cooped up a lot the past few years and I could tell that I needed to do something for her on this holiday. 


When bad news hits us, we never know which holidays we will see the next time…


It made me think of another July 4th story from the past…


Back in ’09, I remember a frantic post from Jenny (idlehunters) and she was lamenting on whether that July 4th was going to be her last one…I remember telling her I don’t know, but cancer can’t take this one away, so do the best you can with it and try and get something out of it.


So, I tried to hold true to those words for myself for this holiday…


We decided to go see The Man of Steel in IMAX 3D.  It was the first time seeing a movie in that particular format.  The sights and sounds were incredible. 


The movie had too much ‘action’ - too many explosions and CGI effects – cool, but too many of ‘em over and over. 


But, as always, I looked to the story line, hoping to find another angle to this story that I thought I already knew about from the comic book days and the early movies with Christopher Reed starring.   


And of course, I’m always looking for a cancer angle to apply to any story that I’m interested in, that other folks might not see…


I always like to see how I can weave in the thread of cancer into the fabric of life and somehow apply those tapestries into a real-life application, so we can see things a little bit differently than we otherwise might have. 


In a recent post (and in prior posts), I’ve always alluded to the fact that I had removed the “S” from my chest long ago, which meant, that I did not feel like Superman or a super hero.


Superman was a personal childhood favorite of mine…he stood for Truth, Justice and The American Way…and he held strong ideologies of morality and character – paired with strength and humility, which was also combined with an empathetic nature towards the world he found himself living in – and the folks that his father entrusted him to look out after. 


All in all, he really was/is a great role model….as he holds those truths to be self-evident.


I’ve used a Superman avatar up here for fun a couple of times, or when someone mentioned the term Superman or requested the avatar…but always felt that it was rather presumptuous on my part to fly that flag for too long, as I did not consider myself special by any means.


After all, I was just a man and a member of this community and I didn’t want to be brazen and have folks think that I thought that I was more than I was.  This room is full of SuperPeople:)


But, in the movie, they told a part of the story that I had not know about…and it struck a special chord in my heart in learning this new symbolism and how I could apply it to our lives going forward.


Here’s how it happened…


Cal-El (Superman) was from the planet Kryptonite.  We’ve all seen the S on his outfit, which we just assumed and quite normally associated with the word Superman. 


It’s always worked for me….until now…but, there’s more to it than that as it turns out.


You see,  on the planet Kryptonite, the S is their symbolism for HOPE. 




I had to wipe the tears out from under my 3D glasses when I heard the Man of Steel talk about that one:)


As I said above, I thought that I had removed the S from my chest long ago – but, after learning about this new symbolic meaning, I’ve now taken it to heart and now equate the S to equal Our Hope here on the board.


I’m going to start flying this avatar from time to time, to show our colors – and to remind myself and others how important that symbolism can be to us – and the power that it has to move and inspire us. 


Much like the old Bat Signal, when you see this image, you will know that Hope is being called out in the form of an S



Hope is elusive and a free-spirit – in many ways, it can never truly be contained…it must roam independent, until called upon to serve. 


Hard news like we’ve had this year can make Hope wane for all us at one time or another…even for the supposed toughest and bravest among us – and for newcomers and old timers alike. 


My foundation was shook pretty hard the last week or so, but you know that I don’t wallow for long.  I absorb my impact and then get back to doing what I need to be doing. 


Anyway, this part of the movie was my favorite part…I’m pretty big into symbolism…and you know this by what I write…the way I write it…and how I use my avatars to convey messages also. 


Just wanted to share this with you….I’m going to be okay. 



PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

Hey Clark 

This certainly should not come as a surprise to you or anyone how "knows" me but I'm not real big on Faith (and there's certainly nothing wrong with having faith - it just doesn't do it for me; at least not in a religious context. I do have faith in the competency my doctors) but one thing I've never lost is Hope. I believe at times that hope is all we have and for ME, it's more of a concrete attitude. Others may find it to be only wishful thinking or maybe someone who promotes a certain approach to dealing with cancer as giving False Hope.

It's unique as we are. YOU my friend are Super-man... It's a he|| of a journey and you've handled things superbly.

As far as the new Superman movie goes, I will wait for Netflix. Great Caesar's ghost, the guy's a Limey and he's not wearing red underwear. How am I supposed to believe this nonsense??? 

And, why was it that in the 50's show with George Reeves as Superman that he'd stand there and let the bullets bounce off his chest but he'd duck when the bad guy threw his empty gun at him???

ron50's picture
Posts: 1729
Joined: Nov 2001

If aliens ever invade earth ,they will bring a ship load (not mis spelled) of kryptonite. They have been sitting out in space watching his documentaries for years. I agree wholeheartedly with you both, lose hope and you lose the game. when those aliens get here , I hope they bring some great doctors. Ron.

maglets's picture
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

ahhh there you are......3 of my favourite super men heroes on this board.....you bring a smile to my face each and every one of you...... thanks for being so unique ....so you......mags

Posts: 1607
Joined: Aug 2012

Hope I can post before the site goes down or my kindle loses Internet! Love this post Craig...and Mag's comment too!

annalexandria's picture
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

I think you rebound from dreadful news faster than anyone I know, Craig.  If it was me, I'd still be huddled in bed, feeling miserable.  You have a lot of strength and determination, and I know you're going to put that part of yourself to good use in the upcoming battle.

And really, Superman only had to face General Zod, right?  That's nothing compared to cancer, so personally I think you deserve to wear the S more than certain superheroes I could mention.


Posts: 271
Joined: Nov 2011

Hope is faith when faith is still a small seed. 

Love your analogy and can't wait to see Man of Steel this week! 

Posts: 1170
Joined: Sep 2012

Steve saw this movie a couple weeks ago and really enjoyed it. But more importantly, Craig is back! Yaaaaah!!!! I hoped that once you'd processed it all, that your fighting spirit would return. Remember that we are all here for you, every step of the way.


That was a really nice post, Craig. Thanks.

fatbob2010's picture
Posts: 467
Joined: May 2012

Hi Craig,

So good to have the earlier you back.  When I saw the trailer for "Superman" they played the part of explaining the "S."  You are totally correct when you encourage us to look for HOPE in everything we experience.  

Welcome back,


Posts: 370
Joined: Aug 2011

I love this post!  Now from my viewpoint, I'd say your going to the movie was not coincidental and that message of HOPE was there waiting for you.  And now you brought it back to us.  It's beautiful, really. 

So thanks, and I'm happy for you that you are able to start building yourself up for the fight.  You are strong and resilient.



AnnLouise's picture
Posts: 276
Joined: Mar 2013

The first time I went on this forum I read a comment that you wrote and suddenly felt like there was hope. If you had 9 years after diagnosis, then I could be hopeful. You definitely are a superman....to so many of us. You bounced back so fast but know we will be strong for you when you need it. Sending positives thoughts for the best results possible. ~Ann

Posts: 1736
Joined: Jul 2007

From the first time I ever read one of your posts I have been in awe of your strength, your wisdom, your kindness, your big Texas heart, and every word you have ever written here.  You amaze me, you truly do.  There is no rhyme or reason for this beast, or for who it touches or takes or spares, I have for years tried to figure it out and just can't.  This November will be 5 years in remission for me ( stage4), and I have no clue as to why, I am thankful truly thankful but the why will and has almost drove me to the end without any help from the cancer.  I believe God truly knows who can handle what and I know I wouldn't have survived even half what you and Kim have had to go through, I know it doesn't make anything better but to me you really are "superman".. In every sense of the word.  I love you and you have my number if you need me...keeping you in my prayers...Wendy and I have an extra room if you want to get away for a weekend, we got a pool too so we can relax and cool off from this HOT TEXAS heat..give me a ring..HUGS Beth

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Hans just received his new heart last Monday, so HE is tethered for a year....but NOT ME!!!


Hugs, Kathi

Posts: 1170
Joined: Sep 2012

Kathi - So happy to read that your husband received his new heart. I hope his recovery goes quickly and smoothly. Soon you two will be off jet-setting around the world. So pleased that it all worked out for you guys!


Posts: 1736
Joined: Jul 2007

Anytime hon, just drop on by and we will jump in together MISS YOU!!!s




Posts: 506
Joined: Apr 2013

Welcome Back Superman :-)

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

I chose a lighter fare, The Lone Ranger, but there was a trailer for the Superman movie....and I, too, was moved to tears with the meaning of the letter "S"!!!

 But YOU will ALWAYS be Superman to me!!!!

BIG hugs, Kathi

Posts: 506
Joined: Apr 2013

We also saw The Lone Ranger on July 4th, we loved it!!  Full of action, a hero and a happy ending - what more could you ask for?  It also took our minds off cancer for a few hours...

Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Thank you for all the kind comments:)

You know I make it look easier than it really is....right?


I met with a new onc this morning...the surgical liver onc.  He had just gotten up to speed on my case and he went to speak about The 9-Years...

He said that was Incredible...

It was more than the word though....it was the look on his face and the way he expressed himself that really garnered my attention.  It was the look that said longevity of this sort was a rare thing...and didn't happen every day.  

I guess, I've always thought it was something....but to hear it from a fresh medical perspective, really made it sink in on how hard it is to actively fight for nine-years or more.

It left me glad, sad...and nauseous...all at the same time. 

Posts: 506
Joined: Apr 2013

I'm sure that's a term doctor's don't use very often!  I feel glad, sad and nauseous most days....

Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

"And now...for something completely "different."

I got my consult with my lung surgeon Monday....it had been a couple of years since I last saw him (after our 2nd surgery).

He opened the door and got this realy warm and friendly smile on when he greeted us:)  Walked right up to us and put his hands upon mine and closed them in a warm embrace. 

Now, this is an all-business, serious kind of a guy....he's the professor of Cardio/Thoracic surgery....but seeing him again this time, felt like more of a visit with an old and trusted friend, not the guy who carved you like a turkey and sawed out 2 ribs:)

We got to talk chit-chat for a couple of minutes while he logged on to check out my scans/report.  He did suspect metastatic activity in the pleura, but the CT images are not as defined as everyone would have liked.  We might end up doing a needle biopsy, depending on other things that are found. 

And when it was over, he just sat there talking to me....really lovingly and friendly like...like 2 old 'colleagues' consulting about a case...only it was mine, LOL!

I told him that I had sent him the Big Billy story for him to read when he could....and that the story picked up after he dropped me to radiation and the subsequent chemo that followed....that piqued his interest.  I told him I had written a book and had been trying to get it published....and I talked about my life on the board here and what I was trying to do with my time to try and pay it forward...and what my mission for cancer was....etc. etc.

He just smiled and nodded his head.....and said..."You're Different..."

And I knew what he meant:)

Dr. D. selected me to be the first patient in North Texas to have the da Vinci robotic lung surgery done on back in 2010.  He said he had waited a long time....looking for the 'right' patient to do the procedure on.  He apparently had the opportunity for some time to select any number of patients...but he had remained pat...

In the end, he selected me, because of my calm and cool demeanor...the fact that I don't get rattled too easy...(I am all business when we're in the consult & planning stages)...and that I was willing to make the sacrifice and take a chance on me and him...so that others could follow in our footsteps.  He said most of his clientile were just too shook up...and unwilling to embrace the challenges, so he had been waiting for the right candidate. 

Here's the link I found to this part of my story.....it's yesterday's news now, but it was nice to be a part of it all...originally, I had asked the president of the foundation to generously donate 100 copies for the cancer group here...and we took up a collection for postage and handling and mailed them to the members here, who were interested.


Go to pages 7 & 8. 

We got up to leave and he hugged us both...and not the I'm afraid I'll catch something kind of a hug....a toe to toe, full frontal hug that wrapped around one another - where you could feel the warmth of the embrace.

I must admit that it felt pretty good...

He will be talking to the other players in the medical team about our consult and get back with me.

It was a nice visit and hopefully he will get the chance someday to read the story I sent him...told him it was coming out in an upcoming edition....and to make sure they order a subscription to Coping:)


Posts: 506
Joined: Apr 2013

Craig, I just read the article - I like the looks of that doctor - his arm around you in the picture and your smile shows how much you care about each other.  It's nice to hear and I'm glad you had a nice visit with him this week.  I'm sure he'll do everything he can to help you again.  It's great you have a doctor like that who genuinely cares about you and isn't afraid of a hug or two...

Thank you again for the uplifting story and sharing the article for us newbies.


Posts: 1170
Joined: Sep 2012

Glad, sad and nauseous. That gave me a laugh. Although, kind of a sad laugh. I think we can all relate to that feeling. Nine years really is quite remarkable. Most people wouldn't be able to relate to how absolutely hard it would be to fight cancer, not only physically, but mentally, for nine years. It's mind-boggling to me. Steve and I are exhausted after only two! I believe, generally speaking, that the onc's get it. Steve and I have dealt with so many surgeons and oncologists, especially in recent months. I can see the pain and admiration in their eyes. They get how rough a fight it really is.

LivinginNH's picture
Posts: 1458
Joined: Apr 2010


Craig:  Our Lion and Superman


A leader, fearless and courageous!


He perseveres in the face of potentially overwhelming odds, even on the occasions that his life may be at risk.  Superman has helped many survivors and has brought plenty of villains (cancer cells)  to justice ; his traits are: Honesty, Loyalty, Integrity, Trustworthiness; A strong sense of truth and justice and the ability to not allow his emotions to prevent him from doing what's right; brave and self-sacrificing, Superman fights for the weak and for the helpless - and ALWAYS provides us with HOPE!

Luv ya Craig,


Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

And touched me on so many levels...

Thank you - it was so beautiful and moving to me:)

tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5065
Joined: Feb 2008

That gave me goosebumps! What a great message to go straight to your heart right when you need it.





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