I don’t know Kim. She is a friend of a friend of my wife. Even that may be a stretch. My wife’s friend is actually a High School classmate she had not seen in 30 years and just connected by Facebook. Here is what I have learned about Kim: She is a geriatric nurse. She is two classes shy of her BSN. She is a “glass is mostly full” person. Getting leukemia was not part of her and her partner Lisa’s 5 year plan. She has plans to live for another 54 years.
In the 7 years I have been collecting other peoples cancer stories only one thing about Lisa puzzles me. Where did the 54 years come from? That is very specific. Will that make her a specific age? Is this the number of her favorite sports player? Is this how many people are in her family? I have just spent 9 hours riding a one speed folding bike over 120 miles on an island only 15 miles long. Other than making sure I stayed on the left side of the road and did not get wiped out in a round about, I spent this time puzzling over the number 54. My conclusion: this must be the minimum number of times a day Kim and Lisa laugh together.
How can someone be this up beat going into this kind of fight? Even if she is faking it, which I don’t thing she is, her attitude is better than mine is when I have a cold. (Seems like a common message coming to me from up above this year.) I don’t know if me riding my bike around the Turks and Caicos Island this week will help Kim in any way. I do know that her example will help me for a long time to come. KICK IT KIM
Jon is now going through his second round of cancer. Last week I wrote and road for his wife Laura who is going through her first battle.
Yep, Jon and Laura are going through cancer at the same time! Last week they actually sat next to each other in the infusion room. And then they went to their temporary home to take care of their two kids. I only know a little of what Jon is going through from Laura’s Caring page. What I’ve read is that he is not your typical sick male. He cannot afford to be. Despite his own suffering he has a wife who is sicker then him.
I spent the time (when my heart rate was under 140 bpm) thinking about what a “whine bag” I am when I am sick. How my wife protects me from visitors and the kids and the dogs and from work. What an example Jon is setting for me. I hope the next time I get a cold I will remember him. A guy who has the right to sit and feel pathetic and sad but instead is taking the kids to the park and to the pool so his wife can rest. Now that’s the leader of a family.
Laura is 33 years old, mother of Hudson (3) and Liliana (1), wife of Jon who is a testicular cancer survivor, and is currently battling a super rare form of cancer at MD Anderson. She went in for a respiratory illness in October and had part of her lung removed three weeks ago. In between she was misdiagnosed at least 4 times, move her family from Michigan to Texas, found out that her body cannot do chemotherapy, AND her husband, Jon’s cancer is back! The only adjective that I can find to summarize what Laura is going through is “Blessed”. (I bet you expected a word that started with an “s”. Me too.)
While I do not know Laura I spent almost 3 hours and read all of her and Jon’s posts on their CarePages site (Laura Golub). In the thousands of words I read I never saw “why me”, “this sucks”, or “what’s the point”. What I did see over and over again is “We are so blessed” and “it is a miracle”. Paraphrasing: We are so blessed that the spot on my liver is not cancer only the one in my lung. It is a miracle that Jon’s cancer is a different cancer than he had 6 years ago. We are so lucky and overwhelmed with the support and Love coming our way.
It only took me 3 days to ride the 100 miles for Laura’s flag. I am ashamed to write that most of my time thinking of Laura was spent ignoring her message of “Blessed” and focusing on what a crap deal she is getting. It made for some fast bike rides, but I also finished each ride knowing I was missing the point. I have written for others I have ridden for, “I hope if I ever have to go through this I can be like…” Well I know for sure that I am too selfish, stubborn, and my faith is not strong enough to be like Laura and Jon. But maybe if a “miracle” happens I will be “blessed” with someone who reminds me of Laura and Jon. Two amazing people who are Fighting Like Hell AND being “blessed” along the way
Woody Roseland is currently going through his 7th round of cancer. He is only 23! In a video he did in 2012 he states that he had 3 goals going into his 5th round of cancer. 1) Save his hair. 2) Save his leg. 3) Save his life. “We got the ONE that really mattered.” (This video has over 77,000 views. See it at www.woodyroseland.com)
I found out about Woody as I was riding to dinner with his friend Ryan this past winter. The complete shock that the cancer was back for a 7th time hit so hard that we had to pull over. As I prepared to ride with Woody’s flag Ryan sent me this update. “Woody is truly an incredible kid. His surgery went better than expected, but he¹s still far from out of the woods. He¹s currently in an immunotherapy Clinical Trial at MD Anderson. Fingers crossed that it continues to work for him!”
Riding this past week with this flag my mind kept going back to his age AND the fact that Woody just finished an internship at LiveSTRONG. It just seems like someone should get a pass or at least a reprieve for this kind of work. We let people off for good behavior all the time. It seems only fair that people who work in a particular disease area should be immune from that disease.
I have now watched a half dozen of Woody’s videos. (Not only is he a great speaker, he is funny too.) NO WHERE in any of them does he even touch on “fairness”. Wow! He focuses all his time spreading the word, showing what cancer treatment is like, and making people laugh. Wow! Fight like Hell Woody! I sure would like to meet you someday