Last night Madi, mom, dad, and step mom went to the Cancer Support Community Center to hear Michael Eselun speak. Michael is a Chaplin at UCLA so as you can imagine he has a wealth of experiences. We heard from several people that he’s a great speaker so needless to say, we went with really high expectations. Even given that, he far exceeded our expectations.
Last month we wrote about cancer not being a battle… more of a journey, sharing our perspectives as well as those of Rob Ruff. Last night Michael mentioned several things he’s heard over the years as a UCLA Chaplin and offers cancer patients and family another view… a different lens to look through. Michael mentioned the common terms like “winning the fight against cancer”, “losing the fight”, “he/she battled courageously”, etc. The idea that anyone loses a battle implies that if they had just done something else differently then maybe they might have won? Michael added that if someone suffers lifelong hypertension and eventually dies from a heart attack, do we ever say they lost their battle with high blood pressure? No. Thinking of cancer as a battle, it’s not quite blaming the victim but it does have ring of losing. If someone or something loses, then that means that someone or something else wins. You can’t have a loser if you don’t have winner, so we should not so easily give cancer that kind of power over us.
As UCLA Chaplin, Michael invites patients and family members to reset their perspective thinking of it like being on an inner-tube in the water at the beach. There will be high tides, low tides, but also the occasional large wave that will knock you off the tube, tumble you around under water, then slams you in to the bottom to the point you come up spitting sand out of your mouth. One spits sand out of their mouth thinking ‘damn that really sucked’, and gets back aboard the raft. Hey… it’s smooth and warm up here.
If you know anyone who has cancer, consider watching a video of Michael at this link. While it's 45 minutes, I feel it's well worth twice that since he offers great perspectives based upon his experiences as Chaplin.
So how is Madi!? Awesome!!! As mentioned she restarted college in January and is enjoying it.
Next steps... MRIs every three months to proactively check for any signs of regrowth. A sincere and heartfelt thank you to our loving family and friends for your support and prayers.