Background: I was admitted to the hospital in Gainesville (Shands Cancer Hospital), FL on 6/15/18 with Stage IV Double Hit Lymphoma, released on 7/10/18, and returned to Indiana for the remainder of my chemotherapy treatments. This entry represents some lessons learned and thoughts that I captured during the early morning hours at the beginning of my stay in Gainesville, and as I received my treatment.
I always wondered how I would react in the face of true adversity. I am satisfied that when faced/looking at death, Beth and I maintained who we were; good and fun people at heart, who maintained their core values, and who love each other, our families, and our friends. We maintained our unique blend of humor, our sense of fairness, and our belief in the underdog. As part of this assessment, I asked myself, what does it mean to be a “good person” and how would I measure up?
The Good Person (immediate thoughts from the hospital)
- Deep vs Shallow
- Focused on others vs on self
- Family & Faith vs loner
- Giving Back vs Wealth focused
- Fun vs Success focused
- Be yourself vs trying to be who you are not (celebrity, athlete, model, lady’s man, etc.)
I found that I was at peace with the person I am, but also recognized that I can improve in each of the attributes I identified above.
It is important to realize that what a “good person” means changes as we go through life, and that it relies on who our influencers are and on what experiences we have had that determine our turn-offs. When we are teenagers it is different than when we are in our middle years (maybe with a family, maybe not), and when we are in our middle years it is different than when we are in our sunset years. However, our “good person” attributes should include some core values that do not change while we are on our life journey. If you are honest with yourself, you already know how you measure up to your Good Person attributes.
My “good person” contemplation happened pretty early in my 25-day hospital stay in Florida, while I was being stabilized, diagnosed, and treatment was determined. Once my treatment started, I watched a lot of news, and the vitriol and lack of respect and thoughtful dialogue was shocking. I vowed that I was going to break that paradigm for myself and not allow myself to exhibit such characteristics. While I appreciate passion and welcome input from all parties, be aware that I seek to understand the views of all involved, especially those with no voice. I will not tolerate a lack of respect and civility. In addition, my opinions and actions are made only after quiet contemplation. Please honor my process.
What does it all mean for me? I am going to live my life full of love for all and for life itself. I look forward to having good times and laughs with those around me. I am going to focus on giving back and fighting for others, living my core values, and providing guidance and mentoring when appropriate. I will conduct myself, and expect the same from others, with compassion, civility, respect, and dignity.
If you clicked through and have read through to this point, then you recognize that since June 15th, I have had some challenges to overcome, with more ahead. While the purpose of this post is to share learnings from an adverse situation, I also humbly ask for your assistance in reducing the financial burden of this experience. If you are so inclined, please follow this GoFundMe link and contribute. Any amount helps as Beth and I navigate this cancer experience.