by Gail Hamm, program director
Courage is as often the outcome of despair as hope; in the one case we have nothing to lose, in the other, all to gain. ~Diane De Poitiers
It was such a privilege to meet so many survivors a week ago at the Lapper/Survivors Day Celebration. I was heartened by their stories…the volunteer who told me of the death of her son-in-law but the lives of her two grandchildren who are in remission from their cancers. Then I met the father of a teenager who succumbed to lung cancer 2 months ago and whose family was walking in this young man’s memory. Another walker rejoiced that she has been dealing with a Stage IV cancer for over 4 years but formed a large Lapper team and succeeded in completing the Walk. And I thought: what courage!
Some mornings, just getting out of bed is an act of courage. Even in the midst of doubt, the simple act of breathing is enough. This moment will only be this moment. The next moment carries us forward. We are asked to live each moment fully. The many friends and neighbors of Cancer Services who celebrated together at Foster Park embody the idea that we have nothing to lose and all to gain when hope and courage give meaning to our lives.
by Gail Hamm, program director
I watched a webinar last week and the presenter talked about the Oz effect, as in The Wizard of Oz. You know the story. The characters traveled to Oz to meet the wizard hoping that he could solve their problems and give them what they needed- a way home, a heart, a brain, and courage. What the characters ultimately discovered is that the wizard was a sham and that he was unable to give them anything more than what they had come to him with.
They had the answers, the abilities, the strength and courage all along. It was inside each of them and they just had to discover that. When a person is diagnosed with cancer, she starts looking for the answers and the courage. Sometimes, out of the void, she is given the answers she needs. She finds superhuman strength to persevere. She endures experiences that a few weeks before would have seemed impossible. A cancer patient often finds within, more than would be thought possible.
When faced with a crisis, we discover our true selves. In addition, we discover our true friends and family. An additional source of strength and support is a Client Advocate from Cancer Services. Don’t hesitate to make that connection when you need it. When we don’t know if we have the strength within us, an understanding and knowledgeable friend can be a wonderful companion on the journey.
by Nimal Gernando, cancer survivor and Cancer Services client
One beautiful day in June 2008, I was attending a conference in Indianapolis and developed a slight and sudden pain in my lower abdomen. I tried to shrug it off, but it didn’t go away and actually got worse. I had a bad feeling about it, so I decided to head home. I called my wife on the way, and she suggested that I call the doctor. The doctor saw me right away, but he couldn’t find anything and suggested that I get a CAT scan. The scan showed a tumor blocking my colon, so I had a colonoscopy, which confirmed the tumor and I underwent surgery to remove it immediately. That was the beginning of a new life for me and one that has been humbling and challenging.
After my diagnosis, I found Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana, which has been a huge source of support and encouragement to me and my family. My Client Advocate, Brandon, has been there at every turn and has never hesitated to provide the information that I need. I have also been enjoying the massages provided through its new program, Caring Touch. The experience is so relaxing and comforting. I am thankful to Cancer Services for the support and services provided on my journey.
My life goes on and I am enjoying it to the fullest. I have learned to look on the bright side and have been counting my blessings. I have two boys: Nathan (8) and Nelig (7). My wife, Shanthinie, has been strong and is taking care of me and the two boys with much courage and perseverance. She is scared, yet she has been there to support me and take care of the family throughout this journey. We do not have family in the area, so she has found strength in the community, especially from our church family, which has rallied around us and offered encouragement and support. Life is a struggle but I am keeping my hope alive.
Each of us wants life to have meaning, to contain relationships and experiences that make daily living richer and more enjoyable. We want, for ourselves and the people we love a quality of life that makes tomorrow exciting and interesting, caring and comforting. That’s why few things in life are more frightening than hearing the words, “you have cancer.” We understand that. We also know that while life will never be the same after a cancer diagnosis it can be rich and full of many good things.
Here you will read stories of cancer survivors, stories of hope and encouragement, stories of triumph, and thoughts to make your life richer. The postings on this blog represent the heart of Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana. To learn more about the daily work of the organization go to cancer-services.org.
Our hope for you is that cancer, while life-threatening, will become something more. We want to help you find the life-affirming insight that will give you strength for the journey wherever it leads you.