Yesterday I got the following email from Carla:
Blake L is fighting for his life. He has leukemia and has received a bone marrow transplant. Various things have happened along the way. He has had seizures, they placed him in a drug coma, various infections, now he is “storming.” They are slowly bringing him out of the coma and he is starting to make eye contact.
He had promise playing football for —- State, now walking again would be a blessing. His parents have not left his side at Children’s in ——- in 4 months. They are looking for things to motivate and give hope. They have an excellent circle of friends with a wonderful prayer chain.
I am an ovarian cancer survivor and I know how important it is to get motivation and prayers. What I would love is an email to forward to Blake for his dad and mom to read to him about staying strong. Can you help?
I told her that I’d do my best, and asked if she minded if I made my letter public and asked my readers to offer their support to Blake and his family in the comments section here. Carla said that would be fine.
Dear Blake (and Blake’s parents),
I probably don’t have anything to tell you that you don’t already know. Since my wife is fighting cancer, too, maybe it’s helpful to hear from someone else who’s fighting a battle a little bit like yours.
There’s nothing at all good about having cancer. Not a single thing. I hate it and what it’s done to my wife more than I would have believed it possible for me to hate anything. I expect you hate what it’s done to you, too. And you should.
On the other hand, there are some pretty great things I’ve learned about me, about my wife, and about people in general.
I’ve learned that people are really good. We’ve gotten to know a lot of doctors and nurses, and we’ve gotten to know our neighbors better than we used to. Everyone I meet shares in our anger at cancer, and everyone wants to help in any way they can.
I’ve learned that everyone takes turns being both strong and weak. Sometimes I feel like I can take care of everything. Sometimes my wife feels like fighting. And sometimes neither of us feels like we can make it to the end of the day — I mean that seriously; there have been days when my wife simply has not been able to imagine how she could make it to bedtime. When you’re feeling strong, that’s great. And when you’re feeling weak, be weak. That’s fine, too. You’re already coping with something most people can’t even imagine. You have permission to tell people that you need them to do everything right now, that right now staying alive is all you’ve got energy for. I promise you that people will be glad to help, and will in fact be grateful to you for giving them a chance to pitch in.
I’ve learned that I can make it through the day. Whether you’re suffering or watching someone suffer, sometimes focusing on one simple thing — enduring — helps. Tell yourself you’re going to make it, and you will.
I’ve learned to not be surprised by surprises. Cancer seems to be as devious as it is evil, and we’ve been caught off guard by it several times. But we’ve learned that we can adapt and we can fight, and we can lean on people who will help us with that fight.
I’ve learned that there are good days. Sometimes, things will level off or even get easier. When your fight is especially difficult that may be hard to believe, but it’s true. You’ll have good days.
I’ve learned to say “thanks.” This has been a hard lesson for me, and I think it’s a hard lesson for most people, but it’s worth learning. When people offer help, say “thanks,” and find a way to take them up on it. When they offer to pray or meditate or send healing vibes or whatever, say thanks and take them up on it.
Be strong when you can, and be glad for others’ help when you need others to be strong. Hate the cancer, but be proud of your own strength. The fact that you’re fighting shows you are strong, even on the days when you don’t feel strong.
PS to FatCyclist.com readers: If you can, leave a comment offering your own thoughts and support. Thanks.
PPS: You can learn more about Blake, see photos, and read his parent’s journal by clicking here.