In reflecting on the last couple of weeks, I thought I would write a little bit about some of the people I have chatted with this week. Each week and each day I have the privilege of meeting some very special people in various stages of this cancer fight. Each time I meet these great people, I find myself reflecting and saying to myself “How would I feel if I was in their shoes?” The answer that I continually come to is petrified.
I was at the UMGCC last week and was able to meet a new patient who, from a purely visual perspective, looked strong. He is a college lacrosse player and should be having the time of his life with his friends in college. Instead he lies in bed hoping that that splitting headache he has will subside before he begins intense rounds of chemo that await him. His family shared a video with our team at UCF made by some friends of his that really struck and emotional cord with me. I remembered those times and those kinds of friends! My new friend is fighting a powerful fight and we continually check in on him to let him know that he is not ALONE in this fight. As scared, as I know I would be in his situation, I DO know that I would not want to be ALONE.
The second part of this same day, I finally had a chance to meet another young man who I have come to know through our UCF Patient Navigator. Elizabeth reached out to me a few weeks back when this young man needed some dental work and did not have insurance. He desperately needed some work done so he could begin his treatment and not risk infection. I quickly picked up the phone to call my wife Liz, who just so happens to be a dentist. A two-minute conversation ended with ABSOLUTELY. It is not bad enough to be diagnosed with cancer, but imagine if you had to worry about fighting for your life as well as how would you ever be able to pay the medical system to do what was needed to keep you alive. Again, I quickly realize that that petrified state would soon overtake my body! I was able to have a nice, but brief conversation with this young man as he sat through his second to last round of infusions. As the nurse pushed the medication through his port, we were able to chat about the challenges he has faced due to his financial situation. He was also kind enough to thank UCF for the support we have given him as he does his best to try to navigate his cancer journey. I can not begin to understand what is going through this young mans mind as he watches the chemicals being injected into his system. Again, I strongly believe that I would not want to be ALONE!
I also keep closely connected to my friend Jessica. I met her almost a year ago at UMGCC and she is truly an inspiration to me! She is a wife and also a mother of two young boys. I also follow her in her blog where she very eloquently shares what is going on in her world as she continues to fight like hell. In her latest entry she spoke about trying to understand why this disease chooses certain people. So you might guess, I began to think about the same question. Why Jess? Why Holly? Why Ryan? and the list went on in my head. Way too long of a list. I hope there will be an answer to this question if not in my lifetime, then in my daughter’s lifetimes.
So in a nutshell, I am glad to at least be able to meet and spend some time with these special people and do my best to show then that they are not ALONE! We all at UCF are committed to doing our best to expand out offerings to make sure these special people are NOT ALONE!