It’s by Randy Pausch, professor at Carnegie Mellon and a Pancreatic Cancer victim (3% survival rate).

I finally gained the courage to read his best seller. I learned he was originally in Pittsburgh and thought to myself I hope he was able to work with our Team at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Dr. Bartlett and Dr. Zeh.

http://www.upmccancercenters.com/search/page_physbio.cfm?id=21716

http://findadoc.upmc.com/FindADocQuery.aspx?PP=Prac&N=Division+of+Surgical+Oncology

And sure enough into his book I saw that he was a patient of Dr. Herbert Zeh and then went onto M.D. Anderson (another GREAT facility)  http://www.mdanderson.org/

His book is an easy read, reflections of his past and wishes for the future, a vehicle to share those with his three children when they grow up. But it brought back a lot of memories for me as well.

A few of the thoughts especially struck me.

  • Brick walls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want something.
  • In review, “I don’t think we ever said to each other: “This isn’t fair'” We just kept going. We recognized there were things we could do that might help the outcome in positive ways.. and we did them. Without saying it in words, our attitude was, “Let’s saddle up and ride.”

We learned this after our Journey with Pancreatic Cancer and find it interesting he did as well:

  • Time must be explicitly managed, like money
  • You can always change your plan, but only if you have one.
  • Ask yourself: are you spending your time on the right things?
  • Develop a good filing system
  • Delegate
  • Take a time out, “Time is all you have. And you may find one day that you have less than you think.”

In our experience and working with other cancer patients, hope is key.

Randy mentions, “My personal take on optimism is that as a mental state, it can enable you   tangible things to improve your physical state. If you’re an optimist, you’re better able to endure brutal chemo, or keep searching for late breaking medical treatments. Dr. Zeh calls me his poster boy for “the healthy balance between optimism and realism: He sees me trying to embrace my cancer as another life experience.”

I also was glad to see he mentioned he and his wife received counseling while going through this experience and wished he could go to every oncology patient and tell them to seek help/support as well.

Randy died July 25, 2008, only 47 years old leaving behind a wife and three young children.

Two organizations that are dedicated to fighting this disease:

www.pancan.org

www.lustgarten.org

We have a friend who lost his father to this hideous disease, his yearly tribute is this Sunday. www.eveningforchuck.com

I was attending an event recently and was talking to a friend who has a friend who’d been diagnosed with PC.

Recounting a little of our experience I saw Frank in the crowd (we had gone separately), realized I could have been without him for 7 1/2 yrs now…. the tears welled up and I had to excuse myself.

I just emailed our healthcare providers at UPMC and thanked them once again:

“I’m still amazed at what I continue to learn from this awful disease, the worst of times has brought to us the best of people. 

If kindness were a cure…. this disease would be long gone…”