The Gift of Time

There was this whole story I was concocting in my head about how to lead you to the updated news.  Perhaps if I had cried less in the last month I could muster the enthusiasm and passion I normally feel, but since I’ve had to put my big girl panties on then I’m going to ask you to put yours on, too, so I can get right to it.

The Good News

Hook and I signed off on a gift to St. Edward’s University for the Dr. Allan W. Hook Endowed Wild Basin Creative Research Fund.  After much discHDU_waspmanussion on how to provide a legacy for Allan’s lifelong work with science and education, and to highlight the gem known as the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, we created this endowment with an initial gift of $125,000 dollars.

We felt wowed by the idea, the planning of it, and now the future of the endowment.  In a separate blog post, I’ll share more details.  For now, feel wowed with us.

The Bad News

For all the good wishes we have desperately hung onto, our positive thinking wasn’t enough to blink back the cancer from wherever it came from.   Was it the surgery?  Was it the lack of good guidance?  Or, was this how it was always going to end up?

Throughout this past year, Hook and I have believed he would recover and that he’d beat every statistic on the pancreatic cancer books.  We believed we were getting on a plane in August for Australia, and we believed we’d have a year like no other.  Well, we did have a year like no other, and for all the trials of the last 12 months, I know when to be thankful for life’s simpler plans.

Hook said, “Tell them Australia is still a possibility just not in 2013.”  For me, I can’t imagine anything more unimportant, more insignificant than whether we go anywhere.  My home is where Allan is; he is my adventure.  My father, Lou, always said, “Make do with what you have,” and so we will.

Whatever reconciliation the oncologist and I had from the last post is gone, gone, gone.  As of mid-May, Allan went back on chemo but with a different treatment.  The oncologist’s analysis:

  • Without chemo treatments:  ~ two months.
  • With chemo treatments:  up to 14 months.

“You’re now in stage 4” was his opener.

If you had asked me two weeks ago about our status, I would have blurted out the answer amidst a shower of tears and nose blowing.  Today I have a little more self-control.   Yesterday, I wrote to a friend that I can pray every day and I do, and I can keep believing in miracles and I will, but I see what no one else does including the doctors and I don’t have the luxury of denial.

But even knowing what we know doesn’t mean we give up.   We’ve decided that knowing what we know is its own gift.  There may or may not be a clock.  This estimate of months is guesswork at best.  All I have to do is re-read the story about John Betak who was given the “six months, get your affairs in order” pancreatic cancer talk but who is still alive today after eight years.

Then there’s the video of David, the pancreatic cancer survivor, who was told by his doctor to cash out his 401k and live it up because he only had six months.  That was more than five years ago.   David says he’s poor now but alive.

What’s that cliche:  Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.  I never liked that saying.  Instead, I’m going to pray for a miracle, set aside time for Hook and I to write, and make plans we should have had in place anyway.

More Good News

On June 1st, Allan will officially begin his long-awaited, well-earned, 12-month sabbatical.  A “sabbatical” to some might conjure up images of goofing off or beaching it.   For a scientist like Hook and with his obligation to the university, he’ll use this year to conduct uninterrupted, focused research.   Allan easily has enough research projects to last longer than a year, but he has some specific works (what he considers his “life’s work”) he is determined to finish.

That Allan will have this year to do what he loves the most is an enormous gift from the universe.

Turning a Complaint Into a Compliment

As part of my Hook The Talent career management business, I host two different events every month.  One is an Ask The Coach forum where I invite in a local coach, usually a career coach, to do a Q&A over coffee with an intimate group of seven career changers.

Not intending to be in need of a Wellness Coach, I nonetheless scheduled one onto the events calendar thinking others might be in need.  Turns out, I was the one who benefited the most from Wellness Coach, Lauryn Sires, who comes from a science background but now specializes in coaching cancer fighters and survivors.   Her advice to the forum when dealing with a health issue for yourself or someone you love:

“When you feel yourself getting ready to complain, try complimenting someone or something instead.”  Lauryn said three things would happen:

  • You’ll catch how often you complain.
  • You’ll see the good/positive in a person/situation.
  •  You’ll start to express more gratitude for what you do have versus what you don’t.

I think the key is that the compliment has to be genuine. If you don’t really believe it, you’ll remain frustrated plus you’ll be insincere.  (My thought not Lauryn’s.)

I struggled with this one relative to Hook’s oncologist.  I really did.  But I dug deep and came up with an authentic, deeply-felt compliment:

Let us all thank the universe for those individuals who consciously choose to become oncologists and cancer nurses and grief counselors.   These jobs see more death and dying than the average person could ever bear.  Some of these individuals like Linda Lou are angels walking this earth, guiding us, loving us, caring for us in a way no other could or would want to.

Hook and I have tomorrow and the next day and the day after that and for now we will make do with what we have.  We will be thankful for the gift of time however much of it we receive. 

God bless you all for sticking with our story.

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28 thoughts on “The Gift of Time

  1. After reading this blog posting, I searched deep within me for the positive words…you know, the compliment the wellness coach talked about…and still felt like shouting, “this isn’t fair.” Then I read Anna Alkin’s reply and regrouped. She’s right; you and Al are living out the miracle of learning to live while you are here. I am grateful for Al’s sabbatical, the opportunity to conduct his research, and your opportunity to write together, live together, and love, taking each day as it unfolds.

  2. I, too, will pray for you and Hook. Somehow I feel connected. We were neighbors way back when – on Ninth Street. Your Parents – so good and gracious. And now I am blessed to also know Susan and Dave. Yes, I will be honored to walk with you on your Journey in prayer. Marianne

  3. Dear Rose, this is the first time reading about what’s happening with your husband. Barry and I are sending much love and prayers your way. We unfortunately can understand exactly where you are coming from, but with that being said miracles do happen every minute of everyday so we are going pray everyday that one happen for you and your husband. God Bless you both.

  4. It is so hard to put to words the bittersweet sorrow and gratitude of the brevity of life. I am so honored to have been blessed by you and Hook. Veronika and I keep you both in our thoughts and prayers. Charge forward Hook. Congrats on your legacy endowment……and your Opus.

  5. I truly believe that every difficulty we face makes us a better person. Your endowment, positive outlook, and undeniable strength are proof. Praying and thinking of you both.

  6. Undaunted by the change in the winds that steer us, I will keep y’all in my prayers.

    Enjoy every moment together for each is, indeed, a gift.

  7. I met you at the luncheon after your dad’s funeral, and Susan and David are very dear friends. You are such a gifted writer. I have spent most of the evening reading your blogs. I am so sorry to hear you need a miracle…..I will to continue to pray for both of you every day, and wish you much love and peace.

  8. Hayden loves you, Dr Hook!

    He says that he gives you a double prayer, and that he wants to give you a cake with hissing cockroaches.

  9. Perhaps the miracle is that you met, you fell in love, you married, you became best friends, and you shared…..is there a greater gift? Sending love, Barb

  10. Dear Rosemary,
    Your story is so inspiring! I appreciate your ability to speak so courageously & with such gratitude. I’ll be praying for you both daily starting right now! Keep up the good fight. I agree, Anything Is Possible. Prove them wrong. You’re on the right track!!
    (You prob don’t know me, but remember my brother, Monte Loose). Take care and God bless, Lisa

  11. Hook said, “Tell them Australia is still a possibility just not in 2013.” Love that–go Hook! Helen Keller couldn’t see with her eyes, she could only see possibility. Rosemary, I too believe deeply in miracles and that is what I am praying for daily. Love you both.

  12. Amen, Amen I say to you…………Amen. I will read this journey……I will pray this journey continually. God Speed!!!! Darlene, Michelle Kranes’ Mom

  13. Your endowment is a great gift that I’m sure will always be remembered. Rico and I love you and Alan and pray for you both. As always, we are here for you and will continue to be in your support team.

  14. I am wowed not only by your endowment to the university but by your strength, your love for each other, and your ability to keep us posted with this blog. I too will pray for a miracle.

  15. Beautifully shared…, very beautifully shared. And thank you and Hook for sharing your eloquence, honesty and courage as you travel this path. Warm abrazos to you both.

  16. The miracle isn’t longevity, the miracle is learning to live while you’re here. You and Hook are in the midst of a conversion experience from a life lived for another time and place, to life lived in in the now, with all its beautiful, painful, full-full reality. By taking us with you in your blog, Rosemary, and in the gift to SEU to carry on Hook’s work, you both are helping us to learn how to live wide open, too. Thank you.

  17. That is such a wonderful tribute to Hook’s passion. God bless and don’t forget you have a full army of supporters praying for a miracle. Anything is possible!

  18. I love your updates Rosemary!! Thanks for keeping us up to date – I think about you guys a lot! I love your positive outlook!!

  19. Dear Rosemary, You are one of a very few people who has changed my life. I cannot describe the impact your blogs and brief conversations have had on me.

    Karen

    ________________________________

  20. Thanks for keeping everyone informed on the journey…tell Allan I said hello. All is well here in Boston. I may get to Austin in November….will be in touch.

  21. Admirably faced, and well said. Here’s to the fullness of the next moment, and the next, and the next . . . You are good people.

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