My web site is devoted to medical and treatment information about this rare cancer. My blog is devoted to sharing what has been the more difficult part of the journey for me, the emotional and spiritual road I've traveled as a rare cancer survivor.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Randy Pausch's Death

I'm sorry I have been off-line so long....I vacationed with my husband and children in Wisconsin (the Dells.....and I got stuck in "quicksand" at the bottom of the old Lake Delton and was chased by a Pit Bull on a rampage...wondered for a moment if I had survived cancer to drown in quicksand or to be mauled by a Pit Bull!). But we had a great time. Since being back I have been working a lot of hours so am behind on almost everything...including my blog.

Usually something happens in my life that motivates me to write in my blog. This time it was discovering that Randy Pausch, of the The Last Lecture, had died of pancreatic cancer. It was a shock to discover that....though as a nurse I understood the medical implications of his disease and knew he had been in hospice and would die soon. But still....

Somehow it had seemed that if the world was right and if there was justice and miracles and fairness, he would have survived his cancer. That he would be doing push ups on video again over and over, that he would be THE SURVIVOR of his cancer against all odds. It just seemed that would be right. He looked healthy on video, he had young kids, he was a good person, he made a difference, he took care of his body. He deserved to live, didn't he?

Wouldn't his survival against all odds have been the ultimate happy ending we all want to tuck in our pockets to reach for when we need something to believe in, when we need hope? Wouldn't his survival have been good reason to have faith in justice and hope and goodness? Wouldn't it have just been RIGHT for him to have survived? For him to have been the person who publicly said he had a terminal diagnosis but to have then defied the odds as an example for all others who came after him with no known hope of defeating their cancer?

But he didn't live. He did, as he said he would, succumb to his disease. His wife did become, as he told Congress she would become, his widow. His children have no father. They are so young they may not even remember interacting with him when they are adults. They will probably only know him through photos and videos.

Cancer claims its victims without regards to fairness or justice or rightness. Cancer is a thief that steals from us and leaves grief in it's wake. I know of two other mothers of young children who were good people, and who like Randy Pausch, have recently involuntarily abandoned their children.

It is wrong. It is unfair. It is an injustice.

We need as a society to band together and do something about it. We need a grass roots movement that demands support of research to end the agony and waste and hurt this disease causes all of us at one point or another.

We need the Stand Up to Cancer movement. We need to see the beginning of the end of cancer. We need to believe it can happen, that cancer can be beaten.

Randy was asked a question by a fan after appearing on a TV interview. The questions was: "If you could ask a question to your lecture audience and Web site audience 30 years from now, what would it be? -- Christian, Sydney, Australia"

He answered: "Have you found a way to bring me back? How are the cyber implants going? Dang it, have you cured cancer?"

I purchased a bunch of the SU2C buttons to give out, I became part of The Stand and donated via my cell phone (text STAND to 40202 and $5.00 will be donated to SU2C with the amount added to your cell phone bill). I'll donate in honor of all those I've met with appendix cancer (over 400) on Sept. 5th. I'm telling everyone I work with about SU2C. My daughter and I bought SU2C tote bags and t-shirts to help give visibility to the movement. I have also written many letters now to government officials asking for funding for cancer research and was recently asked to speak to someone in my senator's office. Randy Pausch has a star in the SU2C constellation. I was privileged today to be the 3rd contributor to his star.

I very much want to say one day that I played a part, however small, in ending the pain cancer causes.

I want to Stand Up To Cancer. I want to see cancer defeated.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Carolyn. You have summarized my feelngs about Randy Pausch and his battle with this horrendous disease so eloquently. He was truly an extraordinary person, so much life and spirit. In fact, I haven't been able to stop checking his update page since. I'm not sure why I'm continuing to check this. Perhaps I'm hoping for a miracle or that it was all a bad dream. I so wanted him to beat this. While he has said many times that he is not unique, I found him to be very unique. Especially in the strength he showed while in the midst of a battle for his life. For Randy Pausch and all the others who have succumbed to this vicious disease, let's STAND UP TO CANCER together.

HappyTrails said...

We just found out today that my wife's mother (ironically named Carolyn) most likely has appendiceal cancer. She was originally diagnosed last week as ovarian cancer, but when the gynecological surgeon started to perform the hysterectomy, she knew it was worse and called for another surgeon. Her abdominal cavity is full of cancer and they are calling a 3rd specialist in tomorrow who knows something of this rare cancer. Where can we go to find as much as there is to know in order to try and fight the disease? Any information you can pass on would be greatly appreciated. She is currently at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls, SD but we live in Colorado, so we know nothing about the facility. Our email is - thank you for posting your story online as it has given us a glimmer of hope in the midst of a dark day. Steve & Kathleen Swart

Carolyn Langlie-Lesnik RN BSN said...

Thank you for your comment and kind words.

I truly hope Stand Up To Cancer "goes viral". I'm doing anything on my part that I can to help that happen. I'm wearing SU2C buttons to work, will take the SU2C tote to work, I tell everyone I can about it. I think it's an opportumity for our generation to truly leave a lasting legacy.

Wouldn't it be great to be part of the generation that defeated cancer because we all stood together to make a difference? I truly believe that can happen.