Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Thank you Frank

Frank is a good friend who I met through Simplicity Blog and my book Simplicity is the Key. We first corresponded about three and a half years ago.

My initial connection with Frank was when he gave me some really helpful and insightful comments about my writing style and my book content.

Ever since those first rich comments over three years ago I’ve regularly sought and valued Frank’s feedback on my writing. I’ve sometimes sent Frank my written material for feedback before I publish it.

I was shocked in October 2008 when Frank told me he had recently been diagnosed with Colon Cancer. We have kept in touch and the latest email I had from Frank moved me so much I asked him if he minded if I publish his words on my Blog. I’m happy to say Frank agreed.

Everyone knows someone touched by Cancer and if you are like me you sometimes wonder in your private moments ‘How would I cope with the diagnosis of Cancer?’

Frank’s words below are just inspiring to me.

He is facing his uncertain future with pragmatism, a sense of humour, honesty and most of all bravery.

Thank you Frank and rest assured many prayers are with you. I'm pretty sure there will be many more prayers after Simplicity readers have have absorbed Franks powerful words.

This is a part of what Frank wrote to me in his most recent email:

“I have just finished my own first six chemo laps. The last ones were pretty tough, but they are already history and long forgotten :-)

The results were mixed. Deep down secretly you hope for some sort of recovery over time, which means that the volume of cancer cells has to drop, at least gradually. However I seem to have reached a plateau which is flagged as ‘stable.’

Neither significant improvements nor significant deteriorations. So although this is a sort of OK, it's not the one you mention as your childhood's dream;

‘What do you wanna be when you grow up?’

‘Stable Miss’ :-)

So as long as it doesn't deteriorate I should be able to get a life again by following a lighter continuous chemo regime (without the heavy stuff). I have to find out in the next couple of months what this would mean for the quality of life (how do I regain physical fitness, can I work again, part time yes/no etc.) Also nobody knows how long these stable periods will last. It could be 9 weeks as a minimum or maybe even a couple of years. We just have to find out.

So the bad news is that I got a lifetime sentence where you run your steeple chase, try to stay ahead of competitors with reapers and hope that science finds additional cures just in time.

The good news is that I haven't lost my sense of humour and day by day life is not bad at all. You just have to learn to live with uncertainty and accept that you are no longer Master of your own life (come to think of it: Was I ever).

So given the fact that the road took an unexpected left or right turn (whichever you prefer as a metaphor) I am enjoying the trip, see where it goes, look for silver linings, be grateful for all the good stuff and try to accept the nasty things :-)”


Rocky said...

WOW! What a sobering message. He seems to be handling the news with a quiet dignity, grace, and incredible strength. What an inspiration! Finding the joy in life while wrestling with a huge burden. The nature of the human spirit never ceases to amaze me. The strength that people are able to find is astounding. I am sure there will be many prayers after reading this. Add mine to the list. Thanks for sharing Frank.

Nick McCormick said...

A friend of mine recently passed away from Cancer. Initially given a few months to live, he managed to stick around for about 3 roller coaster years – at least 3 different chemo therapy stints, multiple surgeries (including brain surgery) to remove tumors, lots of radiation, and a miraculous period of remission mixed in. He just kept plugging away. Any time he had a setback, his response was, “OK what’s next? What do we try now?” And boy did he enjoy every bit of time when he was feeling good. He took nothing for granted. He remains an inspiration to me, as does his wife. Add Frank to the list.

J.KANNAN said...

I was rather taken aback and shocked to note that your very good friend and supporter Frank has been suffering from Colon Cancer, and its indeed good, you are in contact and communication with each other.

There is some thing special in Frank, well 'am not able to express it in words and in details, just to mention, undoubtedly "Divine Power"that keeps him and shall certainly continue to keep Frank with pragmatism,honesty, a sense of humour above all extra-ordinary nature of bravery and Frank Will get back to normalcy totally cured.

Positive thinking, feed back,approach and positive encouragement to the affected ones will certainly make a change and right thinking, the first treatment for such disease, and 'am with all my beloved simplicity friends are with you in the list.

I am 100% sure that Almighty and Supreme Jesus will be benevolent,magnanimous and kind enough to release Frank from Life Sentence and make him a free man as he was, to be of useful to his friends and society (as he was).

I shall suggest that apart from regular individual prayers from all bis frends , relatives and well wishers, let all the simlicity friends dedicate the coming Sunay AM for an exclusive and special prayer for Frank in their respective place of worship/Home without fail. God will certainly hear and concede to our humble appeal in the form of prayers and Frank will certainly be back to normalcy and get back to his activities.. Have belief in God and have belief in your prayers and it will work out..

On my part I shall continue to pray for the speedy recovery of Frank..............".AMEN."


Tanmay Vora said...

Trevor, I see a spirit of life in Frank's message that is very rare to see in most of us who end up taking life for granted.

I don't know Frank - but after reading his note, I think I know him very well as a fighter who knows what life really is and how to make lemonade out of lemons life throws at you.

Simply amazing attitude there, which is commendable.

With this spirit, I have seen people conquer cancer and I have no doubt that Frank is/will be on the road to recovery.

My prayers for his speedy recovery.

Trevor Gay said...

Thank you so much Rocky, Nick, JK and Tanmay - I have forwarded your wonderful words to Frank.

JK - I will be asking our Minister to lead prayers for Frank on Sunday morning - thanks for the suggestion - I hope many people will do the same.

David Wike said...

Inspiring and humbling. And a reminder to get on and do things while we can. Going back to a previous post, perhaps also a reminder that there are other things to life than work, even if we enjoy what we do.

Please add my best wishes to Frank.

Trevor Gay said...

You are soooooooo right David about re-assessing our priorities. I am passing on all comments to Frank - I know he appreciates them all. Thanks again.

Frank said...

Stop, you all make me blush :).
Seriously, thanks for your kind words and thoughts. Being described as an inspiration is new to me. I'll try to live up to expectations, but to paraphrase Monthy Python's Life of Brian: "I'm not the Messiah, just a very naughty boy".
I believe that all of us are able to find inner strength when confronted with life's funny twists. It's already there, just waiting for the need to be discovered. I had the great fortune of having had a father who lead by example: He never complained about his illness and made it look as if this was the most natural way to deal with life. So tighten up the seatbelts of the roller coaster, scream if you like and enjoy the ride.

dave wheeler said...

Trevor and Frank.

What a courageous individual! Focused, strong, determined. Frank's story gives one hope that shold I find myself in a similar situation that I could handle it with the dignity and courage.

My daughter Whitney is a Lymphoma survivor and I see many of Frank's qualities in her. Never complains and the only time I am reminded really of her illness is during the week she has her scans or sees the oncologist. We will definitely be praying for Frank and continue to increase awareness and advocate for the needs of our "friends" who need our support and the researchers who do as well. All the best Frank!

Scott said...


Thoughts and prayers are with you. Thanks for the sense of humor and the tact with which you approach life and challenges.

Thanks for assisting Trevor with his writing style!

My idea of peace, which I've learned through faith, when you can go from saying "Why me" to "Why not me". You are a clear example of peace.

God Bless and take care,

Marilyn Jess, DTM said...


Your courage and strength shine through in this message. You have reminded us of the fragility of life, and that our "holiday on earth," as the late Earl Nightingale called it, is short.