Your results are in and they’re not good

“Your results are in and they’re not good”

This is what my GP said while he opened the door. His eyes were cast downward. His back was to me. All I could see was his white lab coat. I knew then that I had cancer. What else could it be, a slipped disc? Some arthritis? I had back pain for months and I did all the things you might think of. I saw a Chiropractor, a masseuse, an acupuncturist. I even went to a “healer” who did Reiki on me and told me that my adrenal glands were stressed. A friend of mine gave me a book to read that suggested that my back pain was, “all in my head.” Somehow my pain was rooted in unresolved anger according to the book. I read the book in a couple of days and was fascinated. All of the treatments helped but for never more than a day, so I decided to see my doctor.

I was stoic. The doctor talked about the “progression” of my cancer. It was in my back which meant it started in either the prostate or the lung. He did a prostate exam (no big deal). Then he gave me an order for a chest x-ray. I nodded and acted composed (the people –pleaser in me). I felt numb. I got up and said good by to the lady at the front desk. I walked out into the Ojai sunshine that felt surreal. It was a beautiful day. Life goes on but I felt separated from the levity that comes with a Friday afternoon. I saw someone getting into their car. Why could that not be me, ho-hum going about my day? I drove to Deirdre’s work. She wasn’t there because she was preparing for a Rotary event which happened to be a luau. I text her to please come home and then sat at our side yard. A light wind sifted through the oak trees. The sunlight and views of the farm reminded me of how sweet and simple life can be. Should be. I was in shock. Nothing made sense. The word cancer didn’t make sense. Me? Dee swung the fence open. We looked at each other. That was the worst moment in this entire process. The doctor called.

“You have a tumor in your lung.”

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31 thoughts on “Your results are in and they’re not good

  1. Still I find it hard to digest. I like how you wrote getting the news and how real it is when you share the news with someone else (Dee), I didn’t want to tell anyone for a while ( still don’t) because it makes it real. Look forward to following blog! Xxx

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  2. …… Sorry Sean, I also left out that you have an army of friends and family that are going to fight this battle with you, so when your feeling low we will keep the positive energy going for you . XXX

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  3. Sean….it’s been years since we talked or seen eachother. My father was diagnosed with lung cancer and it turned out to be one of only seven cancers that could be cured with a chemo pill….keep the faith…and do what the doctors say….I lost my husband two and a half years ago to head and neck cancer….I am soooooo sick and tired of this horrible disease, but just remember there are a lot of people who get through treatment and are done with it! My husband wasn’t feeling well enough to go to every treatment and I truly believe that’s why he didn’t survive so my advice to you, since you’re asking for comments, is to do EVERYTHING they say. Fight this horrible beast, look it in the face and think of all your family that will help you to be strong…..you owe it to yourself and them to live on……XXOO MUCH LOVE TO YOU…Steph ❤️❤️

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  4. Dear Sean ~ I haven’t met you but my heart feels your shock, your fear, your numbness, your prayers…..I, too, have heard my doctor speak those words and felt what you are feeling. It is the beginning of a huge life change for you but, believe me when I say it doesn’t mean you will die or that your life will be a living hell. It means many unknowns will be tackled, many truths from deep within you will be revealed and you will learn more than you can ever imagine about compassion for others and for yourself. Moments will be precious beyond words and you will be made anew by the journey. Your heart will melt and you will see the secret blessings only those of us with a life threatening diagnosis learn. I will be holding you and your wife in my thoughts and prayers…..blessing you each day. Life truly is what happens when we’re busy making other plans. Look for the little gifts and share them; sharing yourself will help you and it will help others. Bless you, dear one.
    Barbara Gibson

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  5. Thanks for sharing your experience. Sean. I think you will reach out to more people than you will ever know. Looking forward to reading more xx

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  6. Oh Sean, I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat, knowing that is nothing compared to what you are your family are feeling. Thank you for sharing your heart and should through your writing. There are so many of us who will do what we can for and with you to fight this head on. For now, I am sending prayers and love from afar from Rus and me. And a big virtual hug to each of you.

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  7. Sean,

    Thanks for sharing. Sending you so much love and strength so that you can fight this. Your words touched me deeply and if there is anything we can do, please let us know. Sending lots of prayers your way.

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    • CCS kids all sending love and prayers your way, my friend!! We had so much fun catching up with you in July. You are the picture of health and logevity!!! We’re all here for you if you need anything. much love, Heidi

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  8. I received a text message this morning from Chris saying. “So sad to hear about Sean”. Then my phone died. I felt that I could not drop off my three kids quick enough. I felt so sad and shocked. How can this be? I rushed home to find out what had happened. As I drove home I felt so glad that a lot of us had just reunited in Arroyo Grande. You and I just talked about our kids at Villanova Prep and I felt such a strong reconnect with all that attended. It really brought back the great childhoods we had together in the Palisades days. I got home and for the first time ~ I couldn’t get facebook opened quickly enough. When I read what you wrote, tears just rushed down my face. I felt so terribly sad but relieved at the same time ~ you were still alive! Your wife and girls still have you here, right now! We all have you still here. Then I read what Stephanie Rauch wrote and she is so right. You stand up and face it head on with ALL of us standing behind you! YOU WILL BE A SURVIVOR! We are all here for you Sean ~ whatever you or your family needs. I live so close and I am able to help with anything! Thank you Sean for letting all of us fight with you! Much love to you and you family ~ big hugs ~ Taunie

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  9. Dear Sean, Thank you for sharing. You let me into your world …..as I read it, I felt like I was in the twilight zone……a glimpse of what you must be going through. Love to you and your family and wishing deeply for your recovery. B

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  10. Hi Sean,

    Thanks for being so open. Your warmth and love shines all the way up here to Santa Cruz. Those errant cells are in for quite a battle. My money is on you.

    Your Friend ,

    Don

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  11. Dear, Dear Sean….
    What to say??? I’m so very sorry that you have been set on this path. Please know that you, Dierdre, and the kids are in our thoughts and prayers! We love you and we are here for you! Thanks for bring so beautifully candid! Much love to you!
    Mary Nelson

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  12. Sean, that’s beautifully written. The economy of language conveys the numbness and starkness and shock of the situation so well. I wish I had the words to make any difference (maybe after a few more of the writing classes 😉 ) So I’ll just keep sending the positive vibes instead xx

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  13. Sean, got a tear in my eye as I read this. You are a speacial beloved brother. Much love to you and your family. Let me know please if I can do any thing for you brother 805 340 3707. I pray for your survival and healing. You might read some of Wayne Dyers stuff. He is battling and surviving cancer. The concept of the minds capacity to heal the body along with good medicine. Love you brother.

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  14. Hey Sean,

    We may not have known each other well in school but I remember you well – I too, send you love and good wishes and strength to fight and win. Draw on the strength of your friends and family! XO!

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  15. Sean,
    First and foremost, I am truly sadden by the news. I wish I could do something to reverse the diagnosis but somehow I don’t think I can do that. I can promise you and your family my prayers are with you all. Like you, I feel this life lesson (need to see the doc myself) IS SURREAL!
    God bless,
    Greg

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  16. I have this message for you. I got the my doctor’s news about me, with the added comment “it’s very rate. You have two year.” It was 1987. I am here to write to you,,, there is always hope after the shock. Can you imagine how different the medicine is today – 2014? I want you to write the book you love to publish and be appreciated.
    You are writing one here, on your blog. Many will read it in this format, some to understand how it feels, others to find comfort in the similarities. But you will do one to on paper. And I think you are awesome. Ilona

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  17. The diagnosis is not a blessing, but your response is. Using your writing skills to share and bring many of us out of our shells. (Thank you Sean, and you too Ilona)

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  18. Sean,

    First, I’m so sorry to hear about your cancer diagnosis. It’s crushing, I know. you see,in 2005 only two weeks into our marriage, my wife was diagnosed with lymphoma. We had just returned from our honeymoon, I was traveling in Northern California for business, San Jose specifically. Cory was more tired than normal during our honeymoon. She could ski my legs off, but not on our honeymoon. She told me about a lump in her arm pit and feeling tired so she called the doctor. He said to come in when we returned. We thought nothing of it, just stress from the wedding etc. It was a Tuesday only two days back from the honeymoon. I was standing at the rental car bus pick up at the San Jose airport when the phone rang, I could see it was Cory. The door to the bus opened I clumsily pulled my roller and briefcase onto the bus as I heard her crying. My heart rate increased as panic spread throughout my body. What was wrong? Maybe she was pregnant, but why would she be crying about that? I sat and listened as she said,” I have cancer”…..My colleague who was sitting next to me, asked,” what’s wrong are you going to faint because you are white as a sheet”…..It was the hardest day of my life. Cory underwent six months of treatment and has been in remissions since.

    Dr. Rosen, Director of Lymphoma @ UCLA, who treated Cory, told us something that we try to live by each and every day,” cancer diagnosis will change your life. It will make it more rich and meaningful. Each person has their own interpretation of a meaningful life, embrace your definition.”

    My heart goes out to you and if there is anything we can do for you, please let me know.

    Mike Cardenas
    310-621-1039

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  19. “Why could that not be me, ho hum, going about my day?”
    I remember such a day almost 40 years ago–December 19, 1974–the day my Dad, the light of my life, was diagnosed with metastatic cancer. He was 47 and I was 21, the oldest of 5 children. What I wouldn’t have given for him to have opened a blog and invited others to share his journey, albeit a short five months. There was no chemo then. He was brought from the hospital to a clinic on a stretcher to receive “x-ray treatments,” code for radiation. The word “cancer” was avoided because it carried a stigma. My mother told us us that he didn’t want it known because he feared it would hurt his law practice. What a different world we live in today! Sean, I am honored to be invited on your journey and appreciate the opportunity to share with you and Deidre my experience, strength and hope for you and your children. I agree with Ilona–you are awesome and I thank you from the bottom of my grateful heart!

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  20. So beautifully written, Sean, as always. Please keep writing about every step of this journey, for your sake and ours. You have A LOT of good karma in the bank, my friend. I have faith that karma will come through and reap miracles of healing.
    Much love,
    Liz

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  21. You know, you’ve always been such a postive person, always a smile, always a wamr hello. I hadn’t seen you since high school until our CCS reunion, and when I did, it’s like we had jsut seen each other in the hall. I believe that a positive attitude like yours is what not only keeps us alive, but helps to win various battles, especially with our health. Cancer scares the bejesus out of me, but stress I think, only makes things worse. I will be intently reading everything you post and am keeping you and your family in my heart. I saw Reed a couple of days ago but we were both in a hurry so I didn’t get to talk to him about it. Keep smiling and treasuring life! And never surrender!

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  22. Do you realize, Sean, you are both a pun and a reminder? I now have my “Daly Thoughts”….yes, each and every day because of you! Granted, it’s just a quirky play on words, but they are poignant and powerful because of who you have been since childhood until now…..as a brother, a son, a friend, a husband, and probably most importantly, as a father.

    Because we made the time to slow our lives down a bit and catch up in your backyard just over a year ago on that great Ojai day, I am comfortable saying I am inspired by you. You and Dierdre are a few years ahead of my wife, Annette, and our timeline of raising our kids, but I was reminded by your stories of the ongoing need to step back from the current chaos that regularly confronts us, put things into perspective, sort them out, adjust our personal plans and keep moving forward without losing a sense of appreciation for the gifts and blessings we do have.

    Yes, writing that down is often times easier than putting those wheels in motion and there have clearly been challenges you have faced and decisions you have made that you struggle with….as we all do. But, the way I see it, you have ended up on the other end of your life’s bottlenecks as one of the most thoughtful, compassionate, creative, grounded and solid people I know. You are one of my blessings and I am so thankful our paths continue to cross and how you have added color to the fabric of my life.*

    As we chatted the other day on the phone…..and all of us, in some shape or another have experienced and realize……Tomorrow is not guaranteed. It can, in fact, end way too abruptly with little logical explanation. We need to appreciate everything we have everyday and put energy into the people and purposes that are important. We must choose to live, laugh and love passionately everyday….otherwise, what’s the point?! Can you imagine being described as “someone who just goes through the motions!”?

    I felt on my drive back home to NorCal after having such a great chat on your patio that afternoon, you really embraced this way of thinking. I left with such a positive vibe, Sean, which I strongly feel emanates from you. It is clear by this blog and the chatter I have heard in the background, people really enjoy hanging out with you and simply being in your company. How cool is that?

    Since your diagnosis “giving you the opportunity to get healthy”, you mentioned that there is a renewed clarity in the details and vividness of each experience of each day….the people, the smiles, your children, the comfort in waking next to your wife, the shared conversations, breaking bread together with friends, the taste of food, the breeze, the sunshine, and everything else that defines a day…..(Hell, I am going to play Big Iz’s eukele gem “Wonderful World” in a minute!)….I believe that the combination of your way of thinking coupled with all the love, prayers and good juju beaming your way from all your friends and family….and people who don’t even know you!…will be what’s needed to get you through this next bottleneck in life.

    When all is said and done, you and all of us will be better for it because you will have helped us to stop, slow things down a bit, renew our clarity and personal perspective while we re-focus our energies on what’s important.

    Right now, YOU are what’s important.

    I so look forward to your blog that starts….”Your results are in…and the news is awesome!”

    I look forward to seeing you. I love you and thank you, Sean, for inspiring my “Daly Thoughts”.
    Scott

    *(The story of your willingness to learn to drive a stick-shift on a long, lonely stretch of Nevada highway in 1981 on our way to McCall, Idaho, which then resulted in you taking out about 15 jackrabbits on the ride home and giving little thought to slowing down….always makes me laugh!)

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