Monday, October 4, 2010

cancer Awareness Month?

It's been almost three years since my last treatment.

Because of living one day at a time, the thought of seeing three years down the road was somewhat distant and some even thought not possible. cancer is still thought of as a "death sentence" in many ways by many people. And while we are "celebrating" Breast cancer Awareness Month in October, it makes me somewhat angry. Now before you start thinking, "what an asshole!", let me explain and give a little background.

I have lost two Sisters-In-Law, a Step-Father and a Grandfather to cancer. All of them from different cancers. They didn't all pass away the same day, month or year. My Wife is a skin cancer survivor. Me, head & neck and skin cancer as well. We didn't "wait" to get cancer so we could bring awareness to this killer disease. Now I'm sure some of you are still not seeing the point, which is this: ALL cancers kill. EVERY DAY is cancer awareness for survivors, family members of survivors and those who will be diagnosed as I write this post.

I have done work for Susan G. Komen. I have donated my creative talents--be that as they may--to fight breast cancer. I did pro-bono work for NBCC, a great organization. So I'm not the insensitive bastard I may be coming across here in this writing. I'm more interested in making every day cancer awareness day. Every day HIV/AIDS awareness. We have to stop thinking about these things only when they do hit home. Because they will, unfortunately, hit all of us directly or indirectly in our life. Or will it?

It's up to us to stay aware and take action every day.


Anonymous said...

Wow…I thought I had grown old and tough as a can be…until the words of someone I have missed for a long time grabbed me over the void…ok where do I start?

Even in 1st grade, I knew you were brave…I don’t know how or why, but something about you that simultaneously said “I don’t give shit” and “you are welcome here” was a compelling combination…now and then.

I saw your blog the first time about a month ago… (I was googling your name to see if you had won a Cleo or something) and found a Greg Johnston who had survived Cancer…and not just any Cancer but a Cancer that had claimed my brother…( I know…fuck the big C…shows too much respect…I mean cancer).

My brother Jim had the same squamous cell cancer of the neck that you had…but Jim either noticed it later or found that technology of treatment (1997) had not caught up to him yet…nevertheless he endured two years of experimental treatment that was more horrifying than any slasher movie you could imagine…much of his jaw, tongue and voice box removed…and a good deal of his face for that matter. When I saw him after the surgery, most of my family didn’t know what to say…I simply reminded him of how bad his “Fighting Irish” had just lost to USC and he gave me that grin that said he was still Jim.

But like you, he was defiant and strong…his doctor told me he had never felt a handshake as strong after major surgery as he had from my brother…like a vice. Unfortunately, his strength was not enough and he passed in 1997.

I was devastated to learn that Claudia and Connie had both succumbed to cancer…both so young, beautiful and invulnerable in my mind’s eye

I am trying to remember how many times your home became my “real home”… your house on Finch, your place in South Pas, and your home with Theresa and Adam off Rosemead…all became a refuge to me of sorts in times of trouble. It seems that offering your story as a refuge of hope was not limited to your childhood…your blog is the haven of the 2010’s (no catchy way to say that like 70’s, 80’s or 90’s, huh?).

Bottom line is I miss you bro…look forward to talking to you soon…send me your contact info at so I can send you my number and we can talk without the world seeing (not sure what the statute of limitations are for some of the things we did).

Love you buddy.

Tim Craig

Greg Johnston said...

Wow is right, Tim. Sorry about Jim. I can still remember him giving you 25 cents so you and I would get the hell outta the house because his girlfriend was coming over. Thanks for the words. Sending my info so we can continue our friendship.

Sahar Webb said...

It's not easy to fight with endless pain of cancer.But we deal with cancer by making ourself strong.
Fight with skin cancer