Flight 3493 Santa Barbara to Portland. 38,0000 ft. over San Francisco. I am missing my friends. This disease took a lot from me but it has given back more than it ever took away. It's greatest gift is the friendships we have made along the way. Every place we have traveled we have made friendships that will last a life time.
It has been a long time since I have written. I'm afraid I haven't been inspired. It takes time to write and lately time has been a precious commodity. Work takes up a great deal of my time and with an unresolved labor dispute hanging over our heads I am afraid my mind has been distracted.
Dendreon invited me back to share my story with them last week. They flew Mandy and I down to Santa Barbara for a few days and once again treated us like we were rock stars. It is common knowledge that the company is in transition. The company I work for was recently acquired so I know what they are going through. They said they were just happy that no matter what happens, Provenge would still be available.
Mandy and I arrived late Tuesday evening in Santa Barbara. We said hi to a couple of people got some food sent to our room and went to bed. I had been up since 4 am so I don't remember my head hitting the pillow. I awoke at 6:00 a.m. dressed, and made my way to the ballroom where the meetings were being held. We did a short rehearsal before sneaking out the back door. Us being there was suppose to be a surprise. They didn't want anybody to see me who might recognize me.
Last June, the Dendreon folks came to our home to film another video as a follow up to the ones they shot 2 years previous. At the end of that video I sang a Tom Petty song using the guitar they bought me and autographed while we were in Florida. They spliced together bits and pieces of both videos to create a video specifically tailored to the meeting at hand. While the video was playing I waited behind a curtain. The last minute or so of the video included me playing the Petty song. Half way through the song they shut it off simulating a glitch. A few seconds after the video interruption I emerged from behind the curtain, guitar in hand, to finish the song. It was all really cool. After the song, I shared my story with a couple hundred people. I closed by singing " Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw. I left to a standing ovation.
Yep, we were treated like rock stars...... Awesome........
Afterward and for the next couple days Mandy and I were free to explore the resort and the coastline. We would on occasion have the opportunity to speak with some of the Dendreon staff and once again I was so impressed by why they do what they do. Each has a reason but collectively the just want to make a difference. They have! They do!
Over and over I was told how inspiring my story is. Again and again we were thanked for coming. I pray for resiliencey for the people of Dendreon. They are good people. They deserve better than what has happened. Provenge will continue to be made though and that is all they care about.
As I shared my story last week I began to realize that although cancer is a big part of my story it is not the focus. I once thought that the only people who might want to hear it were guys like me who have prostate cancer. The truth is that my story is about overcoming adversity and maintaining a positive attitude in spite of it. It's not always easy. Each time we face adversity it makes us stronger however and better prepared for the next challenge that lies ahead.
We all face challenges. They are what shape us. they make us who we are and who we will become. I hope I continue to grow and become better with each challenge I face.