Monday, April 12, 2010

I'm in The New York Times!

Well, it’s only the NYT web site, but if you go to “Picture your life after cancer,” you should be able to find me. The last time I checked, there were almost 300 photos posted. If you click on my photo, a window will open with a blurb I wrote. I’m the guy holding up the blue Portland Marathon T-shirt.

This site is a great example of how Web 2.0 can be used to “crowdsource”—in this case, to gain first-hand knowledge about living with cancer that no single reporter could easily gather. It gives a sweeping overview of what a group of people with something important in common think about their circumstances. It doesn’t replace good journalism, but supplements it.

Here’s what I wrote in response to the questions, How did your life change after cancer? What activities or events have new meaning to you? It's lived more intensely, and more purposefully. I pay more attention to the people around me and to how God is at work in my circumstances. I ran a marathon last fall after a stage 3 diagnosis of melanoma, and am now stage 4. I'm still running.

Pasted below are a few random comments from some of the other 12 million cancer survivors in the U.S. who participated in this sharing of stories.
  •  I have learned that the simple embrace of others is infinitely more valuable than the physical and cultural trinkets that are the stand-in metrics of our comparative worth.
  •  Cancer magnifies the uncertainty of life but it can also be an opportunity to prioritize, drop the baggage and live like we mean it.
  • My perspective on life in general is very different. I enjoy every day: no gripping, no complaining! I appreciate others more and try to help with their problems.
  • The experience encouraged me to seek stability in my personal life while at the same time, not to worry so much about sticking to some strictly-defined life plan.
  • My life is a gift. Every single day.
  • Life is different because I'm an active driver in my life, rather than a sedentary, passive passenger. I make things happen. I don't wait for them to happen.
  • Less stress, more joy.

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