Jay, who has lived in the Waukesha area for over 20 years, is an active volunteer who has served on numerous local boards and committees. He's married to Colleen with three kids having gone through the Waukesha schools. He is the VP of a local distribution company.
(Note: On September 5th, 2008, I was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Tongue Cancer - Stage 4. Following is 4'th blog on my journey)
The open approach of communication of my cancer began. Family, close friends, business associates, and more were called personally. The goal: to properly inform without a lot of room for conjecture or misinterpretation. And almost immediately the phone started ringing... Call upon call with questions; offers of support; expressed sympathy; similar health challenges; which presidential candidate do we support?; shared pain; and "How are the kids doing?"
Embarrassment at being the center of attention during the first calls turned to bewilderment that so many people took time out from their lives to express concern over ours. And it quickly snowballed - cards, emails, letters, everything short of YouTube. And all this while - Colleen and I were at Froedtert for tests, biopsies, doctor appointments, and a treatment plan and schedule developed. And did I mention I had a real job with real co-workers and a real workload?
And yet the support rolls in.... Somewhere "Up There" they are wondering who this "Walt Guy" suddenly is because they are working OT and straining under the volumes of prayers which have been, are being, and will be said on my behalf. I checked "Up There" to send thank you's and found the prayer bookeeping a little lax. I would have to pay a small fee via PayPal to get these records...sigh....
On the personal front, I am emotionally bouyed by the sheer numbers of families who have pledged positive thoughts to our family. Early on, one could sense these uplifting messages comforted both myself and, more importantly, my family. We shared with our kids. We downloaded and printed every supportive email. We read and re-read every card.
My wife asked me not to bring this up, but a group of our closest friends even threw a Cancer (Recovery) Party - in advance! In addition, my dentist, Dr. Dennis Abere, his wife, (one of the nicest couples - in the world!) and his staff sent cards, and special mouth and dental treatments to minimize the radiation and chemo effects.
I am literally blessed by this outpouring from our friends and this Waukesha Community. My cancer is, unfortunately,affecting the family right now. The support, prayers, and kind thoughts of many have had a huge impact on us.
Who could lose with this many determined supporters (can you tell it's election season?) willing a positive outcome?