From my friend, Susan Barrows:
"MEET PAUL JAMISON…
"Paul Jamison is a modest man. He’s never been one to bang his own drum, and I know he’s far too humble to bother anyone with his problems—but that will only get in his way here. I’m Paul’s friend Susie, and I’m writing this to tell you about Paul in ways that he can’t. This isn’t the time for him to be too proud to speak up. This is about his very survival.
"Because Paul just got the diagnosis that all of us dread: He has cancer.
"He’d thought the biggest thing on his plate was facing a brutal Kansas winter with a broken furnace… then he went to see the doctor about a problem with his neck, and his whole world came crashing down. The breaks that Paul’s had in life have mostly been tough ones, and this horrible news is following a long series of bad turns. He got laid off from Boeing last year, and like many of us, he’s been struggling through the economic crisis. Even with continuing unemployment, bleak job prospects, and worrying about that broken furnace, Paul’s stayed optimistic, hanging on by his fingernails and hoping life will turn out better for everyone soon. But with this news from his doctor, his own time is running out.
"For all his life, Paul’s been solid as an oak with a heart as big as the world. Blessed with a gracious and loving spirit, he has never met a stranger. He’s been a good Samaritan for anyone in need, providing the strong back to pitch in and the understanding shoulder to cry on. Now that it’s time for the wagons to be pulled around him, I know my friend Paul is simply too polite to say how much he really, desperately needs your help. So I’m saying it for him.
"Paul Jamison is a happy, vibrant, giving man who embraces life and everyone in it. You can tell that by reading the marvelous stories he writes. In every circle he moves in, he is loved and respected. And in this crucial time, he needs to find out just how much. If the world could return but a small degree of the love that Paul has given it, it will be enough to help him beat this crisis with the prompt medical care he desperately needs.
"Thanks so much for letting me tell you about this wonderful guy. I know my words are making him blush, but this is all stuff that needs to be said. The world is better for having Paul Jamison in it. And I think there are enough loving, feeling people out there to help keep it that way."
I'm lucky I have friends to speak for me here, because Susie is right. I'm too proud to bother people with my troubles, but this cancer diagnosis has put my back to the wall. The doctor told me I have basal cell carcinoma with squamous differentiation. Yeah, skin cancer. I've got two options: excision with possible reconstruction or chemotherapy. Probably best is a combination of both. Am I scared? Oh, yes!
Who am I? Why do I matter? Good questions. I matter because we all matter. I certainly matter to me.
I come from a long line of long-lifers - my Dad is in his upper 80s - and I want to keep up with that tradition.
I was an aircraft engineer for my working life, but I'm also a writer, mainly stories about ferrets. You can find them here:
I want to live. I want to enjoy life. We all do. I also want to write more stories. That's why this diagnosis scares me. That's why I'm asking for your help.
Help me. Please?