Reaching Out, With Gratitude October 2, 2011

Friends and Family,

You wouldn't know it by reading my emails, but writing about myself is way out of my comfort zone. However, I've done my life one way, and at least as far as my health is concerned, it didn't work. As Genevieve told me shortly after my cancer diagnosis, and many times since, "you need to change your vibration to get a different outcome."

So that is what I am doing. Reaching out and telling you about cancer, and about private moments with my wife, and about our fears and our victories. It's as uncomfortable, and at the same time it is as uplifting, as anything I've done in my life. And I do it because I know Genevieve is right. If I'm going to live, it will not be possible by myself. Your support is what is pulling me through this. The near-miracle of genetic therapy that is only possible for a small percentage of lung cancer patients passed me by. To then to be one of the rare people for whom there was a completely random reason to re-test, and then to be found eligible, is as close to a miracle as we could hope for! All of your positive energy and prayers must be part of this!

The positives like this and the healing happen in lots of ways, every day. I am daring to allow my heart to be more open, and you are offering support that I could not have accepted before. I'm finding it in little ways, like stopping to talk with the cashier at Home Depot about recycling. Before I left the store, he reaches out to shake my hand. I'm not used to this kind of response! People on the street are smiling at me more often, and I realize it is because I am smiling at them.

Your emails and cards and phone calls and food have all been a huge boost, and I know that wouldn't be possible if I had not let you know what I needed. Thank you so much for allowing me to put myself out to you in this way.

My stepmother Linda read the email where I said that it takes a whole village to shrink a tumor. I came over to visit one day, and she had me close my eyes while she slipped a wristband on my arm that said "It Takes A Village" on one side, and "Dann Wonser" on the other. She had two bags of these wristbands made up, and gave them out to family and friends. It was one of the sweetest, most thoughtful things anyone has ever done for me. She had me in tears.

So what I am learning, and which I hope you can learn for yourselves without waiting for a cancer in your lives, is that an open heart brings love in more ways than we can imagine. I hope you will reach out for your own benefit, as you have already been doing for mine. It keeps paying off in ways we can hardly imagine.