Sunday, February 15, 2015

Confidence is Not Cocky

Do you ever do exactly what you want, when you want to do it? To be free? I just left my dirty house, with my unpacked suitcase for NYC, and hopped on my bike for a jaunt around the neighborhood. I caught the final hour or so of sunshine. It was surprisingly nippy out, a great breeze off the ocean frosted my face. My cruiser and I rode donuts around quiet streets, circle after circle, block after block. I didn't care what people thought, even though technically I was a 30 something acting like a kid. A big old kid, and it felt soft, and comfortable, and safe.

I am so nervous about the panel. It's one thing to theoretically be on the Surviving Terminal Cancer premier panel, and a whooooole other thing to literally be on it. I've had all kinds of thoughts, thoughts of how I can represent our family of survivors, thrivers, those in treatment, and the missing. The movie discusses people who have been diagnosed with glioblastoma, and anaplastic astrocytoma. Those are stage 4 and stage 3 respectively. I'm just a lowly infiltrating astrocytoma. Granted, I've been around the block and had my fair share of brain surgeries and treatments, but it's different. I somewhat feel under qualified, then I think, shoot, I'm just their little sister. According to the statistics, I will grow into a stage 3, perhaps even jump to a stage 4. I've always been watching and learning from my older sibling's journeys, seeing how they navigate, how they handle things. I look up to them, the Ben Williams, and Anders Ferry, and Rich Gerber, those who are living far past their diagnoses because they took their health into their own hands. They researched, and combined, and strategically cocktailed their way into longevity. They are rock stars, and inspirations, and in my own way, by going so far outside the box always looking for cutting edge treatments refusing to just lay back and die by the joke that is standard of care for brain cancer, I'm honoring those who have gone their own way.

When I was processing the information of joining the panel, I thought about how I always put myself down. I always belittle the blog. I say things like, "Oh me and my silly blog." But why? Why would I play down my years of heart, and knowledge. It's me. This is who I am. I'm sharing my soul. I started thinking, if I was a man in the same position, doing the same thing, would he/me put down his accomplishments? His blog? I don't think so. I think most likely, an average man would just be matter of fact that he writes a brain tumor blog. He probably wouldn't put himself down. Why do girls and women do that? Why do we downplay who we are, what we've done, or what we do? Once I realized the error of my ways, I started working on no longer belittling myself, or my blog. I'm trying to be authentic, and allow myself to feel good about what I do. To acknowledge that it's okay to be proud of this blog, to be proud of myself, to be proud of what I'm trying to do to help others. In order to do that, I had to recognize that feeling good about what you do is not the same as being cocky. You can be confident, and passionate, and do amazing things while still being humble. They are not mutually exclusive. 

Anyway, I'm kind of rambling, but it was a big moment when I realized that fact. That I can be confident and humble, and I don't have to downplay what I'm doing. Even just writing that out feels strong, and real. I am allowing myself to be proud. Wow. This feels good. And foreign. I don't think that me being on the panel makes me any more important than any other person dealing with a brain tumor, but I hope that with my experiences of traveling for doctors and treatments around the globe, I will inspire others to not settle. That we're worth it. That we can demand excellence. That's what I hope to do, just share what I know, what I've done, and allow others to dream big. This doesn't have to end us.

On a side note, a very wonderful man who has been a family friend (we were driven together through the Oldwyn family business a few decades ago) has donated to cover the expense of filming the panel, and he also connected us with the videographer, so the taping of the panel is a go. (Thank you dad for reaching out!) I will check with him before I out his name, on here, but what a gift!! He may never know the full impact of what he has done, but his donation will live on indefinitely as a recorded piece of information for other cancer people that will come after us. I only hope that the information on the panel will be helpful in other people's journeys. All I want to do is help those who are on the same journey, and those who will come after me, get from A to point Z with less bumps then I've had. Let's band together and combine our knowledge, our connections, our drive, and collectively tell cancer to go kick rocks.


  1. You share your struggles and heart in such an open and honest way. Never put yourself down, you are such a blessing and encouragement to so many people. Those that know and love you and those of us who have never met you and never will. Blessings to you & Dan on your journey.

  2. Jess - So many will benefit from the knowledge, courage, good sense and research you share, patients and professionals alike. You are a torch of hope lighting many other candles, blazing new trails to innovative treatments and strategies, bringing much needed change and inspiration to the world of medicine. Hope you can post the video of panel discussions on your blog. So glad Danny can accompany you on this endeavor. Good luck!

  3. Hello I enjoyed the premiere. My child has a grade 4 glioblastoma. Never give up TeamCatherine


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