Reach out and touch….

For the full multimedia experience – play while reading!
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So some of you will enjoy hearing about an experience I had the other day. I got to work and decided to run out to my favorite coffee shop to grab a take out cup of caffeine. (What could go wrong?) As I was walking down the street, one of my students rode by on his bike and called out my name. I turned and had a short conversation with him as he pedaled down the street. Here’s what I learned: It’s not a good idea to continue walking while you are turning to talk to someone who is behind you. Just as I turned my head forward I collided with a very large street lamp pole. While everything flew out of my hands and I may or may not have blacked out for a moment or two…I did recover fairly gracefully. And hey…no need for the $7.00 cup of coffee. I was wide awake. (By the way…this is not why I titled this post “Reach Out and Touch.” More on that later.)

So, time for an update. Last Thursday I met with my oncologist. We discovered that it was the 2 year anniversary of taking my daily oral chemo meds. (No cake or champagne was consumed.) The good news is that my blood tests and a check of my lymph nodes show that the meds are still doing their job. Yes! I continue to feel good and am fortunate to experience almost no side effects. (Oh…and among the many comforting neon warnings on my pill dispenser, with “toxic” and “biohazard” being constants….this month they added “Do not handle if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.” Whew….dodged that bullet!)

Although this is my 2 year medication anniversary, it’s been nearly 3 1/2 years since I was diagnosed. So many ups and downs – even without a light pole in my path! I know that I have written about this before, but for a variety of reasons this has been on my mind a lot lately – the importance of staying connected and supportive of people who have experienced something traumatic – a death, a diagnosis of a chronic illness, mental health struggles, etc. When the initial trauma occurs, many of us are surrounded by supportive friends and family. However, as time goes by…people move on with their lives – even if the effects of the trauma have not. I’ve been really fortunate. I have many people in my life who consistently show their support. Maybe that’s partially a result of writing this blog. I try to let people know what they can do and say that will be helpful – things I too am learning along the way. I realize that it is hard to know how to be helpful.

So, if you haven’t yet clicked on Diana Ross’ classic version of “Reach Out and Touch,” I want to urge you to do so and listen carefully to the words. It’s a beautiful song…and a wonderful reminder that life does not “move on” for many people and we all benefit when we continue to show our love and support. Trauma and grief don’t have an expiration date. So, call a friend. Send a text to let them know you love them. Ask someone to join you for coffee and don’t expect them to be cheery. Indeed, don’t hold them to any expectations at all. As Diana Ross sings:

Take a little time out of your busy day
To give encouragement
To someone who's lost the way

Or would I be talking to a stone
If I asked you
To share a problem that's not your own
We can change things if we start giving
Why don't you

Reach out and touch
Somebody's hand
Make this world a better place
If you can

I try and often fail. I tell myself that life gets busy…and it does. And then I think about how thankful I am to all of you who ask how I am doing and really listen to my answer. Thank you. I hope we can all take the time to reach out and touch. It matters……..

Do the best you can until you know better.
Then when you know better, do better.” Maya Angelou

6 thoughts on “Reach out and touch….

  1. So, no ill effects from the pole experience I take it? Ouch, could have been much worse than purely embarrassing! Have heard of and seen many videos of near tragedies w cell phones but have to admit this is my first coffee cup incident! Glad you are o.k.
    I think many of us are “guilty” of exactly what you are speaking of. An illness, a death, a divorce, nursing home admittance visitations, etc. We all mean well but yes, life goes on and although the thoughts are there the actions which mean so much fall further and further behind. Thank you for the reminder we can all benefit from. Love you to the moon and back little brother and continued good reports! 🥰😘

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  2. Thanks for the update and reminder Tony! As usual your sentiment hits close to home…..and is always so meaningful!
    I must say first, that I’m glad you didn’t hurt yourself trying to slow dance with the light pole but I must admit, knowing you as I do you I felt for you Bro!
    Your Buddy
    Z

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  3. Hi Tony, thank you for your good news! You are very inspiring!! Please keep us updated in your journey. Remembering our past, you have never taken anything sitting down, so keep up the good fight!

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  4. What a great reminder for many of us because yes it’s way too easy to “get busy” I’m so glad your still doing well and your meds, while hazardous are doing their job.

    Oh and on the pole thing….there are places you can take pole dancing lessons so you don’t hurt yourself, just saying 😊😘. Glad your ok.

    Love you to the moon and stars and beyond!!!

    Vip 😘🥰

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  5. So glad that you are doing well.. minus the pole incident! I appreciate the reminder to stay in touch with those that have experienced loss or a difficult time in their lives. Stay healthy, my friend, and watch out for those poles in your life!

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  6. Hi, Tony! I came across your blogpost on Linked In. I was not previously aware that you were journeying such a difficult path in your life. Your run in with the light post likely felt like a proverbial metaphor of all that you’ve experienced in the last three and half years. Yet, I encourage you to view this experience a bit differently. You have been a light to so many educators over the years. I remember being in class with you when we were much younger. I was working on my master’s degree through Western Michigan, and you were teaching the course on Hope’s campus in the evenings. The class you offered was hands on, practical and engaging, and challenged me to be especially thoughtful and intentional about how I approached my position as a first grade teacher. You let your light shine and it made a difference to me and the many children I have taught over the years. Keep shining your light, Tony! You have so much more to give!

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