Friday, September 30, 2011

In This Day

The start of a new day from my driveway...
This is the day I let go of all that burdens me,
forgiving and learning from my past.

This is the day I choose to see opportunity,
when others see no way out.

This is the day I choose to focus,
on all I know I can be.

This is the day.

This is the day.

In this day my confidence is unshakable,
staying true to who I am.

In this day my integrity won't be questioned,
no matter how hard the decision.

In this day I give life my all,
not afraid of what will come.

This is the day.

I am this day.

© 2011 Roger Lumpp, All Rights Reserved
(I wrote this poem to remind myself not to wait for some future event to start living my life as my true self.  I plan to read it every morning and make the most of every day I have left on earth.)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

FAQ - Part III (with David Haas)

Anatomy of  deliciousness....
I made a pledge when I was diagnosed with cancer that I was going to try everything at least once.

For example, I never gave Chicago Style Hot Dogs a chance due to the raw onions of all things.  If you lived in Los Angeles this might be fine, but I've spent my whole life living in the Chicago area!!!  Let me tell you that the combination of mustard, raw onion, relish, tomatoes, pickle spear, and celery salt (tried peppers, not a fan) on a poppy seed bun is LIFE CHANGING...  I implore you to try one as soon as possible.

In the spirit of trying everything at least once I am welcoming David Haas of "Haas Blaag" to Lift Living to give some perspective on the world of cancer support.

One thing I learned from cancer is that there are a ton of us out there all willing to lend a hand to help each other through our journeys.

David is another one of those kind souls and will help answer the next FAQ in my series.

5.)  What kind of cancer support networks are available to those impacted by a cancer diagnosis?
By: David Haas

A cancer diagnosis can be very overwhelming and upsetting, and sometimes the best option is to get in touch with somebody who has experienced the same things that you are going through. While support from family and friends is vital, the people that you can connect with through support groups can offer insight, advice, encouragement, and care that others that have not been through it may not be capable of.

The support options for cancer patients are as broad as the types of cancer diagnoses. Whether you have
breast cancer, prostate cancer, mesothelioma, leukemia, or any other type of cancer, there are programs
and groups available to help you cope, lend a listening ear, offer suggestions, and lift your spirits.

Whether you prefer online group interaction, or would rather meet face to face with people in similar situations, there are support networks and programs available to suit your needs.  A great resource for finding these types of groups is found on the American Cancer Society's website, which includes links to survivor's networks, support groups, and cancer education classes offered both in person and online.

Some of the things that support programs and networks can assist with include answering questions you might have about treatments, offering you an outlet to share your feelings and concerns, helping you find additional sources of support and education, and sharing personal experiences. Regardless of where you
are in your journey, seeking assistance through support networks and groups can prove to be an extremely valuable resource through all aspects of the treatment and healing process.

While the battle with cancer can be a long and arduous journey, it absolutely is not a road that must be
traveled alone.  Knowledge is power, and sometimes just knowing what to expect, or having someone validate the feelings and emotions you are having is just what you might need to pick yourself up, move forward optimistically, and fight your disease with courage and hope.

[Roger here...  personal plug for Imerman Angels 1-on-1 Cancer Support  Thanks for the GREAT content David!]

Friday, September 16, 2011

Down With Average!

OneRepublic, not your average band...
Has anyone ever wanted to just be average?  

Average weight, average height, average salary, average looks...  If you can find this person I bet they would be, well, average.

When you are diagnosed with cancer, you are provided with a plethora of statistics that ultimately lead to the million dollar question:  

"What do the averages say about me being alive in 5 years?"

After grappling with this new, very real statistic and talking with a few close advisers I realized there was only one statistic that mattered in my fight against Hodgkin's Lymphoma:  


Things were going to work out (100%), or they were not (0%).  It was that simple and all I could do was fight hard and have faith in myself.

I had the incredible fortune of sitting down with the band OneRepublic this past week and we were talking about the importance of staying true to yourself, or in OneRepublic's case, their sound.

Too often we are tempted to imitate others past formulas for success in pursuit of beating the average.  In the case of a band this could mean modeling your music after what's worked for others in the past or what has the highest sales volume at the moment.

The problem with this approach is that when (and IF!) you experience imitative success it will likely be temporary as you had to become something else, something against the grain of who you are to achieve it.  In order to maximize fulfillment in your life - the ultimate success - you must stay true to yourself and the values that define you.

Your sound.  

In a society laden with measurable comparisons, my sense is that everyone has an average in their life they think about on a frequent basis and how they can stay ahead of or keep up with it. If you are not careful you may make decisions against your better judgment which can be detrimental to your life’s ultimate fulfillment.

Thanks for the drumstick Eddie!
The true measurement comes at the end of the day when you look back at yourself from the mirror knowing that you stayed true to yourself.

Do this and you will be living, as OneRepublic puts it, the Good Life.

(Click HERE to see how OneRepublic's song Good Life helped me through cancer)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hurricane't Stop the Roth Wedding

Wedding day from the hotel room window...
"You would do the same if you were in my position" is a familiar phrase you hear from people who have faced a life threatening situation.  And yes, I would tell you the same given my experience over the past 16+ months with cancer.

I never connected this phrase with anything else in my life until this past weekend at my buddy Dave's wedding in Charlottesville, VA.  Dave and Leigh Anne were supposed to have an outdoor affair at an incredible vineyard on Saturday, but on Friday morning (36 hours from game time) Dave got a call from the vineyard saying the wedding couldn't be held there due to pending hurricane Irene...

Despite her laid back demeanor, there was no way Leigh Anne was going to handle this news easily: 

"Hey honey, you know that wedding we've been planning for 7 months? It was just cancelled and we have less than a day to plan a new one..."  

I'd been a part of many weddings in my day as a groom, groomsman, guest, usher, singer, cocktail hour entertainer, and even a ring boy in my youth.  This was a total nightmare scenario you only see in the movies or read in as a fictional article in a wedding magazine.  Not good, but not the end...

Through talking with Dave I learned Leigh Anne took the news hard for 10 minutes or so, but then pulled herself together and took the challenge of finding another vineyard in the area and coordinating with the 140+ guests head on which resulted in one of the coolest wedding I've witnessed. 

I mean who gets married in a wine cellar!!!???

From the outside looking in I was amazed at the selflessness and grace Leigh Anne and Dave exhibited throughout all the festivities.  It was only at the end of the weekend chatting in the airport with Jeremy (the best man from my wedding) that I realized the parallels of my experience with cancer and Dave and Leigh Anne's experience on their wedding weekend.

The most interesting groom in the world....
When faced with an immanent scenario, you just do what it takes.  Your choices get limited and you make the best with what you are given.  That's why we feel like everyone would do the same as we would if they were in our shoes.

The hard part is to be humble and appreciate your circumstances when you have everything going for you. 

If you can meet that challenge you will lift your life and those around you.