Wednesday, March 9, 2016

To My CaringBridge Community

As you may know, I began this blog as a CaringBridge journal. If you don't know what that is, it may be because you haven't had a loved one hospitalized recently. This past Saturday, March 6th, 2016, I announced on my CaringBridge journal that I was launching this blog in a effort to reach more people. When I posted it, I intended to post there only, as it was a message to those who had been reading my story from the beginning. But as I reread it just now, I felt moved to share it. When you read it, I hope you'll see why.

Writing this journal has proved to be a real turning point for me. It's been just what I've needed during this time. But the real bonus has been the community that was begun there. If you're new to this blog since I started sharing it on social media, you don't know what you've been missing. One of the reasons I converted the journal to a blog was to make it easy for new readers to read the story from the beginning. If you've only started with this, I highly recommend that you go back to the beginning and read the posts in reverse order.

CaringBridge is a non-profit website that provides a vital service for free to people who desperately need it. If you can afford to support them with a small donation, please do so.

I want to thank Nancy Wardell and Tiffany Berland for pushing me to write this journal. True friends know what you really need.

So without further ado, here is the post from my CaringBridge journal from last Saturday. If you'd like to join a community like this, you are welcome.


This will be the last time that I post here only. For the last post or two, and from now on, this journal has been and will be duplicated in a Google blog. Actually, this CaringBridge journal will be the duplicate. I'll do my writing in the blog and copy it here.

I've decided to title the blog, "God's 2 By 4," after one of the posts in this journal that you may remember. The idea is that I feel like God had to hit me over the head with a 2 by 4 to get my attention. But he has it now.

I have many reasons for doing this, which I've explained in past posts. There are aspects of the CaringBridge interface that I don't care for. And the audience for CaringBridge is very limited, due to its "by invitation only" nature. It's not meant to reach a wider audience. It's here to keep family and friends informed about loved ones going though health issues, and it's a wonderful resource for that. But it's no longer enough for me.

I've been encouraged by many to get this story out to more people. Some think I should turn it into a book right now. Personally, I'd rather see where the story goes first. The book will have a better ending if I do.

But my decision about this certainly isn't just about me. I get the feeling that this story is important. Most men in this culture get prostate cancer sometime in their lives. My doctor says that most men die with prostate cancer, but not from it. This makes my story relevant to a whole lot of people. I really feel like this journal, now a blog, can be a real help to men who are going through prostate cancer, and to their loved ones.

That's why you may have seen links to my blog in your Facebook newsfeed. I'm also sharing it on Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. I'm sharing pictures from it on Instagram and Pinterest. It's all an effort to drive more traffic to the blog.

So if you prefer reading blogs, are active on social media, or know what to do with an RSS feed, you may want to continue reading from there so you don't have to log in here.

But until further notice, I will continue to post here. I won't make you all move. I'll never forget the way all of you have rallied around Sharon and me in our time of trouble. Though I want to get my story out to a wider audience, CaringBridge is for friends and family. That's who I have here. That's who you are.

While I was copying and editing this journal for the blog, I came across an early post titled, "Encouragement." This post was written on November 5th of 2015. I began by quoting a verse of scripture from Colossians 2:2. It says, "I want you to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love." Then I said the following words:

Since Sharon and I moved to Denver, Colorado in 1978, we live far from our families. So my family in Illinois and Sharon's in Michigan and Florida don't really know our friends here in Denver, and vice versa. Heck, we have close friends here who don't know each other. My hope is that somehow, over the course of this process, that will change. My prayer is that your love for us will become love for each other because of your mutual bond with Sharon and me. You encourage us, and we want you to be knit together by strong ties of love.

When I read what I had copied there, I realized that my desire had come true, so I added this:

Note: This was originally posted November 5th, 2015. Today is February 18th, 2016. I can testify that what I hoped for has happened. People who had no knowledge of one another before this now interact in the comments of my journal. My family knows my friends by name for the first time. It's incredible what's happened. Keep reading.

This place is a community, and I will not abandon that. The huge network of support that I keep referring to began here. We will never be able to thank you enough for your support. If this is where you prefer to keep reading, this journal will continue to be here for you.

On the other hand, if you'd like to help me get my story out, you can do that by sharing my blog posts when you see them in your newsfeed, whether you see it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, or the web. I'd especially encourage you to share specific posts with individuals that you think they be an encouragement to. If you know someone going through prostate cancer, maybe reading this blog will help them. One of my dreams for this blog would be to be included as a blogger on a cancer or health website. Or maybe a Christian one.

It's your support and encouragement that's made this move possible. When writing this journal was first suggested to me, I was skeptical. But doing so has changed my life and given me a new purpose. Maybe that purpose is just to help me. But I don't think so. Thank you for being here, especially those of you who've been here from the beginning. I can't ever thank you enough. And I know you'll continue to stay with me, here or there. I don't have to walk this path alone, and I want to make sure other guys know they're not alone either.


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