Depression has been beat back to the Stone Ages....... Its time to move forward. Hang on kids we are picking up speed.... I am climbing so fast that we just may need to use the brakes on the uphill! The road will always kick back, but I am strong and focused! I welcome any and all to get on my rear tire and come along for the ride. If you are strong don't be afraid to lead... If you are tired blend into the pack and we will carry you. No one has ever won the Tour De France, it is the team that sets the stage for the winner. We may lose some, to the rigors and strain, but they will not be forgotten or left on the side of the road.
OK, so I present you with the winner of the Tour de Mascoutah, ME....(Mascoutah is the small town in western Illinois where I live) I did about 14 miles today at a steady pace, the hardest part was instead of taking a quick peek over my left shoulder to check for cars I had to almost turn my head 180 degrees and use my right eye. It was a beautiful 86 degrees with bright blue skies. (check the photos page for a photo of me and my trophy.)
I have spent most of my "down-time" wracking my brain trying to figure out, "what I am I going to do", to not only beat the disease that has made a home in my body, "without my permission mind you"! I don't know when or how, but I have become a cancer crusader. And unlike the medieval crusaders I will win this fight even if it takes my life. Each of us bring different talents to the fight, I accept the fact that I am not going to be the man that cures cancer. So what can I do? That has been the over-arching thought in my head. What follows is the answer as I see it at 21:03 CST 19 AUG 2008.
I am going to use the web based business I started 5 years ago to support the cause. You can read the story about www.custommasterpieces.com Here:
This has been my little baby, even though "life" always seemed to get in the way of me devoting the the time necessary to make the site the success it could be.
So, here is the plan, I want to accomplish 3 goals with the website:
1. Create portraits for those in the fight against this brutal disease. I have spent many a sleepless night working on this, and here are the three ideas that I have come up with:
a. The legacy painting. This is a somewhat standard painting, but the principle is strong... we will all die, even if we win our fight with cancer. History up to now dictates that our days are numbered. (this does not apply to the Son of God). That being said, I believe that one of best ways to be remembered is a hand painted portrait. I can still remember receiving my daughters oil portrait, I must have spent 5 hours just staring at it. (see photos) I have spent my life traveling, we have many photos sitting in boxes and stored on Cd's and hard drives. The portraits of Mackenzie and Emma have only been in boxes during transit then placed prominently on the wall at our next destination. I know that we all struggle with the fact that we may not be here one day, nothing like cancer to remind us of our mortality.
b. The second painting is the one I spent the most time thinking about, what I want to do is create a painting that could provide a daily reminder of the cancer battle. The portrait I envision is a rear view of a cancer patient during chemo, pale, thin and bald gazing into a mirror, the reflected image is that of their healthy self. I think that this could be a very inspirational painting, for someone who has beat cancer, it would provide a reminder of how far you have come, (thus taking the edge off the daily grind post cancer.) The same painting could be created during the fight, where the image in the mirror would be the you that you want to be again. I am going to ask Jill, the founder of www.blogforacure.com to be the test case for the first portrait like this. Once it is finished I will post a photo, please give me your input on this idea.
c. The third painting I envision is a man and woman standing holding hands peering off into the distance (could be ocean, woods, mountains, etc...) The concept being that we are in this together regardless of what is out there waiting for us.
2. Notice Full disclosure, I am going to give away 10 - 20 portraits in the 3 styles mentioned above. This will allow me to get my head around what works best. I am not a rich person, nor am I poor, but the fact is cancer is expensive even with insurance. I do need to make money to pay the extra bills and this is my way to do that and provide support to our friends. If everything were to work out I would give away the first 10 - 20 paintings with the request that the recipients tell everyone they know about me, their friends and family would then see that this is a great gift for Christmas, anniversaries, and other special days. I would then use any profits to help pay for my treatment bills, and provide more paintings to those who can not afford one. ( I will provide more info on this in the coming days, it is 23:12 19 August 2008).
3. The third goal is 2 fold, one build a nest egg for the girls if something happens to me, and also create a source of income if I am no longer capable due to illness or death. In the spirit of full disclosure, I do have a reasonable amount of life insurance, but Jenn is a stay at home mom with 4 young girls so that won't last forever. (And I certainly don't want her to feel pressed to replace me for financial reasons). Wait a minute I don't want to be replaced for any reason!
That is the starter post from the new and improved me..... I will be posting a list of many other projects tomorrow and the days to come..... Anyone who has any ideas please let me know. I will also be calling on some of you to help me. There is no way that I can accomplish the magnitude of things that need to be done with out a great team. You want to play? We may be sick, but as of 23:32 (11:32 pm), 19 August 2008 we are not beaten so please join me.
Have a nice day!
P.S. Here is a quick list of things of plan to address in the coming days.
1. We need to get some cancer caregivers (doctors, and nurses) to join our on-line groups and supply the story from their perspective. Why isn't there a dialog between us and them?
2. We need to think about hiring doctors to provide information to us in an unbiased manor. I am not a doctor hater, but my experience is that we have to make major decisions about the treatment recommendations without sufficient information or options. It seems that everything is dumbed down, making it very difficult to decide on treatment options. The Internet has been a godsend to me, but it could be much better. more to come..
3. I would love to use the painting website to provide others with a way to augment the expenses of cancer treatment. ( more to come)......
4. I also want to find a way to provide massage service to people undergoing treatment, when my wife was in the hospital in Belgium after the twins were born she had a masseuse come by everyday for 6 days and massage her legs and it was one of the most memorable experiences of the hospital stay, not to mention therapeutic.
5. Also I think there is an opportunity to get fast food restaurants to provide vouchers to cancer patients, the fact is making dinner is a lot of work when you are tired... I know that they would not be only thinking of the charity, they would expect to gain business from the friends and family of the patient, fair enough, I sort of compare this to the dollar menu, we are very good at ordering from the dollar menu and then going home to complete the menu with our own sides and drinks.
6. This is truly my biggest worry, if I get to the point where more treatment is only going to hurt me, will I know I have reached that point? The fact is doctors and hospitals get paid to treat us, not send us home with bad news.........?
Good Night Folks
Much more to come “I am back on the bike”