I am beyond touched by the outpouring of support shown by your messages on my last post. I’m overwhelmed by how many people wrote things like “You don’t know me but…” followed by “impacted my life,” “touched me” or other deeply moving comments. I am humbled in such a way that I struggle to put words to the page now and am honored that, despite your own personal daily challenges, you would chose to spend part of your time with us as we continue down our path.

As Maggie and I have read all your comments, we’ve cried what feels like a million tears.  While this post may be out of character for me, I feel compelled to respond to what some of you have written. Never fear. I will follow this post with another status update, hopefully tonight.

Fellow Phase I Longhorn, I don’t have to imagine what it was like for you that day sitting at MDA. We’ve been there and I’m sad you are living it. Learning that while you were there, coping with needles, EKGs, PKs and all the other Phase I pains, you were wondering if we made it home brought immediate tears to our eyes. We are strangers walking together on the same path separated by just a few feet.

Tammy, it turns my heart to mush and puts a crinkle in my forehead to know that you and your brother are starting on this journey. I wish I could do more for you and for him than I’m able. Maybe, just maybe, by shining the light on where we’ve been, you can be better prepared than we’ve been and avoid some of the traps we’ve fallen into. Hopefully, you’ll never get to experience even half of the crap we’ve dealt with. At the very, very least you’ll know that you aren’t alone in your journey. And that you can have a lot of fun on along the way despite the urge not to. We have. And we’ll continue to. Just watch us.

Cynthia, Scott, Kyle, and Brooke – I understand that you are sad. We are sad, too, but for now we are together and it ain’t over yet. Regardless, wouldn’t you rather have deep, meaningful feelings sprinkled with occasionally intense sadness than to live a life overflowing with ambivalence? The depth of your sadness is a direct reflection of the heights of your joy and that makes for a rich, rich life.

Mirjana, please don’t be afraid of wishing for everything to be perfect! In fact, demand it! You get 30,000 days on this earth, give or take. Why waste one day settling for anything other than what makes you terrifically happy? The ten wonderful years I’ve shared with my wonderful wife have been like living a dream. Yeah, we are having a tough time right now but I’d rather live ten fairytale years followed by 50 years of happy reflection than 100 years drowning in mediocrity. Yes, of course, I don’t want the dream to end but sometimes we don’t have that option. Live it up! Demand happiness!

Speaking of happy, Francis and Karen, I am so, so happy for you both. We all got dealt a pretty crappy hand but you guys got a chance to screw the dealer. It could have been both, either or neither of us. Your lucky chance has shed a little light on this crappy, crappy situation. Maggie and I are both very happy for you both from the bottom of our hearts.

Kevin Cripps, while I have the kid-like urge to challenge you to a fight for kissing my wife-to-be, thanks for chiming in with your kind words. For what it’s worth (and she may blush that I’m telling you this) she thinks you might have been her first kiss. Okay, buddy.  Behind the school, 5:30PM at the jungle gym. Be there and be ready. Bring friends.

Mel, Kate G, Lynn, New York, and so many other anonymous posters – I wish that you and your friend didn’t have shoulder the same pain that we are feeling. If the world were more “fair” then if such pain need be felt, only one or two people should be burdened and then it be done. Unfortunately, so many people are suffering from this damn disease. You aren’t alone, as caregiver or as friend. You have to find support for you. If you can’t care for yourself, you won’t be able to care for your friend. It’s like the airplane pre-takeoff lecture “If you are traveling with someone, place the oxygen mask over your mouth before tending to your companion.” I also know for certain that your friend or loved one appreciates all that you do for them. But don’t be afraid to ask them to remind you occasionally.

Carol, I am truly humbled by your situation. Please give your husband our most heartfelt hugs. And, for you, if I could wrap up just one smile from my sweetheart and send it to you, I would. It’s the single most incredible treasure I know, one that touches my soul. If I could, I’d share it with you in hopes that it would brighten your day. It always brightens mine, even on the cloudiest, most miserable of days.

Professor Osler, thank you for your kind words. I had to look up the word “pantheon” but now that I did, I’m pretty sure that if I was ever in the pantheon then I was either lost, just there to empty the garbage cans, or looking for Maggie. Oh, and I’m very sorry that you keep finding your heroes in bits and pieces. Maybe one day you’ll find a whole one. Have you checked the mirror lately? Or maybe check beside you in bed?

Finally, to A Friend Who Loves You Both, I understand and appreciate your intent. Thank you for taking the time to share your kindness. While we may not agree on how and when to express our feelings, we clearly agree that we want nothing but the absolute best for Maggie. On that common ground we can stand united. And we won’t be alone. At last count there were well over 100 people who had posted their same wishes for Maggie on this blog.

Thank you all.

28 thoughts on “Overwhelmed

  1. Chris,

    It was beautiful to meet you only for a few seconds on Sunday afternoon. You and Maggie amaze me. She was so beautiful up in that little high room with the light and her beautiful paintings and the friends who adored her circled round . . it was a very beautiful moment, and I am glad to have lived it.

    I was blessed to have had her as such a dear friend so many years ago, and I am honored today to have this small witness into your experience.


  2. Thank you, Chris.

    Please see my reply to Jennifer’s reply to my reply to your reply to my reply…LOL…on you last post.

    Your words are powerful. They always move me – sometimes to laugh, sometimes to cry, and sometimes to reflect on life. What you said to Cynthia, Kyle, Scott and Brooke above was incredibly beautiful, and I will remember it forever. If you aren’t a professional writer, you should be!

    My thoughts and prayers are continuously with you & Maggie and your families.

  3. I’ve been thinking about you guys a lot recently. I’m another reader you don’t know. It has been pretty amazing to see the comments on that last entry flow in, and I didn’t want to be left out! Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  4. Chris and Maggie you don’t know me but you know Fran and Karen, well I’m Frans sister Catherine, I live in Ireland. I’m very touched by your posts and your courage and cheerfulness in the face of such adversity,I find it difficult to understand how you can be so positive and I admire you both greatly for it. Chris I think its you writing the posts and I have to say man you got a talent. There’s a book in you, your words are very powerful and moving and although I don’t know either of you I feel like I do when I read your story. I will pray for you both, that you have the strength to come through these very difficult times. Maybe some day Chris you might be moved to gather up all these posts into a book and publish as an inspiration to others. The world needs it. Even just reading one or two posts I’ve thought of you guys a lot in recent days. You’ve left a deep effect, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

  5. You don’t know me, but……..We met briefly at BTGH a couple of months ago, when you were with Lisa H. I have thought about you since that time, and asked Lisa about you today. Your journey has been a rough one – I admire your courage. You are fortunate to be surrounded by such caring people.- May God bless you and watch over you and your loved ones. Tina

  6. Chris and Maggie thanks so much for this wonderful reply to us all. You are right in so many ways… your courage, love and spirit never cease to to amaze me….. and keep me positive in my life as well. Thank you for being such great friends. Love you both.. God Bless!

  7. Chris and Maggie: I am amongst those who you don’t know directly, but I feel like I know you from getting a peak into your journey via this blog. I admire your courage and attitude in this situation and hope and wish both of you a easier, less painful sail here onwards. God Bless You

  8. Chris – I have only had the opportunity to meet you once or twice but thanks to your posts feel as though I have known you forever. I do what I call a “happy dance” with the good news/special moments you write about, feel I’m crying with you during the more challenging times and even growl at the computer during the frustrations you guys have dealt with. That goes to show just how powerful your writing is…thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your journey. You do have a best-seller on your hands!
    Maggie – fortunately I have had more opportunities over the years to be around you. Even though we still don’t know each other well…when I think of you…I think of this beautiful, positive, energetic, go-getter with the most AMAZING smile. Keep smiling 🙂 Constant prayers and positive thoughts being sent your way!!

  9. Chris and Maggie,
    Randy and I had the honor of attending your wedding ceremonies and watched you exchange the vows that have carried you through these trials and tribulations. We have been deeply touched by the grace and resilience you both have demonstrated. You remind us that heroes are made when ordinary people meet extraordinary circumstances with grace, as you have, together. Would that we all, faced with such a fight, battle with such unity and honor as do you and Maggie, each and every day. We wish you both strength and peace.

  10. Okay, you reeled me in…to make a comment that is. I’ve been following your blog for awhile now. I came upon it after my mother was diagnosed with Stage IV CRC in 2006. There’s not too much more that I can say that others haven’t already. I wish you both well, you love and devotion AMAZE me. Having been my mom’s primary caregiver, I have literally drawn strength from your writings. The other day, after reading “The Last Trip,” I immediately got off the computer and went in and sat with her and just relished the fact that she is still here and doing well “in spite of.” God bless you both and I look forward to many more updates and pray that Chris will see many more of those gorgeous smiles from his Maggie.

  11. Maggie and Chris — Your strength and resilience astound me. There have been so many moments this past week when I have been overcome with a feeling of such intense sadness. But then I stop and pray, and I feel an amazing sense of hope, as I believe that our God is a God of miracles. In the words of Mr. MacLeod, “Hold fast!” We look forward to seeing you guys tonight.

  12. Maggie and Chris,
    Like many others who have posted on your site, you don’t know me. I have been following your story from Ireland through my brother Fran’s website as his wife Karen was diagnosed with the same condition as Maggie. I would like to add my voice to all those others that have gone before in saying how much I admire your and Maggie’s bravery and courage through all of this. You both have been an inspiration to us all.Your ability to remain so positive in the face of adversity is a lesson for us all. Your bravery in sharing your dark times has no doubt helped many people in the same situation, including Karen and Fran, by knowing they are not alone. My thoughts and prayers are with you both and with your families at this difficult time.

  13. Chris & Maggie – thank you so much for your amazing words to me in your post. I am humbled. I agree with you and I believe that’s why I let myself feel so much throughout my life and have said the same thing … live the lows so you can relish the highs. Having lived through serious sadness and in moments of great joy with both my family and friends – I don’t feel I’ve missed a thing. It brings me that much closer to the ones I love and I hope I can show others it’s okay to ride this rollercoster called Life for all it’s worth and not to stand in it’s shadows. No where have I seen this principle more personified than I have in Chris and Maggie. It’s been an amazing lesson to us all (more people than I think any of us realize). I don’t know where I found this quote – but I’ve had it on my own personal blog page for about seven years. “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, Crown Royal in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WAAAAHOO … that was one Hellava Ride!!!”

  14. Chris and Maggie,

    I am new to your site and have read only a little but I have to ask: Have you spoken with Cancer Treatment Centers of America? I have 1 friend whose life was saved [and his quality of life preserved] and another whose life is being extended, again with improved quality, by the wonderful folks at CTCA.

    My prayers and good wishes I send to you both.

  15. Nice reply Chris! I hope tonight’s art auction is a lot of fun and a great success. Un abrazo fuerte for Maggie 🙂

  16. “Demand happiness”


    “The depth of your sadness is a direct reflection of the heights of your joy and that makes for a rich, rich life.”

    Chris, you have an amazing gift with words! Thank you for always sharing Maggie and your journey so candidly and beautifully.

  17. Chris and Maggie,
    Your strength, courage, and love for one another never cease to amaze me. I definitely fall into the “we’ve never met in person” category, but it feels like I’ve known you two forever. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. Your words touch more people in more ways than you will ever know.
    Continued love, thoughts, & prayers!

  18. Chris & Maggie,I too fall into the “you don’t know me” category. I am Deren’s aunt (by marriage) and happened to start reading your blog after she sent me an email with the link to your blog and asking for prayers for the two of you and your journey. I read your blog in an entire afternoon and was in stitches of laughter at some points but in tears by the end. Maggie’s smile warms my heart as does your love for each other. What a gift…thank you for sharing your journey with all of us and know that you are continually prayed for.

  19. Chris,
    It’s been way too long, my friend. I know exactly what you both are going through. Your courage, perseverance, and attitudes are exemplary and brighten a busy world, touch other lives, and ripple much further than you currently know. I just found out about the auction, but won’t be able to make it :(. You both will be in my prayers constantly. Laugh much, love much and stay strong.

  20. Chris and Maggie,
    I am Karen’s sister. I have read through many blogs, but never post, not even on my sister’s, but I feel compelled to reach out to you both – not out of pity but out of a kinship and love. I lived with my sister for a while to try and help out with the kids so I understand a little about the emotional roller coaster and the experience that goes well beyond any words. I am not an emotional person, and I am not normally one to reach out, usually overwhelmed by my own situation and fears, but please know that you are both in my heart, in my prayers and that I have a great respect for both of you. Just be reminded of the truth – that at times we may feel terribly alone in our own pain and sadness, at times we are angry, at times we are sad and overcome with grief – but we are stronger than our fleeting emotions, we are greater than our darkest moments, we are brave souls who belong to God the Father, and He shall never abandon us.

  21. How amazing are you both to offer ‘thank you’ to those who post on your blog? It is us (the posters if you will) that should be thanking you! Thank you for sharing your story with us that is so deeply intimate and inspiring. Your blogs have made me very aware of the importance of extracting the good out of every minute and to be purely selfish in terms of seeking out the very things in life that make you happy. I have caught myself stopping the typical chores of life to steal a moment or two with my son and husband to play Nerf gun wars, board games, basketball on the driveway, etc.! I find myself staring at things in this world that I might not have otherwise noticed too much in the past like sunsets, birds eating and flying, shapes of clouds and the beauty of flowers in bloom as May approaches. Nobody ever knows how much time we have left. Stealing those magical moments with the ones you love and embracing life for the true gift that it is teaches you what matters most and you have helped to reinforce that with me!

    I don’t know what your wedding song is but the song that automatically comes to mind when I think of you both is “What A Wonderful World”!

    Many blessings and love to you both!

  22. I am so touched that you would take the time to reach out to us all in such a wonderful way. You are a very special couple. You are in my prayers and so also, Maggie’s mother. It must be so hard to see your child have to go through such things. Love and prayers to your whole family.

  23. It just goes to show what amazing people you two are that you would take the precious time to respond to our post to you!Thank you and god bless.You’ve made me both laugh and cry.My brother is living everyday to its fullest and I stop and smell the roses every chance I get.

  24. Maggie and Chris, I have been following your journey and I thank each of you for sharing your joys, sorrows, frustrations and hopes that are shared by so very many who love you and are inspired and deeply touched by you and by this experience. Your love for one another is so transparent and so buoyant and joyful. Thank you for showing us all how to face down adversity and live life as a precious gift that we each have. You are remarkable persons and you leave all of us in awe, and humbled, as we receive the gift of your sharing. Brad Toben

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