Rocky vs. Drago

After my diagnosis I would Google cancer and kept encountering the word “fight” over and over again.  When I was told I had cancer, I wanted to “fight” from the start but was not ready.  How do you fight something you don’t see or feel?  I first needed to grieve my life as I knew it.  On some mornings I would wake from a dream feeling normal, then my new reality would overcome me and I would experience physical pain.  The pain wasn’t from my cancer, but from an overwhelming sadness.  Then the sadness led to anger.  Anger led to understanding.  Cancer took away my normalcy.  Through my pain, sadness, and anger I learned what to fight for.  I’m fighting to get my life back, and one that’s even better than before.  I’m fighting to be a better husband, father, son, brother and friend.

I saw myself as an underdog in a fight and began to think of an alter ego to channel for inspiration.  Then it hit me…Rocky Balboa, specifically Rocky IV Rocky Balboa.  I remember in second grade going to the movie theater with my neighbor Geoff and his dad.  I sat down in my seat with Whoppers and a Coke.  I thought the movie was awesome.  C’mon you gotta love the scenes with James Brown singing “Living in America” and with Rocky training in the mountains.  Ivan Drago was physically bigger and had all the latest advances in technology and medicine to help him defeat Rocky.  Rocky had the support of his friends and family and a strong will.  My friend Matt began sending me quotes from Rocky IV like this one:

“You’re gonna have to go through hell, worse than any nightmare you’ve ever dreamed.  But when it’s over, I know you’ll be the one standing. You know what you have to do.  Do it.”

And this one:

“So what we’ll be calling on is good ole’ fashion blunt force trauma. Horsepower.  Heavy-duty, cast-iron, pile driving punches that will have to hurt so much they’ll rattle his ancestors.  Every time you hit him with a shot, its gotta feel like he tried kissing the express train.  Yeah!  Let’s start building some hurtin’ bombs!”

Who knew dialogue from Rocky IV was so inspirational?  I gave Matt the nickname Duke after Rocky’s trainer.  Of course Rocky got knocked around pretty good and the numbers predicted that outcome.  But in the end, Rocky was the last one standing…and I will be too.

While I was in the hospital, a priest came into my room.  The priest introduced himself as Father Roque (pronounced Rocky).  I instantly began laughing and crying.  He had a confused expression on his face and I explained how Rocky was my inspiration.  We talked and prayed together.  Once he left, Janie joined me and I told her and we laughed and talked about how we are witnessing so many blessings and positive signs.  To this day I still keep in touch with Father Roque.

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16 Responses to Rocky vs. Drago

  1. ariel12082 says:

    Kevin, you could write a novel – you’re great at it 😉 keep it up.. We’re all in your “corner” !!!! -jodi!

  2. Austin Judd says:

    Duke: All your strength, all your power, all your love. Everything you’ve got. Right now!

  3. Tom michaels says:

    Eye of the Tiger!

  4. Laurie Wilbricht says:

    You’re really a great writer, Kevin. And, a fighter that will beat this to pieces! We’ve all got your back! Love & hugs, Birk

  5. Tim Wein says:

    Dont forget Paulie—— “if I could just unzip myself and step out and be someone else, I’d wanna be you. You’re all heart, Rock.”

  6. Gail (Friedman) Norris says:

    You are amazing, Kevin! I read your blog & marvel at your wise words. Yes, there are lots of amazing folks watching (witnessing) your fight, but you are also witnessing to others – about your faith, positivity, & experiences that will help others. Six months before I had breast cancer, I had a friend that was fighting ovarian cancer for seven years & you couldn’t find anyone more positive than she was. She was a wonderful inspiration to me & you will be one to many, also. You already are…

    • weinkp1 says:

      Thanks for the kind words Gail. Your daughter is wonderful. She is a tremendous support to Janie and we are very blessed that she’s in our lives.

  7. scott pritchard says:

    hey kevin,
    i’m late to all of this, but i have been reading your updates and i must say that you inspire me. i don’t know what kind of therapy you do, but it would seem that we have this and a strong spirituality in common (as well as a white marsh childhood).

    you are in my heart, on my mind and the focus of my prayers.

    be Loved

    • weinkp1 says:

      Thanks Scott. Representing White Marsh Court. I loved my time at White Marsh and only hope and pray my daughters can have such wonderful neighbors and friends growing up as my brother and I did. I’m a psychotherapist now and see children, adolescents, adults, and couples. Maybe it was something in the water at White Marsh that led to our similarities.

      • scott pritchard says:

        it’s quite possible… I have about 20 years of experience as a lay-youth leader, too 😉

        maybe it’s like we say at work, “in order to provide therapeutic services (especially psychotherapy and counseling), we have to appreciate the need for them first hand…” i think most of us could have benefitted from such services growing up (especially shelley)

  8. tyler says:

    love this post!

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