1 Year Anniversary

Over the past year, people have often commented on my strength and how well I am coping.  I could never see myself as strong.  I was doing what the doctors told me to do and what I think anyone would do in my situation.  I’ve met many people with cancer who capture the true essence of strength but I could never see it in myself. When I was told that my cancer was never gone, I was devastated.  I had done everything I could to beat this and it didn’t work.  Now I realize I am strong because my fight is far from over.

My brother Tim refers to it as P.M.A. (Positive Mental Attitude).  My good friends Alli and Laurie, refer to it as M.T. (Mental Toughness).  The “it” is mental strength and my biggest ally in my fight against cancer.  For me, mental strength is not putting up a wall to protect me from feeling bad.  I’m not capable of doing that.  Rather, it is accepting the times I feel bad, overwhelmed/sad and knowing how to pick myself up.  It is understanding I will have unforeseen struggles and knowing I’ll get through them because I’ve made it this far.  As a therapist, I have great insight into myself and know when I need to break down and when I can hold it together.  I usually break down in the following three places: while showering, driving to work, and in church.  I do not cry in front of my older daughter because she doesn’t understand and I don’t want to scare her.  Crying is not an everyday occurrence and usually the tears are tears of thankfulness.  The breaking down part is what makes me stronger mentally because I see how fortunate I am.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not thankful for having cancer.  I’m thankful for everything in my life and I think having cancer causes me to appreciate the things I used to take for granted.

One thing that I like to do is hold a moment in my mind and experience it in slow motion.  I replay the memory over and over again in my mind and feel the same emotions as when I first witnessed the event.  I do this everyday and it usually involves my wife and children.  The moments are everyday simple things like: a hug from Katie, a look from Janie, holding Anabel, a laugh.  I wish I could truly explain living in a moment but it’s beyond words.  It is what gives me mental strength and is very calming.

I’ve used certain mantras throughout this experience to comfort me.  My first mantra was, I’m going to be okay Lord, Lord I’m going be okay.  I would sing this to myself or aloud.  I then went with, Thank you Lord for what you’ve done for me, Thank you Lord for what you’re doing now, Thank you Lord for every little thing (you might recognize those lyrics).  Now my current mantra is, Be not afraid, Kevin. You have found favor with God.  Each time I say these phrases I experience an inner peace and a bounce in my step.

All of this leads to my biggest source of strength…you.  Without your support, I know I wouldn’t be as strong as I am today.  I am truly blessed and very thankful to all of you for your kind words of encouragement.  It was a year ago today that I was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer.  To me it seems like ages ago that I faced a possible cancer “blizzard”.  Even though I still have cancer, I’m much stronger mentally than I was a year ago.  At times I’m still scared, but more often I’m thankful because I’m lucky to have a beautiful family and all of you.

At the beach

At the beach

Family at the Outer Banks

Family at the Outer Banks

Eagles training camp with Tim and my dad

Eagles training camp with Tim and my dad

Gerrit's wedding

Gerrit’s wedding

Anabel's christening

Anabel’s christening

Cardinal Stafford, my earthly angel, and I

Cardinal Stafford-my earthly angel and I

Please pray for my good friend Karen and her family.  She is my age and was diagnosed with a similar cancer in September.  She is now under hospice care.  She truly captures the essence and grace of strength.

14 Responses to 1 Year Anniversary

  1. Julia Strain says:

    Kevin, You are my hero. I want to be just like you in facing my cancer. Please keep sharing with your extended family because we are receiving the blessing. Thanks for your honesty, your courage, your faith, your love of family and friends and letting us know the sources of your strength. I knew when I met you and Janie that you all were very special……you are. I keep you and your 3 girls in my prayers. Stay strong, my friend, and keep on keeping on. Hope 2014 will be a year of happiness and good health. Love to you and your precious family!! Julia Strain

    • Lori says:

      Kevin you are an inspiration to all of us! keep the fight and keep the faith!
      stay positive!
      Lots of love,
      Lori xxxx

    • weinkp1 says:

      Thanks Julia. I remember our first conversation had us both with goosebumps. I want to repeat all of your kind words back to you because it’s true for me as it is you. You understand what I’m going through. Thank you for your prayers.

  2. alli says:

    Kevin, You continue to amaze me and are my hero too. You remind us all of the most important things in life and you do it with grace. I am inspired by your honesty and ability to speak so eloquently from your heart, and be so real. Sending you, Janie, KT, Annabel, and Sophie love!

  3. Mary Benson says:

    We love you Kevin! You are such an inspiration to so many people. We are praying for your complete healing and for God’s richest blessings on your beautiful family!

    • weinkp1 says:

      Thanks Mary. I incorporated your sons in this blog. What a beautiful and fun day that was. Thanks to all of your family for the love and support.

  4. Brandi Bronleben says:

    Kevin, you are amazing and inspirational. Keep up the fight. You and the girls are never far from mind. Keep fighting. Keep going. Keep holding those moments.

  5. Sam Best says:

    Kevin, you amaze me with your strength! You inspire all of us. Continue to fight the fight and find strength through the love of your friends and family!

  6. Missi Monahan says:

    Kevin, I’ve never met you but I feel like I know you. I’m friends and neighbors with your brother Tim and Andrea. Your strength is felt far and wide. You are in my prayers. Stay strong!

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