Today I am excited to share a guest post by Johnny Cathcart, a 2x childhood brain cancer survivor, award winning filmmaker and author. At 23 years old, he published his book “Hotpants….a memoir,” detailing his journey through cancer and beyond. He currently resides in New York City where he works as a freelance writer, videographer and editor, but his dream is to be a full-time author and filmmaker. I hope you get your dream Johnny, you’ve certainly earned it!
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors Please
“The year just flew by didn’t it?” “Has it been that long already?” “I climb the mountain, turn around, and I see my reflection in the snow covered hills…” So we’ve all heard some rendition of that statement, in all different contexts of life. Not just from the Dixie Chicks, but work, family… old high school friends, in our minds. Think back to elementary school. Time didn’t fly back then! I remember getting up, cartoons and cereal adventures in the morning, the looong day at school, all of the classes, recess, friends, walk home time, then riding bikes, and the hours of intense fun. Then there was family dinner, prayers, and a cartoon or two before bedtime. The year was nice and very slow. Remember? The swing set drama? Then there were all the high school stresses while working our way through the social mazes. Even college years seemed slower and more full than now. Though, since I popped out the long chute into the rock hard workforce world… the sun sets the minute it rises, morning coffee and evening cabernet become one, and the snow that falls melts to summer before it kisses my rapidly aging skin cells. What happened to that moment that is forever stuck in iPhoto now?
Well, ten years ago I had walked out of St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis for the last time as a full time cancer patient. I was 15. Every so often I had been visiting for checkups; less and less as the years progressed, and 6/25/2011 will be my last check up ever. Recently my mom reminded me over the phone that after the 25th, if everything is still fine, then I would be completely discharged from the hospital forever. I sniffled up these thick, spongy tears at that moment. My cancer battle had been a constant struggle for 3 straight years before I was 15, completely turning my life and my family’s life in a different direction. “It’s been 10 years already?”
I think of how it seems like last month when I was blasted with my last radiation treatment. It seems like last week I hugged my college friends for the last time. It really does seem like yesterday when I moved to New York and heard that famous phrase “Stand clear of the closing doors please” for the very first time on the train.
Time is crazy like that isn’t it? Memories collect and bunch together, it all just goes in an instant and all of the sudden you are where you are… and 10 years have gone by. Poof! - iPhoto… It’s not gone though. They’re not just “memories” to hang on a mental shelf. They are building blocks. Every little thing, that one recess, that one detention, that one kiss, that first fight you had with your dorm mate, that first job, etc… all formed who you are now. Every bit of what happened to me, every scraped knee and every moment has made every bit of my character up to this second that I sit here typing at my Bronx apartment. The years totally fly by, but think about it… Reflect on each little thing that happened that made up between 9:00 – 9:15 this morning. When you add that with the conversation at lunchtime, and the unwinding news program on the recliner in the evening, you can think how each of those events, melded together, have become your person and character as it is right now. In other words, though they seem to have flown by, each event of every moment of every day, week, and month is profound and meaningful. “Yeah, I think back on these happenings now, the memories stacked up, and though they seem to have flown by, when I reflect on how each event has built up to me today, it all seems more filled, a nice full life time.” Has it been 10 years already?
Johnny was the videographer for a You Tube interview I did for www.TalkAboutHealth.com , featuring Ann Fonfa, Founder of the Annie Appleseed Project. To view the most recent clip, please view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPrBlhdI_Pk&feature=channel_video_title
To read more of Johnny’s work, please visit: http://vimeo.com/johnnycathcart
To Read about Johnny's book, please visit: johnnyhp.com
Elyn Jacobs is President of Elyn Jacobs Consulting, Inc. and a breast cancer survivor. She empowers women diagnosed with cancer to navigate the process of treatment and care, and she educates about how to prevent recurrence and new cancers. She is passionate about helping others get past their cancer and into a cancer-free life.
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