Dear Members (a note from Bob Marckini):
I have a dilemma. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the hundreds and hundreds of birthday cards and letters so many of you sent me – when prompted by my daughter, Deb – for my 80th birthday back in early April. I’m astounded with the quality and variety of the cards and especially with the notes and letters written with heartfelt thoughts and clearly significant time and effort (some hand-wrote long missives; some typed three-four pages; others included drawings, photos, poems…).
My dilemma is that, ordinarily, I’d respond to each message individually. But, alas, it would take me the rest of my life to do so.
I’ve disciplined myself to read 10 to 20 cards every morning, and I must admit, it’s my favorite part of the day. It’s “the gift that keeps on giving.”
“I think we’re going to need a bigger binder.”
When I completed proton treatment almost 23 years ago, I brought home with me dozens of photographs and assorted memorabilia from my eight-week odyssey at Loma Linda. During the ensuing years, I saved many newspaper articles, magazine articles, and letters from some very special people including sports professionals (like Ken Venturi), members of the clergy (including several pastors and a bishop), three ambassadors, several corporate executives, numerous members of the medical profession, and lots of everyday people I counseled from all walks of life. I stored all these things in a cardboard box.
About 10 years ago, Deb “borrowed” the box with the articles, letters, memorabilia, and photographs, and compiled them into a huge, three-ringed binder. She gave this to me as a birthday present, and I’ve treasured it ever since.
Then I began adding to the binder with new articles and mementos, including letters from patients I’ve counseled and literally hundreds of letters I received from people at Loma Linda notifying me of gifts made to LLUH in my honor by members of our group and others. The giant binder started bursting at the seams. Long before I received the two giant boxes of cards and letters for my recent birthday, I said to Deb, to paraphrase a line from one of my favorite movies, Jaws, “I think we’re going to need a bigger binder.”
Every day when I open and read more of the cards and letters, I’m overcome with gratitude for the time and effort so many of you have put into these precious gifts which have touched my heart. Many of you expressed your appreciation for my help and guidance at a very low point in your lives. Several of you wrote about your fears, the pressure from your urologists to have surgery, and the fabulous results from your proton therapy. The themes were common, but each story was different. And they didn’t all come from Loma Linda patients. To date, I have cards and letters from members who were treated at 14 proton centers, including one in Europe. And there are lots more yet to open.
In the body of this issue of BOB Tales, we’ve included several excerpts from the hundreds of cards and letters I’ve already opened and read. Deb and I plan to share more of these in future newsletters.
Once again, I can’t adequately articulate how grateful I am for the overwhelming love, support, and kindness that you’ve shown me for my 80th birthday. Your cards and letters brought tears to my eyes; they will forever be cherished.
It’s been my passion to bring peace, comfort, and hope to those who’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer and are searching for answers. Your messages have reaffirmed the importance of this work. You’ve shown me that my efforts have made a difference in your lives. I’m honored to have such amazing people in my life, and I look forward to continuing our journey together.
This BOB Tales is a two-month issue, considerably longer than our standard monthly newsletter, as we have so much to share with you, including Deb’s comprehensive review of the annual NAPT conference she attended in Salt Lake City, UT last month.
Other topics covered in this issue include the increasing role artificial intelligence is playing in medicine in general and prostate cancer treatment in particular. New approaches to treating advanced prostate cancer; an intriguing new anesthesia; the role of mental wellness in dealing with cancer; some surprising health tips; and – who would have guessed – an unsolved brain teaser also highlight this month’s newsletter.
Oh, and one more thing – you may have noticed we have a new website! Things have been pretty busy over here.
As always, we appreciate feedback and welcome any suggestions you have on how to improve the value of the BOB Tales to our members. Just send an email to DHickey@protonbob.com.