Renal Cell Live!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Farewell, Phil

Phil Porter, courtesy Jamesline Frontiers MagazineTomorrow Saint H and I will be going to the funeral of a good, good man. Phil Porter, a fellow renal cell survivor, died on Saturday after two months of hospice care. He entered hospice after undergoing every possible treatment and trial; his disease was controlled to a certain degree but advanced inexorably over time.

Shortly after my liver resection in 2004, when I was recovering from surgery and feeling my lowest, friend and sister Monka passed along an article that Phil had written in the Columbus Dispatch on the Wellness Community in Columbus and the Renal Cell Networking Group. Phil was the Dispatch's business reporter, but also wrote a number of inspiring columns on living with cancer. The column I read couldn't have come at a better time; I was feeling very alone and burdened with an unknown enemy.

From that column came our involvement with the Wellness Community; there's little better than learning from other survivors. Phil was at the forefront of educational efforts and started our practice of bringing in speakers from the medical community, all in the hopes that we could better understand our disease.

Phil's words in this article are worth quoting:
"I've learned that my illness and fears often are not as bad as others'. And there is comfort in that other people are surviving and leading healthy lives. And even those who do not survive send the message that if they can meet death with dignity and courage, you can too, if necessary. The cancer community contains some beautiful people, and I feel richer for having known them. I feel richer for understanding the beauty of every day. But cancer still is a pain in the ass."

Phil gave me my life back. I will cherish his memory for as long as I live.

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