My father has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer for over a month now and honestly it still is hard to swallow. I find myself thinking about the future and ...
My family and I are selling t-shirts to raise money for brain cancer research. All proceeds are going to Elizabeth's Hope. The t-shirts are only $12 (or $15 if you ...
By admin on April 22, 2013
By admin on December 5, 2012
I have had the honor of being asked to guest blog on What’s YOUR Fight. Actually, Kathleen has been after me to do this for quite sometime and in typical Leslie fashion I have been putting it off. It’s not that I didn’t want to do it, but rather it usually makes me so sad to sit still and reminisce. The only way that I can stay somewhat sane through this journey is to try and live in the moment. Thinking about the past or future is unbearable.
In the days of the Samurai, a warriors life span depended upon variables that include but are not limited to : Ability, Quality of Sword
The ability came from God and the Samurai’s dedication to the practice
The weapon came from the forger of steel. Steel that was heated, folded, then pounded out time over time made the finest of weapons. Can you imagine opponents with the same level of ability facing each other…. One holding a sword made of 23 folds forged into her sword’s metal versus the sword of the other forged with but 7 folds. The story would surely end with the warriors of equal ability fighting hard with all their spirit, yet ones sword would break while the others cut through unyielding.
The sword forged with sweat, heat and effort; folded 23 times, would shatter the lessor weapon.
As Southern Ingenuity competes with the other agencies in our industry, even those few companies who are as able as SII will not be able to “out serve” us. Our service sword is made with a team. Our service sword is forged with taking the hard right versus the easy wrong. We don’t turn our heads to those who would take advantage. We don’t accept anything less that great from each other. We are forged and folded over time with the heat and pounding of making a REAL difference. Never fearing the hard stance.
Is there a stronger sword out there today than the one we hold in our cumulative hands? I don’t think so.
I am proud of you three. I am proud of how the business is maturing with each of your abilities growing. Our companies core beliefs forge us into metal that respects all yet fears no sword.
Thank you for your tireless commitment to SI and excellence.
You each are touching every consumer we serve.
By admin on November 13, 2012
I received an email a view days ago from a man who read my blog and wanted to share his story. I feel so honored that I have reached out to him and I know his story will reach out to many of you. If anyone else wants to share their story please feel free to email me at Kathleen@soutinge.com.
My wife has often said that she could never understand what I went through when she was diagnosed with cancer. We’ve talked about it once, but she still does not understand the fear and confusion and anger that I felt when her doctor looked at her and told her that she’d been diagnosed with mesothelioma. I was so angry. I was so emotional in so many different ways, and it took her doctor asking me about all the different medical decisions we had to make to make me realize that this was only the first of many difficult decisions we’d be forced to face in the months to come.
Heather had given birth to our daughter Lily only three months before she was diagnosed with cancer. We were so happy and so joyful when we welcomed Lily into our lives. Now I was so angry. I used so much profanity to communicate, and I knew I had to change my attitude about this situation. My wife needed me to be strong. She needed me to be optimistic and to be her rock.
I also needed to learn to support my family, while caring for my wife and our new baby. Oftentimes, my to-do list overwhelmed me, and I knew I would never be able to handle it all without help. That help came from our incredibly generous friends and family members who offered to help us when we were going through this difficult time. I learned to accept their offers. It was the only way I could get anything done on my long list of things to do. I had travel arrangements to make, doctor appointments, and I had to care for my wife, daughter, pets, and our home. I had to learn to prioritize.
No matter how hard anything was for me when this was happening, nothing was as difficult as being away from my wife and daughter for two months. Immediately following her surgery in Boston, Heather flew to South Dakota to be with her parents. They had Lily for us, and she needed help and time to recover before she began her next round of mesothelioma treatment: chemotherapy and radiation. I had to work and knew that I couldn’t care for Heather and Lily and work at the same time. It was such a difficult decision to make, but I look back on it with relief because we were able to make that decision.
I saw Heather and Lily only once during those two months. I drove the 11 hours to her parent’s house in South Dakota on a Friday night after work. It was snowing. I was exhausted when I arrived. My time with them was short because I had to be home for work on Monday morning, but I learned a lot from this. I learned that we needed the help that was offered to us so that we could get through this. I learned to prioritize. I also learned that we were lucky to be in a position to make these difficult decisions.
I hope that my words can help even one other family going through the same thing. My wife has been healthy for more than six years now, we are both incredibly grateful for the second chance we’ve been given.
By admin on November 6, 2012
Did you know that only 300 people around the world are diagnosed with gliomatosis cerebri each year? Did you know that gliomatosis cerebri affects children and adults? Did you know that there is no cure? My father is one of those 300 people.
My dad was very healthy, and yet he still got this disease. Why did my dad, Daryn Clark get this disease? That is a question I don’t think we will ever be able to answer. We have nothing to blame and I honestly think that’s why this diagnosis is so difficult. It’s not like my father did anything wrong. He ate healthy and exercised, so why did he have to get brain cancer? I guess you can say that life isn’t fair. One thing I have learned about myself as a result of my family’s ordeal is that it is up to you to make a change and find the positive in something so negative. That is what dad did. When he first went to work for the Caddo Bossier Association for Retarded Citizens, he fell in in love with helping mentally disabled children and adults. He wanted to make a difference in their lives by providing them with the support needed to keep them out of institutions and nursing homes. My dad made a difference in the lives of those he helped and I want to do the same by working hard and doing what I can to find a cure for this deadly disease that has changed our lives forever.
My father is still being very quiet. What I would do to have a one-on-one talk with him about life. I really miss those days. He is such a little character these days. Even though he is very quiet, he will still do funny things like call random people at 1am or copy and paste mom’s messages onto Facebook. I hosted a fundraiser on September 24th at Texas Roadhouse in Bossier and there was a great turnout. Mom and dad loved it! My mom has become very protective of my dad, but at this event she felt comfortable, which is very important. Dad got to see all his friends and family who haven’t seen him in awhile. When we got home from the event I was sitting down with dad asking him if he enjoyed himself and he just looked at me and said “I am so proud of you.” This coming out of my dad’s mouth was the greatest feeling I have had in a long time because it meant so much to me. Words can’t even describe it.
The day my father had his seizure was just 5 days before our family vacation to Mexico. Our family is such a close, loving family who pretty much does everything together. We have taken a family vacation every year since I was 3. I never realized how truly blessed I am until now. My father was always the one to make all the travel arrangements and mom was the one who read books and planned what we did each day. He always wanted to be part of everything. Even if we wanted to plan a “girls trip,” he would say no and make it a family thing. My favorite vacation was when dad drove us all the way to California. I was only in the fourth grade, but I remember every detail. That was before we had cell phones, lap tops, DVD players, iPod, etc.. and I am so thankful for the time we were able to spend with each other on that trip. My dad stopped at every national park you can think of along the way such as Carlesbad Caverns, White Sand Desert, Hoover Dam, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon. We took a family picture at every stop. That vacation was such an amazing trip filled with great memories.
This disease is so cruel. I absolutely hate it. I just sit back and think that I am only nineteen and I have to go through this? Aren’t these supposed to be the best years of my life? My sister’s senior year is completely changed, too. My sister was on the homecoming court this year, but my dad wasn’t able to drive her around our football field due to his illness. It just kills me to come home and see my dad the way he is. I just want to go back in time and have the dad that guided me, grounded me, and who truly loved me with all his heart. I’m not saying that he doesn’t love me right now, but it’s just different.
It’s hard to think of how a disease can completely turn your life upside down. All I can say is that you are not promised every day and that you should never take life for granted. I honestly try to not think of the negatively, but it is hard. Like I said before, I am trying to turn this negative situation into something positive. My huge fundraiser at Louisiana State University for Elizabeth’s Hope took place on October 13th. I created an LSU What’s YOUR Fight t-shirt and to date have sold 500 of these. People wearing this shirt to the game entered the What’s YOUR Fight tailgate for free food. The turnout was great and $4700 was raised for Elizabeth’s Hope. I have raise a total of over $7,000 for brain cancer research so far. I will continue to do fundraisers. My goal is to make gliomatosis cerebri KNOWN and to help find a cure. I am determined to make a difference in people’s lives just like my dad has done for so many! I would like to say thanks to everyone who helped me with this and who supported my family and me.*Please feel free to comment and share
*Once again thank you to everyone who helped me with the fundraiser
Posted in Blog | Tagged brain biopsy, brain cancer, brain cancer blog, daryn clark, elizabeth's hope, fight cancer, gliomatosis cerebri, MD anderson, Rare Brain Cancer Blog, rare cancer, southern ingenuity, whats your fight | 7 Responses
By admin on September 6, 2012
My father has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer for over a month now and honestly it still is hard to swallow. I find myself thinking about the future and I have to stop myself because my future is way too scary to think about. I need to focus on my life and family’s life at this moment. I can only “somewhat” control the present. The hardest thing for me is the fact that my dad is one of my best friends and I didn’t realize how close we were until this happened to him. I didn’t realize the things I take for granted every day that my dad used to do for me. He is the father that gave all of us guidance. He is the one I always talk to about my classes and my major because we share that common interest. He is the dad that took time out to do the tooth fairy money and make it special by giving us foreign coins, half dollars, and silver dollars. He would also make it special by wrapping floss around them or making special shapes out of the money. The tooth fairy money was so special to me that I never spent it and instead I created a small coin collection.
These last couple of weeks my dad has been very quiet and only answering questions by nodding his head or saying “yep,” which is not like my dad at all. I always wonder what’s going on his brain. I always ask him, “Do you know what you want to say and you just can’t get it out?” He will reply by shaking his head yes. When he was in the hospital he had a seizure and couldn’t get any words out for about 15 minutes. I asked him how it felt when he was trying to talk. He explained it to me by saying it’s like getting punched in the stomach and getting the breath knocked out of you and you try so hard to talk but words never come out.
One of the things that make me happy is the fact that my dad is happy. I hardly ever see him not smiling. Even when he goes into radiation he has a smile going in and a smile going out. My family and I took family pictures and each of us kids got to take an individual picture with dad and dad kept tearing up in the pictures. I remember with tears in his eyes he just looked at mom and said, “I am just so happy.”
If we didn’t have such a great support system of friends and family I’m not sure how we could get through this. My family and I are so blessed to have a community like we do. Everyone has stepped up so much and we will forever be grateful. My dad owns a business and his employees had to step up to help keep it going. My dad’s longtime friend and right hand woman Ellen Shepherd has helped me so much. She is the one who is making the t-shirts free of charge and is helping me raise money for brain cancer research. This is just an example of how people have been helping us.
This cancer is an awful cancer. It is so rare and affects people differently than other cancers. This particular type of cancer is different from others because it affects a person’s thinking ability. For our situation I feel like this brain cancer affects my family more than it does my dad. I’m not saying it doesn’t affect my dad because it certainly does. But I can’t help but wonder if dad really knows what’s going on. It is just hard on my family, especially my mother, because we are seeing a loving father and husband slipping away from his normal self.
That is why I must spread the word about this cancer. I want this cancer – gliomatosis cerebri – and brain cancer in general to be well known. I want to do whatever I can to help find a cure. I want to be like Emmie Minter and her family from Elizabeth’s Hope and spread the word and make a change. The first FDA approved medicine in 10 years came out a couple of weeks ago for glioblastoma. Gliomatosis cerebri is a type of multi-form glioblastoma. My challenge for everyone reading this is to spread the word and don’t be scared to ask me any questions. I have raised $2,000.00 so far on selling t-shirts for brain cancer research. I plan on raising much more because the look on my dad’s face when I tell him every week how many t-shirts have been sold is the greatest feeling and seeing the tears in his eyes when I tell him how many responded to his website is what I live for.
* I would like to thank everyone who has bought a shirt and has helped me sell them. I could not do this without you. I would like to say a special thanks to my grandmother who has helped me organize them. Feel free to comment and spread the word!! What’s YOUR Fight?
Posted in Blog, Featured | Tagged brain biopsy, brain cancer, daryn clark, elizabeth's hope, fight cancer, gliomatosis cerebri, gliomatosis cerebri blog, MD anderson, southern ingenuity, whats your fight | 17 Responses
By admin on August 26, 2012
My family and I are selling t-shirts to raise money for brain cancer research. All proceeds are going to Elizabeth’s Hope. The t-shirts are only $12 (or $15 if you need to have them shipped). You can order the shirts from Delta Interiors in Homer or you can click on the order form below, download it and mail it to:
180 Quail Trail
Homer, LA 71040
If you have any questions feel free to contact me at 318-548-3942 or through my email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks and feel free to spread the word!
By admin on August 19, 2012
Hello What’s Your Fight fans, my name is Kathleen Clark and I am the daughter of Daryn Clark, the owner and creator of this website. My father created this website to help people with their fight to become physically fit and healthy. He is a very inspiring man who started his own successful business in 1991 called Southern Ingenuity. His business provides care for mentally and physically disabled people in order for them to stay in their own homes and not have to live in institutions or nursing homes. Dad is also a very fit and healthy man who has been doing martial arts for over 10 years and has a 5th degree black belt. He is also a certified MMA coach. As you can see my father is a man of many talents. Our family is extremely close and my mom and dad celebrated their 26th anniversary this year on May 17, 2012.
Up until now we have lived a very ordinary and happy life. Our family wasn’t perfect, but we were as close as you can get. Our lives were forever changed though on June 15, 2012. It was a Friday and my dad was attending an afternoon karate class. He had been at class for 10 minutes when he blacked out and had a seizure. He was rushed to the hospital which was luckily next door. The doctors did a CT scan that showed 2 bleeds on either side of the brain. They immediately sent him by ambulance to LSU Medical Center in Shreveport. My father was there for two long weeks. The doctors ran every test known to man trying to diagnose him including numerous CT scans, 4 MRI’s, a spinal tap, and an open brain biopsy. After all the testing and so forth, LSU still could not give us a definitive diagnosis, but they were leaning towards central nervous system lymphoma. Dad was finally sent home on June 29, 2012, the day before his 50th birthday, and was told to come back on July 12th. The doctors felt like the steroids that he had been placed on to combat the inflammation in his brain were compromising his test results.
In the meantime, we made an appointment at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas for July 5th. We met with a lymphoma doctor who scheduled an MRI on July 12th. LSU sent all my father’s medical records and tissue slides from the biopsy. We went back to Houston for the MRI on July 12th and met with a neurosurgeon on July 13th. The neurosurgeon informed us that their neuropathologist had looked at the biopsy from LSU and performed further testing, and it was NOT lymphoma. It looked to be gliomatosis cerebri. Dad had to have another brain biopsy on July 16th and the doctor confirmed our worst fears adding that the cancer was grade 4.
This is a very rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. Hearing this news has forever changed my father’s life and ours. My dad’s fight is for his life. My family’s fight is to support one another and be there for my dad. When you hear such devastating news you have a million things rushing through your head. You think about the future and how scary it looks and you become selfish. I wasn’t even thinking about what my father was thinking or what my mother was thinking. I was thinking about myself. It wasn’t until my mother and I got into an argument that I changed my view. I finally realized that this situation is bigger than me. I knew right then that I had to be my mother’s rock. My mother is going through so much that I grieve for her and think about her through all this. I knew that I had to do something. I knew that I had to make something so negative into something positive. I didn’t realize this until I read a card that my aunt had sent my dad mentioning his website What’s YOUR Fight and made a comment to dad about him having the mind and body of a fighter and that he needed to fight this cancer like the warrior he is.
I started brainstorming and came up with the idea of blogging on my dad’s website in the hope of helping others going through similar situations. I also hope that people will share their experiences to help me cope. Then I came up with the idea of creating a t-shirt in honor of my dad and his website to get the word out and to raise money for brain cancer research through the organization of Elizabeth’s Hope. My father was so happy about this idea of helping others. I am also part of a sorority at LSU (Louisiana State University) called Kappa Delta. My sisters want to plan an event to raise money for brain cancer, too! In our situation you can’t live life in fear of the future. You must live life day by day. You must stay positive in these situations. An example of this is my mother one day looked at me with tears in her eyes and she was so sad and down. I then looked her in the eyes and said to her, “Are we all still alive? Are we all still together?” She just looked at me and I told her “Then today is not a bad day. It may be an emotional day, but every day we get to spend together is a good day.”
* I will be blogging at least once a week. Feel free to comment underneath.