There needs to be a little of Randy Pausch in all of us

Valeria Maltoni could not have said it any better in this post titled There’s a Randy Pausch in Each Person. I echo her sentiments by saying if there is not already some Randy Pausch in each and every one of us, then there needs to be.

Read her post. It made my week. Along with the ensuing conversation between her and myself and David Armano, it has really made me glad that I know both of them to the limited degree that I do. Be sure to read David’s post in which he says that we really need to make every interaction count. My question to you, are you making every interaction count? I bet you are online, but what about offline?

Randy Pausch

I sit here with a heavy heart. I’ve written about Randy Pausch in the past because of my Pittsburgh roots and his lecture that inspired  me, that inspired us. His subsequent book and his appearances on national talk shows about his amazing attitude only made his story and his life that much more incredibly inspiring… and now I hear Jack Johnson singing about “where have all the good people gone”? I know where one of them has gone and it’s with a tremendous amount of sadness that I write this.

Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor whose final lecture inspired millions, has died of pancreatic cancer and that sucks. I know that it was inevitable, death is inevitable, but why does it have to happen to people that inspire us?

Dr. Pausch, had turned that “last lecture” into a book,  and often said that no one would be interested in his words of wisdom were he not a man in his 40s with a terminal illness.

Here for the last time for me, and for you is his lecture.

Last fall, Dr. Pausch delivered the lecture at Carnegie Mellon University. The lecture had attracted more than six million viewers. According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette  In the year preceding the lecture, he had gone through rounds of chemo and radiation and had documented it for all of us on his website., but he refused to give in to the fact that he was dying or feeling sorry for himself. On the contrary, he focused on the cancer, he blogged about it with constant updates. But also talked about how to fulfill childhood dreams and the lessons he learned on his life’s journey. he shared it all with us. Every bit of it. His life for us was now for all to see, as well as his death. If only all of us could have such an outlook on life, our lives, without the thought that death was near.

In May, Dr. Pausch spoke at the Carnegie Mellon University commencement. He said a friend and I quote the Post Gazette, had recently told him he was “beating the Grim Reaper” because it had now been nine months since his doctor told him he would die in six.

“But we don’t beat the Reaper by living longer. We beat the Reaper by living well,” said Dr. Pausch, who urged the graduates to find and pursue their passion. He put an exclamation point at the end of his remarks by kissing his wife, Jai, and carrying her off stage.

In New Orleans, where I was originally from, we celebrate someone’s life after they have passed with a jazz funeral. Yes, we mourn their passing initially in the jazz funeral, but then we finish with a resounding celebration of a person’s life. We can and should do that for Randy Pausch.

Randy Pausch revisited

I was sent this yesterday via email and yes I wrote about Dr. Pausch awhile back, but I thought that the more exposure, or the more people that will see this “lecture”, the better off humanity will be because of it. It will only consume about 12 minutes of your time, but really, what is 12 minutes of your life when listening to a man who has but a few months to live?

Here also is an update on Randy’s current health:
April 2, 2008: Getting back into the fight

For those of you familiar with boxing, I would describe the weeks since my heart & kidney failure to be a “standing eight count.” I got knocked down pretty good and needed time to gather myself. Now I’m back on my feet; still a little wobbly, but ready to engage in the fight again.Yesterday’s CT and MRI scans showed that I’ve added a new, 11th tumor (small), and that a few of my original 10 tumors have grown, but only negligibly so. My biggest tumor is about 2.5cm in diameter. Given that I’ve been off chemo for six weeks, this was jumping-up-and-down good news, for two reasons:

1) It means the cancer has not grown like craxy, a big fear since stopping chemo.

2) Since all my tumors are in my liver, that means certain liver-specific treatments are possible.

I’m typing this from a recovery room; I just had a biopsy taken of my tumor tissue; that will be sent to TGEN in arizona, where they will run some tests to see if they can identify which chemotherapy drugs might be most effective on my particular tumors.

My next step will probably be embolization with theraspheres; a liver specific treatment that has a very low rate of side effects, and won’t make me feel crappy like systemic chemo does.

The fight is rejoined; I’ve got much more energy now — I hope to be back on the bike in a week or so.

Randy Pausch- Profiles in courage

 I know, I’m usually all over the latest in tech. But todays post will be a bit different.

Awhile back I came across an article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette about a Carnegie Mellon University professor named Randy Pausch,  who has incurable pancreatic cancer. What struck me about the story was that he was very cognizant of his ordeal. He articulated and shared his ordeal with his students.

Dr. Pausch’s ordeal began a year ago, when he began to feel bloated and his bowel movements changed, he said in an e-mail interview. When doctors did a CT scan to see if he had gallstones, they spotted a tumor.

“I got the news from my GP,” he wrote, “who said ‘There’s a mass on your pancreas, and it’s not fair.’

“As I later told him, it’s unfortunate, and it’s unlucky, but it’s not unfair.  This atttitude struck me throughout the post gazette article as I read daily about people who cheat death, who don’t cheat death and of others who go through the pains of trying to deal with someone who hasn’t much time left.

The article located here

He is concentrating now on creating videos for his children. With his oldest son, 5-year-old Dylan, Dr. Pausch went on a recent trip to Disney World and to swim with dolphins, thinking Dylan may be the only child who will have strong direct memories of him.

His wife and children, he said, “mean everything to me. They give a purpose to life and a depth of joy that no job [and I’ve had some of the most awesome jobs in the world] can begin to provide.

“I hope my wife is able to remarry down the line. And I hope they will remember me as a man who loved them, and did everything he could for them.”

I have been following this story intently, hoping for good news everytime I read his blog posts and as of this writing, things are ok. they are not good, nor bad, but they are stable for the moment. I want him to know that even someone that does not know him, is thinking of him. As I am sure others feel the same way, I will speak for you as well.  I pray for things all the time and sometimes I get angry when people only pray to their god, only when they need something; but here is a chance to thank our god and ask our god that this remarkable person be given a little bit longer. For that I will not be angry, merely appreciative and hopeful that their could be power and energy in collective prayer.