Posted by: JohnnyRook | February 5, 2009

My doctor doesn’t think I’m going to die today–Updated

A couple of days ago at Daily Kos, a thoughtful, commeter, WarrenS asked a question in a comment on one of my diaries.

JohnnyRook,

How do you hold out hope when the news is this awful? Can you? I dread the time when I have to explain to my daughter just how badly the grownups screwed this up.

I didn’t answer the question at that time because I didn’t have the strength. Now, I’ve decided to try and answer it by reposting an updated version of a diary that I wrote in November of 2007.

My diaries, as those of you who are regular readers know, often contain depressing information about how temperatures and sea levels are rising, how sea ice and glaciers are melting and shrinking, how deserts are growing and heat waves becoming longer and hotter meaning that agriculture is becoming less and less possible in many places, how extreme weather is becoming more common and more intense, how oceans are becoming acidified, how species are going extinct, ecosystems are being rendered uninhabitable for the creatures that live in them, and how famine and diseases are spreading.

When I write about solutions I often focus on how people and governments are mostly oblivious to what is happening and to how little time we have left to act boldly and forcefully to effect the radical change that the scientists tell us is necessary. I agree absolutely with what what Steven Chu, the new Secretary of Energy told the LA Times in an interview a couple of days ago.

I don’t think the American public has gripped in its gut what could happen.

I understand that such news can depress. At times it depresses me but, more than anything else, it has filled my life with meaning. I have a mission. Before I die, I want to have some sense that this beautiful planet that has provided the context for my life, will have some chance of enduring. I want to die with hope, believing that my teenage son and his children and your children and their children will live in a world that is reasonably hospitable to human beings.

I don’t know how that can happen if people will not face the reality of what is taking place in the world. So, I continue to sound the alarm, even though I know that most of what I write is discounted as alarmist or simply ignored as too uncomfortable to deal with.

What follows is a post that I published on Daily Kos on November 12, 2007. It was an early attempt to explain my motivation in writing about Climaticide. At the end of the original post you’ll find a NOTE with an Update

My doctor doesn’t think I’m going to die today [published November 12, 2007

A day or two ago he wasn’t so sure.

Just about a year ago I was diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL), a very aggressive but relatively uncommon form of cancer (it affects only a few thousand people a year). This last year has been hard: months of chemotherapy followed by a very harsh, experimental form of radiation treatment and finally an autologous [using one's own cells that are harvested and then reintroduced] stem-cell transplant [PDF]. I’ve survived so far because I’ve had many great doctors and nurses and the support of my wife (herself a nurse practitioner), the wisest, smartest and kindest human being I have ever known. Even so, the average life expectancy for someone with my disease is only six years although that is up from three years a decade ago.

I’m in the hospital now because I have an acute intestinal infection. [See NOTE at end] One of the consequences of my stem-cell transplant is that, for at least a year, things that won’t even make you sick can kill me. A year from my transplant date I will get all my childhood immunizations again as all my acquired immunity was wiped out when my immune system was “reborn”.

So, you may be wondering, is this a diary about health care? No, this is a diary about global warming.

Before I came down with MCL I’d never been in a hospital except to visit ill family members and friends. I spent hours in the gym working out, went on long hikes in the mountains and desert, bicycled and kayaked and ate a mostly organic, vegetarian diet. To say that I was surprised to discover that I had cancer would be the grossest of understatements.

My initial response to learning that my life was likely to be shorter than I had expected was, not surprisingly, rather selfish. I thought about the time that I would lose with my family and friends, of the traveling that I would not get to do, of the books that I would not get to read.

But something else happened too: the world became more poignant to me. I’d always thought of myself as a caring, empathetic, compassionate person, but now I found suffering, cruelty, and abuse to be intolerable regardless of the form it took. Debeaked hens crammed into tiny cages and stacked in factory-farm warehouses, infants shaken to death by their parents because they wouldn’t stop crying, genocide in Darfur, my countrymen in Appalachia and on the Gulf Coast treated as if they lived in a Third World Country, Iraqis bombed by us and by Al Qaeda… It was all too much. I was feeling the world’s pain.

And I realized, pardon my presumption here, that I didn’t want to die with the world in such terrible shape, which, finally, brings me to global warming. Of all the insanities that bedevil human beings on this planet none is greater than global warming. Only all out nuclear war poses as grave a danger to the planet and human civilization. Ironically, the former, if we fail to check it, may lead to the latter–a two-for-one sale at the Armageddon store, if you like.

I’m not confident that we are going to survive this. I’m positive that we won’t survive unscathed because the harm has already begun and we still haven’t done anything to reduce CO2 emissions. And here’s the question that keeps haunting me: If we won’t stop genocide in Darfur or provide universal health coverage in the United States, two horrible but much simpler cruelties, why should any one think that we will deal adequately with global warming? We are already way behind and likely to fall farther behind because we have waited so long to begin and because the necessary sense of urgency is still not there. Witness the hearings in DC on S 2191, Joe Lieberman and John Warner’s trillion dollar giveaway to the nation’s biggest polluters. This is not a measure to stop global warming, it is simply “green” pork barrel politics. Business as usual in drag.

The changes required of us are enormous. A little biofuel and a few CFLs aren’t going to do it. We can no longer live as we have and we have only been able to live as we have because we have borrowed so much from the future. We are way over the limit on our Gaia Visa card and the penalties and fees are going to be enormous. We can’t declare bankruptcy either, because in this case bankruptcy equals death.

I love the earth. I have delighted in it for 53 years and I hope to live here for a while longer. My doctor has told me that I’m not going to die today and I’m glad. But if I have to die anytime soon it will be a lot easier if I can go knowing that we have truly accepted reality and are making the radical changes in how we live that are required. If we take the necessary measures to stop global warming and to live sustainably the world that our children and grandchildren will live in will be unrecognizably different from our own. And if we don’t take those necessary measures the world that our children and grandchildren will live in will also be unrecognizably different from our own.

NOTE: [Actually, as it turned out, things were much worse than that--after weeks in the hospital, my doctors finally discovered that I had acute myeloid leukemia (AML) an extremely aggressive form of leukemia that people often get as a result of the chemotherapy and radiation that they received as treatment for an earlier form of cancer, in my case, lymphoma. The doctors hadn't been able to figure out what was wrong with me because treatment related AML, if it shows up up at all, normally appears about 5 years after transplant; in my case it only took 5 months. Since the AML diagnosis, I have had a second transplant, this time an allogeneic one (using a donor's cell's) PDF), which failed, and experimental chemotherapy treatment that also failed. I am currently on palliative care (care which is designed to keep the leukemia at bay for as long as possible, but which offers no possibility of remission.) Obviously, this is not the outcome we had hoped for, and there are times when I am frightened, but most of all I feel even more urgently the need to write and get the word out about Climaticide. You see, I am running out of time, but so are all of you. It will be such a shame if you do not act, because you still have a chance. Please do not let it slip away, for all your sakes and for mine--JR.]

Crossposted at Daily Kos

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Responses

  1. Good man Johnny Rook – please know that you have made a huge impact on the world. Huge.
    You have reached so many people with your message, but more important you have shared your spirit and intellect.

    I like to think that we all have been alive at the perfect time…to experience so much and to leave an impact on the world.

    Thank you for being here, thank you for all that do and all that you have done. And know that there are special ways that you will continue on in so many people that you reached. You are a hero.

  2. You break my heart. I didn’t know what to say a few days ago when I read your post on DailyKOS. I read most of your posts as I find them through the DKos Environmentalists group and you have always amazed, informed, and inspired me.

    Now, knowing about your battle with cancer, I still don’t know what to say. My heart goes out to you and your family. You and several others have been part of turning toward doing what I can to turn the insanity of our way of living around. Awakening more people to the reality of what we are doing, climaticide as you have brilliantly named it, and those people changing our individual behavior, our institutions, and our systems is our only hope. You have and are continuing to do what you can.

    I will keep asking myself the question, what can I do, and then motivate myself to try to do it. I will always keep your example in mind and it will help keep me on the path to doing what I can do in the daunting face of one of the greatest challenges our species has faced in our short time on this amazing living planet.

    • Thank you so much for your kind and inspiring words. I am grateful that I have been able to play some small role in increasing your awareness of this tremendous problem and honored that what I have written has inspired you to live and act differently. Never lose hope, inform others (skip the denialists–they’ll only drain your energy), keep up the good fight and we will win.

      Peace,

      JR

  3. Johnny, you are not alone in your battle to save our beautiful world! There is an army fighting alongside you, and the army is growing bigger every day. I admire your strength and fortitude and take inspiration from your courage. I still have hope, but if we do go down, we will go down fighting!

    • Thank you, Linda. I do think the the battle will be hard fought, but we will ultimately triumph. Unfortunately the longer it takes us to win, the greater will be the sacrifices we will have made and the more we will have irretrievably lost..

  4. JR,
    You are a wonderful person doing extraordinary things which are having a positive impact on so many. Hang in there Pal; you have so very much to be proud of and have the love, respect and support of many friends and family! I’m not sure if ultimately we can ask for much more.

    • Thanks Keith, It’s nice to see you here and read your kind words. they will help me keep me going. JR

  5. Dear Steve–
    I have read and reread your site, searching my soul for what I can say to you to give you with some peace. You truly are a man for whom one can say, “to know you is to love you.” You are the most selfless and self sacrificing man that I know. I think that near the end of our lives, or honestly, at any time in our lives, what we really want to know is that we have made a difference, that future generations will be impacted by our work. You have made such a difference. From your wonderful family and friends, to the hospital staff (always the favorite patient), to your blog followers, to me, who self protectively never intended to get to know you (my job was to take care of Becci, right?) I don’t know if it is seeing your soul through your eyes, your so very genuine nature, your eloquence and humor, your passion–whatever, you are completely lovable and inspirational, continuing to be that way each day.
    The time I have been able to spend with you is treasured. How many people cry when a house guest leaves after an extended period of time? The reason the I’m writing this in your blog rather than in a card, is that I want all of your comrades in this very crucial battle against global warming to know the quality of the man that you are. You have blessed us all. While I know how sick you are, I will not stop praying for a miracle. And as always, you ARE the best looking cancer patient ever! Love and hugs Steve, Patty (your devoted friend and #2 cook, right after Becci)

  6. Steve-

    I wanted to leave you a little comment as I feel that I did not express myself as well as I could have in person. I do a bit better in a premeditated format. I hope you are currently well enough to read this.

    When I told you that your blog has had a great impact on me, it was a fairly significant understatement. And I do not only relate this to aspects of the environment, although that is definitely included. With all the pain you are going through, your ability to continue promoting this knowledge absolute amazes me. It has made me realize that I cannot sit back and just hold views on the world. I must take action. It is my job as an intelligent human being to promote the positive redirection of society. I largely have come to these conclusions as a result of your activism. I want you to know that you have left a serious, lasting impression.

    We all love you very much, Steve. You are a great man, and I cannot overstate how much of an inspiration you are.

    Thank You.

    -Andrew

    • Andrew. thank you for wonderful comment which is both a source of solace and a fountain of inspiration. Ever since I first me you i was impressed by your eloquence, thoughtfulness and many talents. I am certain tha you will do well in the world.

      It is these words that really hit me though:

      When I told you that your blog has had a great impact on me, it was a fairly significant understatement. And I do not only relate this to aspects of the environment, although that is definitely included. With all the pain you are going through, your ability to continue promoting this knowledge absolute amazes me. It has made me realize that I cannot sit back and just hold views on the world. I must take action. It is my job as an intelligent human being to promote the positive redirection of society. I largely have come to these conclusions as a result of your activism. I want you to know that you have left a serious, lasting impression. I must take action. It is my job as an intelligent human being to promote the positive redirection of society. I largely have come to these conclusions as a result of your activism. I want you to know that you have left a serious, lasting impression.

      Bravo Andrew! You have reacted just as I had hoped you (and many others) would

      Stay in touch. In the meantime check these websites, if you haven’t already:

      Capitol Climate Action

      350.org

  7. JR-

    It seems so easy to get caught up in the day to day details of life and only during times of extreme stress or sadness do we take time to stop and ask am I really making a difference? Sure our spouse might say my life would never have been as rich if you weren’t a part of it. Or a friend might say you helped me through the hardest time of my life. But sometimes that doesn’t feel tangible enough or well publicized like holding a government office or writing a book. As an ordinary plain jane who has read your articles and blogs, and spent time with you to learn of your life’s experiences, you have made a difference in my life. Here’s how: (1) I am more committed to recycling (2) I pay attention to the energy star (3) I am reading the book you recommended Hell and High Water (4) I share with friends what I’ve learned from you and from your recommended reading (5) You’ve reminded me to enrich my life with people from different backgrounds and interests (6) I’ve been reading more and turning off the tv (7) I plan to encourage my son to speak another language in order to truly comprehend another culture (8) I listen to music as if it were a language (9) I donate money to cancer causes (10) I remember that life is more important than work. I am grateful for the times that we’ve had. And it is my hope these actions will continue to speak volumes about the impact you have had and will have on my life.

    Love your friend,
    Laura

    • Dear Laura, your comment is such a lovey gift, a consolation and inspiration all rolled into one for me and for others readers of this blog. I could not feel more honored.

      Thank you friend!

      Love, Steve

  8. Querido Steve,

    I have never written on a blog before, but like Patty I want the world to know the kind of man you are, who has given so much of himself–under unbelievable circumstances. Circumstances that would make the bravest among us waver. Your intelligence and humor shine, and have even during the darkest days. You are such a GOOD man.

    Many of us pay lip service to things we believe in but don’t actually put forth the effort to try and create change. Especially when the task is as daunting as this one is. You are who Margaret Mead was talking about when she said that we shouldn’t doubt that thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. And that, “indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

    Know you have made a difference to those of us lucky to know you in person, to those who read you, and to those affected by you and your work like the proverbial waves made by a stone in the water.

    You have taught and given me much. I am different and better for knowing you. I will thank you all the days of my life.

    Love and abrazos,
    Lynn

    • Thanks Lynn, but what I have been telling Becci for a while applies to you and Patty and Ann Bailey and some other people as well. You have made me rich. In the Middle Ages Royalty would subsidize the novelist/the essayist, the poet and the painter. You wonderful women,have been like queens,giving me that most precious commodity: time. Because you guys have supported me, during whatever good time I have had, I have been have been able to study and write instead of using my time taking care of day-to-day chores. Thank you for all that time. I am delighted to know that you do not think that I have frittered it away.

      Love,

      Steve

  9. Dear Steve,
    Your loving friends have told me so much about you and of their respect and love for you. I see here, on this site, that you have another audience who also cherishes you and your work. To have good work, to be able to contribute so much by doing such good work, to be loved and respected for sharing your talents with the rest of us is a great achievement (you and Obama!). The world always needs folks like you guys and we feel blessed when you appear amongst us. I hope this truth comforts you: that you are so important to us. I look forward to reading your writing and learning from you. I wish you contentment and peace in these days to come.
    Elin

  10. [...] weeks ago, Johnny put out My doctor doesn’t think I’m going to die today–Updated (see comments here). From that discussion Before I came down with [my illness] I’d never been [...]

  11. Steve, I sent you an e-mail but I want to also thank you here for your inspiration, your bravery and your kindness. Thank you for sharing your ideas, your vision, your story and your time. You are such a generous soul in so many ways. I don’t know too many people that would have asked so diligently about others, about a stranger no less, when dealing with their own health crisis. And know even fewer that would have shown such dedication to making the world a better place. You probably don’t know this, but you reminded me at a time when I really needed it to make the most of my life and to continue to be a voice for change even when all I wanted to do was hide away in my bed. Your grace and gentle spirit loom large and always will.

  12. This is my first post on your site (as I just recently discovered it), but I just felt compelled to tell you that I think it’s a great thing you’ve done, helping spread the truth about climate change. You have sacrificed your time (which is infinitely more precious than mine) in order to save the planet, and you have inspired me to take a much more active role myself. You are one of the best among us.

    Sincerely,
    Luke B.

    • Thank you for your kind words and your doing more. I am glad that in some small that my writings contributed to this. Together we will win this battle.

      Peace.

      JR

  13. Dear JohnnyRook (or Steve something),

    Thanks for opening my eyes so much wider. Thanks for your enormous efforts to get all of us to open our eyes and see the impact we’ve had on the biosphere. Thanks for giving us the facts and ammunition we need to counter the willfully blind, often profit-driven nay-sayers who hem and haw and do their best to stop or delay the difficult steps we must take to save ourselves (and them along with us — such irony!).

    I hope you will rally again and stay with us longer. Obviously I am one of many of the faceless, pseudonymous people who wish you well and who selfishly grieve at the thought of your voice silenced. My sincere best wishes to you for renewed strength, my sincere best wishes to your family and “in person” friends for comfort and solace in the days ahead.

    mofembot
    (aka Lynn A. in Quinson, France)

  14. Dearest Steve,
    It’s so hard to think of the right things to tell you, as there is so much to say. I definitley want you to know that you have been an amazing friend to Bill. The hundreds of hours of discussions about many, many topics (including saving our planet) has contributed so much to Bill’s personal and professional growth. He has enjoyed those conversations more than you can imagine, and your adventures together will always be remembered with joy. How many people ever find a friend who can connect on the level that you and Bill have connected? You two are of the same mold, and you will be forever a part of him.
    And now you’ve sent my son on a path of meaning that he had been stumbling to find. He has a new confidence and sense of purpose that I’ve never seen in him before. Your mentoring has changed his life, and your work will continue through him (and many others) long after you have written your last blog. We will not give up, and we’ll all work to make the change you have hoped to see.
    As for me, just watching your love for life and music and nature and knowledge…this has been a gift and an inspiration since I first met you. You have always made me smile just by watching your enthusiasm. And you’ve helped me to better understand my husband, which has been a challenge at times, as you and Bill are unique and amazing men. My more limited intellect has never been able to fully engage in your ideas and ways of thinking, but it has been a delight to watch the two of you interact, and wonderful to have Becci who understands my more basic concerns. What an interesting foursome we have made!!
    Please think about us in the summer of 2010, as we’ll be thinking of you as we hike rim to rim at the Grand Canyon to mark my 50th birthday. I’ve enjoyed the stories of your adventure there will Bill, and have decided it will be a wonderful way to mark my big milestone. I hope you’ll be there with us, whispering encouragement in my ear (I definitely will need your help!). Perhaps Becci and Aleks will come with us. And perhaps through this adventure, Bill will feel your presence again.
    Now I must prepare to pick up a young man from Gig Harbor so he can begin his journey to DC. I cannot wait to watch Aleks and Andrew grow and learn more about creating positive change in the world. What a gift you have given to us all! Thank you. We love you.
    Lisa

  15. Dear Johnny Rook,

    I was touched, but not surprised, that you read and responded to and rec’d comments in Adam Siegel’s diary at dkos. I am writing here because I think it more likely that you may read here again before dkos. I want to say thank you for what you share. I am honored to share it tonight with a friend – someone I have known since childhood, in fact the first boy I kissed – who called tonight to tell me that he has bladder cancer. I send him your inspirational words to bolster the strength and love I hear in his voice. Thank you for writing them and sharing the goodness in your soul and boundless compassion. Thank you for caring so deeply about this world we live in. I hope you and my dear friend continue to find strength and health and love in this life.

    Sharon

  16. This post brought tears to my eyes.

    Many thanks for the many battles you’ve fought.

    I have suffered through a long illness — characterized by 14 years of daily migraines — that took me to the brink many times. Living with such overwhelming pain made me think a great deal about the world I want to live in. And it’s not the world that we’ve been given.

    I started One Blue Marble to join the fight to slow climate change, and to promote social justice. I’ll do what I can to add my voice to yours.

    Together, we are mighty.

  17. Dear Steve,

    I only came across your blog today, referred by J. Romm.

    I am so glad to have read your beautiful posting and I will be combing through those of the past whenever I have time.

    My daughter was diagnosed with a lymphoma 3 years ago and after chemo at Sloan kettering she is still in remission. Enduring that process with her makes everything you said about seeing the world a in new way resonates with me. But you have much more courage and equanimity that I have had and I want you to know that I am truly going to try to emulate your example in the future.

    I fear the effects of climate change and had I realized how hideous the consequences will be honestly, I would never have had my 3 children. Now I am consumed with fear for how they will suffer.

    Your approach has really inspired me to act with conviction rather than wait and watch in fear.

    I am very grateful to you.

    Gail Z in Oldwick, NJ

    • I am glad I have been able to alter your thining and actions in some fashion

      I hope your daughter is cured and that then we can move on to the vital job of identifying, regulating and exterminating those environmental toxins, which threaten so many of, yet whose existence most of us are unaware of.

      I wish you you the very best.

  18. Sending You Love From Southern California Johnny Rook,

    I struggle daily with finding the hope and optimism for our climate future. But your struggle puts mine in true perspective.

    Thanks for the lesson. I need it. I bet plenty of us do. You don’t deserve to be the guy offering the wisdom for us, but you are and I appreciate it more than you’ll ever know.

    I know I am not doing enough to make people aware and move them to action. I blog, I volunteer and do community outreach, I talk to everyone everywhere I go to the point of annoyance. “Stop bumming me out!” is what I hear on a regular basis.

    But being reminded about how lucky I really am gives me renewed optimism. As my fellow climate change blogger, Richard Pauli, reminds me, these are the free and fun times before the mitigation mandates and all out war to reduce emissions overwhelms us all.

    These may be the best of times when we look back in 20 years and as doomed as we feel now we have got to keep living life with all the gusto we’ve go.

    I hike, I bike, I kayak – but I take my ability to do so whenever I want to for granted. Thank you for reminding me what a tremendous gift and privilege I enjoy. Thank you for making me stop today to recognize how blessed I am and not to waste a moment more.

    I’m going to keep you in my thoughts and in my heart, Steve. And when I’m feeling frustrated, or angry or sorry for myself, I’m going to remember what you’re going through and how lucky I am to be able to fight at full strength and to be able to assume I’ll be even stronger tomorrow.

    You are not alone, man, and the torch you’ve been running with will be lit and carried ahead by the legions of us who are your brothers and sisters on-line.

    Peace,
    Joe Galliani

  19. Dear JohnnyRook/Steve,
    I only discovered your so aptly named climaticide chronicles a short while ago and have been amazed by your writing, both the facts and your great ways with words to convey them. When I read about your fight against cancer, my admiration for your work increased even more. There you are, fighting for your own life and still having the will and determination to selflessly keep on speaking out for all of us and our future via your blog. I just wish that more folks would appreciate your efforts!

    Thanks from Germany
    Baerbel

  20. About a decade ago I lost a very great friend to AML. Like you he refused to let it defeat him. He stayed ‘Steve’ (yes, his name, too) until the very final hours. I was there continuously through his last 2 years, and I witnessed the grace of his passing.

    Reading through this site, hearing your words in my head, reminds me of just how strong we can be – with an honorable purpose, a dedicated mind and an honest heart one man can change millions.

    AML may hasten your last breath, but it can never erase your impact on this world. Know this: folks you’ll never meet will know you. They will learn from you things they need to know. They will pass your words to others and then they will know you as well.

    You will not be gone. And with your help, neither will we.

    Thank you.

    • Jon,
      Thank you so much. I was so inspired by your friend and his perspective so akin to my own.

  21. Johnny — I just posted a comment with Joe Romm thanking him for introducing me to such a beautiful and courageous person in our own corner of the country. I left a law firm partnership a little over a year ago to work for Climate Solutions, a Northwest regional non-profit organization that focuses on promoting practical and profitable solutions to global warming. When folks ask me how I like the change, I respond that I love almost everything about it, except for the constant exposure to depressing information about how much faster things are deteriorating than any model predicted and how widespread the impacts already are. We are forced to pivot each day from the increasingly bleak reality to the positive frame that is needed to convince people to implement solutions at scale and to seize the economic opportunities that come with freeing ourselves from our addiction to fossil fuels. As Frances Moore Lappe put it, “Hope is a stance, not an assessment.” You beautifully express our need to both confront coldly assess reality with and to work tirelessly for positive solutions. That you do this in the context of failing health and a looming medical clock is truly inspiring. Thanks for your work — a tip of the hat from Seattle to Port Townsend.

  22. JR, found you through climateprogress.

    A lucid catalouging of one’s own demise seems a frightful thing. I admire your seeming fearlessness and acceptance of fate.

    Your efforts will not be in vain, as others take up the fight.

    Your poignant words add resolve to my own determination to fight this cause through my own company, and personally, through my blog and company.

    Good luck, and peace.

    Tim Marsh
    Heresy Snowboarding.

  23. Sending you love, respect, and a thousand thanks from Australia, land of the 1000 year drought, floods and fire.

  24. For Steve (Johnny Rook) and all whose lives he has touched:

    I am deeply moved by all of the messages of love and support appearing here and on Kos and other blogs. I understand how great an impact Steve has had on so many people, most of whom have never had the opportunity to meet him in person. I realize the tremendous good fortune I have had to be his friend for over ten years. We met in 1998 when we were both working for Boeing as contractors on a satellite launch project. We soon discovered we had many common interests, including hiking, environmentalism, good music, good beer, and most of all a love of ideas. Over many years, beers, songs, hikes, and long conversations, Steve has given me much more than I can ever express, let alone repay.

    Throughout his illness we often spoke on the phone, usually about the latest research or progress related to the climate crisis and climaticide. I often sat in his hospital room, amazed by his determination and selflessness in the face of his illness. Despite pain and fatigue, Steve’s concern was always more for the health of the planet than for himself. If we all had this perspective the world would be a far better place.

    Today, Steve’s son is in Washington DC along with my step-son, participating in Power Shift 2009 and Capitol Climate Action. I know that Steve’s efforts have been instrumental in helping them to understand the great challenge we all face in averting climaticide. We are both extremely proud of our sons’ efforts in responding to this challenge.

    Steve, thanks for being my friend and for everything you have given me and given the world. You have done much more than your part to make it a better place. It is up to us to follow the example you have set and continue to struggle for what is true and good and necessary.

    Love always,

    Bill

  25. Steve,
    The comments and support you are receiving are so moving. I appreciate so much your energy and your efforts at this critical time devoted to your cause. Keep it up buddy for as long as you can. I love you.
    Keith

  26. There is great honour and honesty and nobility in what you are doing – being the change, carrying the torch, lighting the way.

  27. Steve,

    The story (and the courage) in your post is heartbreaking, but please know that however long you have, you have already left the rest of us with inspiration we’ll carry with us as we try to add to your work and a gift to our children for which we’ll always be grateful. I’m about your age, and I’ll continue to work to build such a legacy.

    Thanks for the gift, and please try to enjoy the time you have left knowing the inspiration you’ve provided has found a lot of homes.

    – John

  28. Johnny,

    You have made such an impact on me – both educationally and emotionally – in the short time I’ve been reading your posts on DKos. I’m so happy to see you commenting here and am continuing to pray for you. I pray that you will continue to surprise your doctors and that at the same time we will continue to surprise ourselves and begin to make true progress on climate issues. You have truly led the way here for all of us to follow.

    Peace and love to you and your family,

    Cathy

  29. [...] a month ago I missed Johnny’s post “My doctor doesn’t think I’m going to die today“. If you have not read it, you [...]

  30. the planet is losing its most passionate voice….animal and humankind their greatest friend.

    Johnny Rook readers and fans should feel so very priviledged to have been students in his final classroom.

    peggy sue

  31. [...] form av leukemi. Han fortsätter, trots att det är en kamp, att skriva om klimatfrågan, men den 5 februari postade han en uppdaterad version av ett tidigare inlägg på sajten Daily Kos, där han berättar [...]

  32. [...] like leukemia. Here is a man who really, really, cares about the world and saving it. In a post, My Doctor Doesn’t think I’m going to die today, he says: But something else happened too: the world became more poignant to me. I’d always [...]

  33. ‘Thank you’ just seems too inadequate to say to you Johnny/Steve. How can we impress upon you what your writings have meant? You have made a difference, together we will all make a difference, and together we will change things. Take hope in that, Steve….we will(!) change things for our children. You are, and you will be, part of that.

    With peace, respect and love to you and your family.

    Dan

  34. [...] –Johnny Rook, February 5th, 2009 [...]

  35. I’m terribly sorry to hear of your cancer, but in your life you have inspired more people to take immidiate action on climate change than almost anyone. I share the same sense of urgency to reverse the deadly effects of CC for my 3 year old son who will inherit the world we have made for him. Every word you have stated about the outcome of climate change has not been overestimated at all and now een the IPCC are really beginning to get scared. Johnny, you can pass on whenever you wish in the knowledge that there are 1000s of like minded people out there that will carry the torch for you and change the darkness of ignorance into the light of awareness, hop and promise..this is my vow and I know a great many other people. Thank you so very much!

  36. I’m writing in the name of the many interpreters who worked with Steve over the years and who are saddened to have lost him. He was unique as an interpreter in that he held court certification in both Spanish and Russian, a talent few people can claim. He was also a friend. We have made a contribution to 350.org in recognition of his passing. His friends and colleages: Susana Stettri Sawrey, Claudia A’Zar, Martha Cohen, Kenneth Barger, Keo Capestany, Griselda Ruiz, Gabriela de Castro, Diana Meredith, and Glenna White.

  37. [...] His most recent post, no doubt a great struggle to write, has some breaking news: “Alert: Wilkins Ice Shelf Collapses According to Spanish Scientists.” As you can see he hasn’t been able to post much recently for reasons he explains in his February 5 post “My doctor doesn’t think I’m going to die today–Updated.” [...]


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