From Its Founding America Has All Been About Greed, Exploitation, At The Expense of Others

The Gospel of “American Empire”



Lady Liberty shamed.


When you see the American love affair with guns, 2nd Amendment rights, religious liberty, the sense of imperialism when it comes to spreading the “Gospel of American Empire” and “America, the land of opportunity,” Americans generally forget that “getting ahead” is usually at the expense of another person, another rival company, another country.  American prosperity doctrine and the dogma of “free enterprise” is always “profit at the expense of someone else.”  You see it in the two presidential candidates of the two main parties, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Without regard to political party, and in spite of all their talk about being for the “little guy.”

American prosperity is rooted in greed and exploitation of others


Massachusetts Bay Colony

quote-but-black-folks-have-never-really-been-optimists-we-ve-been-prisoners-of-hope-and-hope-cornel-west-122-85-02American prosperity has been firmly rooted in the “exploitation of others” and that includes the expropriation of land, natural resources, and using the means of force and violence as a means of what you cannot accomplish through diplomacy and negotiation where all parties can mutually benefit in the exchange. Trump himself has said that to negotiate without coming out on top is to be a loser.  That sentiment was not created in a vacuum. It is rooted in the American national psyche and the evidence of history is proof of this American arrogant mindset.

America treats even nations, the same way they treat citizens

amempirebbgakwdIt is this mindset that even American allies have difficulty with. There is no appreciation for humility and cooperation and negotiation that will benefit all.  US foreign and domestic policy reflect the American model of “free enterprise,” whose ideal and motto is, “whoever has the most at the end of the day is the winner.” This is what is what is wrong with America.

America’s problem is rooted in its founding and identity

puritansAmerica’s founding as an English colony is steeped with that kind of rogue imperialistic thinking.  You find it in the Puritans who came to New England and set up the Massachusetts Bay colony.  The governor John Winthrop, created the excuse to expropriate and exploit Indian land by declaring the area legally a “vacuum.”  He said the Indians had not “subdued” the land and had therefore had only a “natural” right to the land, but no “civil right” and therefore according to him, Indians did not have “legal standing.”

The unfortunate appeal to the Bible to justify exploitation, violence, death and land expropriation
psalm_2_8-white-800x800The Puritans regrettably appealed to the Bible, and many American Christians, and many of whom I know personally, love to quote a particular verse from the Old Testament that embodies and emboldens people of Christian faith, to exploit others, when they quote Psalm 2:8 and 9:

8 Ask me,
    and I will make the nations your inheritance,
    the ends of the earth your possession.
You will break them with a rod of iron[a];
    you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” [Psalm 2:8-9]

romans-13-government-and-citizenship-9-638These same Puritans justified their use of force and violence and death in the taking of Indian land by citing Romans 13:2, which states:

Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. [Romans 13:2]

The imperialism of the Puritans

plymouth_colony_map-svgThe Puritans lived in uneasy truce with the Pequot Indians, who occupied what is now southern Connecticut and Rhode Island. But they wanted them out of the way. They wanted their land. They wanted to establish their rule over the land and the settlers firmly.

The American “Empire” carries on much like it did in Puritan New England

americanizationThe history of America is replete with this same ongoing phenomena of expansion and growth through exploitation, through divide and conquer all in the name of free enterprise and being the dominant power not only on the continent, but the world and its resources, and even the subjugating of their own citizens by the powerful elites using all levers of power to get what they want.

The current American Election just continues this quest of power and control

greedyfoolsAmerica was founded like this. America is like this today.  And you wonder why the “little people” are all angry, and why the electorate are wanting to see change from the top to the bottom in this election cycle? You need not wonder. It is all rooted in the national psyche and the American model of fulfilling the “American dream.”

The mutual exploitation of others in the name of “getting ahead”

americandreamThe American dream is always at the expense of another person, another family, another business, another city, another state, another county. To actually negotiate mutually beneficial agreements and business deals is perceived as a sign of weakness. This is how twisted and perverse the American dream has not only become, but has always been from the very founding of the nation as an English colony.

The protest of Black Lives Matter & Colin Kaepernick express those who are without equity and social justice 

peopleshistoryzinnJust read again the early history of the United States. Go ahead. It’s your history. You own it. It’s your legacy. You cannot escape it. And, it’s your own shame. Don’t damn the “Black Lives Matter” movement, or decry Colin Kaepernick for his stand (or kneeling) for the anthem. He knows how bad the “American dream” is and that others are always left out and exploited, neglected, abused, murdered, while the elite just watch and hope it just goes away.

This nightmare situation is just not going away

american-dreamThis is not going away. It is the national identity and it is a terrible thing to behold. It is the “ugly American dream” that has become a nightmare. The American dream is based on greed and exploitation, and now you are having those who are without any portion of it, refusing to take it  lying down and are angry and what their own share.


~ Samuel M. Buick


Howard Zinn – A People’s History of the United States

Howard Zinn Wikipedia

The Massachusetts Bay Colony

John Winthrop

The Pequot War


Posted in History, Personal, Politics, Society | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Only Believe: You Have The Ability and The Freedom to Change Your Life and Your World


The vibrancy of a culture embracing hope and a bright future

samthumbsup-copyMy teen years were shaped in large part by my discovery of and devouring of literature, from English language classics, to works of philosophy, theology, history, psychology and science.  My first language was French with a mixture of German. Spending the majority of the first decade of my life in eastern France in Alsace Lorraine, exposed me to both the French and German culture. It was my everyday world.

stdie1-768x1024This region of France which had changed hands multiple times of the centuries of time between France and Germany, had by the 1950’s become a reminder of the importance of building a relationship of peace, understanding and mutual cooperation for the benefit of everyone. This value system permeated the city in which I lived and remember to this day, St. Die, a city that was established by an Irish missionary monk during the Dark Ages, when Celtic Christianity became the vibrant missionary movement that Christianized most of Western Europe. Here was my own missionary family from Belfast, Northern Ireland, had a profound belief in a life mission from God, and that meant doing mission work attempting to plant a Pentecostal congregation in the heart of staunchly Catholic eastern France. I was in the midst of this vibrant cultural life, and I was just a kid, but I felt the vibrancy, and the hope that was going across the vast majority of post-World War Two Europe. My parents believed in a living a life committed to and directed by God, and that was part and parcel of this vibrancy that impacted my pre-teen years.

Arrival in the land of generosity and diversity

cdp-expo67-montrealvilledelexpositionMy family believed in God and in his plan for their lives, that they were willing to act on that belief and take the family to a whole new other world across the vast Atlantic ocean, and moved our family to Canada in 1967. I was nine years old. I was a stranger in a strange land. Fortunately for me, our first home in Canada, was in North America’s “most European city,” the city of Montreal, Quebec.  Montreal was celebrating the Canadian Centennial of Canadian statehood, a hundred years since the founding fathers of the Dominion of Canada had formed this wonderful and beautiful and prosperous, and very generous nation. We arrived in March of that year and landed at Mirabel Airport, one of the last “all white” plane loads of British immigrants to Canada. Multiculturalism would become within the next year the official position of the Canadian government and would invite the people of the world to come and become part of Canada, honoring their ethnic origins, their cultures and languages and all their uniqueness, to contribute to making Canada an even better place and a role model to the world of toleration and acceptance as a culture that embraced diversity of all kinds. This is the Canada that was nascent and just emerging into a new awareness of itself and its contributions to the world. This is the country I came to, that made me feel “normal” as a born Brit (Ulster Scots Irish Protestant) who was raised French in eastern France, whose mother tongue was French.  Only Canada could embrace that reality in a way that made me feel more normal than not. And, I am quite thankful for that.

christiandiscernmentMy parent’s belief, coupled with the familiarity of the French language, made it easier to transition to life in Canada. The province of Quebec went through a cultural revolution of its own in the 1960’s and the power of the Roman Catholic Church was dismantled little by little, especially in the areas of social policy, such as health care and education.  The impact of the distinctions of French and differences between it and the English culture was significant.  Until 1972, any non-Catholic family had to send their kids to Anglophone schools.  As a Protestant I was forced to go to an English school, although ALL of my social life, church life, and everyday living was within a Francophone context.  I lost that connection to French education and the French sub-culture, which I had known in France.  In Quebec I was not considered “French” but rather “English” (even though you don’t say that to an Ulster Scot Irish person). So here I was in Quebec being ostracized at one level because of the Protestant faith of my family, and on the other, not being allowed to fully be engaged in the diversity of the culture by having the French education I wanted. It was the opposite of what I had known in France. My parents fully immersed our family into the culture, so that we would not feel different from other people, and be accepted by the very people my parents felt called to share the Gospel of Jesus with. In my thinking, and living, and every day life, I was really “French.”  I did not know anything else. Being born a Brit was simply the accident of geography where my parents were from, and where I was born. In my heart of hearts I was French. In Quebec I still felt French, and my parents faith had nothing to do with it. But according to the law of the land in Quebec, my being from a Protestant family denied my my desire of a French education.

coat_of_arms_of_northern_ireland-svgThe irony of it all was that my parents had denied my ethnic identity, language and culture. I wasn’t just British.  I was Anglo-Irish. I was Northern Irish Protestant as distinct from Irish Catholic and as distinct a cultural identity as Newfoundland is to the rest of English Canada. I became enamored with the history, geography, and culture and music of Northern Ireland. I even learned and adapted an Irish brogue and accent. I wanted to recover what I had been denied by my family. Coming to Canada made that happen for me.

Learning the English language and embracing cultural and ethnic diversity

october_13_1970__922326cl-5In this great land of Canada, I was now in a province where English was a minority and where French and French culture dominated the landscape from popular culture, music, film and television, to sports and politics. French and English coexisted, sometimes with an ease and sometimes with tensions waiting to erupt above the surface. In 1970 those subterranean tensions erupted into the FLQ Crisis, where Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (father of current PM Justin Trudeau) ushered in marshal law and the Canadian Army came out in force to hold the peace in Montreal and south western Quebec. I saw the tensions of that cultural diversity come to the surface, as my being a Protestant meant I went to an English school, and there were fears of attacks from Quebec Nationalists that included potential targets of English schools and other Anglophone civil institutions. We ended up having soldiers on our school buses, escorting us to school and home again. I was in this hotbed for several months of the crisis when our family moved to Ontario, where I have remained ever since. Leaving a Montreal in crisis was a hard thing for me. I so identified with the culture and diversity of Montreal, and it was at a time when I was entering my teens. I was twelve when the October Crisis happened and I was just becoming more aware and cognizant of language, cultural, ethnic, and belief systems differences within the culture. I saw how much belief, how much vision, and how much work was involved with creating a culture of acceptance and tolerance and an embracing of diversity, and an openness to engaging with those who think, look, and speak differently than ourselves.


Lanark County, Eastern Ontario

Leaving Montreal to go to an Anglo-Saxon, Scottish Irish town in Eastern Ontario, was a huge cultural clash for me. To go from bilingualism which was a day to day reality, from French church life and community engagement, to English school, and watching English and French television, and playing and hanging out with French kids on the street and church, was just normal for me. Not having any of that, and having everything Anglo in Ontario was a totally shock to my system. The cultural awareness and diversity that I had grown accustomed to, was now missing.

Bible and Victor Frankl


Viktor Frankl

I grew up being taught a Christian world view. We understood our beliefs to flow out of the teachings of the Christian Bible.  My parents would be considered to have embraced a form of literalism, in that the Bible is true in its teachings and what it literally describes it is believed to be literally true, and that is from the account of the creation, to the culmination of the ages. So that was my context in which life was known, understood, and lived out. The Bible, as well as classics from Western Culture were the backbone of a solid “Judeo Christian education” as my father reminded me over and over during my teen years. During these years I gorged out on the mighty tomes of the Christian West. I fell in love with history, philosophy and theology.  I became an addict on anything pertaining to human freedom and the idea of men and women being made in the image of God as free moral agents.



Viktor Frankl was a noted neurologist and psychiatrist who underwent a remarkable personal journey of transformation as a persecuted Jew during the Holocaust.  He was a Holocaust survivor who not only survived the Nazi death camps, but became a champion of idea of “absolute freedom” that each person ever born, is graced with an ability to choose that can never be taken away from them.  This freedom to choose was rooted in a belief that he had the power to choose that would direct impact his life in that moment, and the subsequent moments thereafter.  He chose not only to believe but to act on that belief.



For Frankl man’s freedom is rooted in man’s ability to choose how to respond to all and any situation. The fact that you can choose how to respond is the basic element of human freedom.  No matter what anyone would ever do to you, you as a human agent, can choose how to respond to that, action. The very fact that you can choose means you are a free moral agent able to walk in freedom, a freedom in self-awareness, a freedom in self-discovery, a freedom to change ourselves when we cannot change our circumstances. In the end the basic element of human freedom is found in our attitude toward the circumstance we find ourselves in.  We can believe, and see within ourselves that we will not only respond, but also decide how we will choose to respond. That decision, that belief put into action,  is freedom, and choosing it is an act of freedom and an act of the will.



intuition-e1417644692360It matters not what the circumstances are, or how evil or diabolical the situation may be. In each and every situation, Frankl believed, that you could find that space where you could find that power within yourself, the freedom to choose and respond, which in the end leads to personal growth and true freedom.  I agree with Frankl, that we all have the ability to choose, and when we really believe it, it is a liberating message, a message that resonates with and echoes from the pages of the Christian Bible.

You can choose to do anything, if you believe, and if you make a conscious choice in faith

imago-dei-printI believe that every person ever born is created in the image of God, which are the character and attributes of God as a conscious free moral agent, being able to make rational, moral and ethical decisions in life’s journey. The only divine attributes we do not possess as human beings are those that are infinite in power, known as omnipotence, present in all places at all times, also known as omnipresence, and all knowing, commonly referred to as omniscience, eternal as in never ending or dying. These attributes only refer to God as the all-powerful being from whom all creation and all creatures finds their source of life and power.

We practice in life what we truly believe about ourselves and the world in which we live

stock-vector-conceptual-handwritten-phrase-imagine-believe-achieve-hand-drawn-tee-graphic-typographic-print-290994434I believe at the end of the day, each and every one of us practices what we actually believe through our actions in our day to day living. It matters little to nothing what we profess to believe.  What we actually believe comes out through our actions in real time, in real life situations.  I have had my own journey of self- discovery and awareness, when I have embraced this idea of absolute freedom, which has revealed far too much inconsistent truth in my own life.  At one time I had no problem being “pro-life” and “pro death” when it came to the death penalty or serving in the military.  Now I realize what I think, and what I believe, I need not only to profess, but act upon it.  If I am truly “pro-life” then I need to be as pro-life as possible in the decisions I make and the issues I support and address. I am being ethically and morally inconsistent when I am pro-life in one area and not in another. But human beings constantly struggle with moral and ethical consistency. One does not need to look far for evidence. We find it in our own hearts and lives.  In the end we all practice what we truly believe.  I am reminded over and over again the importance of consistency when it comes to living out what I ethically believe to be true.

If we practice what we truly believe, what is it that we actually believe about ourselves?

the-kingdom-of-god-isI believe what Jesus taught is true, that the Kingdom of God is deep within us, within our hearts, in our souls, in our human spirit.  Jesus said it this way in Luke 17: 21, “The Kingdom of God is within you.

luke-17-21-nor-willMany Christians have a belief in God which is both personal and intimate, and also at the same time an objective believe in God, a personal and intimate confessed knowledge of God. It isn’t just a belief concerning God, as in a set of objective truths, a statement of faith, an idea of God. Christians believe and have believed from the very beginning in a personal God that became so engaged with humanity, that He took on human form Himself, and God in a sense put on a “skin suit” and became the God man Jesus of Nazareth. Christians have a profound belief not just about Jesus Christ, his life, ministry, death and resurrection, but a profound intimate belief that God lives within.   This believe has been coined as “Jesus in your heart” which simply implies that God resides within the soul and spirit of man.  When Jesus declares that there is this inner knowing of the Kingdom of God in the hearts of people, he is declaring that God resides in us, and his rule (Kingdom) becomes established in our hearts and gives direction and guidance and provides for us along life’s journey.

This inner knowing of God releases the power of God to work on our behalf

lactantius-author-quote-the-first-point-of-wisdom-is-to-discern-thatI have lived my entire adult life, from the time of my teens, with an “inner knowing” and have often spoken with people about those moments in your day to day life where there is a cognizance of “I know that I know that I know.”  You can’t put it into words, but you just know. Some people call this the inner voice of your soul or your “spirit man” inside you, your “true self.” Some others call it an “intuition” a “inner prompting” that prompts you throughout your day to day living in order to guide and direct you.  As a Christian there is a theological framework for all this, and it boils down to the “inner voice of God” speaking to your “inner man” or your “spirit” and giving your guidance and direction.  As you mature in your belief and faith, you begin to “discern” as the Bible describes it, which is again, an “inner knowing” or “inner confirmation” of what you need to know at that time in your life when it occurs.

I believe many live at a low level of belief and expectation


unlimitedI am one of those people who had held to that middle of the road not wanting extremes in my life, and by doing so, I have literally settled for so much less than what God has for me, and what I want for myself. I have seen it in jobs, and positions of advancement.  I apply, but I really don’t believe in myself or that I am worthy of that position, and the result has been a self- fulfilling prophecy.  I have had this same thing be true when I pray for the things I desire, but it is more like a “faint hope” rather than fervent faith and belief that God will move through my faith and bring about the desires of my heart. I am determined to change and to focus on believing that God has the best for me, and all of heaven is already deposited within me. The Kingdom of God is indeed within each one of us.  It remains untapped largely due to our own “unbelief.”  So I challenge myself, and I challenge you, to begin believing again, for the things that are deep inside your heart.

Realizing that which we desire does not come from ourselves, but from God

the-magic-of-believing-by-claude-bristolI am in the middle of a second reading of a 1948 classic book on belief. Claude Bristol wrote The Magic of Believing and its precepts and concepts are quite biblical and filled with universal truths and applications. The more I saturate my mind with the audio book (see link below imbedded in this post), the more I find my thinking changing.  This is more than the power of positive thinking. It is rather revolutionary, when your grid of understanding is that God has already deposited in every single human being the power to create and the power to succeed.  How many times in the past I have heard and quoted even the verse in Exodus in the Old Testament, that God has given us the ability to create and make wealth?


Tower of Babel

Do you remember the creative power and impact of the power of agreement among people that ended up creating the Tower of Babel?  It is that creative power, the thoughts of the mind, where ideas are formed, and were creativity designs machines, apparatus, architecture, explores and discovers scientific cures for diseases and more and better progressive technologies and advancements. Where do you think all that comes from? It comes from human thought that is inquisitive by design and nature, and intellects that desire to not only comprehend and understand, but also harness energy and power and create things that make life better, not only for themselves but for humanity. In this capacity, as a Christian, I believe that this is mankind imitating God, and being co-creative with Him. God releases ideas and aligns Himself with us, and brings about positive results out of our creative thoughts and capacity to improve life as a whole.

I challenge you and I challenge myself

yourlifeisimportantI want to lay out a challenge to you today. I want to challenge you to read this audio book.  You can download it and added to your audio media player (your smartphone or tablet or music player).  You may want to convert the file.  I downloaded it as an MP4 and converted to an MP3. It shrank the size of the file considerably.  I challenge you to listen to it several times. The full audio book is six hours in length, but you won’t regret it.

rumiocieanYou don’t have to be a person of faith to enjoy it. You can be an ordinary person who had great thoughts of being successful. You can be a person of any faith or no faith.  I just would like you to listen to it and reflect on it.  I include the download link for the PDF version of the book so that you can read it too, on your smart phone or tablet. I suggest the following:

  1. Read it, and put into practice the practical exercises that the author wants you to practice.
  2. Keep at it at least for two weeks.
  3. Measure how you feel and what you are sensing each day, and increase your expectation and believe good things are happening.
  4. Let me know how you do.

Peace, and as Spock quotes from the Old Testament, “Live long and Prosper.”

Samuel M. Buick


Viktor Frankl 

Viktor Frankl Audio Book

Claude Bristol

The Magic of Believing PDF

The Magic of Believing Book

The Magic of Believing Audio Book (Youtube)

Posted in Personal | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Year After Diagnosis: Thankful Each Day To Be Alive

lifeisajourney2img_20161002_185949Today marks my one year anniversary of something I would not care to “celebrate” but I do not want to pass it over either. I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, a hybrid cancer, which had the blend of high levels of estrogen, which is the basis of the development of breast cancer, and equally high levels of keratin which are signs of carcinoma and sarcoma. They had my name and a serial number as an identifier of this mysterious cancer. October the 6th will live on as a memorial stone of an evolution of events dating back to 9th April, when my wife Lori-Anne first discovered a lump on my right breast, between my right nipple to my armpit. October 6th was the day that Dr. Husein informed me that the biopsy from the ultrasound scope had detected cancer but the good news was that no cancer was found in the two lymph node tissue samples.

mesaltgauzeFrom that date onward, what had taken close to six months to figure out would accelerate remarkably through a process of surgery and radiation therapy. By the 13th of October, I knew I was going to be having surgery to remove the tumor that had grown outside my body, and was larger than a large avocado. On that front there was a bit of relief that we were moving forward to do something about this issue.

ivprepI had my surgery on the 18th of November, and went on disability leave from my employment.  The surgery went well and the surgeon said that everything was good, there were wide margins and they got all of the cancer tissue.  They sent the tissue to three hospitals due to its rarity. At this point no one knew what it was. Some people at the local hospital, Grand River Hospital, their pathology department could not make an accurate determination, from the ultrasound biopsy. So sending the tissue to Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, and Toronto General Hospital as well as Mount Sinai in Toronto allowed other pathologists to examine the tissue and make their own determinations. This went on for about six weeks.

img_2306During this time I was doing my level best to rest up and heal up. I did not know what was going on about the diagnosis until my surgeon, Dr. Husein asked me if I had spoken to Princess Margaret Hospital. I had not spoken to them since I had gone down to their hospital for a consultation with one of their specialist oncologists in mid October.  So I called the hospital and they arranged an appointment for me in the first week of January 2016.

img_20160108_092646024Lori-Anne and I went down a couple of days after the New Year and visited with the specialist who brought into play another radiology oncologist, Dr. Fyles. He became my lead oncologist for my case. They discussed that day that no one was able to determine the type of this mysterious cancer, and they called me their “mystery man” because no one had seen this form of hybrid cancer before. They informed me that there has been ongoing dialogue between pathologists who all reviewed the tissue samples and made their own observations and conclusions. Even the provincial head pathologist for the Province of Ontario was in on my case.  So pathologists argued to treat this cancer that ravaged my body as a form of MBC (male breast cancer), while others viewed it as a sarcoma and others as carcinoma. The medical team I had felt rather strongly that it was not breast cancer. The only thing to them that would make it breast cancer is the fact that when an incision had been made to drain what was thought of to be an abscess in September, what grew out of that incision was this tumor. The local to them was the only connecting link to “breast cancer.”  It’s the physical place where the cancer grew out of my body. Their own assessment was that it was some form of sarcoma leaning to a form of carcinoma. They held this view and belief, simply because of the rapid rate of growth of the tumor once it was exposed to the air. In six weeks it had grown from the size of a couple of quarters to a large avocado. By the time I had surgery in the middle of November it had more than doubled in size and was like a large melon. All that cancer tissue hanging on my chest, sitting there getting daily dressing changes while doctors decided what to do. I was so thankful for the surgeon who said, “No matter what they determine, that mass has to go. So we will do the surgery and let them figure what to do afterwards. We need to remove this thing.” Dr. Husein knew exactly how I felt on the matter and assured me he would take care of me. And, he did just that on November 18th.

img_20151222_103630149Dr. Fyles examined me on that visit in early January and said that they recommended radiation therapy, and that it should begin as soon as my wounds were healed completely, with no leaking body fluids coming through the incision area.  He also informed us that he felt that chemo therapy would not be beneficial for the cancer I was dealing with.

img_20151117_100959665During this time from December to January we were encouraged by the medical team at Princess Margaret to consult with a medical oncologist (code name for chemo doctor) at Grand River Regional Cancer Centre in Kitchener. That was one bad situation. The doctor (who shall remain nameless) was nothing short of a bully. She was wanting me to start chemo therapy right away. She had studied under Dr. Fyles and said that the cancer I had was breast cancer. Meanwhile I had already gone through the reports of other pathologists who could not agree that it was breast cancer.  I informed the doctor that our case was being handled by Princess Margaret Hospital. She was so stubborn that she tried to coerce and manipulate her way through going to my oncologist. My doctor, Dr. Fyles stood his ground and defended my decision. This doctor from Grand River still tried to get her own way, even the day before I was to go to Princess Margaret she was calling me at home and trying to get me to change my mind. When I got to Princess Margaret that third week of January to start my radiation therapy (30 treatments over a span of six weeks), Dr. Fyles assured me he would speak with the doctor back in Kitchener Waterloo. As far as he was concerned I was to just let it go and we would put all our energy and focus on my treatment schedule and protocol.

img_20160225_083444505The radiation treatments at first were just fine, but within ten days I really noticed the redness from the radiation and its effects on my skin. I had to follow the protocol of bathing my radiated skin to preserve and protect the skin tissue. I had as well to apply an ointment that is usually used for serious diaper rashes. It apparently works extremely well on irradiated skin.  I had to do this every day to prevent the dryness and cracking of the skin.

img_20160504_054118792-collageI found over the course of a couple of weeks that I was beginning to lose focus and attention.  I could keep it for ten to 15 minutes of concentration and then I would just get exhausted from the effort to do so.  I found myself taking naps after radiation therapy, and a need to go to bed earlier than normal. Some nights were restless nights where I could not find that sweet spot to fall asleep and rest. Sometimes I didn’t need to. I would put my head on the pillow, and I would just fall asleep. I had brought some books to read, but found my reading to be sparse, little to next to nothing as far as pages read or even a reliable comprehension of what I had just read. This is how hard the radiation hit me.

img_20160407_222436735The redness from the radiation was one thing, the other was the tiredness, and the last thing was a short tolerance level for the shortcomings of others or irritable preventable things that happen every day and you normally just dismiss them. Some things would irritate me, and just keep grating at me over the day.  I had to practice mindfulness, and focus and just call it what it is and let go and control my thoughts instead of letting my emotions reign free and impact my thoughts.  So I began to carefully monitor my thoughts, my attitudes, and began to see change as I attempted to be positive and an encouragement to others that I met while at Princess Margaret Lodge and at the radiation clinic. I noticed a change within the week which lasted throughout the six weeks. It was work, especially when focus and tiredness played havoc on the mind and on the body and emotions. But I was able to overcome, moment by moment, and to stay living my best in each moment.

img_20160301_074212503I became close to the people I associated with while at the Princess Margaret Lodge, and at the clinic at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.  It is amazing how there is no difficulty in connecting with people. There is no pretense. We are all there for the same reasons. We are there for various cancer therapies that are being utilized to neutralize and destroy the cancer and give us a fighting chance to live a longer and more fulfilling life. Nothing is guaranteed.

liveyourtruthmindful2Nothing is guaranteed. Just over the last month I have heard of two people I had known, one a young man who had battled childhood cancer and after a decade the cancer came back and it took his life. Another was a woman who had battled through cancer over a two year span and she too passed away within a couple of months of leaving the Princess Margaret Lodge. These people may have left us physically, but they remain in our memories and in our thoughts and in our minds. They are never far from our thoughts. I still remember fondly my first born daughter Carragh, who battled cancer (leukemia) from age two until age nine. Over seven years she fought. She lived life to the full and she still inspires me to live life and enjoy the life I have.

joyThere are absolutely no guarantees. Not just for those who have battled cancer, but for everyone, every perfectly healthy human being, has no guarantee of seeing tomorrow. People are born every minute of the day, and every minute of the day people die. Death does not discriminate against age, gender, ethnic origin, wealth or lack of wealth, or anything else. Death just takes lives, from the very young to the very old. It cannot be immunized against. Everyone dies. It cannot be bargained with. Everyone will eventually die. It is the one journey every person ever born has been given a free ticket for the ride. Whether you like it or not, you have your ticket, and you won’t ever know when it is going to get punched.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

img_20160926_183650451lorisamsep2016Here I am today, a year removed from that diagnosis.  I can go back to that doctor’s office in my mind and I can see exactly where I was sitting, when he told me the words. I can visualize it all in slow motion. I can hear every syllable of every word as clearly as anything. I can see my wife’s focused stoic expression, keeping herself together and asking all the questions I should be asking. I feel like I am there, but I am not there. I feel like I am in a surreal space, and that this is going to be just fine and it will go away. Inside I feel a voice saying, “It’s OK. You knew this was coming. You will be fine. You can handle it. Hold it together.”  Sure enough, I manage to hold it together. But inside I am numbed. I can’t really feel much of anything. I don’t feel fear. I don’t feel anger. I am a bit stunned, but that is about it. It is shock. It is my mind and my emotions coping with the news I have just heard.  I replayed that scene today. I did not even have to try. It just replayed all by itself.

img_20160916_163111375naturopathseptYour body knows when there has been trauma and knows when there have been life changing events and circumstances. My body knew that today, and it just took a little trigger to remember. All it took was the date. I remember most things by dates and this day was no different. I also remembered leaving the doctor’s office and getting in the car. Lori-Anne reached over and took my hand. I looked at her and I began to cry. We embraced and cried together. Our lives were forever changed in that moment. Cancer we had learned through Carragh’s battle, is not just the battle that affects the person with the disease, it is a family disease and ravages the fellow family members and affects everyone in the family unit.


img_20151026_113055242Everyone has to confront their own fears about death, dying, disease, and what it means to live moment by moment and to rest in hope and not give in to despair. This is everyone’s battle within the family unit. We knew that in the mid 1980’s through the early 1990’s. Now it was in our faces again. We all had to face it. Face it with courage and face it knowing that we live lives filled with wonder and awe every day and that none of us have the guarantee of another sunrise. So here we were crying and getting it all out of our systems, taking in breaths and breathing in and out, gentle tears flowing, not saying many words, but holding each other’s gaze, and just loving each other in that moment in time and space. I have never experienced a holier and more awe filled moment than that, knowing that God was in the midst of all this with us, and he was not taken by surprise by it. We knew we were not alone. We knew that no matter what came, there would be love enough and grace enough to face it.

frog_fullyrelyongodHere today, I reflect even on the beginning of the week. Last weekend I was thinking that this one year anniversary was coming up. I knew it then. I was watching the Buffalo Bills game on my computer, and boom! There was this thought, “It is the first year anniversary of the cancer diagnosis this week.” Monday I went to work and had made a great lunch, and had again a thought about this first year anniversary and I was bubbling with gratitude to God for the grace he gave me and the year he had given me.

00saladimg_20160506_111834848When I work, I tend to nibble on my lunch. I pack veggies, and salads, and some kind of meat to eat. I take a couple of apples too. I was munching on some carrots, when my phone went off and I inhaled a piece of carrot. That piece of carrot got lodged in my throat around my adam’s apple. It was stuck there and affected my breathing. I went on pause and went to the wash room and coughed and drank water trying to dislodge it.  I tried this throughout the day. It seemed to ease toward the end of my work day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

100_0004I left and went and took the bus toward home and got home and coughed a bit. My darling Lori-Anne noticed it and inquired about it.  It seemed to ease again and we went to bed. When I lay down I was wheezing really loud and I could lie down a particular way. Finally Lori-Anne and I decided to go to the Emergency at the Grand River Hospital.  We were there at 9:30 pm, and we remained there until 3:35 am.  The doctor finally came and they were going to take an x-ray and perhaps do a scope of my throat. Knowing my history with cancer and radiation, he was cautious about doing another x-ray.  So he checked out my breathing again and said that the breathing had improved from earlier in the evening. He left it up to me to either get the x-ray which would take another hour to get the results, or we could go home, and if there was no progress in 24 to 48 hours I could come back and they would take a look at what was going on down my throat. We went home.

calmstormLori-Anne and I prayed and went to sleep.  I slept until 3 pm the next day.  I had sent an email to my team lead at the office to let him know the situation. I rested that day.  On that night, last Tuesday, I was going to bed, and again I felt the rattling in my throat and the wheezing and I did not want to keep Lori-Anne up so I went to go and sleep on the couch.

2015-godholdseverymomentAs I lay on the couch trying to find a comfortable posture to sleep, I began to pray and I had all these thoughts running through my head. Thoughts about chocking to death from shortness of breath. I rebuked those thoughts. I centered myself in Jesus, and I said, “Lord you know I don’t want to die yet, and I certainly do not want to die from a lack of breath. I ask you Lord to take care of Lori-Anne and my girls, and I place myself in your hands and in your care. Whether I live or die, that is up to you.  I fell asleep until Lori-Anne got up at 5:30 am. I arose and got some breakfast and tea and chatted with Lori-Anne and got ready for work.

carrot3While at work, this was yesterday, I had moments where I was feeling great and others were I felt a shortness of breath. I had walked over 4000 steps to work and I did well with that, but when I took my walks on my breaks and my lunch I really felt the shortness of breath and had that ongoing irritation in my throat. I kept trying to clear my throat.  I convinced myself that by the end of the evening, as Lori-Anne and I had a paint date, when we were done painting, if things had not changed, I would succumb and go back to the hospital and have them do what needed to be done to be rid of that finicky piece of carrot.  I finished my work day at 5:30 pm, and I walked out and began to walk across the road where Lori-Anne had arranged to pick me up in the retirement home parking lot. I got to within the door, when I felt this movement in my throat, I opened my mouth and out came the piece of carrot as a little projectile being expelled by my body! It landed on the ground, and I felt immediate relief in my throat and breathing.  Lori-Anne and I were able to thoroughly enjoy our evening of painting at the Waterloo Public Library.

embracethedayAll this to say, I am thankful to be alive after a year of the diagnosis of cancer and also after battling this little piece of carrot that was stuck in my throat. None of us know the hour or the circumstances of death until it happens. It is a rare thing to choose to die and how to die. Most of us have no idea when that time will come or how it will come about. Rather than getting worked up about death and dying, I am living one blessed moment at a time. I am so thankful to be alive and to be blessed with wonderful family and equally wonderful friends. I am thankful to Jesus who loves me and keeps me close and I keep him close. I am in perfect union with him. I don’t have to conjure up anything. Jesus is present and I choose to be present with him in all my circumstances. He is never taken by surprise, so I can relax, and he will take care of the burden for me. I can choose to let all those things go and just focus on living in the now and in this present moment.


jesussayschillOn this anniversary I chose to remember that I have been blessed another year. I choose to thank God for all the many blessings I have enjoyed this past year. I choose to thank God for all the hard lessons I have learned about myself, my body, and taking better care of myself, and the importance be exercise and good eating habits and blood sugar management. I choose to celebrate life and look at the positive. I am indeed a blessed man among men.

I am indebted to God, my Lord Jesus, my dear wife Lori-Anne, my daughters, Caitlin, Erinn, sons in law, Alex and Stephen, my wonderful extended family, and my friends, and my family and friends on Facebook and Twitter, who were there for me, Skyped with me, phoned me, and talked with me, and visited me at home while I recovered, like Peter and Glenn and Dave. So many wonderful friends who have remained strong and steadfast in their love and support, like Bob and Lois, Claude and Camille, and my newfound friend Bina. So many friends. Thank you.

Peace and grace.

~ Samuel M. Buick

Posted in Health, Personal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment