Guest Post: Nobody Does It Alone (by Karen Mauro)

Many of us live by the motto “Live Together, Die Alone.”  This couldn’t be more fitting than right now.

When I learned that my dear friends Jo and Jared teamed up and created Cancer Gets LOST, I couldn’t have been more proud of them.  It made perfect sense for them to join forces for the cause, the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS), and to reach out to all of us to raise awareness in the spirit of LOST.

The LOST community is a special group of people who are more than just fans.  I’ve witnessed deep caring and bonding between people who may never have met without LOST.  It immersed us all in a brain teasing mystery, but more importantly it opened our eyes to the human spirit, the importance of community and having compassion and love for our fellow Losties.

Jo and Jared are deeply motivated by how cancer touched their lives and loved ones.  We all know people whose lives have been changed or devastated by this disease – me included. I know firsthand how important it is for a community to work together to raise awareness and funds to eradicate this horrible disease via various charities.  Twenty five years ago, the type of rare cancer I ended up fighting had a very low survival rate.  If it wasn’t for cancer research and progress over the years, I wouldn’t have been able to be treated with very aggressive chemo and radiation, and come out the other side with better odds.  In my case – I’m a survivor.  It makes my heart hurt when I think about people currently fighting their battles and longing for the loved ones we’ve lost.  Cancer sucks!

When LOST aired on September 22, 2004, I didn’t think or realize that there was cancer growing inside of me.  I wasn’t feeling 100%, but the thought of a life-changing diagnosis never crossed my mind.  Alas, it did.  I was diagnosed with a rare cancer on November 8, 2004, and life for me was forever changed.  Please forgive me for keeping the type of cancer I had private.

As strong and motivated as I was to fight my battle, there came a point where I was totally broken.  LOST had already taken root in my heart and soul, and thus played a major role in completely changing my life.  I don’t think there is anyone out there who truly knows how important LOST is to me and how much of a role it plays in my life. I become very affected as those many feelings and memories engulf me.  I can’t even really articulate my sentiments without becoming emotionally overwhelmed by the magnitude of my journey and its connection to LOST.

My LOST experience transcended it just being a great TV show filmed on a beautiful island with gorgeous lost people – it was so much more.  LOST was a beacon – a lighthouse.  LOST became a beautiful and valued teacher whose lessons enlightened my life on a grand scale, while simultaneously acting as my escape from cancer.  The deeply moving LOST music played a role as well, becoming the soundtrack of my life.  There wasn’t much going on in my head while I was undergoing intense chemo and radiation treatments.  So while my mind was free and I had tiny moments of clarity, I wanted to absorb all that the multi-layered LOST story had to offer.

Being a cancer patient is terrifying and confusing.   I did fight strongly and stay positive for a long time, but that didn’t discount that fact that silently I was scared about everything- my family’s suffering through my cancer, the treatments, the outcome, my purpose and destiny, my life, my death, and the fear about my future.  I’ll never forget how scared I was at my very first radiation session.  I was so petrified that my nervous, trembling body shook the table.  To calm myself down, in my mind’s eye I instantly envisioned me on The Island and utilized Jack’s “count to five” technique.  I let the fear in – but only for five seconds.  In all honesty, it didn’t work the very first time I tried it, but I followed up right away with another few sets of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 until my brain adjusted to how the idea worked. I use this method often.

I have consciously placed myself on The Island countless times since LOST aired.  The show was with me every step of the way, and continues on with me today.  There is no way I could list every example of how LOST touched me over those six seasons, as the tally on such a list would end up being as thick as a DHARMA Initiative Operations Manual.  The extraordinary thread of the LOST story began in one person’s mind as an idea; it was then brought to the attention of other creative people who decided to send the story out into the world.  It evolved and its thread reached all corners of the universe, where it connected the hearts and minds of many people.  The show has a special place in many fans’ lives.  There are others who have been touched and influenced by this show, especially in challenging times, and that makes me very happy.  Many of us received something awesome from the special LOST box, and for me it was a gift.

I wouldn’t be here today without all the people and experiences I needed to see me though the darkest and yet most transforming time in my life; my loving family, friends, doctors/nurses, and everyone on TEAM LOST.  I appreciate you all for your unwavering loving support, your invaluable guidance, and your strength – when I didn’t have any left.

Pardon me while I interject a short note to my constant, Team LOST:

Dear Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, Michael Giacchino, and all on Team LOST,

How can I thank you for six seasons that touched my soul and brought me so much joy and taught me so much?  You may not have set out to impact anyone’s life – but you did.  You held the hand of a stranger while you guided me through the journey that would enrich me, change me, and awaken me. You showed me hope and encouraged me to believe. Your driving force helped me fight many monsters and find my way out of the dark.  I still have a way to go on my path and I’m trying my best, but it is with your groundwork that I continue to grow. You remain my source of inspiration in many, many ways.  What can I say…?  I love you all and you are forever in my heart.

Much love and appreciation,

-Karen

It is necessary to support cancer research consciously and monetarily.  It is very important to champion the people you love during their time fighting this disease with your friendly smile, kind and positive words, love and compassion…and a few home cooked meals help as well.  For my friends fighting the fight right now – I feel you and the fear you face, and you are in my thoughts and my heart.

When I got sick, I didn’t set out to find something or someone who would make my journey make any sense, but it found me…  LOST found me.  As for me, I’ve been through a lot in my life.  I’m still here and well and still trying to find my purpose in life.  I hope someday to fulfill a special and positive destiny, and I dream my path will cross with those who made such an impact on my life.

Again, thanks to Jo and Jared for your dedication and perseverance in making your charity a reality, and for connecting all of us Losties for the greater good.  To all of my friends from Team LOST, your generous help, love and support for the cause is greatly appreciated.  It will be awesome to see all of the LOST auction items that have been selflessly donated to raise money and to share a piece of magical history with other LOST fans.  And I’m excited to tune in to the live streaming webcast for some amazing LOST conversation with their special guests.  THAT will be LOSTastic!

I encourage you to bid on LOST memorabilia and/or to make a donation.  Together let’s kick cancer’s ass!  After all, nobody does it alone.

Namaste,

-Karen “Shortcake” Mauro @KarensLostNotes

Karen’s Lost Notebook, Karen’s Adventures in Storybrooke

PS:  Here is the link to the original post sharing my cancer story with the LOST universe.

* Jared and I are honored that Karen chose to share her very personal story with us and with you, and want to thank her for her courage and support. Karen will be joining us at the Cancer Gets LOST Fan Appreciation Party on August 25, so we hope you all get the opportunity to meet her! She is an amazing human being with a heart the size of an island. – Jo

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6 Responses to Guest Post: Nobody Does It Alone (by Karen Mauro)

  1. Kristy Davis says:

    Thank you, Karen, for sharing your emotional and difficult journey with us and how much LOST helped you through it. You say you hope to someday fulfill a special and positive destiny, but I believe you already have. You have been one of the prominent, inspiring voices in the LOST fandom: Facebook, ODI podcast, tweets, etc. I, for one, have been so moved by so your attachment to the show (I thought it was just me at first), your in-depth analysis and your continued sense of wonder and awe over LOST that will stay with you, and all of us, forever.

    I’ve been your friend on Facebook and I’ve been to several LOST LA area events (Jay and Jack’s finale party, the LOST Show Auction and Exhibit), but I’ve never had the privilege of meeting you. I look forward to finally meeting you at the fan appreciation party!

    Thank you for carrying the LOST torch, and for keeping it burning strong and bright…

    Sincerely,
    Kristy Davis
    (Twitter: @Dharma_Lady)

  2. Bonnie Green says:

    Thank you so much, Karen, for sharing your personal journey beating cancer and how LOST played a part in that. I have had the pleasure of meeting Karen a few times at LOST events and can honestly say I have never met a more positive person! LOST connected me to so many wonderful, caring people and you’re on top of that list! Looking forward to seeing you in August!

  3. Susan Terral says:

    Karen, thank you for sharing your story! It is really well-timed and encouraging for me at this point in my life. My doctor recently discovered 2 solid masses on my left ovary with a slight elevation in my lab work and I am in limbo while I go from test to test, doctor to doctor. Thankfully this may not be cancer but until I know for sure I wait and try not to worry. Your story helps to give me hope that no matter what happens, I will have a supportive community to give me encouragement. I think it is wonderful that Jo and Jared came up with this idea and it shows how caring the Lost community is. It really is amazing and touching. Thank you again for sharing your story, you have helped me so much. God bless you!

  4. alice says:

    Dearest Karen-

    Thank you for opening up your heart to us. Looking forward to seeing your smiling face in August. Always LOST.

    xoxo-
    alice.

  5. Nick says:

    The beauty and reach of the LOST community never ceases to amaze me. The impact of LOST is often discussed as it pertains to its place in television history. After two years and endless negativity surrounding the show, it it so wonderful to read about the real-life impact the show continues to have on some extraordinary people. Thank you for these words of inspiration.

  6. Karen says:

    Thank you all so much for leaving some LOST love.

    It is amazing that LOST brought us all together- actually “awesome” is a better word to use. We all have a LOST story. Since the show premiered, LOST fans and friends began relationships and romances, graduated from school/university, got married, had children, got a job, lost a job, were divorced, fell ill, got healthy, built a home, lost a home, and we’ve grieved the loss of people we love. We shared many of those life experiences together.

    I am SO happy and honored my path crossed with LOST fans in person (as well as on-line). The many smiling faces, wide eyes and the excitement you show when you all talk about LOST is truly beautiful. I am truly grateful for the friendships we have made through the years.

    I’m looking forward to see you again too, Bonnie and Alice! Big hugs all around and I expect lots of photos! And I’m very much looking forward to meeting you, Kristy, and connecting and re-connecting with LOST fans that will be in attendance for the party.

    Much love and appreciation,
    Karen
    XOXOXOXO

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