Capturing a Journey
Chris Thibault has spent his professional career helping corporations and establishments — from MassMutual to Spirit of Springfield — blend words and footage to ship meaningful and highly effective messages. Now, he and his spouse and enterprise companion, Missy, are producing one for and about him, and positively not the one he deliberate at age 36. It’s about dwelling with, operating a enterprise with — and hopefully not dying from — a disease that’s not only attacking his body, however that just lately took the lifetime of his brother. They’re going public and telling this story to perhaps help Chris and the family, but definitely to assist others.
“All I know is that I’ve been behind on tasks for the past six months. It pains me to inform shoppers, ‘I’m sorry, we just fell somewhat behind.’ And I have stated that again and again. I not solely need to do good work, I need to do nice work. And never solely that, I would like my shoppers to have one of the best customer service potential. Wonderful work, achieved on time. I’ve created unique methods within my company to do exactly that. But cancer is a bitch.”
That’s simply one of the many highly effective passages from a weblog submit that Chris Thibault wrote a couple of weeks again at christeebo.com/.howtocancer.
It came complete with a title — “Methods to Run a Production Firm Whereas Dwelling (or Dying) of Stage four Most cancers” — that hits the reader proper between the eyes and virtually compels that individual to maneuver on to the subsequent sentence and the subsequent gripping photograph.
And that was the whole concept.
“I haven’t figured that one out yet,” wrote Thibault, 36, president of Chris Teebo Films, in reference to the query posed by that working title. “And to be trustworthy, I wrote the title to get your attention so that you truly start reading this thing.”
If one retains reading, they’ll absorb a brutally trustworthy portrayal of what it’s wish to be informed that one has stage 4 most cancers, in this case a return of the breast cancer that struck Chris 4 years in the past, solely this time with it spreading to several elements of his body — and then reside, and work, with both that information and the disease itself.
The blog publish is merely the beginning — the primary act, if you will — of a bigger presentation meant to seize what Thibault referred to as a “journey,” one the place no one actually is aware of what’s forward, the place the current path leads, or even whether or not he will stay on this path.
Elaborating, Thibault and his wife, Missy — who can also be a co-worker and enterprise companion, serving Chris Teebo Movies as editor and producer, thus the title ‘preditor’ — stated they’ll soon convey a digital camera immediately into their house in an effort to seize this troublesome but in addition compelling time within the lives of everyone on this household of 5.
“Will probably be very bizarre at first, but if I keep it up, it’ll develop into less weird,” he explained. “I’m going to direct it regardless that I’m going to be dwelling my life.”
Missy agreed concerning the ‘weird’ half, however stated that, finally, the family is doing what Chris Teebo Movies asks those participating in its productions to do.
“We’re continuously telling individuals to ‘just be you and tell us your story,’” she explained. “We inform them to only open up and share their story, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Earlier than the digital camera begins rolling, though, Chris and Missy might be getting away for some time to the Vancouver area in Canada. It’s not a vacation, although they could attempt to chill out a bit. As an alternative, they’re going for some various remedies for Chris, particularly hypertherapy (extra on that later).
The junket to Canada and the comments you’ll hear about it converse volumes about where the Thibaults are on this journey. They’re looking — for answers, for a attainable remedy, and for a method a survive the illness that simply claimed Chris’ brother, Brandon, a couple of weeks ago; he finally lost a prolonged, troublesome battle with melanoma in mid-June.
As noted earlier, they don’t know the place the journey will take them. At this point, Chris stated the docs inform him the most cancers can’t be stopped; it could possibly solely be slowed. His oncologist on the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has provided what Chris referred to as a “menu” of options to battle the most cancers, and none have produced what anyone would call encouraging outcomes.
As for the continued efforts to chronicle this journey and the upcoming movie work in the Thibault house, they’re being undertaken partially to help the household. Indeed, donations are requested to help offset the prices of remedy and, actually, simply pay the bills at a time when Chris is pressured to miss extra time at work.
“We’re continuously telling individuals to ‘simply be you and tell us your story. We tell them to only open up and share their story, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
But this effort can also be meant to assist others finding themselves in an identical battle by providing them with words and footage meant to teach, but in addition encourage.
For this difficulty and its concentrate on healthcare, BusinessWest talked with the Thibaults about their journey and their willingness to go public, as in very public, and share their story.
The Huge Picture
“Make no mistake, the most cancers cells in my body are on a mission from hell to grow and kill me. Is it stage four? Yes. Is it thought-about a terminal sickness? Sure. Has it unfold to my lungs, spine, ribs, hip, and pelvic bone? Verify. Do I cough continually and get winded from simple things like walking up the steps? Yessir. Is there a recognized medical remedy? Nope.”
This passage, which succinctly summed up both Thibault’s situation and thought pattern as he talked with BusinessWest, represents extra of the frank, typically blunt commentary in his weblog publish, which, once more, is designed to inform his story but in addition relay the emotions of all those that have battled or are at present battling the illness.
He stated taking over cancer is, suddenly, humbling, frustrating, and especially tiring — mentally as well as physically. There are, as virtually everybody who has been by means of it has stated, good days and dangerous days, but ultimately the latter start to critically outnumber the former. Chris stated he nonetheless has quite a few good days — just like the one when he and Missy sat for this interview — which means there was little or no of the coughing and the ache that comes with it. However day-after-day is clouded by the large question marks concerning the future.
Earlier than we speak about that, although, we have to return to last fall and a telephone call Chris stated he gained’t ever overlook.
The individual on the other end of the line needed to know what Chris was doing at that moment. Specifically, she needed to know if he was driving. Apparently, these within the healthcare group are educated to ask that question in the event that they’re going to ship dangerous news.
“She stated the results from the scan ‘didn’t look good,’” recalled Thibault, who was on a shoot in Boston at the time, adding that she didn’t say a lot of anything, which was considerably annoying to him. And actually annoying to Missy, who was, actually, driving when Chris relayed that skimpy but distressing news to her.
“I get a text from him that says, ‘physician says scans don’t look good,’” she recalled. “I stated, ‘what the heck does that imply?’”
What it meant was that their lives have been going to vary in a profound method.
The chest scan in query came after Chris began experiencing what he referred to as “weird signs” during his recovery from surgical procedure after he tore his biceps while reaching out and grabbing the treadmill he was on after it had began to tip over (a narrative advised in nice detail in the weblog publish).
“Someday, I acquired on the treadmill and just did a light-weight jog. I discovered that I couldn’t actually catch my breath. Strange. I truly thought it was something in the air on the studio. Perhaps the air was a bit of ‘thick’ that day? But in the coming weeks I had increasingly signs, persistent cough, unusual ache in my leg, and some imaginative and prescient issues.”
And with those signs came some commentary from the voice inside his head, commentary in the form of questions — about whether the most cancers that had rocked his world years earlier may be back.
Actually, it was. It had metastasized, and there were, as those checks certainly revealed, numerous tumors, as Chris relayed in another poignant passage from his blog.
“‘Too many [tumors] to rely,’ the doctor stated with a sad, straight-face look that I read as ‘you’re fucked, child.’”
Chris recalled ‘too many to rely.’ Missy remembers listening to ‘innumerable.’ One phrase, one word that mean the identical heartbreaking factor.
And so this journey started, and it got here — not that there’s a very good time — at a particularly dangerous time, professionally and in addition personally. With regard to the latter, the Thibaults have been now a household of 5 with the start of their daughter, Cassidy, a yr earlier. Meanwhile, Chris’ brother Brandon was dropping his struggle with cancer.
As for the former, the business, Chris Teebo Movies, was actually hitting its stride, producing a wide range of labor for a number of regional and nationwide shoppers that included MassMutual, the pharmaceutical big Novartis, Bay Path College, Spirit of Springfield, FastenMaster in Agawam, Mercedes-Benz of Springfield, BusinessWest (he has produced sponsor videos for most of the magazine’s events), and lots of others.
As noted earlier, as the cancer has spread, Chris has discovered it harder to work, although he presses on, a activity made simpler by the help he’s acquired from his shoppers, who’ve been not only understanding of missed deadlines, however prepared to send him more work — including a venture for Spirit of Springfield’s 25th anniversary — and assist him in his battle. Peter and Michelle Wirth, house owners of the Mercedes dealership, even provided to send automobiles to take him to remedies.
“The help of the enterprise group has been unreal,” stated Chris, adding that he was at first reluctant to inform shoppers about his condition out of worry they could not have faith that he can end tasks he takes on. But these fears proved ungrounded, and he continues to get new work.
Bringing a Cancer Battle into Focus
“My skinny ass lifted weights for the primary time in about 7 months the opposite day. I’m about 35 kilos lighter than I used to be again then, principally all of it muscle weight. … I by no means realized how a lot muscle I had in my ass! After dropping a bunch of weight, I was towel drying out of the bathe and observed … it wasn’t there! This was at a time once I was actually feeling the consequences of the tumor in my hip and couldn’t bend down at all. The atrophy in that portion of my body was actually noticeable. Nonetheless is. It sucks because, a mere half a yr earlier, I used to be physically, and doubtless mentally, the strongest I’ve ever been.”
This passage from the weblog captures a number of the observations, thoughts, and raw feelings which are part and parcel to a cancer struggle.
So does this one.
“I’m bent over on a hospital chair with my proper foot on the ground and my left knee resting on the chair. My pants are pulled down slightly below my butt. I’m sitting alone in a room at Dana Farber bent over with my full ass out, ready for the nurse to return again into the room. Oh, and the room doesn’t have real doorways, simply a type of skinny hospital curtains. So at any point, someone might stroll by and catch a glimpse. Is there something extra humiliating?
‘Did it get cold in here?’ I quietly asked myself.
It felt chilly. I’d as properly be bending over in front of an open fridge.
The nurse lastly comes in.
‘How we doing?’ she asked with an over-the-top caring voice, like a firing squad was about to return in and put some bullets in my crack.
I was anything but superb, in fact, mentally and bodily, but that’s what you say.”
The nurse in query would proceed to manage what Chris referred to as a big dose of a drug referred to as Fulvestrant, being taken together with a newly accredited drug referred to as Piqray, made, coincidentally enough, by Novartis.
Finally, this mix turned the third totally different set of chemo and hormonal remedies to have been tried, and all have failed. So Chris and Missy — the 2 are in this struggle collectively, every step of the best way, sharing the analysis, and the hope for something that may work — are on to choice number four.
“At this level, they’re really throwing issues on the wall; they don’t know what’s going to work, in order that they’re making an attempt all this stuff,” stated Chris. “They haven’t been capable of stop it — there’s no remedy for what I’ve — however there are medicine that may sluggish it down, principally.
“And this stuff are poisonous — they ship them to me in what quantities to a haz-mat bag,” he went on. “It says ‘hold this away from individuals — nobody can contact it’ — however I’ve to take it.”
And while battling the cancer with chemo and other regimens, the Thibaults are taking a look at various remedies, like the hyperthermia Chris will receive in Vancouver, designed to generate modifications in the cancer cells that may (that’s can) make the cells more more likely to be affected by different remedies akin to radiation remedy or chemotherapy.
“As I understand it, and I don’t actually understand it, cancer cells don’t survive in scorching — they don’t wish to be heated up, and that’s what this remedy does,” he informed BusinessWest. “We did loads of analysis on it, and it was advisable by our naturopathic physician.”
“The help of the business group has been unreal.”
Missy stated she understands it higher as a result of she’s taken it upon herself to do a lot of the research and work to know the various new forms of remedy which might be turning into out there and which of them hold probably the most promise.
“I had heard about and read about it,” she stated of the hyperthermia remedies, which focus heat on a selected area — on this case, the goal might be Chris’ lungs. “I’m immersing myself in that radical-remission, naturopathic world just to inform myself as a lot as potential.”
“I really like creating. If I can’t create, I’ll simply load the bullet now. However that is about more than that. It’s a method to probably increase the money needed to truly maintain my life by way of this journey and on the similar time help others going by means of an analogous thing. We’ll document the method in each method we will.”
That’s how Chris described the continued venture to chronicle the battle, the journey that he and his family at the moment are taking.
By ‘each means we will,’ he meant movies, weblog posts, footage, and podcasts. Ultimately, all of this gathered materials will probably be molded right into a feature-length documentary, designed, as famous earlier, to teach and, hopefully, encourage.
There have been many successful and poignant efforts to chronicle a most cancers battle up to now, but the Thibaults intend to make use of their unique and considerable expertise within the art of storytelling to do something totally different — and compelling.
This was one thing Chris made a plan to do four years ago together with his first brush with cancer, a challenge that took on the working title “Breast Cancer Boy,” an obvious reference to the fact that males not often contract this form of cancer.
There were a couple of weblog posts and an effort to relate what he was experiencing, he recalled, however this time the trouble might be far more comprehensive and personal — because it needs to be.
And, as noted, it should involve various automobiles for getting the message throughout, from weblog posts to podcasts, to what Chris referred to as “TV-show-like material.”
“Nick’s going to return in with a digital camera and hang around with us,” he stated, referring to Nick Laroche, an editor and manufacturing assistant with Chris Teebo Movies. “He’s going to return to our home and hang around.
“It is going to be weird, because you really put it all on the market whenever you do it like that,” he went on. “We don’t have an enormous finances — we don’t have any price range — so it’s not going to be like the Kardashians. But it is going to be a behind-the-scenes take a look at what goes into this.”
By ‘this,’ he meant every thing concerned with a most cancers struggle, from the research of varied remedies to the wide selection of feelings skilled by all those involved.
“Individuals can see our confusion with drugs, our frustration with docs — they’re going to see all that,” he went on. “And I didn’t need to do that; I’m doing it as a result of I feel it’s time and I have to. It’s not as a result of I need to.”
Missy agreed and stated, again, that this bit of storytelling goals to do what they ask their many purchasers to do.
“We steer away from scripted video content,” she defined, adding that the company has been doing a variety of documentary-style productions for shoppers, together with the American Ladies’s School at Bay Path University and MassMutual, and it’ll put that have to good use as they tell their own story.
Issues might be a lot totally different when the digital camera is pointed at them, but they both consider this something they should do.
Certainly, when Missy noted that it is going to be troublesome to seek out the time to do this, given work, medical remedies regionally, and journeys to places like Vancouver, Chris replied merely, “we’re going to need to make the time.”
A Message of Hope
“Lastly, I really like you. I mean it. The advantage of going by means of this is that you simply take a look at individuals in a different way. I am satisfied that the majority of humanity is sweet, regardless of what the news tells you.
OK, get on together with your day. You’ll hear from us soon.”
That’s how Chris wrapped up his weblog submit. Every word, every phrase was chosen rigorously, and every one has which means.
‘You’ll hear from us quickly’ makes it clear that the efforts to chronicle this story are only beginning. The words that come before explain why he and Missy are doing this.
Briefly, it’s a narrative that needs to be advised. And there’s in all probability nobody within the area who can inform any story — let alone this one — in a greater, more powerful means.
As for ‘OK, get on together with your day’ … properly, none of us are more likely to take that straightforward task as a right ever again.
George O’Brien might be reached at [email protected]