Woog’s World / We found something: One Westporters journey with cancer and care
Published 12:00 am, Friday, October 20, 2017
“We found something.”
Those three words upend the lives of 5,000 Americans a day. That’s the number of people who are diagnosed with one of 73 forms of cancer.
Peter Green heard those words in 2005. He had brain cancer.
Until that day, his life had moved along fairly smoothly. He’d attended Bedford Elementary (“the best school ever”), Bedford Junior High and Staples High School. He graduated from Seattle University, then served with the Peace Corps in Mauritius for two and a half years.
Green joined his father — well-known Westporter Paul’s — publishing company. He built a career in print and digital media sales. In 1999 he joined the Weather Channel as head of sales.
Green lived in Larchmont. He was divorced, but shared parenting duties for his son Benjamin.
Brain cancer is a harsh disease. To prepare for treatment, medical professionals advised rest and hydration.
Green underwent eight months of aggressive chemotherapy and radiation. He also was part of a clinical trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. As part of the trial, doctors wanted to put a port in his chest. Green convinced them to find another vein. They did.
That made him realize that doctors might not have all the answers. He developed exercises to do at home. They helped in three ways. Physically, they helped Green endure difficult treatment.
Emotionally, they gave him confidence. “Cancer patients feel a loss of control,” he says. “Doing those exercises, I felt like I was part of my treatment.”
And most important, Green adds, the exercises helped his father, son and other loved ones cope with his illness. “They saw me fighting,” he says.
He fought successfully. He returned to his old life. Eight years ago, Green married again, and moved back to Westport. Life was good.
But it was not perfect. Last year, he left his emoji marketing company, and the sales world, forever. The medical world had realized the importance of exercise in cancer treatment. He felt compelled to write about the exercises that had helped him beat his disease.
As he started writing, emotions he’d felt a decade earlier flooded back. He recalled vividly exactly how he’d felt back then: his fear of dying, the label of “cancer patient,” the pressures of work and parenting added to the stress of illness.
Soon, that journey to recovery formed the first part of his book. His exercises came in the second part.
A conversation with Josh Lander —a Westport sports and health science expert, who had worked with Green’s father — helped Green add important medical and therapeutic information to the text.
Then Westport writer/editor Richard Marek took a look at the manuscript. He offered to help. So did Green’s brother-in-law Chris Appy, a Staples grad who is now a University of Massachusetts history professor and noted author.
The result is “Cancer Crossroad.” Published recently, it combines Green’s life story with how-to information on the exercises that helped the author survive and thrive.
But that’s not where Green’s journey ends.
Eight months ago, while writing his book, Green started a business. Workout Through Cancer - the tagline is “Your Body, Your Mind, Your Fight” - wants to eliminate fear from the mind of cancer patient’s. The goal is to “find your inner Spartan,” by training the body and mind.
Workout Through Cancer offers physical exercises, along with “meditative exercises” to maintain a positive mindset, and practical tips and tools for patients to regain control over their lives.
There are “thousands of exercise programs,” Green notes. But, he says, Workout Through Cancer is the only one designed specifically for cancer patients.
Green’s kit costs $99. It’s money well spent.
“When people hear a friend or relative has just been diagnosed with cancer, they ask how they can help,” he says. “They might send flowers or a meal. This is a way to provide something tangible, something that can have a lasting effect.”
The board of directors includes Landers and Green’s brother Andrew, himself a Staples graduate. Many local businesses are helping with the launch, including Concept Studio, a Westport design irm.
The website (www.workoutthroughcancer.com) is ready to go live. There’s a robust Facebook presence too. Videos include interviews with Westporters who have been affected by cancer, either as survivors or through loved ones.
“I’m not a doctor or a workout guru,” Green says in one video. “And I’m definitely not a celebrity.” He’s just one man whose life has been changed by three words: “We found something.”
His life changed again, as he devised his exercise regimen. Now it’s changing a third time, with the publication of his book and the creation of his business.
“My mission today revolves around something I once feared,” Green says.
Fortunately, he’s found something far more important than fear.
Dan Woog is a Westport writer, and his “Woog's World” appears each Friday. He can be reached at email@example.com. His personal blog is www.danwoog06880.com