“Fight! Fight more! Keep fighting!”
These are the words of one of Keen Babbage’s Henry Clay High School students to him as he was battling a rare form of nasal cancer, mimicking the teachers plea to his students ” to read, read more, keep reading.”
And fight he did.
Exactly three years after receiving the cancer diagnosis at the UK Markey Cancer Center, Lexington native Keen , who is now in remission, spoke to approximately 30 guest at the UK Chandler Hospital Oct. 14 about his new book,” Life Lessons from Cancer.” He was joined by co-author Laura Babbage and Dr. Marcus Randall, chairman of the Department of Radiation Medicine .
Keen and Laura, also his sister-in-law, reflected not only on Keen’s experiences as a cancer patient , but also on Laura’s experience as Keen’s primary caregiver. Laura is a registered nurse who has worked as a health care executive and is currently the chaplain for both UK HealthCare and St. Joseph Hospital.
Keen started chemotherapy two days after his diagnosis and on his last day of round-one treatment, his mother died. As she was dying, Laura told Nana, as they called Keen’s mother, that she would take as good of care of Keen as Nana would if she were able.
Laura talked about the needs of the caregiver, saying that it was important to create a network of caregivers to not only take care of the patient but to take care of the caregivers. She also addressed the importance for those with cancer to set goals for themselves after the cancer and mentioned how Keen’s sense of humor got him through some tough times.
Keen talked about the importance of establishing a prayer network of family and friends , being thankful for small victories and allowing yourself to accept the help of others.
Dr. Susanne Arnold, Keen’s doctor, attributed Keen’s success to his fighting, tenacious spirit.
Said Arnold: “You never stopped doing what we asked.”
Keen and Laura wrote “Life Lessons from Cancer’ as an inspiration and guidance for other patients. It can also serve as a resource for health care providers. It has been a best seller on Amazon, hitting the top ten in numerous categories and is in the Amazon top 100 in cancer, according to the McNay report.
Don McNay. CEO and chairman of the board for RRP International Publishing, mediated the discussion.