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Glioblastoma. Stay Positive. Stay Hopeful. Gaelin and Christian DeVisser
Episode 15129th November 2021 • Your Positive Imprint • Catherine Praiswater
00:00:00 00:28:02

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How do you deal with your reality? Where do you pull your inspiration from? This is a journey of inspiration and positive imprints with Gaelin DeVisser, a mother, and Christian, her son, who at 19 was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a brain tumor. The two share how they remain positive and hopeful. 


Transcripts

Catherine:

Your positive, positiveimprint stories are everywhere people and their positive actions, are inspiring positive achievements.

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Your PI could meanthe world to you.

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Get ready for your positive imprint.

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Well, hello, this is Catherine.

Catherine:

Your host of the podcast, your positive imprint, the variety show, featuring people all over the world whose positive actions are inspiring

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positive achievements.

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Exceptional people rise to the challenge.

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Music by the talented Chris Nole, check out his music and learn so much more about his pretty rad awesome background, ChrisNole.com follow me on Facebook and Instagram, your positive imprint.

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Or of course listen from any podcast platform, apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify.

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Or just your favorite podcast platform, your positive imprint.

Catherine:

What's your P.I.?

Catherine:

How do you deal with a new reality?

Catherine:

Where do you pull your inspiration from?

Catherine:

What is your reality today?

Catherine:

Is it making a financial decision?

Catherine:

Maybe an employment choice or a school choice.

Catherine:

Or is your journey right now about health?

Catherine:

Well, today's guests are some of the most positive people I've had the pleasure of knowing.

Catherine:

The journey of inspiration and positive imprints with Gaelin, a mother.

Catherine:

and her son, Christian, a teenager with a life-changing diagnosis.

Catherine:

I've not gone a day without thinking about them and how their positivity changes my own life.

Catherine:

The two share how they remain positive and hopeful.

Catherine:

Gaelin DeVisser and Christian DeVisser, welcome to the show.

Christian:

Thank you for

Gaelin:

having us

Catherine:

Oh, my

Christian:

Glad be here.

Catherine:

Oh, Christian.

Catherine:

Thank you so much.

Catherine:

Well, you both are out in Germany and you listen to the podcast and I'm just so thankful for that.

Gaelin:

Yeah, love listening to your podcast and especially on the many long drives that we've had together.

Christian:

Yeah.

Catherine:

You're here both of you to share your journey, your positive imprints.

Catherine:

Our positive imprints of course, abound across continents.

Catherine:

Before we get into the diagnosis of glioblastoma, I want to talk about Christian, his life, his journey of his own positive imprints.

Catherine:

People in Germany have

Catherine:

Noted and have appreciated his own inspiration during his time of need.

Catherine:

Yet, he is the one that is positive and inspirational for others.

Catherine:

You were born in United States.

Catherine:

What was life like growing up in the military?

Christian:

It was nice actually.

Christian:

I got to see a lot of places other kids wouldn't.

Christian:

A lot of adults wouldn't be able to see,

Christian:

I was in Bahrain, Japan and Bogota and, , Japan and Bogota are the ones that I remember the most.

Christian:

And we visited the most places.

Catherine:

As a middle school child witnessing poverty in Bogota, Christian's sense of helping others became ingrained.

Catherine:

The poverty affected his own positive imprints and how he would continue living his own life.

Christian:

There was huge poverty in Bogota and I am going to be more grateful for what I have than I would have otherwise, I realize how well happy I am.

Catherine:

Christian explains how the intense pollution brought about legislation with regard to the use of cars and bikes.

Christian:

One thing was in more active lifestyle in Bogota.

Christian:

There's a, like every week, half the main streets are shut down something called Ciclovía where they cut down on pollution and the roads open to bikes.

Christian:

And.

Christian:

and bikes only.

Catherine:

What did you think about the fact that they were closing down for pollution purposes?

, Christian:

now that I look back on it, it's a bit scary cause back then I didn't really think about it.

, Christian:

But it's bit heroing, I think is the right word, that had gotten so bad in the city

Gaelin:

Well, it also opened up parts of the city to people who normally wouldn't travel.

Gaelin:

They wouldn't travel to those parts of the city.

Gaelin:

Mainly because unless you're working in a different area, you, you live and you stay in your area, you don't normally travel all over, but the streets, the main streets, they'll

Gaelin:

And so it's just a mix of every type of person, social class aside, they're all out there just riding bikes and having fun and jogging or skateboarding

Gaelin:

I think that's one of the main things that it does is it brings people together also.

Gaelin:

Yeah.

Gaelin:

As a matter of fact, , that was, uh, a model for other cities is, is what Bogotá did.

Gaelin:

It's miles, miles.

Gaelin:

Suzanne was, I think she was four she had to learn how to ride a bike right away.

Gaelin:

So Christian said it could be heroing.

Gaelin:

It could be because you know what?

Gaelin:

if you're not moving,get out of the way, because there are thousands and thousands of people.

Gaelin:

So

Catherine:

really.

Gaelin:

for the kids.

Gaelin:

Yeah.

Christian:

And then there's all the, little bikes along the way.

Christian:

created a little economy of its own.

Christian:

Bike repair stops.

Christian:

They were like every other block and I'm sure they made a killing on those dates.

Catherine:

When you're young, you don't think about the pollution and what it's going to do for climate change or for anything.

Christian:

I view it a lot differently than if we hadn't gone there.

Christian:

The pollution over there was pretty bad,

Christian:

looking back I'm surprised that they might have even done it at all because, uh, well, places.

Christian:

they won't go to such extremes unless they're forced to,

Catherine:

you know what?

Catherine:

That's a good point.

Catherine:

Something I think needs to be changed.

Catherine:

That's one city putting out all of that pollution and look at how many cities there are around the world.

Gaelin:

Footprint in Bogota is not small.

Gaelin:

There are millions of people, but but it does bring awareness.

Gaelin:

And they also have other things there, like, no car day where you're not allowed to drive, unless you're, I think a taxi you have to have a special permit but you

Christian:

So, and then the other days, it was over a month, it depended on your license plate certain days, depending on your license plate.

Catherine:

One of the important factors here that you're talking about is that people made do.

Catherine:

Right?

Gaelin:

Yep.

Gaelin:

They found other ways.

Catherine:

Being a member of a boy scout troop was important to Christian, but in Bogota there was no formal boy scout troop.

Catherine:

So he would join what's called the Lone Scouts.

Catherine:

Other boys his age would get together and work on projects, badges; all part of a legacy of positive imprints.

Catherine:

Later Christian proudly completed his Eagle Scout project

Christian:

An Eagle scout project, it's like one last act before you, leave regular boy Scouts to provide for the community.

Christian:

for some it's, repairing and furnishing a, volunteer center.

Christian:

but for me, it was creating called a whisper phone, is help and including some with hearing disabilities, learn how to speak properly.

Christian:

If they were stuttering or not saying a word, correct, you would hold the whisper phone up to your ear and it, you would speak into it.

Christian:

And then hear your own voice.

Gaelin:

just for kids in general, because classrooms could be noisy.

Gaelin:

Kids can have their whisper phones.

Gaelin:

And they can hear themselves.

Gaelin:

you can speak out loud, it makes reading so much easier

Catherine:

Sure

Gaelin:

in your head, So, yeah, that was really, that

Christian:

was really neat.

Catherine:

that is a neat project.

Catherine:

Of course, that falls into my area of being a literacy specialist.

Christian:

Yeah.

Christian:

I built them out of PVC pipe and a duct tape.

Christian:

the PVC pipe, a, I measured and cut what lengths of pipe and then use the two joints, , to.

Christian:

look like a phone and then I them with colorful duct tape for the kids,

Catherine:

did you get to deliver them?

Christian:

not to the class, but to the and, they were actually the host of our, uh, of our troop.

Catherine:

too bad, you didn't get to go into the classroom and see the kids using them.

Christian:

Yeah.

, Gaelin:

I think you made about 80 pair because made two each package.

, Gaelin:

one was to leave in the classroom and one was to take home

Christian:

And it was much cheaper than the commercial version.

Christian:

a lot cheaper for that for the parents and the

Catherine:

how do you feel that that carried you or changed you moving forward?

Christian:

Um, to help people more when you have the opportunity.

Catherine:

So Christian, in a few words, what, what makes this volunteer work so important as opposed to.

Catherine:

Starting a business and paying everybody to do these things?

Christian:

I know I'm not doing it for me.

Christian:

I'm doing it for others.

Christian:

it makes you

Christian:

feel better to help people, but not gaining any or anything that from this.

Christian:

So what makes it feel better for me.

Christian:

it has an effect on me, but won't change , how I live except in a positive way.

Christian:

It will change other people.

Christian:

Yeah.

Catherine:

Yes.

Catherine:

Yes.

Catherine:

You're right.

Catherine:

Well, well, thank you, Christian so much for sharing those experiences.

Catherine:

now your journey takes you from south America to, United States, and Germany where you are now.

Catherine:

So you haven't been in Germany too many years, but you've been there long enough to dive into the culture,

Christian:

one thing I love about Germany in general is the churches, all.

Christian:

the churches over here, they show about history.

Christian:

on the side of the road, outside our town there are little shrines everywhere.

Christian:

I find really endearing.

Christian:

It brings me to a bit of a reflective state, I think.

Christian:

And, uh, thinking about how I got here, my journey as well as my family.

Christian:

And, uh, I, another thing about them is how wonderful they look like on one side, it might not be, the grandest one, you've seen, but it's like personalized to the area.

Christian:

They're a little things that you wouldn't find in anywhere else.

Gaelin:

Yeah, almost every little town has a grotto or a shrine.

Gaelin:

the part of Germany we live in, in Bavaria is very Catholic.

Gaelin:

but a lot of people go to these shrines who knows what their religious affiliation would be.

Gaelin:

They might just want to, say a prayer of thanks or something, but people leave candles.

Gaelin:

it's not something generally that you enter.

Gaelin:

might just be something on the side of the road that has like a, uh, a gate in front of it.

Gaelin:

And you just come with your candle and you just stick it through the gate in there.

Gaelin:

And yeah, they're really beautiful.

Catherine:

Reflection is a good thing no matter what age you are.

Catherine:

I'm glad that you take the opportunity to reflect and on your own journey.

Catherine:

And of course your journey is, is quite different from many journeys of people your age, yet you handle your journey with such positivity and with, kind of

Catherine:

And what you are dealing with.

Catherine:

And so what we're talking about here is your recent diagnosis of glioblastoma.

Catherine:

if we can start with the explanation of what it is,

Christian:

Well, uh, glioblastoma it's a tumor in either your brain or spine.

Christian:

Mine was in the thalmus.

Christian:

It's on the left side of my head and, um, it was a real shock.

Christian:

And to us.

Christian:

But, I think it brought our family closer and, uh, made me re-evaluate life and gave me a better look, outlook on life.

Christian:

I was diagnosed right before my 20 20th birthday.

Christian:

And right now I am 21.

Christian:

So it came to a real shock but I was was happy to get out and be able to celebrate when I was out of the, before I got out of the hospital.

Christian:

Age for me, it did come to a bigger, as a bigger shock than I thought I would've.

Christian:

You don't expect something like this when you're young.

Catherine:

And of course not, of course not.

Catherine:

I'm so sorry for your diagnosis, but I'm very happy that you are in a place where you are so positive and onto your next journey.

Catherine:

Every day, we wake up new journey new day.

Catherine:

And, something about you, Christian.

Catherine:

So You already had a very positive outlook on life.

Catherine:

Your outlook obviously changed because your journey has shifted in a different direction.

Catherine:

I don't want to talk about the physicalities of the disease.

Catherine:

I want to talk about the journey how you inspire how your positive imprints are globally affecting all over the world.

Catherine:

How did you keep yourself positive?

Christian:

My family was, that was the biggest help.

Christian:

They were positive all the way through with it.

Christian:

Uh, when I was in the hospital my mom would come by and bring a breakfast And then after she would leave, my, my father would come for a couple hours after work and I even, even the priests they came by

Christian:

After that it was the community like they brought a basket of little games, like a puzzle for after I had gotten out and a card game, for my mom and I

Christian:

It was very heart warming to see.

Catherine:

When you are going in for chemotherapy, you always ask about other people and you're very concerned about the wellbeing of, of your team.

Catherine:

Christian, is there any, any.

Catherine:

Positive imprint that came upon you during your lifetime or any experience that you really realize that it changed you that helped you with this journey?

Catherine:

Or is, has it been everything put together?

Christian:

It was all together the cumulative effect of everything that my life had been to this point, uh, from my family being my support group through this to, uh, boy Scouts, it helped me, think about stuff

Catherine:

Knowing your experience of support, but also knowing how you are inside and your own reflective being what could you tell somebody who does not have that type of

Christian:

first thing is it does get better.

Christian:

I, at first it was like, now what am I going to do?

Christian:

But I worked it out.

Christian:

This isn't the end.

Christian:

All of this, you will get passed it and, um, yeah, it will get better.

Christian:

And helping others can help yourself.

Catherine:

That's a very profound statement.

Catherine:

Thank you for sharing that.

Catherine:

What are some of the things with helping people that help you?

Christian:

Well, the thing that helps me about helping others is well how happy they are to receive that help.

Catherine:

ah,

Christian:

that's part of what motivates me.

Christian:

It makes me happier in return.

Catherine:

that's such a great outlook.

Catherine:

Thank you, Christian.

Catherine:

Gaelin you being a mom, this was a shock to you.

Catherine:

You have always been one to be out in the field, out in the world, volunteering and always busy in that respect.

Catherine:

And this did not change.

Gaelin:

Well, it actually hasn't been that difficult because Christian is, he's just such an easy going person.

Gaelin:

When Christian was little, he was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, which is in his case, it's NF1.

Gaelin:

Having NF put him at risk for cancer.

Gaelin:

Although it is highly unusual to have brain cancer, especially as a young adult, even with NF, it's not usual at all.

Gaelin:

It's not difficult to stay positive around Christian or with Christian because he's already that way.

Gaelin:

And even with this diagnosis, I'm telling you, he's had three surgeries, radiation, months and months of chemo.

Gaelin:

And even feeling sick, no energy, he's still easygoing.

Gaelin:

He's still happy.

Gaelin:

It actually made, even volunteering or finding things for him to do that were, helpful,

Gaelin:

it made it actually even easier because he needed those things.

Gaelin:

He really needed those because everyone needs a purpose.

Gaelin:

And when there are things that are taken away from you, for instance, driving, school, his job, all of those things and went away overnight.

Gaelin:

Having a new purpose is really, I think what has

Gaelin:

kept him and the rest of the family actively involved and kind of on track.

Gaelin:

He may have this diagnosis, but glioblastoma has not kept him down.

Gaelin:

There are things about it that have affected him, like his short-term memory.

Gaelin:

And maybe if he's tired, you know, finding certain words, but, for the most part, he still has a happy, sunny disposition.

Gaelin:

He wants to help people.

Gaelin:

And it's easy to be involved with somebody and want to do things with someone, especially, your own son when they're that willing to do it.

Gaelin:

And they want to.

Gaelin:

So it just makes it easier.

Gaelin:

You just have to find something positive that you're living for no matter what the circumstances are.

Gaelin:

And I say that now, and I hope to continue to think and say that in the future, because that's how I feel.

Gaelin:

And that's really how Christian feels.

Gaelin:

And so it's not a stretch and it's not difficult to want to do things.

Catherine:

Remarkable.

Catherine:

You're truly, truly inspirational.

Catherine:

The two of you.

Catherine:

And you are blessed to have family support that you do, but that background Christian that's been provided to you by your parents, for you to go out and volunteer.

Catherine:

That in itself, that volunteer work, the helping of the people around the world is helping your journey today.

Catherine:

The positive imprints, what people do for other people, for the planet, for everything else that they're there for forever.

Catherine:

And so you're reaping those benefits of your own positivity

Gaelin:

We have seen that time and time again.

Gaelin:

We have a strong faith in our family and from the many, many people in our lives, friends and family, community who have prayed for Christian have sent messages yourself included.

Gaelin:

Just so many.

Gaelin:

Several months ago he participated in the relay for life.

Gaelin:

That was one fundraising opportunity where we were actually able to see and be around other people for the first time in months.

Gaelin:

it was really amazing.

Gaelin:

If you want to talk about positive imprints, go get involved in relay for life because it was, you know, it, it makes, it just makes you want to do more because everybody's there to make a difference.

Gaelin:

Everybody's there to help find a cure for cancer.

Gaelin:

Everybody's there to make their own positive imprint.

Gaelin:

Christian raised money earlier this year for the glioblastoma foundation and, he volunteers at the USO or on post and all of those things,

Christian:

they have a positive imprint on me

Gaelin:

well, they do, but also on everyone around him.

Gaelin:

I love your, tagline and I love your positive imprint.

Gaelin:

What's YOUR P.I.?, because I hadn't really thought about, the words positive imprint so much before.

Gaelin:

And when you hear that, it makes you think, what is my positive imprint?

Gaelin:

What am I leaving behind?

Gaelin:

What am I doing to make things better?

Gaelin:

So I think that's really important in today's world, everybody can do something, no matter how small.

Gaelin:

It can be something.

Catherine:

I appreciate that.

Catherine:

You both have been extremely inspiring with everything that you have said.

Catherine:

I would like to give you the opportunity to share your last inspiring words here on the show.

Catherine:

So who wants to go first?

Christian:

I'll go first.

Christian:

Stay positive and stay hopeful.

Catherine:

Those are great words.

Catherine:

Thank you, Christian.

Catherine:

. Thank you.

Catherine:

Just so much for sharing your journey.

Christian:

Thank you for having me.

Catherine:

Oh, absolutely.

Gaelin:

I don't have anything profound.

Gaelin:

I really don't.

Gaelin:

, I'm just going to say, I look at him and if I'm looking for inspiring words I'm just going to look at him because that's where I kind of get my inspiration from these days.

Gaelin:

Really.

Catherine:

Oh, that's so sweet.

Catherine:

Gaelin, the journey is an incredible journey your family is on.

Catherine:

you inspire me every day.

Catherine:

I don't go a day without thinking about you.

Christian:

Wow.

Catherine:

ever.

Catherine:

With all of my own issues, Christian your inspiration for me has been incredible for me for my own journey.

Catherine:

And I appreciate you.

Catherine:

So we will end with, as Christian said, stay hopeful and stay positive.

Catherine:

Thank you, Gaelin, Christian for being here on your positive imprint.

Gaelin:

Great.

Gaelin:

Thank you.

Gaelin:

Thank you.

Catherine:

I just love doing this podcast and sharing such inspirational guests with you.

Catherine:

Learn more about Christian's brain tumor from glioblastoma foundation.org.

Catherine:

G L I O b L a S T O M A foundation.org.

Catherine:

Please leave positive reviews and don't forget to hit that download, subscribe, or follow button.

Catherine:

Your positive imprint.

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