Encouraging hope: Meet @lbrockme

Apr 23 8:00am | Teresa, Volunteer Mentor | @hopeful33250 | Comments (28)

Member spotlight: Meet @lbrockme

TERESA: What motivates you to take part in Mayo Clinic Connect?

@lbrockme: My desire to encourage hope in others is what motivates me to be a part of the Mayo Clinic Connect community. As an individual who has dealt with cancer and chronic illnesses myself, as well as in others I have cared for, I know personally how difficult and dark those times can be. I understand how overwhelming and fearful things can feel at times. It can be so empowering and helpful to hear a hope filled sentence or two. That continues to motivate me and it encourages me in my journey with health challenges as well.

TERESA: What about Mayo Clinic Connect makes you feel comfortable to share and to be open with the community?

@lbrockme: The community interaction and the real-life statements just seem to compel you to share, and be just as open as others are. Hearing someone write their concerns and even their unspoken fears is moving. I have learned over the years that the weight of unresolved trauma and crisis is really just emotions and their painful residue from a lack of being heard and empowered in the process. That is a very hard circumstance. Everyone wants to be heard. I hope that I can be someone that makes them feel that they are heard.

TERESA: What support groups do you participate in?

@lbrockme: I participate in the Cancer, Thyroid Cancer, and Kidney Cancer support groups, as well as the Kidney & Bladder support group for chronic kidney disease and the Caregivers support group, right now. I also take part in any conversation when someone @mentions me to bring me into the discussion. 

TERESA: Tell us about a meaningful moment on Mayo Clinic Connect.

@lbrockme: As a crisis and trauma trained chaplain who is also an instructor in crisis and chaplain training, it was especially motivating for me to be able to identify the difficulties individuals experience when facing a new diagnosis, and recognize them as crisis and trauma. My health prevents me from being actively out in the field, but I can hear the escalating emotions in a new post and it is so rewarding to have them message you and share how much better they feel after I have shared just a few words with them, normalizing their responses and encouraging their hope. It is healing for both of us.

Several years ago, I was forced to physically retire from a rewarding position leading a large program serving underserved people in my community when I was diagnosed with a new cancer and a projected long-term recovery. I wondered if my skills would ever be useful again. Would my three different cancers, the resulting kidney failure and heart failure, take away all opportunity to serve others as well? I am so blessed to be a chaplain, to instruct others in how to support those in a crisis and to provide some one-on-one support to people experiencing what I have experienced. Mayo Clinic Connect allows me to do so.

TERESA: What surprised you the most about Mayo Clinic Connect?

@lbrockme: It surprised me that Connect is so simple, making it easy to reach out and support others within a unique community.

TERESA: What energizes you, or how do you find balance in your life?

@lbrockme: My faith is a large part of what helps me balance my life. It brings hope. It energizes me to bring hope to others that are wavering in uncertain times of crisis. Giving back to others and filling them with hope is very valuable to me. That’s why I also enjoy writing and have authored a few books. I am most proud of the self care book, Within the Fire, for first responders and others who serve people in crisis. It is humbling and invigorating to invest in others.

TERESA: Tell us about your favorite pastime or activity.

@lbrockme: My favorite times in life are with my family, especially my grandchildren. I love thinking of creative things that provide learning and fun, teaching them to help others, support each other and be the best “them” possible. For example, during the pandemic when they were out of school for months, I created a Secret Spy Agency… just to keep them busy and connected. I planned weekly tasks that were fun and taught them something, like decoding a secret message through the book on the native “CodeTalkers” . They each got a book and a message in code! Or the time we saved the world from ”no ice” through using our skills to solve the mystery, and the reward was a snow cone machine for each family! Great memories! Great fun! We celebrate each summer with a “Cousin Camp” with all the cousins and lots of fun, crafts and games. Even though I have been told in the past my time was limited, I am making memories and having an impact now in the lives of these children as best I can. I guess it is my legacy.

TERESA: Do you have a favorite quote, life motto or personal mantra?

@lbrockme: Jeremiah 29:11 is my favorite scripture and is the focus I keep… “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord

I believe He does have a plan and I trust Him with it. He’s not running around going “Oh look what she has gotten herself into now, whatever will I do? !” Right? I was told 30 years ago my first cancer was terminal and here I am. God has a plan.

TERESA: What do you appreciate the most in your friends?

@lbrockme: Friends are my family.

It’s hard being a friend when you have a chronic illness, but what came to mind with this question was the experience when my husband and I had COVID. We were very sick and confined to bed, taking turns to go downstairs to get nourishment.

Our friends bought us meals, but most touching was all of their ethnic-family-healing secrets! They would be almost apologetic, but they cared enough to share their family heritage and long time traditions in healing. So touching! That’s friendship!

TERESA: What food can you simply not resist?

@lbrockme: Ice cream. I lived on frozen yogurt for almost 6 months! Cancer has to have some perks! (That’s our inside joke!)

TERESA: What do you love about where you live or vacation?

@lbrockme: I love going places with my husband. Spending time wherever we are. But our favorite is taking a road trip. We have driven across the United States, sometimes even with me still recovering. Times of long conversations, or quiet moments, or singing to the music, looking at the views, just being together or sometimes me dozing off while he drives. They truly have been healing times for me, actually for us both. With illness like cancer, your family struggles just as much as you do, only different.

TERESA: Puppies or kittens?

@lbrockme: Babies!

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Hello @lbrockme and thank you for the opportunity to highlight your experiences in this Mayo Connect Spotlight. I am glad that you have allowed other members of Mayo Connect to get to know you and learn how you have approached your health disorders. As you have expressed your thoughts and feelings regarding your many health issues it is encouraging to all of us!


@lbrockme You are a message of Hope. Thank you for all you do on Connect and for teaching the next generation and generations beyond (your children, your grandchildren) how to care for others.


I love the creativity you bring to your grandchildren (speaking as a grandma whose living room has been transformed into a huge spider web). And very interested to hear about your chaplaincy background, and how you have found a new way to be active. I enjoyed reading your profile!


Good evening @lbrockme......what a friendly introduction to your life. I particularly paid attention to this comment: "........most touching was all of their ethnic-family-healing secrets!' Families can adopt health issues and share healing benefits for generations. I noticed that some of our large Minnesota families have identified a disease that has been handed down many times. On the other hand, I remember my aunts and uncles making recommendations by referring to all the family members who have benefitted from the family med. My father was one of nine, and there were 27 first cousins. Lots of loving care.
Thanks for sharing with us. May you have happiness and the causes of happiness.


Wow, that's quite a life to describe on one page! I can only imagine how much more there is to your story, and I certainly hope it's a much longer developing story. I will definitely check out your book and share it with the two first responders in my family. God bless you!!!


You are so inspiring and upbeat. I love my grandchildren so much and enjoy spending time with them when I can. I don't have much energy so sometimes I just sit there with them. It's a blessing to have them. My grandmother was amazing. We celebrated every birthday and holiday together as a family. I remember her and my grandfather doing things like you mentioned that were just amazing and so much fun. I want to have the energy to do stuff like that with my grandbabies. However I only have one that I see right now because the others are in a different state. We go several times a year but the drive just wears me out. It takes a couple days for me to get to feeling better. But it's so worth it. Life can be hard and depressing. It is hard to find the inspiration to at least try to do normal things. But it's okay. I will get through it. God bless you and keep blessing other people.


Any work to encourage hope is important and wonderful! I struggle with this issue myself. I know that folks who maintain hope do so much better...


@lbrockme Hi! What a most beautiful share, I loved everything u said, I am a caregiver of a daughter awaiting kidney and pancreas transplant, love u believe..you have such courage, may someday I know that courage as I worry about that in helping my daughter, so many patients and caregivers have such amazing courage. I will buy ur book, you encourage such hope, if I never read anything else I am so grateful I read this. Will pray for u, so many blessings, and thank you. Marian


I loved this interview and the upbeat attitude you have in spite of your hardships and trials. All my life, I have been an active, type A optimist, musician, entrepreneur, sober nearly 40 years; a truth seeker, spiritual seeker with many hobbies and interests and a whopping bucket list. All that changed when I became a 24/7 caregiver for my amazing wife of 60 years who suffers from Alzheimer's and psychosis. I still work out an hour a day and perform gospel music in nursing homes, go regularly to Church and Bible study, and have some great flower gardens, and am a competent, committed caregiver, but I am burned out and lacking the mutually loving relationship I enjoyed for so long, and Mindy, my wonderful little dog passed away last week from heart failure. I am grieving deeply for her, beyond anything that would seem normal. My heart is broken.


@lbrockme I just love your ‘spotlight.’ You remind me so much of the chaplains we had when I was working. What a difference they made! I was so glad to see that you also visit the caregiving support group. There is a lot of need there.
I wish you all the best with your health! Becky

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