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It's Good to See You

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  • It's Good to See You

    I’m extremely sad to report that today the therapy community has lost a true beacon. Our friend, Jon Newman, succumbed to cancer early this morning.

    It was Jon’s wish that his battle would not be common knowledge so that he could continue to contribute normally, which he did up to this week, adding his extremely valuable insight as was his way. His wife, Michelle, who several of us have also had the pleasure of meeting, informed us of Jon’s state yesterday and of his passing this morning. He had apparently been fighting this battle for some time and when things turned bad on Monday he declined quickly.

    We invite you to contribute your thoughts as we remember our dear friend and the many wonderful contributions that he has left with us.
    Cory Blickenstaff, PT, OCS

    Pain Science and Sensibility Podcast
    Leaps and Bounds Blog
    My youtube channel

  • #2
    I am stunned and saddened by this news.

    I enjoyed Jons posts and his often quirky perspective, I will miss him.

    Can you pass on my condolences to his family Cory.

    Fare well Jon.


    "Here is Edward Bear coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it." A.A. Milne


    • #3
      Thank you for starting this thread Cory.
      I would like to explain its title: Jon and I would correspond by email once in awhile, over the years. I met Jon and his wife in person when they traveled to BC so Jon could attend Barrett's class in Nanaimo. At the time he was enchanted by gapingvoid art, and brought tee-shirt presents for people he knew from being online. The one he brought me says:
      "I can't take this shit anymore!" he said, mistakenly.
      Jon thought this was absolutely hilarious.

      Here is a conversation we had last fall, and, as it turned out, the last private conversation we would have:
      Me: (9/17/11)
      Been thinking about you lately. How's it going?
      Hi Diane,

      Thanks for thinking about me. I just got home last night from a camping
      vacation with Michelle. I had very sporadic internet access and just decided to give SS a break from me and for me to take a break from SS.

      Anything new happening with you or SS?

      Hi Jon,
      No, same old stuff on SS. The lions chase the hyenas, and the hyenas taunt the lions. We had a big bout of that lately, with the xxxxx crowd as opposed to the xxxxx crowd, related to Facebook links. I uploaded a DNM slideshow and they all seemed to disappear again. The two events are temporally correlated but may have absolutely nothing to do with each other in terms of cause/effect - maybe they left just because it's the weekend.

      Where did you go on vacation? And did you have a wonderful time, or get rained/hurricaned on?
      We toured a bunch of national parks out west. The weather was mostly good.
      It was hotter than expected for the first half. I'd count the experience as a wonderful time. We saw lots of cool wildlife. And I've never been much of a camper so I had novelty injected into my life.

      I'll start posting at SS again soon I'm sure.

      I might meet up with Bob Johnson of NOI next weekend. My friend that is sponsoring the NOI course invited me to supper with he and Bob.


      Look forward to hearing from you once again. The place just isn't the same without your terse and incredibly boundaried comments.
      How is your health these days?
      Well on a positive note, I'm healthy enough to get a discount on my health
      insurance. On a negative note, I have mets to my lungs and spine. It doesn't look good. But I'm as well as usual at this point. "Luckily" Michelle and I have had enough dress rehearsals to negotiate much of this territory.

      I'm still working my regular hours (when I'm not on vacation) and doing my
      regular job description. I plan to stop when I start to get more patienty than my patients.

      I've had a lot of interesting and unpleasant experiences. I like to think that I've endured them as well as I have in part due to stuff I've learned participating in the discussion forums.
      OK, I really appreciate your frankness. I always think about you, even if I don't say very much. I can't do anything, but I'm here. Sort of. Virtually at least.

      What does "as well as usual" mean? Are you back at work these days?
      I started vacation two weeks ago and I've got one more week to go and then
      I'll return to work. I had been working by regular hours before my vacation and plan to return to them next week. This is the longest vacation I've taken since being a PT.

      "As well as usual" doesn't have any hidden meaning really. It just means that while I'm not healthy, I'm well--however that's determined. I feel similar to how I recall feeling prior to my diagnosis for the most part although I don't pursue my sports hobbies like I used to.

      I appreciate your correspondence and support.

      Here's a pic of Michelle and I at 10,450 feet in the Tetons.

      Nice picture! Beautiful.
      Sounds like you are healthy, if "healthy" means feeling good to go, beyond diagnostics. Sort of the way people can have cuff tears and frayed joint capsules and discs, etc, yet not have pain.
      I look forward to seeing you around and about again, virtually.
      Yes, I struggle with definitions (as a general rule-ha ha) of "healthy",
      "well", etc. So does society apparently. I wasn't kidding about getting a discount on my health insurance. The measures they cared about didn't capture the reality of my burden on the health care system.

      Barrett's criticism about asking the question "How are you?" to patients brings this sort of thing out very well. I've encouraged my co-workers to greet me with "It's good to see you" instead so as to avoid awkwardness in trying to respond. My oncology care givers haven't adopted the convention unfortunately.

      See you at SS.

      ps We took the tram up to that elevation but I think we could have done the hike had we arrived earlier in the day than we did.
      That was the last time we had any contact other than here at SS.

      I'll always remember Jon's helpfulness - he helped me with the first draft of my manual in 2007, in his usual Socratic way of asking detailed questions. He was a great moderator in the early days, before he chose to reduce his online presence. He came up with several good solid ideas to enhance the forum, like having the welcome forum, the study and social groups, the moderators' consensus on pain. Good and solid ideas, just like Jon, the guy. Just like Jon, the PT. Talk about a gaping void. I've been feeling it all day.

      Good bye Jon. "It's good to see you" every time I see one of your posts - I'm glad they will always be here. Jon's last post.
      Last edited by Diane; 09-03-2012, 03:15 AM.
      HumanAntiGravitySuit blog
      Neurotonics PT Teamblog
      Canadian Physiotherapy Pain Science Division (Archived newsletters, paincasts)
      Canadian Physiotherapy Association Pain Science Division Facebook page
      WCPT PhysiotherapyPainNetwork on Facebook
      Neuroscience and Pain Science for Manual PTs Facebook page

      SomaSimple on Facebook

      "Rene Descartes was very very smart, but as it turned out, he was wrong." ~Lorimer Moseley

      “Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” ~Charles Prestwich Scott, nephew of founder and editor (1872-1929) of The Guardian , in a 1921 Centenary editorial

      “If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you, but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." ~Don Marquis

      "In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists" ~Roland Barth

      "Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."~Voltaire


      • #4
        I am very sorry to hear this and my condolences to the Newmans. I had the pleasure of recently working with Jon (and a couple of others whom are here) on the development of a study which I believe will bring attention to a lack of pain science knowledge amongst health professionals. His input in this will be acknowledged and we will continue to work on this in his spirit.
        Joseph Brence, DPT, FAAOMPT, COMT, DAC
        "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds" - Albert Einstein


        • #5
          My condolences to all who knew him and will miss him.

          I like the greeting, "It's good to see you." I'll remember that.


          • #6
            I have been in shock since I found out on facebook today. I never met Jon but I had some PM's with him and of course read countless posts that he has made.

            Here is a sample of what he said to me in a PM. And it was timely for me so his thoughtfulness was just another great part of who he was.

            I'm glad you're at SS and think you make valuable contributions. Keep it up.

            I don't think you ever get to the point where you end up feeling like you know what's going on. I just read a bunch of stuff that forces me to reconsider some positions I've held. I don't think it ever ends until it ends.
            I am really sad that it ended today. Jon made a huge impact here with 9,004 posts. And that now lives on as long as SS is online. His avatar is now immortalized and I am sure that was a choice he was making since it changed just recently.

            Cory please give my regards to the family.
            Byron Selorme -SomaSimpleton and Science Based Yoga Educator
            Shavasana Yoga Center

            "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool" Richard Feynman


            • #7
              I knew he was in for a "bit of trouble" last year but he was optimistic and cheerful in several PMs we shared.
              I first met him and Michelle in Vancouver in 2005, he was almost exactly how I had pictured him to be from his posts on RE and later, on SS. Something about his tenor online formed a good virtual image for me.

              I also 'earned' a T-shirt with the same slogan as Diane mentioned. It was a classic. After Barrett's class in Nanaimo we sported Jon's Tshirts and Barrett's Cuyahoga Falls caps.

              He will be much missed.



              • #8
                I don't have a lot to say, words fail me today.

                I know it was sometimes Jon's perception that he wasn't making himself understood. I always admired this humble quality of his character for in truth, few people could express themselves more clearly or with greater patience. Always forging into new territory if there was ever a lack of understanding, it was in the rest of us being slow to catch on.

                Jon has left us the legacy of his words; the ability of those words to inspire thought, reflection and to promote understanding. I am a better person for having known Jon. I will miss him.

                It was good to have seen you Jon.
                Eric Matheson, PT


                • #9
                  My sincere condolences to his family.

                  His contributions here were very much appreciated and I will miss his presence and insight.

                  Blog: Keith's Korner
                  Twitter: @18mmPT


                  • #10
                    Terrible news, I've enjoyed Jon's posts here at SS. The PT community has lost a good advocate and incredible thinker. I wish his family the best.



                    • #11
                      Some musicians are so good, they make everyone in the band play and sound better.

                      The threads won't be the same without him.

                      My sincere condolences to his wife, family and friends.
                      Carol Lynn Chevrier LMT
                      " The truth is, people may see things differently. But they don't really want to. '' Don Draper.


                      • #12
                        Perhaps that's what I feel, an outside and an inside and me in the middle, perhaps that's what I am, the thing that divides the world in two, on the one side the outside, on the other the inside, that can be as thin as foil, I'm neither one side nor the other, I'm in the middle, I'm the partition, I've two surfaces and no thickness, perhaps that's what I feel, myself vibrating, I'm the tympanum, on the one hand the mind, on the other the world, I don't belong to either. -- Samuel Beckett
                        Jon was the tympanum of SomaSimple. At times his "vibrations" annoyed me. But, his equanimity of thought and manner invariably brought my thinking into sharper focus.

                        As others have said or alluded, he was one of those rare people who made you better.
                        John Ware, PT
                        Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists
                        "Nothing can bring a man peace but the triumph of principles." -R.W. Emerson
                        “If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot
                        be carried on to success.” -The Analects of Confucius, Book 13, Verse 3


                        • #13
                          This is really sad.

                          Jon is sure in a better place.
                          Last edited by anoopbal; 09-03-2012, 04:34 AM.
                          Anoop Balachandran
                          EXERCISE BIOLOGY - The Science of Exercise & Nutrition


                          • #14
                            Jon Newman was one of the most intelligent, thoughtful, and patient people I have ever known. I'm sad I never got to meet him in person but mostly...I'm just sad.

                            Jon was the one, probably more than anyone else, who brought me "across the chasm" into critical thinking about modern therapy practice and how the insights of neuroscience and pain physiology should change the therapy culture. Like many people, I responded to a challenge of my dearly held notions as a personal attack, and became defensive, sarcastic, and a bit rude. No matter how poorly I argued, Jon responded with patience, clearly articulated intelligent thoughts, and empathy. A true scholar in every sense of the word. I didn't deserve to interact with someone so gracious. I wouldn't be here at SomaSimple if it weren't for Jon Newman. He has been a teacher of mine, an example to emulate, and a friend for nearly 10 years. I will miss him so much.

                            Rest in peace, Jon.

                            [From my iPhone, please excuse typing]
                            Jason Silvernail DPT, DSc, FAAOMPT
                            Board-Certified in Orthopedic Physical Therapy
                            Fellowship-Trained in Orthopedic Manual Therapy

                            Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

                            The views expressed in this entry are those of the author alone and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the US Government.


                            • #15
                              It is hard.
                              The only thing that comes to mind is:

                              Jon is the break, the pause in the music that gives it its power and soul.

                              My sincerest condolences to his family.
                              We don't see things as they are, we see things as WE are - Anais Nin

                              I suppose it's easier to believe something than it is to understand it.
                              Cmdr. Chris Hadfield on rise of poor / pseudo science

                              Pain is a conscious correlate of the implicit perception of threat to body tissue - Lorimer Moseley

                              We don't need a body to feel a body. Ronald Melzack