Skillz that healz

Okay peeps, here’s the thing. The real thing, not the made up thing. Since January I’ve been having chemotherapy for a (possibly) aggressive cancer that we found last fall because I actually took a warning sign seriously. I apologize if some of you didn’t know this and had to find out in a newspaper column, but if you’ve seen me lately, the lack of hair is a definite clue.

The first thing I have to say about this is that I have the best family and friends in the entire world, and I could not be doing this without them. They feed me, they make me hats, they put up with bad moods, they take care of me when I’m sick, they listen to my rants about health care, they drive me to class, they send me awesome cards. Y’all know you’re the BEST, right??

The second thing I have to say is that chemotherapy is not for sissies. Lord, Mr. Ford, I don’t know anybody I’d wish it on. You poison yourself every three weeks. Your taste buds die off, your hair falls out, and you’ve been given huge doses of steroids, so you’re like a rabid badger with a stomachache. In my case, you also look like the love child of Dr. Evil and Gollum.

Being bald is actually kind of cool, I’m not gonna lie. You wouldn’t believe how easy it makes getting dressed in the morning, and I had wash-and-go hair anyway. This is polish-the-head-and-go. I do own a wig, and today I nearly caused an accident on I-77 when I ripped it off while passing a car. I didn’t mean to startle anyone, but wigs are itchy.

You’re probably going to have to hear more about this, because there is so much that is hilarious about having cancer treatment. (And it might as well be funny, because it’s going to happen, and if you can’t laugh at least a little bit, you are going to be really miserable. Did I mention the bone pain? No? That’s because I blocked it out. The first time it happened, I thought I’d sprained everything. Turns out it was just chemotherapy, the gift that keeps on giving. The list of side-effects reads like a hypochondriac’s Christmas catalog.)

Anyway, I’m going public about this now because this weekend my precious family is running the Smith Mountain Lake Sprint Triathlon as part of DetermiNation. They are running in honor of me, which makes me tear up a little, but they are also running in order to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Their team is called Skillz that Healz because our son-in-law Jeff has been on intramural teams at James Madison University for years on a team called, yes, Skillz that Killz. Take that, Dodgeball fans. We decided that wouldn’t be a very good name for a cancer fundraiser, so we changed it up a little.

If you would like to support Skillz that Healz, you can do that by going to this website http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?fr_id=89426&pg=team&team_id=2306735 and clicking on the team. If that’s too hard to type correctly, just go to Google and type “American Cancer Society DetermiNation Skillz” and the page will come up. You’ll also get to see why I said that about Dr. Evil and Gollum, but that’s just a sideshow. The American Cancer Society gets all the proceeds, the fam gets to race for bragging rights, and we’re closer to a time when this disease is not a big deal.

For the record, by way of closing, my prognosis is good, I’m almost finished with chemotherapy, and I found out Monday that I don’t have to have radiation therapy, which made me do the happy dance. It’s hard not to do the happy dance anyway, with so many hands helping and holding mine. So even if you can’t support Skillz, support your local cancer patients. There are so many. Hold their hands, send them cards, make them laugh, bring them ice cream (because the dead taste buds like ice cream). As one of this precious army of people said to me not long ago, “No one fights cancer alone.”

Let’s do this!

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