Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Gilda's Club and 'Stand Up To Cancer!'

Sometimes on this cancer journey, I get doses of perspective. Other times, I get bucket loads. Lately, it's been the latter.

Yesterday evening, we started Kids Support classes at Gilda's Club. We've embarked on a 10-week journey of two groups, one with kids and the other with adults, both led by facilitators. The groups, in their own way, will learn how to process the cancer monster. So far, I have nothing but great things to say about the people at Gilda's Club who are helping my wife and many other people.

Last night, the adults introduced themselves and the kids had a talent show. I've never been prouder of Dori - she said it all so well. We learned what others have experienced or are experiencing as families. The list is ominous - a male colon cancer survivor of six years, two young women in the middle of chemo for breast cancer, the parent of a young AML survivor and others. The most emotional part of the evening was hearing from two parents who just learned their young daughter's brain cancer may have returned. As they cried, others followed. In a nearby room, a Bereavement class for children was underway.

None of this got us down, but it touched Dori and me, as you can imagine. We believe you have to face cancer square on and keep those gutters clear, as I mentioned recently. It's the reason we're investing our time, and our children's, in this class. I expect we'll experience the gamut of emotions - joy, pain, laughter and sorrow - but the goal is to emerge fully equipped to combat the Beast.

I've had a George Bailey moment or two this week - imagining what life would be like without me here. "It's a Wonderful Life," sappy as that movie is, always gets to me, never more so than in recent years. I'll just summarize that I like being here and am grateful for all of my family. My beautiful wife told me tonight how proud she is of me. It feels really, really good to hear your spouse say those words. There have been times when I deserved a dressing down or two, and she chose not to go there. Now, I get to hear her sweet words and share them with people who can identify. What a gift!

I was glad to see the following in my inbox today from the Kanzius research folks (I plan to watch):

"Don't miss the big "Stand Up To Cancer" Telethon Friday night, September 5th at 8:00 p.m. EST on all three major networks: NBC, CBS and ABC! The three major news anchors Katie Couric, Brian Williams and Charles Gibson will team up for one evening to focus on the latest in
cancer research and treatment. To read more about this event, go to and click on the header in Breaking News. The anchors and their guests will be encouraging donations in many ways ... and we hope your choice will be the Kanzius Radio Wave Treatment. You can donate online at or by mail. ... ."

This morning's six-mile run was pretty bad. I wasn't thrilled about the effort or result, but as the day wore on I settled on two things: It's not that big a deal and I get to try again tomorrow, which I will do. Dori nailed another two-miler today, by the way. Wonder when she starts her 5K training?


ChuckEastNashville said...

Jim, if you get the chance Saturday morning please drop by Centennial Park. There is a 5K race: Saturday, September 6
Great Prostate Challenge 5K Run/Walk and 1 Mile Walk
7:30 AM, Centennial Park, Nashville, TN

Glad you also attended our party last Saturday.

PJ said...

"It's not that big a deal and I get to try again tomorrow." Good mantra, Jim. I'll keep it in mind.

Ronni Gordon said...

Funny how on some runs you just glide along, and on other runs you struggle. Same kind of goes for writing. I guess we just need to remember that ups and downs are normal.

Jim said...

PJ and Ronni,

An even keel helps us through so much, don't you think? I love your blogs (PJ, your new one and yours too very much, Ronni). Good stuff.