Eight Years

It’s almost July. That means it’s almost time for the hummingbirds to come back. It’s almost time for our vacation to northern California where, please God, make it not be 90+ degrees everyday. And, almost July means almost 8 years that I’ve been free of cancer.

When I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in January 2002, I had just started a new job at one of the largest and most well-respected ad agencies in the southeast. But  here I was taking off all these sick days for biopsies and scans and tests. When the diagnosis came, it was good news, and bad news.

Good news, you’ve got the cancer we know how to fix.

Bad news, you’ve got six months of intense chemotherapy that’s going to make you feel like hell and make you dumber than a BP oil exec.

Oh, and you’re going to lose your hair too.

When my new coworkers found out, they weren’t sure how to react. I hardly even knew the ones outside of the creative department. But they got together and planned a  hat party for me. Everyone brought me a different chapeau and I drove home that night with more than 50 hats crammed in my trunk and piled high on the back seat.

I’ve given most of them away to other hairless folks in past few years. But I kept one and ran across it the other day.

Everybody there signed it. Friend Gregg is right on the brim, with another message underneath. (He always has a lot to say.) My little cousin’s signature is on the other side. Some of the names are faded, and I hate to say that there are some names I can’t put faces to. And some are the names of women I really didn’t know well at all then, but are my wonderful  friends today–Janine, Penny, Karen, Kimmer and Kathleen.

The hat party was a wonderful gesture and I’m glad I found this reminder of that event and of all the people who contributed.

If I didn’t say it then, thank you.


Filed under Cancer

18 responses to “Eight Years

  1. This is a tough post to comment on but its a great story to share.

    So thank you for sharing and here’s to many, many more years!


  2. j9

    It’s hard to believe that was eight years ago. I am honored to be your friend — back then, and even more so now. Congrats my friend.

  3. A hat party strikes me as being just the perfect balance between caring and humour.

    I raise my glass of chilled white to a survivor.

  4. Congratulations on the 8-year-anniversary. You deserve some place cool and lovely to celebrate.

    The hat party… how incredibly upbeat and thoughtful!

    Do you blog in California? Take the camera!

    Have a wonderful time!

  5. What a lovely gesture. People will generally disappoint me with their selfish behavior but once in a while I see something like this and my faith in humanity is restored.

    Happy anniversary.

  6. Congratulations on your 8 Year Anniversary! Every year is a triumph.

    I followed the bunny trail over from merrilymarylee’s blog and, lo!, a new favorite…and in Franklin! My son and DIL live in Smyrna (now; previously, my son lived in Brentwood) and work in Nashville. I’m always so pleased to find folks in that area. I’ll be by to visit your blog often and, perhaps, hope to meet you someday when I’m visiting TN.

  7. older Sister

    Congrats – glad we were able to celebrate the end of your chemo + other milestones with our trip to Paris – will never forget what a great time we had. Love you! Older Sister

  8. mother

    It was a bad day in February eight years ago when you and your brother both were diagnosed with cancer (his was prostate) but after chemo for you and surgery for him – you both seem in excellent health. Cindy kept us all upbeat with her e-mails following each chemo treatment – like ‘it’s hard to put on makeup when you dont know where your face ends!’
    she really should publish them!!

  9. Congrats! And what a thoughtful gesture by your co-workers.

  10. Beth–Thank you, thank you! Watching Wimbledon now, so cheers to England!
    J9–Back at you!
    PG–I hope we can lift that glass together some day!
    MM–Will definitely have the camera. The house where we’re staying is smack dab in the middle of redwoods–amazing!
    UB–Thank you. And before you think too fondly of them, they laid me off three years later. (But they were great to me while I was sick.)
    Nance–Thanks for visiting Franklin. Let me know when you’re in the area –iamhereinfranklin@gmail.com–we can definitely meet.
    Sister–That was a GREAT trip. I still laugh at the thought of my cheese flying out the window!
    Mother–We are both well–thanks to a lot of help from our families!
    Sarah–It was a great gesture, and thank you. The chemo seemed never-ending, but I got through it.

  11. Congrats on being cancer-free! Having lived with cancer (vHL) since ’84 and having had 11 surgeries I know the road you traveled. Mine doesn’t respond to chemo or radiation, just surgery to remove the tumors and cysts when they become troublesome. Which is why I’m looking forward to a kidney transplant…

    I love to hear stories like yours. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Niece Whit

    I love what Kimmer wrote, “Go Vols!”

    Here’s to 8 more!!!! 🙂

  13. This chokes me up. xx. ps – I really do have a chilled glass of white right here. I’m clinking glasses with all the gals.

  14. Suzette

    I love your blog and congrats on the 8 yrs.!

  15. Currier

    brought tears to my eyes… I loved that party. so glad you are alive and kickin’ and cancer free for eight years! woo hoo!

  16. Julie

    How time flies when you’re having fun! You obviously always did know the secret to getting through the bad stuff–just keep on keeping on and laugh yourself silly. My father could do it so well (taught me a lot), and you’re a master.

  17. I just signed it with my brain. Do you see it on there? No? Damn.

  18. yeah, mines there too. All swirly and curly with a heart above the ‘i’. xoxo.

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