Archive for October, 2006

Elementary School Bans Tag

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

Tag, You’re Out! 

And so our lawsuit-happy society continues the bastardization of childhood. Tell me, how many kids do you know who were sent to the hospital from an innocent game of tag?

Recess is “a time when accidents can happen,” said Willett Elementary School Principal Gaylene Heppe, who approved the ban.

Even with my extreme clumsiness, the worst I’ve gotten were skinned knees – nothing a Band-Aid or antibacterial ointment couldn’t fix.

Well, then, while we’re at it, why don’t we ban baseball? Or only play with a styrofoam bat and a Koosh ball… on a padded surface, of course. Why not ban Barbies? Someone may get an eye poked out with her pointy legs or choke on her hair comb. Why not bad hand games, like “Miss Mary Mack”? If someone gets slapped too hard, it’s possible grounds for harrassment. And, above all, why not ban books? Someone may get a papercut that gets infected, subsequently getting gangrene and requiring complete amputation of the finger.

While I continue to lament today’s children, read what someone sent me a few weeks ago:

Resignation from Adulthood

“I am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult. I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of an 8 year-old again.

I want to go to McDonald’s and think that it’s a four star restaurant.

I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make a sidewalk with rocks.

I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them.

I want to lie under a big oak tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer’s day.

I want to return to a time when life was simple, when all you knew were colors, multiplication tables, and nursery rhymes, but that didn’t bother you, because you didn’t know what you didn’t know and you didn’t care. All you knew was to be happy because you were blissfully unaware of all the things that should make you worried or upset.

I want to think the world is fair. That everyone is honest and good.

I want to believe that anything is possible.

I want to be oblivious to the complexities of life and be overly excited by the little things again.

I want to live simple again.

I don’t want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive more days in the month than there is money in the bank, doctor bills, gossip, illness, and loss of loved ones.

I want to believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, the imagination, mankind, and making angels in the snow.

So… here’s my checkbook and my car keys, my credit card bills and my 401K statements. I am officially resigning from adulthood.

And if you want to discuss this further, you’ll have to catch me first, ’cause…

… Tag! You’re it.”

Light The Night Walk

Sunday, October 8th, 2006

Last night was the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night. It was the first one I participated in since being diagnosed with lymphoma… last year I was too weak to walk even a block, let alone a mile. I had a whole bunch of friends and family walk with me, and together, we raised about $2,600 for the society. It ended with the most amazing fireworks I have ever seen.We also wore team t-shirts with a jack-o-lantern on the front and “Squash Lymphoma” on the back, harking back to last Halloween, when I had painted my chemo-bald head orange, glued on a stem to the top, and went to my oncology appointment dressed up as pumpkin.

I had gotten a fever that Halloween, all though I was feeling fine. However, having a fever while I had cancer meant one thing – a blood transfusion. Two pints, to be exact. While I was being transfused in the outpatient hematology center, I met a girl named Sara. She was a few years older than me, but had just gotten diagnosed with the same exact lymphoma. She was also starting her chemotherapy treatments just as I was finishing mine.

We talked for a while and I told her my story. We also exchanged contact information, and I told her to call me if she had any questions or needed to vent, because I knew what she was going through. We saw each other time to time in the hospital, but around December, I didn’t see her anymore. I e-mailed her, but never received a response back. I let it go, figuring she didn’t want to talk – sometimes you just want to be left alone when you’re sick. About a month after, I asked one of the nurses how she was doing, and she told me that she had stopped going to that particular hospital. I never heard from her again.

I always wondered what happened to Sara. Last night, I found out. Before the walk started, I was walking by the memory banner, where people write names of people who had died of leukemia and lymphoma. I saw her name. I must have made a face, because one of the volunteers asked if I was all right. I burst out crying and blubbered something about knowing her and that she had the same exact cancer as me. The volunteer took my hand and said, “Honey, sometimes people do die of this. You were lucky. You’re a survivor.”

All the feelings of invincibility I once had had just washed away at that point. It suddenly made cancer very, very real to me. People could die from this. Why didn’t it feel this real when I was actually sick? It felt like a punch to the gut.

Yes, I am lucky. I went into remission quickly and kicked cancer’s ass. I’m also lucky that almost all of the people close to me who’ve had cancer also survived. I always knew I was going to be all right. And since I knew I was going to be all right, it just felt like everyone else was going to be all right, as well.

As we walked last night, I saw Sara’s family. I ran over to them to give my condolences, and her mother just hugged me tight and cried.

I don’t even know what to think and feel anymore. I just want to go outside, scream at the top of my lungs and make all the sadness and anger go away. I want to stop thinking of what could have been, what should have been, and why it always happens to good people. This is the first time I’ve gotten exteremely upset over this. CANCER, YOU %$#!ING SUCK.

Rest in peace, Sara.