Women supposedly speak about 20,000 words per day, a number that is exactly 13,000 more words than the average man speaks during that same day. That means around about 160,000 words are spoken in our office each day by the eight women who are here every day. Another 80,000 are spoken by four other women who are close to me, but are not office mates. So, how in the hell did 12 women speaking a total of 240,000 words per day over a three-week period (which would yield just over 5 million words) keep one single word from getting to me about the fantastically sweet surprise that they, in cahoots with you, delivered to me at lunchtime today.
I knew this was not going to be a typical office lunch today for two reasons: It seemed to be planned days in advance and Rick McKnight, organist and Kiddie clothier extraordinaire, Betsy Covington and Ellen Brooks from the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley and Cyndy Cerbin from the National Infantry Museum were present. We took advantage of this glorious blue-bird-sky day to have lunch outside on the Houlihan’s patio under two large umbrellas. We ordered drinks and food and eloquent Betsy called us to order. She really did! She does that at Rotary every Wednesday and she’s quite good at it.
She said that the assembled group (Julie Chandler, Callie Sprague, Jenn Apffel, Cyndy Cerbin, Ellen Brooks, Rick McKnight, Betsy Covington, Marquette McKnight, Shelley Dean, Helena Coates) had been talking about the concerns I had blogged about — the one about going for treatment at Emory where I wouldn’t be among friends. My greatest fear has been going outside the comfort zone, surrounded by my friends/healthcare professionals here in Columbus. Betsy continued by saying that the group at the table, with some help from our computer consultant, Gerrit DeWitt, had initiated a three-week campaign to gather my army of supporters to send messages of encouragement to be placed in a journal and signatures on a T-shirt so that anyone who saw me coming at Emory would know I was there along with what Sherrie Watkins called my “traveling Verizon network.”
Betsy handed me a gift bag that contained the fruits of all this labor. First, a colorful T-shirt that says “I am strong, hell of a writer, amazing, beloved, mighty warrior, determined, heroic, courageous, prepared for battle, foul-mouthed follower of God! Secondly, a cd from Rick containing an organ-accompanied choral rendition of the poem “Fight the Good Fight.” And, a journal with photographs, handwritten messages and printed emails from dozens of my friends and regular readers of this blog. I’m speechless — but I have managed to cobble this post together to say thanks to these wonderful friends who joined Jill and me for lunch today and the hundreds of others, like you, who read this blog and are following us on our journey.
I expected this post to be the one that let all of you know about my next trip to Emory to set up the SRS, but I am still waiting to hear about the consultation between Drs. Stapleford and Hadjapanayis about the viability of SRS as a treatment for this spinal metastasis of my kidney cancer. Honestly, I know they’re busy up there, but going into a weekend with questions unanswered just sucks. My blood pressure has responded with a predictable upward trend line that I’m beating back into submission with a new medication.
This post is a big ol’ thank you for the This-is-Your-Life moment I had at your hands at lunch today. If this is a taste of what next March 19 at the American Cancer Society’s 2011 Crystal Ball is going to be like, I’m not sure I can take it. People, let me tell you, I’m smiling like Woodstock right now. Getting to feel the love of all the people who love you while you’re still alive and kicking is impossibly wonderful. I’m moved beyond words and Jill and I are most thankful for this gesture of kindness and support.
I’ll post again as soon as I get the call I’m so anxiously awaiting.