Kenny’s Race Report: 2008 Kokopelli Trail Race

05.20.2008 | 5:48 am

A Jersey-Related Note From Fatty: I can’t believe all the jerseys (except a few Women’s Med and Large sizes) have already sold out. [Update: all women's jerseys are now gone.] That’s an incredible show of support from the Friends of Fatty. Thank you so much. I’m going to try to talk with Twin Six today about when we might be able to get more — maybe a re-order of this design, or maybe a Fat Cyclist Fall / Winter 2008 design. I’ll let you know as soon as I know.

A Note About Kenny’s Race Report: Last Friday night at Midnight, the annual Kokopelli Trail Ride / Race began (you can read my writeup of last year’s race beginning here.) With everything going on, I couldn’t do it this year, but that didn’t stop me from wondering all Friday night and Saturday how Kenny was doing.

Well, he did pretty darned well. Here’s his report.

Preparation and Goals
A big part of a race like the Kokopelli is in the preparation.  What to carry?  Which gear ratio?  What tires to run? Which lighting and battery system to use? When to filter water and how much water to carry?  What and when to eat?  These are all relevant to your finish, maybe even more so then your physical fitness.  I had attempted this race twice before, with one success and one failure.  Much of these questions are answered only by experience.  It’s hard to copy an endurance racers keys to success, because everyone’s bodies react so differently under stress.

Having finished this race last year with a pretty good time, my main goal this year was to improve on that time.

I also had a few side goals.

I wanted to finish feeling good.  When I do these races, I either finish feeling euphoric or nauseated. If it’s the latter, then I know that I should have done something different that could have better my time.  I’ve recently been considering entering some multi day races, and if I felt good at the end, it could help me decide if that is in my future.

I think this goal should go without saying, but I wanted to keep the rubber side down.  After last year’s unfortunate events [See here and here for what Kenny's talking about. - Fatty], it’s my new creed.  Plus if I end up in the hospital again, my wife will kill me. Actually, my wife’s been super supportive, but if I get injured again, I’ll need to rethink some of my life choices — and I’m not ready to do that.

Where Is Everyone?
At the start, I noticed how diminished the numbers were this year.  I guess the BLM did their job by squashing what I think is one of the premier events of the year.  It wasn’t more than a half an hour into this race that I was riding by myself.

I would ride alone for the rest of the race.

During the night hours (the race starts at midnight), I would look back and occasionally see some light in the distance.  One racer caught up to me at the first stream where I was filtering, but I didn’t see him or any other racer the whole time I was actually riding.

I really enjoyed the solitude.

I was trying to stay alert, but because it was in the middle of the night, my mind would go into a daydream-like state. I started fantasizing that I was one of only a few survivors in a post apocalyptic world.  In this world, endurance cyclists where given the task of biking to and from each small community of survivors.

I felt like I had become a postmodern Kokopelli.

I would also get a song or two stuck in my head.  Because I’m so bad at remembering lyrics, I would only get a phrase or a partial phrase stuck in my head, which would play in an obnoxious loop over and over until I would block it out, by fantasizing again that I was the Kokopelli.

It’s always an amazing feeling when dawn comes.  I wasn’t wearing a watch, so I don’t know what time it was when it started getting light.  I was still feeling great and got a huge burst of energy when I reached the top of the last big climb.  It’s called “the top of the world” and I looked east out at the snow covered LaSalle mountain range, just as the sun peaked over the top.  How could I have been so lucky to have been there just at that amazing moment in time?

The descent down to Dewey Bridge was fast and cold.  I stopped to filter water at a small stream a few miles from the bottom.  The stream was shallow and not very good for filtering.  It was hard to find a deep enough spot to keep the hose from sucking up sand.  That stream was a lot deeper last year.  I guess the runoff is a little late this year.  I finished up just as another racer pulled up and got busy filtering.

When I got to the bottom it was sad to see the empty loose suspension cables hanging from the iron beams which had once held up the historic Dewey Bridge.  My spirits were lifted with the realization that I had already done nearly all the hard climbs.

Hard Choices
The next big section is pretty flat and bleak.  I just shut off my brain, put my head down and hammered for about a 2 or 3 hours.  When I snapped out of the zone, I was in the hot desert sun which had raised the temperature by about a zillion.

As I approached Westwater, which is about 2/3 the distance (right around 100 miles of the 142-mile trail), I had a choice to make.  I could go off course about a mile and refill my water supply, or I could keep going and see if I could finish faster, therefore missing the heat of the day and using less water to get there.

I chose to continue, which turned out to be a mistake.  I ran out of water at mile 120 of a 145 mile race.

So, I had another choice to make: I could disqualify myself by asking some campers at rabbit valley for water or I could try to make it to mile 135, where I could filter water from Salt Creek.

I kept going; at this point I was still feeling really good and felt like I could do 15 miles without water.

It turns out that the desert is hot.

By the time I got to Salt Creek, I was hammered and maybe not thinking too clearly.  I filtered what I thought I would need to get me to the finish.

My filter was not working all that good in the muddy water, though, and I underestimated how long it would take me to do 10 miles of very technical singletrack in my condition.  The problem was that I had to walk a lot of the climbs and whenever I got off the bike I didn’t have the wind to cool me off.

With 5 miles to go, I ran out of water again.

I was on a trail called Mary’s loop, I knew I only had about 10 to 20 minutes to go, but I kept cursing Mary and her stupid loop.  Why had she made the trail around so many bends that all looked the same?

I finally did find the end of the trail and climbed the last rise and down to the parking lot.


I had met my goal of besting my last year’s time only by minutes and it was good enough that day for the win. My time was 14 hours and 56 minutes.

I did however finish nauseated and hopefully learned from my mistakes.

It was an overwhelming success.  I experienced nearly every emotion known to man in one long day.  I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Miscellaneous Thoughts
Here are a few things that I loved having on this ride.

  • My new Spot brand bike, which all my friends have deemed “sans belt,” because I haven’t got the belt yet.  The cool thing is you can run it with a belt or a chain.  This bike is how I would build a bike if I were a bike builder.
  • My Manitou minute suspension fork, that arrived only hours before I left for the race. It was 100mm of plush goodness with a solid lock out for climbing.
  • My Garmin etrex GPS, which took away any doubt that I was on course.
  • My NiteRiderLED MiNewt, which weighs exactly zero, fits easily on the handle bar and lasts 7 hours on a very bright low setting.
  • Oh…, and my new Oakley’s that kept me from looking like the shop teacher.



New Fat Cyclist Jerseys: Sold Out in One Day

05.19.2008 | 8:53 am

Final Jersey Update: All jerseys, all sizes, are now sold out.

A Note from Fatty: I’ll update today’s post as events warrant.

UPDATE 1: Just saw the Twin Six Home Page, featuring the pink Fat Cyclist jersey front and center. Wow. I’ve updated text and links.

Update 2: Men’s pink jerseys are gone. They lasted eight minutes. Wow.

Update 3: Now I know what the special projects are: men’s and women’s t-shirts in pink, and Fat Cyclist pint glasses, with 100% of the profit from all of these things going to the WIN Susan fund. Very cool. Read more below.

Update 4: Men’s size Small is out. I find it very ironic that the first size to sell out in a Fat Cyclist jersey is size Small.

Update 5: Men’s size Medium is out. And we’re 3/4 of the way through the entire Fat Cyclist jersey inventory for the year…in the first day they’re available. Thanks very very very much for your support!

Update 6: At this point, it’s easier to say what’s in than what’s out, jersey-wise. Here’s what’s still available:

  • Men’s: Large and XXL (just a few of the XXL; if you plan to get one, you probably shouldn’t wait)
  • Women’s: Small (just a few), Medium, Large, XL (just a few) — if you want a Small or XL, you shouldn’t wait.

So…ummm…I’m beginning to think maybe I should have ordered more if I wanted to have some for sale through the Christmas season.

Update 7: Well, it’s a good thing I don’t do inventory requirement forecasting for a living. Because here’s the status of the Fat Cyclist jersey inventory, less than a day after the months-long wait for these jerseys was over:

  • Men’s: Out. All sizes, all colors.
  • Women’s: There are a few Small, Medium, Large, and XL jerseys left. I’m betting they’ll be gone by tomorrow morning.

So. Out of 500 jerseys, we have 34 left. After 12 hours.


On one hand, I want to orchestrate a big sweaty worldwide Fat Cyclist hug as a thank you for this phenomenal show of support during the crappiest time of my life. You guys came through for me.

On the other hand, I feel like I should apologize to anyone who wanted a jersey in a certain size, gender, and color and didn’t get it. Tomorrow I’ll talk with the Twin Six guys and we’ll start talks about how many 2009 (or Fall 2008) jerseys there should be, and how soon we might be able to get them.

And on the third hand, at least now you don’t have to worry about me figuring out a way to squeeze in a plug for my jerseys every post for the next several months. 

Update 8 (Tuesday AM): Just a few Women’s Medium and Large jerseys left. And then they’re all gone. I’m going to talk to Twin Six today and see whether a re-order is possible, and if so what the timeline might look like.

 In just fifteen minutes or so, the The new 2008 Fat Cyclist jerseys will go are now on sale. Twin Six tells me they’re going to push the order pages live right at noon CDT, although I understand the jerseys were accidentally (for eight minutes) on sale in the middle of the night last night, during which five of you (one in California, two in Canada, two in Sweden) managed to score the first 2008 jerseys (Way to hustle, guys).

I’m rambling, aren’t I? I can’t help it.

Here’s what the jerseys look like, just as a reminder. Click any image for a larger version, to get a closer look: to go to that jersey’s ordering page:

Men’s (GONE)


Women’s (GONE)

And here’s the inside collar, of every jersey:


In the past I’ve used these jerseys to donate to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. This time, the jerseys — no matter what color — are all about Susan. I’ll be raising money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation in other ways.

Men’s Pink: Won’t Be In Stock Long GONE.
In addition to the men’s orange jerseys and the women’s pink jerseys, Twin Six has produced an extremely limited quantity of men’s jerseys in pink.


And by “limited,” I mean that there  aren’t very many any left. They sold out in ten minutes. Sorry!

At all.

It’s maybe presumptuous of me to recommend that if you want a men’s pink jersey you go buy one as soon as they’re available, but I kind of suspect that this is good advice. I will update this section with their availability — or lack thereof? — as soon as I know anything.

Surprises? Surprises! Pint Glasses and Pink T-Shirts
The Twin Six guys have an intriguing post on their News page. It says, in addition to the information about the jerseys being available today, that “a couple other special projects will go live as well.”

Did I ask what those special projects are?


Did they tell me what those special projects are?


But I’m pretty darned curious.

Turns out that there are a couple new things the Twin Six guys put together on the sly, with 100% of the profits going to the WIN Susan fund. (Click any image to go to the catalog page.)

Women’s T’s ($22.00)


Men’s T’s ($22.00)


Pint Glasses ($30.00 for set of 4)


If you’ve got questions about these jerseys, go ahead and ask in comments. I’ll reply as often as I can, and if some questions get asked frequently, I’ll move the question and my answer up here.

Q. Is the sizing the same as last year?
A. Yes it is. It seems to me, though, that the arm elastic isn’t as constricting, which is a good thing as far as I’m concerned, because I have massive biceps. More information about Twin Six jersey sizing here.

Q. So how many men’s pink jerseys were there?
A. There were 50.

Q. Why only 50 men’s pink jerseys?
Some of you may remember that last year’s pink jerseys (including mens) took several weeks to sell out, so 50 seemed like a good number at the time. I thought they’d go fast (like in a day or two), but I didn’t expect them to go instantly!

I owe a lot of people thanks. Thanks, everyone, for reading this blog. Thanks to those of you who leave comments. Thanks to those of you who wear a Fat Cyclist jersey in support of Susan. Thanks to Al Maviva’s wife, who sent an incredibly beautiful and comfortable hand-knit shawl to her. Thanks to the guys who have offered up frequent flier points so my family can travel for free to help Susan. Thanks to the guy who wants to anonymously donate his 2007 Gary Fisher Rig for the Triathalon raffle. Thanks to the guys at Twin Six, who have long ago stopped treating me like a client, and have begun treating me like family. I won’t embarrass them by describing how they’re handling payment to me, but let’s just say it’s incredibly generous.

I’ll always hate what’s happening to Susan, but I’ll always be thankful for what I’ve learned about people during this time. It’s incredibly encouraging.

Again, thanks.

PS: Tragedy On I-80: I just found out, via AP News, that “a trailer loaded with 14 tons of double-stuffed Oreos has overturned, spilling the cookies still in their plastic sleeves into the median and roadway.” Through my fog of devastation and personal loss, I still cannot help but wonder: does anyone have an idea how many Oreos it takes to make 14 tons?

Bad Luck, Good Luck

05.16.2008 | 12:35 pm

Sometimes, it seems like riding with your buddies just isn’t meant to be. Like yesterday.

I planned on riding with Dug and Brad around lunchtime. Singlespeeds, across the street from the Hogle Zoo.

And then, about two-thirds of the way to work, I looked in the rear view mirror and realized: I had forgotten to bring my bike. I had my bag — bike clothes, helmet, shoes — but no bike.

So I called Dug and Brad and told them I was out for a lunchtime ride.

Luckily, though, I had a backup plan. I called Rick Sunderlage (not his real name) and told him that I’d like to take him up on his offer to pick up my Superfly from Racer’s Cycle Service, and that furthermore I’d like to meet him for a ride at Corner Canyon after work for a ride.

That worked for him. I was back in business. Even better, Dug and Brad changed their plans over to the new ride time and place, too, to accommodate my forgetfulness. What great guys.

I’m Late. And Dumb.
Then, of course, I got into a meeting that went late, so that as I drove toward the place where we were beginning our ride, I had to call ahead and say, “Hey, I’m going to be about fifteen minutes late.”

“That’s OK,” Rick Sunderlage (not his real name) said.

Then, about two minutes later, a worse realization occurred to me. I didn’t remember putting my MTB shoes in my bag this morning.

At the next stoplight I rummaged through my bag.

Nope. No MTB shoes. I was officially screwed.

I called Rick Sunderlage (not his real name) back and told him how lame I am.

“That’s OK,” Rick said.

Which made me think: my friends are clearly cutting me a great deal more slack than they normally would, and I assume it’s because of everything that’s going on.

Which, oddly enough, made me wonder exactly how far I could push this right now before they finally say they’ve had enough. Could I “accidentally” drive my car over their bikes? Switch their brake cables so the left lever powers the back disc and the right lever powers the front? Could I put sand in their water bottles?

For now, I do not plan to find out. For now.

Go It Alone
So I apologized to Brad and Rick (Dug was still trapped in a meeting that went even later than mine) for not being able to ride with them, picked up my Superfly, and headed home. My new plan: ride up Hog Hollow, up Jacob’s Ladder, maybe drop down the Ghost Falls singletrack and then up Clark’s before back to home.

Then, when I got to the saddle of Hog Hollow, I saw a guy up ahead. Maybe four, maybe five minutes ahead.

And by “a guy” I of course actually mean, “a carrot.”

I started riding my heart out, with the intention of catching him by the time I got to the top of Jacob’s Ladder.

Luckily for me, this guy didn’t realize we were racing, and I managed to catch him right as we got to the top. He congratulated me on catching him and everything. I would have accepted graciously, but I was too busy not vomiting.

He then vanished in front of me, doing the downhill much, much faster than I ever could hope to. That’s OK, though. I’m comfortable with my downhill speed. Now that I’m in my 40’s, most people are impressed with the fact that I do any athletic activity at all. I have been released from the obligation or expectation of being a rad downhiller forever.

Chance Encounter
Then, right as I dropped out of the bottom of Jacob’s Ladder, one of my favorite things happened: I ran (not literally) into a group of friends.

Does anyone else get all excited when you’re riding alone and then stumble into a bunch of riding buddies? It’s like suddenly the ride just got twice as good!

It was Kanyon Kris, Sly Fox, UTRider, and Matt. (Isn’t it weird that all five of us have blogs?) Speaking of which, I was sporting my 2008 Fat Cyclist Jersey, which I just got in the mail yesterday (photo shamelessly lifted from Sly’s site):


You’ll be able to order yours this Monday, but I’ve got mine now. It’s my new favorite jersey — I love the way the painted look of the graphics turned out on the finished jersey, and I dare say the material is nicer and the fit is better than with last year’s jerseys. And — magically, I think — this jersey seems to have a slimming effect; my big gut isn’t particularly evident here.

In other words, envy me.

Another Lap
When you run into a group of guys like this, I believe you have a moral obligation to try to ride with them. And as it turns out, they were planning to do the Jacob’s Ladder loop I had just enjoyed so much. Would I like to join them for another lap?

Well, naturally.

We took the climb fairly easy, which was good for me since I had already done it once in my red zone that day. And then Fox — not wearing a helmet, grrrr — blasted down the singletrack. Kris and I took turns in second place.

And then, evidently, we all went home and blogged about the experience (I’m last to post). Weird.

So I wound up getting a great ride with a group of good guys after all — just not the ride or group I had expected to at the beginning of the day.

Considering how addle-brained I am right now, I’m just grateful I ever found the trailhead.

The Triathalon is SO On.

05.15.2008 | 1:39 pm

A couple weeks ago — just before the brain tumor bombshell hit — I posted that I was going to host a “Triathalon” consisting of events that I like: mountain biking, road biking, and grilling/eating bratwurst.

Until last night, I haven’t thought of it since.

Here’s the thing, though. My readers have been so incredibly generous — both in donations and in messages of support — that I feel like I need to give something back. I need to show my appreciation for you, and I want to do something to help fight cancer.

And since Susan seems to be doing a little better each day — due to a combination of radiation, steroids, prayer and good wishes the likes of which I have never seen — I want to celebrate.

Which is to say, the Inaugural Fat Cyclist Triathalon (not Triathlon) is on, and moreso than ever before.

I’m just starting to work it out in my head, but the main points are:

  • It’s going to be fun
  • It’s going to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation
  • You’ll be able to win seriously cool stuff
  • You can join in even if you’re not able to travel to the event itself

The Triathalon Events, Revised
Originally I planned on making the Triathalon a mountain bike ride, a road ride, and eating bratwurst. Last night I decided that plan gives short shrift to the natural waterslide up on Hog Hollow. That needs to be an event of its own.

Also, the Hog Hollow / Corner Canyon trail system is just too fantastic to only do a little of it.

So here’s the new Triathalon event lineup:

  1. Mountain Bike Ride from Fatty’s House (or near Fatty’s house) in Alpine, UT, covering a to-be-determined course on Hog Hollow and Corner Canyon. Winner will be selected randomly.
  2. Sliding Rock on Hog Hollow. Winner will be selected by a panel of judges, using the following criteria: panache, hilarity, and impressiveness of paunch.
  3. Bratwurst feast, put on at Fatty’s house, or near Fatty’s house if this gets too big. Winner will be selected on basis of expression of how delicious the brats are, and how delicious Kenny’s homemade bread is, and how wonderfully they go together.

Prizes will be awarded to the winner of each event, as well as a prize for the overall winner.

To those of you who are pure roadies: we’ll do a road event another time (a gauntlet-style triathalon, I expect). You can (and should) still come do the second and third events at this Triathalon, though.

Do Something Good, Win Big Prizes
I’m going to do a raffle for big prizes. The way you buy a raffle ticket is simple: Just donate $5.00 to the Lance Armstrong Foundation via MikeRoadie’s donation page. The more money you donate, the more raffle tickets you’re awarded.

When you donate, make sure Mike can tell your donation is to be included as part of the raffle by setting the “Dedication” part of the form so that the “Recognition Type” is set to “In Support of” and “Recognition To” should be “Fatty’s Triathalon.” Like this:


Oh, and Mike: you’re in charge of doing the raffle. I figured you won’t mind.

So here are some of the prizes you’ll be able to win by entering the raffle — whether you attend or not:

  • A really nice mountain bike. I’m not sure how I’ll work this out, but I will. I will — one way or another — find a manufacturer who is willing to put up a mountain bike for this raffle. I know, it seems like I’m going out on a limb by saying this, but those of you who have read this blog for a while know that I’m pretty good at asking for stuff, and then getting it. And since this is for an incredibly important cause, I’m confident someone will want to jump in and help.
  • An assortment of awesome jerseys, socks, and t-shirts. I know the guys at Twin Six. They’ll help out. Maybe I can even get them to come join the ride.
  • Several loaves of Kenny’s homemade bread. It really is incredible. Especially with my brats.
  • More. Got something you want to add to the prize pile? I’ll give you recognition for it on my blog (if you want). That’s got to be worth something, right?

I’d love to have this party Triathalon raise $10,000 toward the fight against cancer. And I’d also love to make it more likely that you’ll win some prize than not.

A Little Bit About the Brats
The truth is, I don’t do anything magical to make my grilled brats extra-good. I just boil them in a stew of beer, chopped onions and worcestershire sauce, then grill them over charcoal. But most people shortcut this process, and as a result never know how good a perfect brat can taste. Their loss.

Vegetarians, I’ll provide Boca burgers, too. But I think you may want to make an exception to your diet just this once.

When and Where
This will happen on the morning of June 21, the first weekend after my 42nd birthday.

I Will Need Some Help
If you’re local and you’re willing to help with planning and execution, email me. I don’t really have time to be doing this thing (but I want to do it anyway), so I could use some help.

See you in June. I’m looking forward to riding, pigging out, and hanging out with you, while we raise money to fight an enemy we all have in common.

PS: As you can see, my mood’s lifted quite a bit. A giant thanks to all of you for sticking with me, commenting, and otherwise supporting me. It has made all the difference in the world.

Desperate Measures

05.14.2008 | 8:07 am

There was a terrifying period between when Susan first started having symptoms due to the tumors growing in her brain and when we finally knew what those symptoms meant.

During that period, I tried a lot of things, and was willing to try a whole lot more. When your wife of (nearly) twenty years is unable to sleep, losing dexterity, starting to have tremors, is getting lost in her own house, and is describing — convincingly — how she feels like she is losing her mind, you start start doing everything you can to help.

And as each idea fails, you increasingly discard “rationality” as a condition for trying out the next possible solution.

At first we tried simple stuff. Relaxation techniques. Massages. As is my style, I went overboard, buying around $75 worth of relaxation music from iTunes.

Next, we went pharmaceutical. Something those of you who’ve never dealt with a serious disease like cancer may not know is that doctors essentially give you the key to their magical medicine cabinet. I asked for — and received — two different kinds of sleep aids, two different kinds of antidepressants, and enough anti-anxiety medication to make every single Fat Cyclist reader very mellow for weeks.

Susan was taking so much go-to-sleep drugs that other people would fall asleep just by getting within ten feet of her.

Meanwhile, of course, Susan could not sleep at all.

“Maybe it’s the mattress,” I said, thinking back to how Susan had been able to sleep just fine on the very firm mattress we had at the hotel when we were at Disneyland in March…and totally failing to think about the fact that Susan had also slept just fine on our own mattress before then.

So we went to a mattress place and bought a new mattress. Not a cheap one. And of course she didn’t sleep any better on it than she did on our old mattress. I, on the other hand, much prefer the new mattress; I never liked having such a soft mattress before. So it’s not a total loss.

Shortly after this, we found out what was really wrong, and Susan got the help she needs for getting a decent night’s sleep, as well as the radiation and steroids she needs to treat the tumors.

Still, I sometimes wonder what I would have tried next. When you’re desperate, silly things start to make sense, and you feel like you’re being unfaithful to your loved one if you don’t explore every possible solution, no matter how remote the likelihood of it working.

Because, after all, maybe that’s the thing that will work, right?

The Desperation Continues
As I said, now we know what’s wrong and we’re treating it. But the feeling of desperation continues.
If anything, in fact, it’s stronger than ever before. Because the treatment is strictly tactical. We’re buying time.

What we really want, of course, is something that will cure Susan.

And as it turns out, there are a lot of people out there who are happy to take advantage of our desperation.

I am not exaggerating when I say that not a single day goes by where someone sends me an email with a link to a professional healer who is using unorthodox methods and is achieving great success in curing otherwise incurable cancer.

And it is usually not strangers sending me these messages. I get these from family members and good friends. All with the very best and noblest intentions. These are people who want Susan to get better, just like I do.

But there are a couple things I have to remind myself of when I get these messages.

First, Susan and I agreed that we don’t want to spend the time she has chasing every potential magic cure, since there is honestly very little chance any of them will work. Neither of us want our time together being primarily spent in the pursuit of mirages. We want to spend our time together…together. With the family.

Second, a person I know and trust because he’s both a friend and a cancer expert, has explained to me that if any of these things worked, they could (and let’s face it, would) charge a million dollars a treatment, and the line to get in would still wrap around the block several times over. So the faith healer down the block charging $40 per session probably isn’t going to help Susan get better.

Both these things make sense. But I am desperate. And so I can’t help but ask myself, every time I get one of these email messages pointing me to someone in Mexico who’s seen promising results, “What if this is the one? What if this is the thing Susan needs? Am I killing Susan by ignoring this one?”

Even though I know — in my head — that this isn’t the one. And that I simply can’t investigate every miracle cure that’s out there.

What these well-meaning people sending me their cure-all possibility messages don’t understand, I think, is how much anguish their notes put me through. In spite of myself I find myself checking through them all, looking to see if this one actually has data showing they have had results specifically relevant to Susan.

So far, nothing. Just a spike of hope followed by disappointment, followed by a bout of guilt and second-guessing.

So here’s my plea, on behalf of everyone who is either seriously ill or is taking care of someone seriously ill: If you find out about a potential cure, don’t just lob it over the wall. Please, take the time to find out how real it is. Ask yourself, “If this were me and I didn’t have long to live, would I leave my family and travel around the world to do this?”

Because that is exactly the judgement call your email is asking your friend to make. And that judgement call doesn’t get easier when you’re desperate.

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