I am keeping it together. Really, I am. I am taking care of my wife, I am taking care of my kids, my lawn is green and neatly mown.
But — and this was a surprise to me — I evidently have a little bit of anger, too. Anger that isn’t choosy about its target.
First, though, let’s talk about what I’ve learned about Susan.
When the doctor came over to our house yesterday, he took one look at Susan and said he’d bet money her collarbone was broken.
Later that day, after the portable X-Ray had been here — a kind of cool machine, really, mounted on its own hand truck, the camera arm pivots out and locks with a single spring-loaded pin — the doctor was shown right. Susan’s collarbone was weakened from the inside by cancer metastases; just lifting her arm while she rolled over was enough to finish the job.
The doctor says he’ll call back today and we’ll start talking about options.
After which I got Susan doped up on morphine, then went to my desk, ostensibly to get some work done.
half an hour later, I IM’d my boss and told him I needed to take the rest of the day off work. I was useless.
So I went on a mountain bike ride. Which I thought would help, but wound up realizing — as I started the return descent down Hog Hollow toward home — that I couldn’t remember any details whatsoever of the ride.
Then — on the wide jeep road descent — I passed a couple with their dogs, walking in the other direction. I nodded as I went by.
And then one of their dogs bit me. Right calf.
I stopped, mostly out of surprise. It hadn’t hurt much. I looked at my calf. Slobber, but no blood.
But still, someone’s dog had bitten me! While the owner was right there.
Standing astride my frame, I pivoted around and looked at the man. He met my gaze, and did not say a word.
“Did your dog just bite me?” I asked, rhetorically, and frankly boggled that he wasn’t apologizing to me and disciplining his dog.
“Yeah,” he replied. No apology in his voice.
He said nothing. Just kept looking at me.
“Just ‘yeah?’” I said.
I swung my leg over and started walking to him. I did not have a plan for what I would do once I got there. All I had wanted was an apology. But instead I was getting this casual arrogance. I was not going to tolerate it.
The woman he was with — wife, I’m guessing — intercepted me and gave me the apology I wanted, checking my calf to see if I had been hurt. I hadn’t, not really.
I turned back to my bike and went on my way.
And that’s when I told myself, “Something is wrong with me.” I’m not the guy who gets angry, certainly not over a dog nip — probably a playful one — that didn’t even break the skin. I’m the guy who would have turned around and yelled at the guy that he needed to get his dog’s teeth sharpened, because they’re clearly ineffectual.
Or at least, that’s the guy I want to be, and usually am. Right now, though, I’m the angry guy other people quietly say to each other “What is his problem?” about.
It’s short-term. I will cool down.
But I can’t help but wonder in what ways this is permanently changing me.
Fight Cancer, Meet Famous People, Go to Fancy Big Budget Movie Premiere
My interaction with famous people is limited to the fact that people keep telling me I look like Stanley Tucci.
Separated at birth? You decide.
My sister Jodi over at Pistols and Popcorn, on the other hand, knows famous people. And her friend Michelle Williams recently finished a film called “Shutter Island,” directed by Martin Scorsese. The cast includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, and Max Von Sydow. And me!
Except for the “and me!” part.
Anyway, Michelle’s giving Jodi a couple passes to the to the Red Carpet Premier of “Shutter Island“, to take place in New York, in September/October of 2009. And Jodi’s going to use those passes to raise money to fight cancer. The winner — you, I hope — will get to hang out with Michelle, and probably other people. I’d say more about what your night will be like, but it’s simply too unimaginably fabulous for me to comprehend.
I could not be prouder of Jodi for putting this together. I’m trying, but I just can’t.
Go over to Jodi’s blog to learn the details, and enter. Oh, and promise me that you will wear a “Team Fatty” jersey to the premiere.
I understand everyone will be wearing one.
We’re less than three weeks away from the first LiveStrong Challenge: the one in Seattle (June 21). I think this is a good moment to point out a few interesting facts about Team Fatty in general and Team Fatty-Seattle in particular.
- The combined Teams Fatty have 439 members, making us the largest team, by far.
- The combined Teams Fatty have raised $252,482 as of this moment, making us the top-earning team, by far. We have — as of this morning — crossed the QUARTER MILLION mark!
- Team Fatty-Seattle is the second smallest of the Teams Fatty, but has raised the second most amount of money — $84,692 — and is very close to overtaking Team Fatty-Austin.
- Team Fatty-Seattle is the top-ranked Seattle team, and has raised more than three times as much as the second-place team. Who is the second place-team? Microsoft. By the way, as a former ‘Softie’ myself, I issued a challenge for a friendly fundraising competition to Team Microsoft, giving them a generous handicap in spite of the fact that they’re a giant multinational corporation with a charitable contributions matching policy, and I’m…a blogger working out of a corner of my bedroom. They declined. Which is just as well, because we would have crushed them anyway.
- The Team Fatty-Seattle Co-Captain — and very frequent commenter — ClydeSteve, is by far and away the top-raising Team Fatty-Seattle fundraiser, having raised an incredible $17,535 so far. In fact, ClydeSteve is currently the top-raising individual of all of Team Fatty. ClydeSteve, you are a superhero.
- The only Team Fatty member — and coincidentally the only company in Team Fatty — to have earned more than ClydeSteve is Twin Six, currently at $26,986. Team Fatty-Austin is lucky to have Twin Six, because otherwise Team Fatty-Seattle would be way ahead. Twin Six, you guys are incredible.
And now for a few factoids we can — and will — definitely improve upon:
- There are 51 members of Team Fatty-Seattle (more than half) who haven’t raised the $250 necessary to participate in the LiveStrong Seattle event yet.
- There are 16 members of Team Fatty-Seattle who haven’t raised any money yet.
But I’m not here to bust your chops, Team Fatty-Seattleites. No, indeed. I’m here to give you a reason to give it all you’ve got for your final sprint.
Team Fatty-Seattle: Win a Revolution Wheelworks Road Wheelset
Revolution Wheelworks has donated a road wheelset — their very popular REV-30s — for me to give away.
Check out the specs on these:
- Rim: 30mm Aero Alloy
- Hubs: Ultra serviceable sealed bearing hubs with 15mm aluminum axle and alloy freehub body 82g front / 222g rear
- Spokes: Pillar 14/17/14 bladed – 24 Radial front – 28 2x rear
- Nipples: Brass
- Weight: 1530 per pair
These wheels are in such high demand that they’re sold out ’til July. Which means the only way you can get a pair is by winning them.
And the only way you can win them is by being a member of Team Fatty-Seattle.
Here’s What You’ve Got to Do
First of all, let me make it perfectly clear: this contest is only for members of Team Fatty-Seattle. So Team Fatty-Seattle members — all 96 of you (I’m making ClydeSteve and me ineligible) — are the only ones who can win this nice wheelset.
To win, between now and Sunday (June 7) at midnight (MDT), you need to raise money, donated to your own LiveStrong Challenge page. For every $5.00 you raise, you get a virtual ticket, and then I’ll choose a number randomly for the winner.
Bear in mind that this contest is for money you raise between now and Sunday, not for money you’ve already raised.
Extra Incentive For Those Getting Started
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, there are quite a few Team Fatty-Seattle members who haven’t hit the $250 mark, and several who haven’t raised any money at all, yet.
Well, here’s a reason for you to start sending out email to your friends.
- If you haven’t raised anything yet, you will get an extra 5 tickets (as if you had raised an extra $25) just for getting started.
- If you haven’t raised $250 yet, you will get an extra 5 tickets if you can get to that magic $250 mark.
So, yes, if you haven’t raised anything yet and during this next few days can get all the way up to $250, you’ll get an extra 10 tickets — 5 for getting started, and 5 for reaching $250.
And of course, no matter how much you’ve already raised, every $5.00 you can get someone to donate at your Team Fatty-Seattle LiveStrong page gets you another chance at those wheels.
And For Those of You Not on Team Fatty-Seattle
Don’t you worry; there will be contests for each team as your LiveStrong Challenge event gets close. Nobody will be left out.
And if you’re not on a team at all yet, well, maybe it’s time you join one and start getting seriously involved in the fight against cancer. There are links to each Team Fatty city page in my sidebar; click the city you want to sign up with, then click “Join Our Team” from that page.
There are going to be more and more giveaways, and raising money to fight cancer as a member of Team Fatty is going to be one of the best ways you can win.
A Final, Personal Note
Right now, I’m sitting at home, waiting for a company that does home X-Rays to come take some pictures of Susan’s left shoulder and collarbone. Yesterday when she was rolling over in bed, there was a nasty “pop” from that area, followed by a huge amount of pain — pain that a serious amount of morphine and Lortab have only been able to lessen, not stop.
I don’t know what’s wrong, but I’m pretty freaked out. I hate the sense of helplessness I have: a husband should be able to take care of his wife, and when stuff like this happens, I can’t help at all.
What helps — a little — is to know that I, along with you, am at least doing something in this fight. It’s not enough to help Susan, and I hate myself for not having done more sooner.
But it is something, and you’re all helping me feel like I’m doing something important. And that helps me. Thank you for that.
PS: If you don’t plan on attending any of the LiveStrong Challenges, you can now join Team Fatty with no signup fee. Just go to the Team Fatty HQ page for one of the cities — Seattle, San Jose, Philly, or Austin — and click the Join Our Team link from there. In the Fees area, select Virtual Challenge, and you won’t have to pay an event fee. So, if you’ve been sitting on the fence about joining Team Fatty, there’s your reason to join up.