Saturday, January 23, 2010


I was at the office late one night, trying to manage the day and the days that lie ahead. And I was pissed beyond belief.

John Bell, my next door office neighbor and avid supporter in my fight against cancer, saw me as he was heading out the door and stopped. "What are you still doing here? You should be going home, right?" I must have gave him a look that made him stop. Or perhaps he knew that I was not having a good day. He was right. I wasn't having a good day. And it was because for the umpteenth time, I felt disrespected at work.

You can hate me, call me names and generally just don't like me. But when I'm not respected, that gets my blood boiling. Why? Because I was brought up to respect people. For who they are. For the work they do. For how they have to live their lives in order to get through their day. We all have our quirks, our issues and problems. We all are different in some way. And that's more than OK. It's life.

Now John and I don't always see eye-to-eye. But ever since the day he hired me, he has respected my opinion and dedication to making the work better every day. And most of all, he respects me as a person, a human being. He's one of the smartest people I know and at the same time somewhat enigmatic. But he has a good heart and a good soul. I'll never forget when I told him I thought I had cancer. He said, "Nah, it's just probably something else related to all the crazy hours you've been putting." He was just trying to ease my mind. And he was right. All the crazy hours lead to extra stress, which is a bad trigger to your immune system.

And here I was, letting the stress and the actions of others get to me because of how I was treated. I was feeling that I didn't survive cancer to work my life away and have people dis me. I was feeling my purpose in life being twisted. I was feeling like I did before I had cancer. And that scared me. I guess there's only one thing to do––don't let others control how I feel.

And respect the fact that I'm alive.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hey, Who Cut Your Hair?

I laughed my ass off the first time I heard Cheech & Chong do this routine. (I was 14).

I remember me and my friends would channel Cheech & Chong whenever we saw someone who just got a haircut. We would just bag on (that was our word for making fun of someone) the poor dude who got a haircut. Of course, the worst was, "hey, who cut your hair. Your old lady? Your Mom?" (I think a few blows came out of that one, once or twice). And this was the '70's, so there was no such thing as PC, no PDA's, security checks and all the things school kids face today. It was merciless, unabashed, "your mama" jokes, out-in-the-open taunts––all in good fun. No, really.

So when I cut my hair last Sunday (or should I say when Teresa cut my hair) I thought about the main reason I had grown it past the middle of my back––to donate it to Locks of Love, an organization that takes hair donations and makes wigs for kids who have lost their hair due to cancer. Teresa even asked me twice if wanted her to cut it. Twice I said yes. This was the least I could do for those children who have to face every day at school, at the mall and at the mirror without their hair.

When I would wait for my radiation treatments, I would see a few kids who were also in treatment. I'd talk to them or their parents. Ask them how they felt. How did it feel without the hair. Tell them I was losing my hair, too. Just not as much. But I could feel their pain of having been teased or called "baldy" or "skinhead" or "scully." And I decided right then and there if I survived cancer––actually, when I beat cancer––I would grow my hair so some little dude or girl could not have to worry about some kid asking, "hey, what happened to your hair." So when I had 10 inches of hair to donate––I donated over 10––and Teresa was cutting it and cutting last week, I was smiling. Because it felt so good inside to do this simple little act. And because I could hear rattling in my head, Cheech & Chong, saying "hey, who cut your hair?"

My ol' lady did.