Monday, January 9, 2023

Cancer Sucks


I will start off by saying that I wish Liam a very speedy recovery. Any type of cancer is never a walk in the park. There will be rough times ahead. There will be ups and downs. If any player on the White Sox has the mentality and right attitude to head this face on, it is Liam Hendriks. The way he approaches every game and life itself, I have no doubt he will be fighting every step of the way.

In the past decade, cancer seems to have taken a lot of people from us. From family members to celebrities, there has been no shortage of people battling some form of this disease. Some succeed. Some unfortunately don't. 

I have been pretty lucky. I grew up with only a few members of my family passing away. As I've gotten older, that number has gone up considerably. As you age, the odds go up that someone you know will come down with a serious illness or even die. I don't mean to be such a downer, but disease is rarely a topic that's not serious.

My dad passed away from stage four cancer in October 2021. Every time I read about someone getting any form of that disease, I think of my dad. It wasn't something that was totally unexpected. Fifty plus years of heavy smoking really increases the chances of that happening. He was in pretty decent health for most of his life. Except for a horrible bout with pneumonia in the army reserves, he was only in the hospital once. That required intravenous medicine to be administered at home for a couple weeks after his discharge. The cancer diagnosis still came out of left field.

I don't get back to the Chicago area often enough. A family and work keep me pretty busy in Michigan. I try to visit a few times a year. In the summer of 2021, I tried to visit every other weekend. I was able to keep that schedule for the most part.

I cherish the extra time I got to spend with my dad. At this time, the minuscule filter he had was completely gone. I heard family stories from a perspective I had never heard before. I heard stories about him growing up and stories about me growing up. He swore up and down that I met a White Sox player in the eighties and got his autograph, but I was petrified at meeting one of my heroes. From the description, it may have been Daryl Boston, but I don't think I'll ever know for sure. I have absolutely no recognition of the event.

Every Sunday game we would go to, my dad would encourage me to get in the line and get an autograph and shake a player's hand. I always got in line and I always chickened out before I arrived at the players. I have no idea what I thought was going to happen. Maybe I was afraid I would be a rambling incoherent mess, like I was when I met Weird Al. I should probably mention that I met Weird Al at an after concert meet and greet that I had won through his website. I was twenty-two. I can only imagine what a single digit aged me would have done.

I skipped one weekend of visiting my parents in 2021. My dad was doing pretty good and I had a long work week. I decided to put off the trip until the following weekend. I did go out the next weekend, but it was to help my mom figure out what all she needed to do in the aftermath of his passing.

I kicked myself for a little bit for skipping that last weekend. I soon realized that an extra weekend didn't matter so much. I had got to spend a whole lot of time with him leading up to that. Time that I wouldn't have gotten had I not made the time.

There is a great chance that Liam will come out of this just fine. I'm sure he will. A scare like this forces one to stop everything, breathe and live in the moment. I don't always get to live in the moment. Most of the time I am buried in the past or looking to the future. When I focus and appreciate the moment, I never regret it. It's not somewhere I always find myself, but I'd like to get there more often.

Liam. You've got this. Live in the moment and come back better than ever.

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