I am walking better by the day, but this little Solitary Plasmacytoma tumour thing is keeping me from driving. Carol-Ann and I have been very lucky, because we've had tons of folks offer rides to the Cancer Agency. (Radiation No. 13 of a slated 25 today, for those scoring at home. And, if you truly are scoring at home, I thank you.)
Kristi, my mom's sister's 24-year-old daughter, wanted a turn. The only other time that we had been in a car, just the two of us, I was 20 and she was four. She and her family had helped me move from my folks' house in Richmond to a suite in Maple Ridge. We were heading back to Richmond for dinner, and she wanted to ride with me.
At least initially she wanted to ride with me.
I don't know what changed. I drove safely. Still, she started sobbing by New Westminster. She was crying as we headed into Richmond. By the time we got out of the car at the Boston Pizza on No. 3 Road, it was full-blown, volume-at-11 wail.
"Where is my mom?!?," she said. "I want my mom!!!!"
People were staring at us. I was panicking, flailing my arms and blurting, "Cousin," and "Mom coming," and "it's OK."
Luckily for me that day, it was a different era. If it happened today, I'm sure people would have gotten involved. Instead, Auntie Vic and Big Al showed up a few minutes later, and everything was fine.
Fast forward to Wednesday. Kristi and I had obviously been in a car together since that inaugural trip, but always with at least one other person. It's just the way things had worked out.
I don't want to suggest that she was a little worried that I might do something a tad wacky (insert diabolical laugh here) on this journey but she had a Coke Zero in the cup holder (in this bid to healthy up, I've been off the pop...that one was so good...I think I had gone 10 days without any soda) and a Hockey News in that storage compartment in the door.
It was uneventful. The radiation techies took me early, and we were out the door and heading home before my actual appointment time.
Now that is over, next on the Babysitting Fence Mending agenda is my nephew Cameron.
He's seven. When he was about three, I agreed to take care of him for a couple of hours at his brother Tyler's lacrosse game in Cloverdale. Ty's 10 now. My brother, Dennis, has always been one of his coaches. Denny's wife Cathy was playing lacrosse that season and had a game.
When Ty was getting ready, Cam and I went across the street over to 7-11, and, like any good uncle, I bought him about $35 worth of candy and stuffed it into his pockets. It was a short walk back to the rink, but he was well sugared when the game began.
The opposing goalie was having a tantrum, and was lying face down in the crease, kicking his feet.
Cameron asked, "Who's that?"
I knew I had two options. I could explain to him that I didn't know and risk him wanting me to go find out, or I could lie.
"That's Billy," I said.
I thought that would have been enough. Not a chance.
"What's Billy doing?"
Again, I could explain to him that the poor kid was frustrated and having a bad day and so on, or I could lie.
You guessed it.
"Billy's looking for candy," I said.
I guess I had candy on the brain after the 7-11 visit. Cameron, unfortunately for me, had candy running through his veins, because after a quick pause he started racing toward the end where that poor, little goalie was and started screaming, "No candy for you, Billy....no candy for you!!!!"
Part of me was mortified. Part of me couldn't stop laughing. I eventually caught him and calmed him down. Cathy showed up soon after and took over.
He's still a hoot, that kid. I can't wait to see what he becomes. Of course, he's a major reason why I need to get better, I must get healthy.
I did my second pool walk Wednesday, with Carol-Ann's dad, Ron, coaching me through it. It's liberating mentally, just to be able to move around without any sort of cane or walker. I was thinking about going to the pool again today, too, but I'm trying to pound into myself that we're early on in the process and I need to be patient. Wednesday only marked our three-week anniversary of a cancer diagnosis.
It's not like it's been 20 years. Right, cousin Kristi?