For those Youngstowners…

October 2, 2002|

For those Youngstowners…

My dad is helping out another family who have a daughter with leukemia from Youngstown. Kayla Hankey, 12 years old, is having a bone marrow transplant in Cincinnati for recurring leukemia. To help raise money for the procedure and other incidentals, the family is holding a fundraising dinner. Here are the details:

Date: October 20 from 1:00 to 4:00

Place: St. Patrick’s Church 3667 North Main St. Hubbard, Ohio

Cost: $5.00

Contact: Fred Canning at 330-792-5215 for information or to purchase tickets.


Attack of the Killer Colon

Ain’t no way I’m going back. Ain’t no way. I swore to myself that they would have to a.) find me, b.) fight me, c.) tranquilize me, and d.) drag me back. There was no way I was going to return to Sloan Kettering, or any hospital as an inpatient.

It’s funny how we eat our own words, isn’t it?

So here I was, Thursday morning, doubled over in pain. The abdominal cramps were becoming too excruciating to bear. I tossed and turned all Wednesday night. I had to relent. Even I, who have become somewhat indifferent to pain, realized I had to surrender. To the hospital I drove.

After waiting what seemed to be an eternity (‘Memorial Slow Kettering’), I was admitted to the 11th floor. The emergency CT Scan had showed the cause of the intense cramps and unending bloody diarrhea- an inflamed colon, otherwise known as colitis.

No one was sure of the origin of the colitis. There were the usual suspects: infection, bacteria, fungi, graft v. host disease. Thankfully I recovered quickly with bowel rest and antibiotics.

I didn’t really mention my admittance to anyone. It wasn’t because I was depressed, despondent or didn’t want to talk. Moreso, I have just gotten uncomfortable calling people out of the blue and saying, ‘Hi! How are you doing? Me? I’m OK. Back in the hospital…’ It’s just plain awkward. So I don’t advertise.

As for my broken vow, well, I realized over the weekend that it was just plain stupid. It’s shortsighted and thoughtless. Given my circumstances, of course there will be times when I’ll have to be admitted again. It’s my choice of how I respond to the situation. Hard lesson, but absolutely necessary.

Other than my latest colon adventure, things have been rapidly improving. I gained 10 lbs. last month and slashed my pulse by 20 beats per minute. And my immune system? Almost back to a normal level.

I (heart) My Thesaurus

To occupy my summer, unbeknownst to some, I have been working feverishly to write a book. My afternoons typically were spent at Starbucks reading and writing- desperately trying to learn the craft. My nights were crammed with late night forays on the web, researching publishers, agents, writing workshops, classes, and potential competitors. My OCD-ness (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) about the whole project peaked a few Tuesdays ago when my friend Courtney walked into Starbucks, sat across from me, and exclaimed, ‘You’re studying the Thesarus!?!’ I wasn’t really. I was making flashcards. ‘Quiescence.’ ‘Cajole.’ ‘Salubrious.’

Recently, after exhausting my work on the Internet, my pocket Thesaurus, and ‘Publishing for Dummies,’ it hit me; I’m not ready to write a book. It’s not from a lack of skills, material, or free time. It’s a matter of timing. The wounds- still too fresh. My adventure- nowhere near over. My perspective- changing daily. So why rush? The type A voice in my head is going bananas. ‘What are you waiting for? Do it! Write now, right now!!!’ The type B voice repeats over and over, ‘Be a patient patient. Be a patient patient….’ Could I be, daresay, maturing? Eeeeek!


Finally, I’m learning to love my neighborhood. It is quite the unique area. Last week, while I was watching the premiere of ‘Ed, ‘ I heard what sounded like rapidly discharging firecrackers. ‘Bangbangbangbangbang! Bang!’ But those ain’t no firecrackers. Those were gunshots. Living on the border of the ‘hood teaches a man the difference. A few minutes later the street was swarming with cops. In a newspaper the next day was an article detailing the shooting. Homie, some G got capped wit’ a gat. (Translation: Somebody was shot.) Not only was he shot, though, he survived and drove himself to a hospital down the street. Who gets shot in the head and survives, let alone is able to drive? Craziness. Just another Brooklyn shooting.

When I got home last night, there were safety cones lining the street in front of my house. What’s going on? This morning I walked outside to find giant trailers and semis parked where the cones once stood. Coolly strolling down the street, away from the ‘hood, I saw bright lights, cameras and a cluster of director’s chairs. Finally my curiosity bubbled over and I asked a random guy, ‘What’s going on?’ ‘Shooting the latest Mariah Carey video. She’s gone though, left Saturday. This is the last day of shooting.’ Dejected I moseyed home. A giant poster of Mariah once adorned my wall, back in the day. Mariah Carey was in my neighborhood and I was stuck in the hospital with colitis. And my chance at being in a music video, dashed. Craziness. Just another Brooklyn shooting.


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