Sweatin’ With the Oldies

October 30, 2002|

Sweatin’ With the Oldies

“Up, one, two, three, four, good, now chair squats- one, two, three four…now lift those arms high, reach, reach, reach, reach…”

A few weeks back I came to a conclusion: I wanted to join a support group. I figured I had the free time, the desire to talk and the desire to listen. It would be nice to meet others in the same predicament as myself. Perhaps it could even be a cathartic experience.

So I called the Post Treatment Resource Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering, intent on finding a group. Is there a group for twenty-somethings I could join?’ I asked. ‘Frankly, we can’t let you in it,’ the social worker said, ‘You would scare the other participants. You’ve been though too much. These kids are just getting through their first round of treatment and are having enough trouble. If they see you, their minds could start working, and they would freak out. But we do have another group for you. It’s on Mondays from 3:30 to 5:00. It’s a holistic treatment group- nutrition, physical therapy and all. You’ll love it.’

I was a tad concerned. Who the heck is able to get off work at 3:30 to come to a support group? I soon discovered the answer.

Let’s just say I brought the mean age range of the group down to the seventies. Alas, the median, it is still stuck in the eighties.

That’s not to say the group is not great. I am just the young whippersnapper.

So every Monday afternoon the octogenarians and I pepper a nutritionist with questions. ‘Is the Atkin’s diet healthy?’ ‘Are vitamins necessary?’ ‘What are the best foods for gaining weight?’ ‘What are the best foods for losing weight?’ ‘What are the best foods to ‘cleanse’ the colon?’ ‘What are the best foods to eliminate flatulence?’

Patiently, and with much understanding, Donald, our nutritionist answers all of our questions. It’s an answer, though, filled with a gusto and passion that could only come from a man who has a degree in Nutritional Anthropology. (Yes, such a course of study exists.) Slowly, I am finding myself learning more and more about cuisine, cooking, and calories. The proof? I am eating healthy while gaining weight (2 lbs in two weeks!). I still slather all of meals with Ranch dressing and American cheese singles, but it’s low-fat Ranch and low-fat cheese singles.

Next Donna comes in, ready to pump us up. OK, perhaps pump is too strong a word. Rouse? Stir? Budge? Whatever the word- she comes in with a challenging routine of low-impact aerobics. By the end of the set the group is wheezing, winded and hunched over. Except me. And darn well I shouldn’t be. Why?

a.) I’m 24.

b.) I rollerblade or lift for 45 minutes a day.

c.) I’m 24.

I usually modify the routine by adding weights. Then it gets difficult. ‘No more squats! No more squats!’ I scream from the safe confines of my house, as the neighbors peer in the window wondering what the heck is going on.

Do you know what is most astounding? Of all the participants, I am the one with the most experience with cancer; I have been through the most! I’m 24! The young whippersnapper! I probably scare them too.

I passed two random but significant moments in my life.

Kordell Jr.

For the first time in three years I played a game of touch football while hanging with the boys in Chicago. Promptly, on the first offensive series, I threw an interception. It was the most enjoyable interception I have ever thrown. I can play football again. That alone is revolutionary.


I found a large accumulation of hair in my shower drain. It wasn’t from Davi, my roommate. He is quite closely shorn. We haven’t had any guests in awhile. It must have been from…me? I can clog the drain again. That alone is revolutionary.

ArtCanning.com XP

Frequently I get e-mails from readers which read like this: ‘Art, where is the latest update? You haven’t updated in three weeks…Helloooo!’

So Webmaster Patrick and I recently converged in a melding of the minds during our boys’ weekend in Chicago. Out of that pow-wow, we came up with new ideas to freshen the web site. Look for some new features to appear, especially on the e-mail front. We hope to have a list-serve function that will alert you via e-mail when I have updated the site with a new entry or new pictures. No more frustration at lack of a new update. Are you excited?

Nine Months

No, I’m not pregnant. Rather my nine-month check-up has arrived. On November 11, I have a date scheduled with three different suitresses- Miss PET Scan, Miss CT Scan and Ms. MRI. It’s a big day. I hope to impress them all- hoping to hear from all of them those precious words, ‘all clear.’ A clear scan? I can be healthy again. That alone would be revolutionary- especially to a young whippersnapper like myself.

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