A Childhood Cancer Survivor Blogging about the World of Childhood Cancer

Archive for February, 2010

Photos in New Edition of Grace

Melinda has been busy selecting photos for her new edition of Grace.  This past weekend, Melinda went to San Francisco to dance the weekend away with training from professional dance choreographers in The Pulse Tour.  What an incredible weekend it was for Miss Passionate About Dance, Melinda!  Would you like to know who her very favorite choreographer was?  Mia Michaels!  Just to top off the fun, Joey and Madisen came from Seattle and Debi and Hilary joined us from Phoenix.  Melinda’s muscles were sore from dancing and her belly was sore from laughing– what could be better?

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Banana Man Excerpt

A feeling of pride came over me as I flowed among the slow-moving crowd of purple t-shirts.  On the back of each one was written, “Survivor,” and I was one of them.  Each person in the sea of hope, who walked around the school’s track, held their own story of downfall, battle, and victory.  As I completed the Relay for Life’s Survivor Lap, I found my heart pouring out gratitude to God, to Dr. Dan, to anyone and anything on Earth.  Seeing the other people walking beside me, I could tell they all felt the same exact way.  We had all been there, and our immediate kinship created a powerful, yet silent, feeling among us.  It was also amazing to witness those generous, selfless people who weren’t survivors, but who gave their time because of a family or friend’s life touched by cancer, or just a concern for the cause.  Two of those caring people were my Gramma and Poppy.  Honestly, I wished I could hug each and every one of them… those who donated their money, or their efforts, tucked themselves into the pockets of my heart.  They were my inspirations, my heroes. 

     One of these people was a man named Zac, who works for Jamba Juice. A booth was set up, and he and another woman, Jamie, were selling smoothies, with all of the proceeds going straight to the American Cancer Society.  My mom and I walked around the track and, suddenly, a giant, yellow… something, came up behind us.  It was a banana– a man in a banana suit with a tray of smoothies in his arms.  Zac smiled and waved to us, dancing to the music that blared over the PA system.

     “Hey!  Banana Man,” I yelled, as I too began to get jiggy.

     He noticed my Survivor shirt, and we got to talking.  His enthusiasm was contagious.

     “Hey,” he called back to me, as our conversation ended, “come by the booth later, and I’ll get you a smoothie on me!”

     Wow, what a cool guy, I thought.  He was out there, giving up his day, selling his smoothies, and wearing a banana suit.  But what really got me, was his joy, his spark, and his sincere smile.  He danced, made people laugh, and created a fun and loving atmosphere around him– all things he really didn’t have to do. 

     Mom took a picture of me, Zac, and Jamie.  We blew it up, framed it, and later gave it to them with cards, and of course… home baked banana bread.  So now, every time I walk into Jamba Juice in Arroyo Grande, I look up at our picture on the wall and say hi to my friends, Jamie and Banana Man.

Another Quote from Grace

We could summon no power for ourselves, yet we somehow managed to muster up a speck for one another.

Ballerina back from PNB Audition

What an awesome weekend for Melinda!  On Saturday, she auditioned at the San Francisco Ballet for the Pacific Northwest Ballet intensive  summer program.  Ever since the audition, she will get a heavenly look on her face, and tell me, “That was soooooooooo much fun!”  After the audition, we traveled to Sacramento to see her brother, Nicholas.  We attended his amazing church with him on Sunday, and then he gave us a tour of Sacramento State Hornet Racing, and the mechanical engineering department.  Very, very cool! 

And today, Melinda enjoyed meeting Bryan, her Greenleaf project manager, on the phone.  Among the things they discussed is the addition of photos to Melinda’s new edition of Grace.  Also, Melinda turned in her manuscript to Greenleaf today.  Telling you that Melinda is excited to begin this project is an enormous understatement!

Greenleaf Book Group

Melinda has some very exciting news!  Greenleaf Book Group has accepted Grace for distribution with Emerald Book Company, and it will be released this summer.  This is an incredible opportunity for Melinda to collaborate with their professional staff to develop Grace into the finest book it can be.  Since Melinda will be very, very busy keeping up with school and working with Greenleaf on her book, I will post updates to let you know what is happening.  When Melinda was diagnosed with cancer at 13, she had no idea that, at 15, she would have her story published.  Staying positive really is a great thing!

A bit more of Grace

     I found our awkward relationship hysterical and couldn’t help but do some harmless teasing. 

     Putting on my best disgusted, threatening expression, and using my perfected New York dialect, I huffed, “Get outta here, ya Ketamine pusha!”

A bit of Grace…

     Wow.  It dawned on me.  I had cancer.  That was the first time that anyone, Dr. Dan, nurses, friends, or family, had ever used that word to refer to my illness.  I think that it was probably avoided and aimed more toward Hodgkin.  Hmm, that sounds like a cute, little puppy with floppy ears, compared to “cancer.”  They probably didn’t want to scare me, and I thank them for that.  I knew I had cancer.  I was getting chemo for goodness sakes, but never before had that word been directed toward me, describing me.  And, from that point on, a little tape played in my head– periodically rewinding itself, before repeating again.

     “I have cancer.  I have cancer.  I have cancer.”

      Still, after all that, my very next thought was, “Are you sure?  Cancer?!”

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