I Drank The Water
It was only a week ago today that I posted my first blog entry to let you know that I had been diagnosed withe bladder cancer. If prayers, positive energy, and kind words could cure cancer I would be writing this as my last blog entry to tell you my cancer is gone. I can’t possibly thank you enough for your support, as it means the world to us.
After posting my first blog, much to my surprise, old friend Ray Kelly of the Republican wrote a story about me on MassLive. From there the story was picked up by some of the radio trades, including Net News and All Access. To be honest, I was shocked at all the attention. I never expected it. The nice thing is I’ve heard from old friends I worked with years ago, like Bill Hess in DC and Pat McKay in NH. I was contacted by a fellow radio junkie in Montana, Jerry Puffer, who also had bladder cancer. Steve Sykes touched base with me after 14 years. He’s all grown up now. And it was great to hear from O’B…I’ll see you at our holiday party on January 17th, tho I probably won’t feel much like dancing. I even heard from a former friend offering her support.
My agent, Lee Strasser, suggested I was willing to do almost anything to keep my name out there. Neighbors, friends, family, co-workers and the FaceBook community have all offered to help however possible. Overwhelming? Well, for a man who’s mostly gone it alone, this response is absolutely overwhelming and I am humbled by your kindness. It’s times like this you learn who your friends are and aren’t. Like Santa, I’m keeping a list.
But enough about me. As thankful as I am for all the support and love coming my way, I am more thankful for the support and love being shown to Kim. If you’ve ever been in the place we now find ourselves, then you know how difficult cancer is on the entire family. To be truthful, I think this is more traumatic for Kim than for me. I know the enemy and I am prepared for battle. That is my focus. My only focus. For Kim, the battle is much larger. The logistics alone are immense: How much time off from work do I need to take? What days do I take off? How will I get you to Boston? How will I get Jill to school? Will I be here to get her off the bus? What about meals? What about karate…Jill has class tonight? It goes on and on and on. Throw in the fact that she’s been down this road before with her father, who lost his battle to cancer at age 58, the same age I am now, and it becomes an almost impossible situation for her. And most importantly, she must stay strong…for me. No chinks in the armor or I might fall apart. But she is strong, and with your love and kindness she will stay strong and she will give me the strength I need.
So, next summer when Kim and I are in the Outer Banks of NC, sitting in our beach chairs watching our beautiful daughter play in the surf, we will raise our red cups in a toast to you, for your kindness will never be forgotten.
Thank you Kim for being my strength. I love you.
No Free Pass
My name is Dan Williams. Many of you know me from my years on the radio in Springfield, MA. For those of you who don’t know me I offer this quick synopsis. From 1973 to 1976, I served in the United States Marine Corps and was stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC. I, along with a million Marines and their families, were poisoned by cancer-causing chemicals in the base drinking water. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Lejeune_water_contamination After my discharge I started my Springfield radio career. I had the absolute pleasure of working with my talented wife, Kim, for 16 years doing morning drive radio. Kim is now doing morning radio in Hartford, CT and I’m on the air on Rock 102 in Springfield. We live in a nice house and we have a fantastic 5 year old daughter named Jillian. We are happy and blessed. That, however, does not mean life is not without its challenges and 2013 has proven to be the most challenging of all.
Throughout my 30-plus years on the radio I’ve had the good fortune of being involved with the Jimmy Fund and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. I’ve served on the Jimmy Fund Council of Western MA for many years. I’ve won several prestigious awards for my commitment in the fight against cancer. I’ve participated in Jimmy Fund Radiothons. I’ve ridden my bicycle across our country twice to raise money for the Jimmy Fund. I helped create Katelynn’s Ride to raise money for the fight against cancer and to support the Jimmy Fund and Baystate Medical Center. To date, I’ve proudly helped raise two million dollars in the fight against cancer. And now… cancer is pissed at me.
You see, cancer has come knocking on my door in the form of bladder cancer. Not a surprise, really, as I’ve expected this visit. Cancer is asking me, “You talk the talk but do you walk the walk?” Two years ago they found a blockage in my ureter, the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder. The tumor had already killed off the kidney and the doctor suggested we keep an eye on the growth in my ureter. Two years later and I’m in the hospital with blood clots in my calf and the tumor has grown considerably. November 17th I meet with Dr. Chang at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and it’s decided the kidney, ureter and a snip of my bladder need to come out. Robotic surgery. A few small incisions. 3 days in the hospital. As long as the tumor is contained a quick recovery can be expected. But is it contained? A PET scan on January 3rd will answer that question. The operation will take place January 7th. But do I “walk the walk” in the fight against cancer?
I’ve always been a fighter, never asking anyone for anything. For better or worse I’ve always fought my demons alone…one on one. But now this fighter is on the ropes taking some serious body blows and wondering what to do next. At least that’s how I felt until last night when God whispered the answer in my ear and my path became very clear. I am going to “walk the walk” and you’re going to walk it with me. Come June 1, I plan on being back on my bike for the 100 mile Katelynn’s Ride. I plan on having you join me and together we are going to raise a lot of money in the fight against cancer. Together we are not only going to “talk the talk” but we are going to “walk the walk” in this fight against cancer. I’m asking you to fight this demon with me. I’m asking you to stand side by side with me. I’m asking you to help me kick cancer’s ass.
So cancer, thank you for coming to visit me, because you have stirred a passion in me that had gone dormant. You and I have done battle for many years and soon our most vicious battle will take place, and you will lose.
Thank you Kim for being my strength. I love you.