Article Index


Chapter One

Let me say right up front I am NOT crazy.
   I may be a little unusual, but given the circumstances, I am entitled to be a little off center. Bear with me and I’ll tell you what happened. You make up your own mind.
   I don’t eat the crayons or hide marmalade in my armpits. I don’t see dead people. I am a licensed driver and a registered voter.
   You want crazy? Anatidaephobia. Now that’s crazy. That’s the fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you. Who would admit that, even to their doctor?
   My name is Thomasina Joseffa Bishop, which is enough to shove anyone a few degrees off center. I was half way through second grade before I could spell it. By third grade I went by Tee, or Teejay, to the relief of my teachers.
   I am also a survivor. That means I get to wear a purple shirt at every Relay for Life event, having earned the right by surviving cancer.
   If you want to kill a conversation quicker than spilled wine on the heirloom table cloth, say one word – cancer. Admit you had it, and folks will back up a good four feet and start looking for the exit, in case you might be exhaling cancer cells right at them. Even close friends may suddenly decide to visit Cancun, or at least give the impression they may have moved.
   About the only phone calls coming your way are reminders of doctor appointments or a telemarketer wanting to sell you something and they will hang up on you if you mention cancer, in case it might sneak down the telephone wire and infect them through their ear.
   Cancer is the ‘do or die’ disease – do what the doctor says or die. It is the red wolf, tearing you apart, wearing you down, rendering you weaker and weaker until you are too tired to fight and succumb to its lethal bite.
   No one is exempt.
   It is the equal opportunity offender. Democrat or Republican, black, white or purple, male or female, makes no difference. Each one must run the gauntlet alone, a private and personal battle, fought in silence.
   Chemotherapy is poison, literally. A series of chemicals that poisons the cancer cells and kills them. Sadly, it also kills a lot of healthy cells, at times it will make you question yourself and your doctors, to wonder if it’s worth it.