…102 Days Until Race Day
This is Andrew.
His treatment lasted 2 years, ending on June 26, 2006, 3 days after his 10th birthday. How’s that for a belated present?
“Even though most people think that a cancer diagnosis is a horrible, life-altering experience, I only know it to be a normal part of my life.
I have some memories before cancer changed my world, but over time they have faded. I was only eight years old and I really didn’t mind skipping a year of school. I missed my friends and all the fun we had, but I quickly made new friends and we had a lot of things in common like no hair and IV poles but we understood each other.
I had the good luck of going through a really tough round of chemotherapy during the holidays and looking back at it I really became spoiled. Everyone worked so hard to make those difficult days the best time of my life and it really was. I had more gifts and special visitors than one could imagine.
One of my best memories was being at the clinic for treatment and a radio crew was there. It was a buzz of activity instead of the long dreary day of getting chemo. I met so many nice people and had no idea who they were, but thought it was just a lot of fun. I had no idea that someday I would be in college and they would help me along the way. It has been twelve years and we are still friends and they regularly check on me.
There are lasting effects of the chemotherapy treatments that I began dealing with a few years ago. The drugs that saved my life also affected my heart as well as weakened my bones. I have to be cautious with physical activities because my bones break easily as well as limit outdoor activities during the hot summer months of Texas.
Another real frustrating side effect is the challenges I have academically. It seems like I have to work much harder than others. I struggle with memory issues and that is really annoying. I have had to repeat a few classes, but my team of oncology doctors continue to encourage me that the important thing is to keep going.
Every year I visit Texas Children’s Cancer Clinic for an annual check-up and it is like walking down memory lane. So many good things happened along my journey that I find it easy to help others.
Currently as a part-time job I transport elderly people to their medical appointments and it really seems normal. Most of the places are familiar and I know the feelings they have as they wait to see their doctor or test results.
I have a good time making the day better for them. I doubt it would be so easy if I had not spent so many days, weeks, and months as a child doing the same thing.” – Andrew
Coach Brian Caldwell decided to torture me with 2 x 3 minutes of shadow boxing, followed by 2 x 3 minutes of pads then 3 x 3 minutes of body punches. After that we hit the heavy bag for 3 MORE rounds.
When we were finished, Coach Brian told me, “I didn’t think you’d make it out of the ring to the heavy bag. Nobody does an hour of body work.”
Sometimes it pays to be naive and not know what you’re not supposed to be able to do.
Who will you meet tomorrow?
Andrew and his broadcasting idol, Cactus Jack fromThe New 93Q. Imagine an 8-year-old boy just sitting down at a table, grabbing those very headphones and putting them over his ears. It looked pretty funny, but it’s what endeared Andrew to us immediately.