Rex

After the first round of chemo. He’d had better days.

So, my running buddy is doing okay. “Not great, not dead,” as he would put it. Many of you have asked about him. Rex has just finished his third of six rounds of chemo. Other than a 30-pound weight loss, which wasn’t necessary, he looks pretty much the same. His color is once again rosy, his attitude is good and his hair — well, I’m being kind when I say he didn’t have much to start with. The only major physical change is the man I once ran 20 miles a week with now uses a walker to hobble around the house. His strength has been zapped. Chemo is getting him as close to death as it can before the doctors will push healthy life back into his ailing system. Cancer will die a miserable death in the process — fingers crossed.
I’ve been contemplating what to do for him. For the first time, I understand that helpless feeling people write about when a loved one is diagnosed with a serious disease. Rex got cancer and I got anxiety. Rex started chemo and I started baking. Rex’s hair started falling out and I thought about shaving my own head.
Thankfully, the last thought passed quickly. I’m a single girl and frankly, me being bald isn’t going to make him better or help my chances in the dating pool. Then again, neither is the massive amounts of baking, but idle hands…
What I did come up with, other than regularly feeding him very fattening baked goods (per the doctor’s recommendations, no less) is to create Team Rex. Rex has run the Tempe YMCA Thanksgiving Turkey Trot for as many years as I’ve known him. It is a simple, easy 2-mile run and it raises money for our gym. Specifically, it raises money for kid’s programs at the facility and for low-income families who want to participate. He’s never won the race, but he isn’t one to mess with. This year, of course, Rex will be on the side lines as an observer.
I’m petitioning our gym to dedicate the race this year to Rex. He’ll be there to observe a steady stream of people wearing yellow shirts, emblazoned with a “Team Rex, Live Strong” logo.
The race is Thanksgiving morning at the Tempe YMCA. Phoenicians, consider this a city-wide invitation. The cost is +/-$15. If they Y management doesn’t want to provide the shirts, I’m going to do so out of my pocket. I can just imagine how tickled Rex will be to sit at the finish line and watch countless friends and others he’s never even met run a tiny community race in his honor. If his spirit doesn’t motivate us all to live a little bit healthier, hug those we love and thank God for each day, I’m not sure what will.
Let’s lace up, shall we?

~K