This one is personal. I almost stopped myself from drawing this, thinking I couldn’t possibly be objective. But the more I thought about it the more I believed perhaps that I have a unique perspective and a cartoon like this might give a voice to those of us whose lives have been forever changed by the hideous disease of cancer.
In August of 2000 I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. By September I was in daily radiation treatments that would last for 8 long weeks. It takes another 8 weeks or more for the poison of the treatments to taper off. They left me exhausted, with nausea and stomach issues beyond words. I didn’t have to do chemo, as depicted in this cartoon. But my friend Peter Belini was not as fortunate. I met him, another testicular cancer patient, the following year after my wife, Debbie, was diagnosed with terminal thyroid cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy treatments at a local Denver clinic. I lost Debbie to the disease in September of 2004 and Peter in the later part of 2005. Peter’s testicular cancer was far more aggressive than mine. His was much more like the one that Lance Armstrong had battled. The one that Armstrong had chronicled in his book,
It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life , a book I was only able to partially read because so much of it scared the hell out of me. But the one thing it gave me was hope. Just like the foundation Livestrong, that he created in the aftermath of his battle. Every time I see a yellow wristband It gives me hope. Hope and strength to carry on, to live for those whose lives have been cut short and don’t get the gift of another day. There are days, even now, where my faith wavers at the place and circumstances that I find in my own personal and professional life. But the flash of a yellow wristband brings me right back around to holding on and fighting back.
And so, forgive me, if I find myself somewhat ambivalent about the doping scandal that Armstrong finds himself in. Whether he is guilty or not, I honestly have no idea. There is evidence, no doubt. But I look across our world and see the evidence of the hope that his foundation stands for. That, to me, is all the evidence I need. This world could use a lot more of that kind of inspiration.