I was at the doctor’s office today, and when I walked past the hospital gift shop it made me wonder, What was the best cancer gift I received? A clear rubber ball that my friend Mary Lois gave me the day before my first surgery when I lived in San Francisco. I guess super balls are not a good gift good gift for a testicular cancer patient, but I’m a girl so it was all good.
When we were kids, my brother and I had a huge glass jar of superballs, each the size of a quarter. Some were swirly, others had glitter inside. When my parents were out of the house we used to stand at the top of the stairs and ricochet them hard off the walls like a pinball machine, down the stairs into the living room. I’m amazed we never broke anything.
The superball Mary Lois gave me was clear, the size of a plum, and had a toy lion suspended inside. In the middle of the night, the evening after my surgery, when even the nurses had stopped poking me and my mom was crashed out on the chair next to my bed, I spent three hours staring at the clock and rolling this little ball around in my sweaty palms. I was doped up on anesthesia and thought, ‘If I can roll this little lion around in my hands, then I know I’m alive and I will make it through the night.’ As corny as it sounds, it felt like that super ball was keeping me from dying.
Mary Lois must have picked it up at the corner store on the way to the hospital or maybe she even found it on the floor of her car. It seemed like an afterthought gift. Yet, to this day it is blows away the junk sold in any hospital gift shop.
What kinds of cancer gifts have you ever given or received?