🔥🔥Impassioned Marketer
🗣️Speaker 📋Coach ✍️Writer
🚑Aortic Aneurysm Survivor
🙏Devoted Dad

I can’t sleep. It dawned on me that Sully will be 11 in two months. There is that number again. 

The room is dark and Sully lay on my shoulder. We are in his bed. My little Martian man with his long skinny legs and arms, pale skin, and bald head. His hand is inside of mine on my chest and I feel his little fingers fidgeting as he tries to fall asleep. They are so tiny and I realize soon these moments won’t happen anymore because he’ll be grown up. My mind wanders to the usual places as we lay there in silence, the subtle glow of the moon casts shadows from the window panes and a gray tint onto everything in the room.

Most of the days are good as we continue chipping away at the 3 year chemotherapy program. A few days ago however was not a good day.

We arrived at the hospital for his chemo session. The valet took our car, the security guard at check-in knows us and already had our passes printed. We exchanged pleasantries and continued on to the elevator to the 2nd floor. 

As usual the room was full of kids of all ages who had cancer.  Sully was called for his finger stick and went in without me. I stopped going in with him for that a while ago. His finger stick became a ritual and confidence thing that makes him feel independent and brave. 

He’s back in 5 minutes and we wait to see the doctor.

Eventually we are called in and put in a treatment room to wait. As we are sitting there I remind Sully he has to take his meds that we brought. I hand him his pill case from my bag and I resume working on my laptop as he takes them. A few minutes go by and suddenly I hear water hitting the floor and it sounds like a fire hose. I look up and Sully is projectile vomiting and it’s blasting all over. I quickly move him to the sink, and he immediately motions that the garbage pail is probably a better option. I rub his back and tell him it’s okay as he heaves into the trash. A nurse comes and throws towels on the floor which is plastered with puddles of vomit. He’s embarrassed. I tell him it’s okay and that things like that happen all the time, that it’s nothing to be ashamed about.

“What happened do you feel okay?” I asked.

“I gagged on my pill and it made me puke” he said.

For a moment it had created a stir on the floor, but things calmed down when they heard he had gagged on his pill and was not sick.

They moved us to a different room. We had to step on towels and in between puke puddles to get out. It looked like a crime scene.

“They should throw down chalk lines” I said as we exited. Everyone laughed, and Sully asked what that meant.

Soon the doctor came and examined him. He had a bump on his belly a couple days ago, and another one had appeared overnight. They were red and sore and the doctor seemed very concerned. She called in the infectious disease expert to evaluate them. 

The specialist came and checked the bumps and didn’t seem alarmed. She told us they were likely just infections from his ANC (immune system) being low and that she would prescribe an antibiotic. She also told us that she wanted to biopsy one to send out a sample and make sure it wasn’t anything more serious. 

I watched Sully’s face flatten when he heard her say biopsy. I reassured him it would be okay and would just feel like a little pinch. Meanwhile I had no idea what the fuck I was saying, I just didn’t want him to feel scared.

We were sent upstairs and they did the biopsy before his chemo session. He laid in the bed and I held his hand, and she did it quickly.

He winced and I thought it was over. 

“Great job, see it’s done!” I told him.

But then to my surprise his face turned a delayed red and he started crying.

“What’s the matter? Are you in pain or are you just afraid?” I asked.

“I’m afraid” he cried.

I felt horrible, the poor kid is so innocent.

I looked at him sternly. 

“Look at my face” I said.

“It's okay. You don't ever worry about anything, I’m here with you and I will never leave and you don’t ever have to feel afraid of anything. We are in this together and will kick ass.” I told him.

I may have also used some colorful expletives in that pep talk.

He smiled, and we moved on to watch the news together as they administered his chemo for the day.

Later on the ride home our conversation was entertaining as usual.

“Are the British Irish like us?” he asked.

His unique questions and opinions kept me laughing and entertained, and quickly washed away the drama of the morning.

“You can come and watch us skeet shooting this spring when it gets warm” I told him. 

I had to explain what skeet shooting was. 

“Can we bring Lennox?” (our dog) he asked.

“No Sully you can’t bring a dog to a shooting range.”

“He’s a hunting dog though.”

“I know but it’s not hunting”

“Well maybe we can bring him to Texas with us when we go”

“Only if we drive” I said.

Our dog is a Viszla. A Hungarian hunting dog, cousin of the Weimaraner.

“What was Lennox’s name before we got him?” Sully asked. 

“What do you mean he was a puppy he didn’t have a name” I replied.

“You said he was in the Hungarian army” he said. 

I laughed out loud. 

“Yes, oh yeah” I said. 

“Asiiiiiiiiaaaaaaago HIKE!!” I yelled out. 

Sully laughed hard.

I had told him years ago that Lennox was a Hungarian war dog and responded to attack upon the command “Asiago, HIKE” a silly phrase that I must have conjured up on the spot from a combo of my favorite cheese and the football command for snapping the ball. Over the years I would have the kids laughing til no end as I would stand in the kitchen and demonstrate. 

I would draw out “Asiago” as long as possible and finish with an abrupt “HIKE!” and Lennox would go batty. The dog loved the playtime and the kids were amazed and begged for more. 

The only house on the block with a cuddly floppy eared dog that kills.



  1. As usual, you make my cry and laugh. You write beautifully. I’m glad Sully is feeling a bit better.

  2. You write beautifully. My heart goes out to Sully and your family, as you go through this battle. It sure helps put life in perspective. Hang tough and keep making your brave and strong little guy laugh. Your dog is beautiful. They are truly a family's best friend. Eleni Russell


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