Hit ‘Em Straight

Blogs-contributors, Dan Waeger — By on September 25, 2009 at 6:47 am

Well, it’s one week until the Waeger Cup! We should have a great turnout of about 150 golfers (remember to bring your wallets for the raffle and auction!). And PLEASE pray that we have good weather.

It’s hard to believe that Dan will not be there (well, physically). The Waeger Cup was such a big part of his survivorship. It gave him something to look forward to every year, and was an opportunity for him to say thank you to all those that supported him, and in turn, his foundation. Now that I’ve gone through planning my first one without him, I am even more impressed at his drive and desire to make the tournament happen… even in the face of cancer. I am still not totally impressed by his organizational skills, but am a little more understanding now that I have a greater appreciationg for what has to get done.

I think back to last year. Dan had just gone through his first cycle of a tough chemo treatment. I did not think he would even make it to the Waeger Cup. He had no voice. His throat was so sore that he couldn’t eat. And the cough had started, making it tough to speak. He wasn’t sleeping much. His white blood count was very low, and he was afraid he might get an infection. It was the first time I had ever seen Dan “sick” through all of our time together. And I was scared. Because if Dan couldn’t handle it, then well, “it” must be horrible. But he pulled himself together, and he went to the tournament. And it was a good day.

Later that night, we came home and tallied up the raffle and auction proceeds. We were so happy that we’d raised almost $30,000. Then Dan went into the bathroom. He came out a few minutes later, sat at the edge of the bed. He took my hand and said “Babe. I have to tell you something. I don’t want you to be scared. I don’t want you to be sad. But my hair is falling out.” And with that, he put my hand to his head and I pulled a little tuft of his hair. It came out in a clump. It was soft. And of course, there really wasn’t a whole lot considering Dan’s follicly-challenged head. Dan had told me the story of the first time his hair fell out. But I never thought I would actually see it. If I hadn’t known the week leading up to the tournament that he was sick, I sure knew it then. But I remember thinking… what timing! I was glad for him that he got to see everyone looking pretty much like himself, even if he didn’t sound like it.

The next day, I was let go from my job. I’ll try to stay classy about it, but let’s just say it was a horrible situation handled very poorly by months that people I don’t have an ounce of respect for in the least. I came home. I made myself a tuna melt and sat on the couch. A little while later, Dan came home and said “We’ll go wherever you want for your job. Let’s go to New York (I was in media at the time). I can get treated at Sloan.” I mean- was he insane? No, he was serious. Even though I knew we’d never leave here, I was reminded that through all the craziness of his illness, I was still his first priority. And of course, the job loss was a blessing because I got to spend so much time with him over the next few months. Anyways, we pulled out the clippers and I shaved a mohawk into his head. As usual, it all ended in a laugh.

I am so thankful Dan was able to go to the Waeger Cup last year, even if he wasn’t able to do as much on the course as he liked. It’s only fitting in a way that it was the last time he ever played golf. At his own tournament, among the friends and family he loved so much.

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