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I’ve got a serious cancer recovery question in the vein of what came first, the chicken or the egg, after reading this.

Maybe this isn’t the right place to ask, but come on blogosphere.

The BBC reports, “HPV vaccine linked to ‘dramatic’ drop in cervical disease.”

The next research I want to see is a drop in HPV16 throat cancer, neck cancer, tongue cancer, tonsil cancer, rectal cancer, and penis cancer. Covers the likely landing spots?

It’s a modest request, don’t you think?

Reading the BBC may give the impression that a drop in cervical cancer or pre-cancer would lead to a drop in the the neck stuff, but probably not at first.

A highlight of sorts in HPV awareness, here’s one of my twitter follows getting a vaccine at the age of 52. She’s a doctor and wants those who trust her opinions to know why.

Thank you, Dr. Gunter. You’re a continuing inspiration.

The Key To Cancer Recovery

Here it is, the KEY TO CANCER RECOVERY: acquire a bully.

But Dave, you ask, why would anyone want a bully, or go out of their way to find someone to bully them?

Good question, my attentive reader. The simple answer? Getting bullied means rejoining the mainstream. Getting bullied means you’ve crossed over from recovering to cancer recovered.

It’ll make more sense this way:

I belong to a gym, but I don’t use it for exercise. I go in to lift.

After running the gamut between chemo and radiation I went back to the same gym a different lifter.

To say I couldn’t lift anything is an exaggeration, but not by much.

For six months I felt like I might pass out when I stood from a set of light reps.

I’m stronger now and here’s how I know: My Bully.

So there’s a guy, more an exerciser than lifter, who said, “Why don’t you put something on the bar? You’ll never lift what you used to, will you?”

In gym-rat-dom, that’s a compliment, like the one from another passer by: “My grandmother could lift more than that, and she’s dead.”

The first guy is special, and here’s why: I load a bench with the plates I’ll use on my way up the weight ladder, scavenge around for two 45s, 25s, and 10s.

My Bully, and I use the term as an honorific in this case, walked past a rack of plates and took the 25s off my rack and gave me the stink-eye of, ‘what about it old man?’

I mimed my shock. O, MY?

Then it sunk in: This is my cancer recovery moment and I’ve got a gym bully to prove it.

Here’s the deal, it’s so fucking hard to crawl out of the shadow of cancer. Like a stain that refuses to fade fast enough, it’s a fight to keep scrubbing.

Like the end of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, it’s a fight to get out of the shade, the sort of fight that goes against the odds.

My bully proves I’m worthy, a fighter. I’m back on the playground, a friendly target. Finally.

The other side of the bully deal is my auto response to bullies that I only use in emergencies. It’s been two years since I made the last bully cry.

My gym bully isn’t an emergency; he’s more a welcome mat.

About David Gillaspie


  1. Scott Milburn says

    If you need someone to give you shit you know there’s some gray haired old men back in North Bend who can help you out.

    • David Gillaspie says

      Funny how roots work. I’ve met people and asked where they come from. “All over,” they say, like they’re ashamed of where they’re from. Or don’t know. Or grew up on military bases.

      How hard is it to pick a place? If I had to pick a place to grow up I’d pick North Bend, mainly because I grew up there and it worked out. Doesn’t always happen for everyone.

      I learned how to be a bully for good in North Bend without bullying anyone, at least not technically. I give the sport of wrestling all of the credit. After a three year span that ended with a district title, state greco title, and all-America status for 3rd in greco Jr Nationals, I beat more than one character who came out on the mat like a bully.

      After the first time it happened to me, I asked myself, ‘Is this is sonofabitch who’s going to cow-tail me face first into the scorers table on the next mat over?’

      Maybe. It was best to proceed with caution. (A cow-tail is when you’ve got your own hand between your own legs and the other guy is pulling on your wrist until you either run and fall, or just fall down. Not a pretty thing to experience, even if it’s hilarious to watch.)

      If my gym bully hasn’t got enough game, I know where to go. Thanks, Scott.

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