Out here along Highway 101 between Sebastopol and Petaluma sits an “Extended Stay” motel. I refer to this particular Extended Stay as “the palace”. It’s in a fairly rough part of Santa Rosa between Hearn and Corby Streets; I know this because I lived in Room 214 of this establishment for four months while I waited on the sale of our home back in South Carolina to become a reality. I made the 3500 mile trek across country on my own. Those five days were a godsend. I selected the northern route taking me through Asheville, NC, Memphis, TN, St. Louis, MO, parts of Nebraska, Elko, NV, through Lake Tahoe and finally into the parking lot of this Extended Stay. The room itself and the staff there were all very nice, and I was certainly not the only one who was a “geographic bachelor”. We [the geo bachelors] all seemed to return “home” between the hours of 4 and 6 PM, and our groceries all appeared to be the same … bachelors bags are generally filled with bacon, bread and booze. If it sounds like a title to a country song, it probably is, but that’s the truth of the matter. Bonnie was back home trying to sell the house and I was in a new position at work, so I kept things simple … watched whatever came on Showtime and became an ardent fan of mixed martial arts and the Ultimate Fighting Championships, particularly the female bouts. I love to fist fight – anyone who knows me will attest to that in one way or another, so this is what kept me sane. Bacon, bread, booze and boxing. Whatever works, right?
Last night, after another succstressessful Men’s Cancer Support Group at Sutter Pacific’s Warrack Campus I was driving back home to meet my two girls for dinner. Upon passing the residence I now refer to as “the palace” it donned on me that when I stood on its balcony two years ago watching the world fly by at 70MPH with a glass of vodka and grapefruit juice in my hand, I never once thought I’d ever be facilitating, or in last night’s case, participating in a Men’s Cancer Support Group. This world of ours plays a crazy amount of jokes on each of us each and every day and as strange as this may sound … I truly look forward to sitting down with the men who willingly take the time out of their extremely busy schedules to be a part of something so unique, so naked, and so raw.
Last night’s session filled two new chairs and our populace, much like the masses of those affected by cancer, continues to grow. I realize last night was only the second session, but I can certainly attest, even as a novice facilitator, that sitting with these men will ultimately change me in ways I never thought possible. I will always have a penchant for fist fighting, and although I’ve trimmed the bacon, beer, and booze from the diet since Bonnie’s arrival in October of 2009, it’s been through her own battle and survivorship of breast cancer that has helped sculpt her husband into an advocate of hope. I suspect she always knew it was there, and now together, we welcome what has become an extended stay.
Next Men’s Cancer Support Group is scheduled for Thursday, April 5th.