I’m not a big New Year’s Eve guy. I’ve never been a big partier. The only time I went to Five Points to watch the peach drop I had my pocket picked. We usually stay home and have a few friends over — who aren’t big partiers, either. Most of the time it is all any of us can do to stay awake until midnight. And let’s face it. Ryan Seacrest is no Dick Clark.
This year, however, I am making an exception. I will probably stay at home and won't be hosting a particularly raucous party, but this year I will have absolutely no trouble staying awake until midnight. You've heard the lyrics from that old Christmas carol that goes "fast away the old year passes?" Well the current "old year" can't pass fast enough for me and I'm making sure that sucker leaves right on cue. I am done with 2011 and don't want it to show its ugly face again.
Oh, there were highlights, to be sure, as there are with any year. It was pretty cool when Navy Seal Team 6 knocked off Osama bin Laden. I shouldn't take pleasure in another's demise, but he needed killing.
I probably shouldn't admit this, but the Royal Wedding was pretty cool, too -- in a completely different way of course. It was like something Walt Disney might have orchestrated, and who could ever forget Pippa in that white dress?
Locally we had a great snow storm and school was closed for an entire week. We were long overdue, too. And the high school football team at Heritage, where I teach, had its best season in history. On a personal note my son graduated from UGA -- and immediately enrolled in grad school. My youngest daughter survived a summer as a high adventure counselor at a New Mexico church camp -- and when you operate all summer under the pseudonym "Danger," survival is a big deal. My oldest daughter made a good living selling drugs. OK. Pharmaceuticals. So those were positives.
But in most ways, for me, 2011 was about as tough as a two dollar steak. I didn't have as bad a year as Jerry Sandusky, but it was no bed of roses, let me tell you.
I made my first doctor's visit on Jan. 4 and had so many complaints that neither he nor I could keep them all straight. If it was a part of my body and could hurt it hurt. If it was an organ that could cause discomfort, it caused discomfort. It seemed like I had every medical test known to man -- and one or two previously reserved for women -- in January and February, without a definitive answer about the source of my problems. We tried this medicine and that medicine but nothing seemed to make much of a difference.
My wife's solution to my ailments was the same as it always is. She put me on a diet. She is a little-boned woman, understand, who has to run around in the shower to get wet. She can eat as much as lumberjack after a two-day fast without gaining an ounce and just doesn't understand my penchant for fried food and potatoes and gravy. Two months and 40 pounds later, I felt so bad that I invited about a hundred of my closest friends to celebrate what I was certain would be my "last birthday" at Henderson's restaurant. I still didn't feel worth a darn, but the fish was great and everybody told me I looked marvelous.
I struggled through the rest of the school year and scheduled a plethora of surgeries for the first day in June; surgeries that I hoped would give me some relief from my multiple health problems. On May 13, while making a pre-op visit to Rockdale Medical Center, I got a call on my cell phone from one of my doctors that promptly took my mind off my upcoming gall bladder procedure. A routine blood test during my annual physical had convinced him that I probably had prostate cancer and needed a biopsy.
Three weeks later, while I was still in severe pain from the three surgeries I had in June, my cancer diagnosis had been confirmed and I was wandering among the rubble of the summer searching for clues as to the best path to take to battle the cancer.
Six weeks after a radical prostatectomy in August, which everyone involved thought would solve the problem, I learned that the cancer had spread and further treatment would be needed. All sorts of things go through your mind when you get news like that. Not many of them are positive.
So now I am halfway through two months of daily radiation treatments and won't know for weeks if that has worked.
But if it doesn't, the next thing we try will -- or the thing after that. One of the greatest things that happened to me in 2011, you see, was that my belief in the power of prayer has been greatly reinforced and I have learned that there are hundreds of people sending up prayers in my behalf.
So get thee behind me, 2011. I will be glad to see you gone. And I can't wait to welcome 2012, because that will be the year that I find out I am cured. That will be a happy new year, indeed.
Darrell Huckaby is a local educator and author. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.