I will not be courtside for Tuesday's Jimmy V Classic, the first time since the classic started in 1995 that I will not be able to take part. It saddens and hurts me to know I will not be able to join my friends Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas and Holly Rowe on the call of Tuesday's Tennessee/Texas Tech and Syracuse/Villanova games at the mecca -- Madison Square Garden.
My medical team would not allow me to make the trip because of the intense chemotherapy treatments I had over two days this weekend at the Sarasota Memorial Hospital's Brian D. Jellison Institute Oncology Center. The dosage of my chemotherapy was increased, and the 72 hours after the chemo was a very tough time. My doctors told me the side effects might be rough, and they were right on the money -- those included severe stomach pains, a tough time swallowing, flu-type symptoms and inability to sleep. I am happy to report that my medical team was also right when they said the side effects from the chemotherapy would subside.
I have a much better idea now of what people face in their journeys while attempting to recover from a cancer diagnosis. It is a never-ending battle in getting to that finish line where you can hear those magic words that you are now cancer-free.
My heart goes out to all the kids I have met over the years who have dealt with this terrible disease, including at my annual gala dedicated to pediatric cancer research. The side effects I just dealt with make me wonder how in the world these youngsters can get through months of these treatments. In addition to the toll on the children, I can't even imagine how their families can handle watching their children suffer through chemotherapy and feel almost helpless.
In my case, I have blood work Wednesday and a scan to determine whether my white blood cell count has gone up. If it has, I will then be cleared to do the Villanova vs. Baylor game Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on ABC. My team is very optimistic, and I am praying they are right again.
Meanwhile, the challenge to win this battle for all cancer patients never, ever stops and continues with Tuesday's Jimmy V Classic being played again in the name of my great friend, the late Jim Valvano. The V Week festivities and the Jimmy V Classic are always great opportunities to become involved with raising dollars to combat this brutal disease. I have written before about my friend Jim and his courageous fight, and his battle is one of the reasons I have been so inspired over the years to fight for pediatric cancer research.
The 17th annual Dick Vitale Gala, benefiting the V Foundation, will be held May 6, 2022, at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, Florida. For more information, visit dickvitaleonline.com.