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Carol Perkins: Only on a small town radio station

A caller to the Susan and Carol-Unscripted radio show wanted to know the latest on "Tommy." She was updated without the last name having to be given. Everyone in Edmonton knows "Tommy" - they know his exuberant personality, they know him for his love of family and church, and they know him for his courageous battle agains cancer. They know he is a fighter
Next earlier Carol Perkins column: Carol Perkins: Everyone should vote

By Carol Perkins

Last Tuesday a lady called into the Susan and Carol-Unscripted show (on the Hoss, FM 99.1, 10am-11amCT, on Tuesdays) from TOPPS manufacturing to check on one of our well-known residents. "We want to know something about Tommy but no one knows anything up here. We thought you all might know."

I reported what I knew based on being at the same church he attends, and thanked her for calling. Only in a small town can we call into a radio show and find out the welfare of one of our own. Not only was that special, but the fact the ladies wanted to know was even better. Tommy who? Well, doesn't everyone know Tommy?

Tommy Grissom has been living with cancer for several years, but he keeps going when we all know he doesn't feel like it. He is an inspiration, which seems such a small word for the effect he has on others.

There are so many people who are going through what Tommy is and doing so with the greatest of faith and calmness. Have you noticed that the patient is often less anxious than those around them? I marvel at their attitude. I know his wife Debbie and his children are in a constant state of stress.

Like many of you, I have spent time in a chemo room. Not for myself, but with someone else. Patients came in, usually alone during their work hour, sat in a recliner type of chair, a nurse hooked them up to the chemo drip, and then they laid their heads back and rested during the treatment. Very few talked.

Sometimes family members came and sat quietly, flipping through a magazine, waiting. The nurses are not chatty around the nurse's stations or eating cookies and candy kind patients have brought to them. This would be for later. The time spent in the chemo room is serious and sterile.

What I noticed were the ages. Teenagers to the elderly sat side by side. How brave of these young people to come with their backpacks and then head back to school. My experience was in Louisville, but I'm sure there is very little difference anywhere else.

As for Tommy, wherever he travels for treatment, he leaves some of himself behind. When he stayed at a place in Bowling Green (a type of community housing used for bad weather times), Tommy came back to our church with a list of things this facility needed. He also cooked while he was there (his speciality), and we all knew those who met him hated to see him leave.

Tommy Grissom is "famous" in Metcalfe County for his exuberant personality and love for his church and family. He worked for years at the Edmonton IGA until cancer forced him into retirement. That was a long time ago. He is a fighter, and we all watch each round, standing around the ring supporting him. So it was no surprise to get the phone call and no reason to ask, "Tommy who?"

This story was posted on 2016-03-03 07:44:32
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