Sunday, December 25, 2011

Destination: Namibia!

Marcie and I will be heading on a journey tomorrow to Namibia! I have been dreaming of a trip like this for several years and Marcie is on sabbatical so now is a great time. We will miss the kids but they will be in good hands with all of their grandparents.

Is this a "bucket list" trip? I guess so. Have I written a bucket list? Not recently. I have a list somewhere that I wrote in college, some things were checked off, others deleted or changed other not done. Do I feel like I am in a big rush to go and do things because of brain cancer? Yes, but it is just one of the reasons to go and see the world. I have always wanted to travel to new places and new experiences. I am so lucky to have Marcie as my partner. We have had and will have great adventures. We also want to set the example of exploring to our children. We want them to keep their eyes open to the world. Plus, Namibia looks pretty awesome!

Shouldn't everybody have a bucket list?

Oh, shoot. It has been a busy Christmas day and it is time to go pack!

Have a great 2012!

We will bring pics and stories back from southwest Africa!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas is coming!

Busy, busy time. I am alive and very well. I promise to try to make time to update this blog.

Meanwhile: For Christmas, I would like a cure for Brain Cancer.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Marcie had to remind me

"Do you know what you don't have to do today?", Marcie asked this afternoon.
I was stumped.
"You don't have to take chemo pills tonight."
She, as always, was right.
For almost two years, every fourth week, I had to begin a five day regimen of Temodar pills.
The goal was to stomp the remaining cancer cells. I am now done with the pills after 24 cycles. The docs say no one goes any further because of possible collateral damage to the bone marrow which creates white blood cells.
Bye-bye little pink and blue capsules.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Let's Go To The Movies

Marcie and I had the opportunity to go to two great movies this weekend! We saw "50/50" on its opening night and "The Way" in a DC sneak preview. In a nutshell: both are wonderful films, two thumbs up on both.

I'll try not to be a spoiler on 50/50 but don't read on if you have yet to see the film. It was both touching and really funny. As a cancer fighter, some of the scenes were spot on. Some of the experiences of Adam, the protagonist were similar to mine. Adam was well played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

One early scene shows him wandering through the cancer clinic hallways alone somewhat bewildered; been there. His moment flipping out in his friend's car and feeling like he was losing it: been there more than a few times. The next scene shows him leaving his family as he is rolled to surgery. I have felt that same moment of fear and desperation before surgery. That scene brought the most tears.

What else do I take from the film? I need to call my mother more. I also wish I had a crazy but fiercely loyal friend like Kyle (played by Seth Rogen) to lighten the stress. And no fellow cancer patient has ever offered me cookies filled with weed.

The second film was "The Way" starring Martin Sheen and written and directed by Emilio Estevez. We saw a sneak preview which Sheen and his son attended. Way cool! They had a very funny Q&A after the film.

This film features Sheen as a widower who attempts to finish his deceased son's journey on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, a six week pilgrimage in Northern Spain. It is a delightful story of tragedy and redemption. Ironically, along the journey, they meet an older traveler, a yarmulke wearing priest. He reveals he wears it to cover the scar from his brain cancer surgery. Marcie and I loved this film and are ready to become pellegrinos on the camino.

This film is great but sadly under promoted. Go see it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

First Cyclocross Race!

One of the things I got after brain surgery and PT for my leg was a new Cyclocross (CX) bike. I had wanted one for long while. I put it to good use this past weekend in my first attempt at CX racing at the Tacchino CX in Upper Marlboro. It was muddy and hard and a blast! It was fun, before, during and after. Crashed (not bad) in warm-ups but not in the race. Brats and beer taste even better when mixed with the mud and sweat from the event. The atmosphere of the event is very cool, too. It is a lap race with much slower speeds so the fans can really see the cyclists and cheer them on. There was a live band and many beers and good food for a Sunday morning. Like a muddy festival.
Probably will do another race in two weeks in Hyattsville.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Two Years?!?!

The girls and I called my Aunt tonight to wish her a Happy Birthday. In the conversation, she mentioned that it was two years ago that I had my surgery. Wow. I knew that anniversary was around this time but I had forgotten the exact date. Things were going pretty fast at that time so I had lost track of the calendar dates. I think it was a Monday.

But I am here and very alive and very busy. So tonight, I poured myself a stiff drink and raised a toast to myself (after I got the daughters to bed.) When Marcie gets back from Belfast this weekend I will raise a toast to her for always being there with me.

And I drink a toast to all who are fighting this fight with me.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

This triathlon made me very happy!

Eagle Lake Short Sprint Triathlon:
2nd in my age group.
12th out of 200 overall.
4th in the cycling stage.
I assume I was the highest finisher with Brain Cancer.
I will take it!

This whole event was kind of a surprise. I was not even aware of this race until four days prior to it. We were going to be in the area of this race in Michigan staying with some dear friends, Paul and Deirdre. I don't know if Paul was daring me or joking with me when he sent an email telling me about the race just a couple miles from their lake home.

I had already packed my bike and running shoes so I figured, "Why Not?" I had not been really training and figured it was short enough that it wouldn't be a pain fest. So I had a good swim and better bike. It was a very short run that did not allow enough distance for the true runners to catch up.

I also had a GREAT cheering squad of Goeke-Moreys, Rowlands, and Worlands cheering me on at the swim, transitions, and finish! I also have a wonderful wife whose responds to most of my crazy ideas with, "You should do it!"

Now I am psyched for more races. Warrior Dash or Primal Mud Run, anyone? Cyclocross races? Who is with me?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

July Update

Hi everyone,
Again I am a lazy blogger. Just had two weeks of wonderful vacation. A week in Florida with Marcie and the girls. After that, the girls' awesome Grandparents took them for another week so Marcie and I could have our own vacation. We had a great week of camping in Maine. So peaceful and beautiful and great weather. Hiking and exploring during the day. Bottle of wine around the campfire at night. Total relaxation.

Once we returned, I had my quarterly MRI reading. More good times! The reading showed a small area of shrinkage and no growth! Such a relief. I will continue with the chemo pills and a decision will be made at the next clinic visit to decide whether to continue beyond 24 cycles.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I am so happy to be 41!

Yep, made it. Looking forward to more birthdays! My birthday fell on Mother's day so I got to spend it with my wonderful wife and beautiful daughters. Gorgeous day for breakfast outside and a hike on Roosevelt Island Park. I like birthdays, I REALLY like birthdays now.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Race for Hope 2011

For the first time in years I ran a 5K, a very special 5K. This was the Race for Hope to benefit the National Brain Tumor Society and Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure. It was a cool but great day on Pennsylvania Ave in DC. I ran pretty well, not fast but not slow. Brain tumor survivors (me) had special yellow t-shirts and got many special cheers. (Eyes got a little moist). What a great event! (Aunt Barbara: I made the video quickly before my race and I am in it.)

Me and my BT Buddy @jimgm20 at the Washington DC Race for Hop... on TwitpicI met some amazing people there. Finally met Natalya Jagger, founder of BT Buddies from the UK. She brought along works from her Behind the Mask Exhibition.

One of the masks exhibited was from another survivor, Deidre Kohler of South Africa.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Latest Scan (A Good Friday) and some random thoughts

Spent the evening of Holy Thursday at NIH getting my quarterly MRI scan. Returned on the morning of Good Friday and got the result. The tumor appears to continue to slowly shrink, yeah! Very relieved. I will continue the same plan of Temodar every fourth week through 24 cycles. I am at 18.

The news is quite good and quite relieving. As this fight goes on though, it is mentally and emotionally tough. Physically I feel pretty good. I am more fit now than two years ago before this fight started. Staying positive has always been my aim.

Maintaining a positive mindframe over an extended period is draining. Marcie has been great and sees when I am down. Other times, I have to let down the facade and let her know that I need "Help!" or I need to just vent. Sometimes I just need to let the tears flow.

Don't get me started on my "wise" choice to take an online grad course this semester. Marcie heard me curse myself all through that course. The class was fine, I just bit off more than I could chew. It just took up more time and energy than I could afford to give it. I did end up with an "A", learned enough, fulfilled some professional requirements, but sacrificed time that is so precious.

Spent last week in the Great Smoky Mountains with the kids and some great friends. It was wonderful to get out of town and get into the woods. Saw a bear!

Friday, April 22, 2011

It was like a bar, only so not

It is 7:45 at night. A TV is on the wall in the corner showing SportsCenter. Three men who do not know each other are paying half attention to the screen. They are having a lively conversation about baseball players, full of anecdotes and trivia. They are enjoying this random camaraderie.

This could be happening in a bar or even a barber shop.

The setting of this conversation is decidedly different. This conversation took place in the MRI waiting room at the National Institutes of Health. They were not there to have a drink. They were there waiting for a scan on their brain tumors. They will find out the next day. For those moments in the waiting room, their stress dissipated like a scene from Field of Dreams. Tomorrow will bring news but at that time those men wished they were in a bar. Because, Lord knows, we could use a beer.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Temodar Cycle #16 Complete

My, how time flies. Just finished Temodar cycle #16. Tired at the end of this week. Have my next MRI in a couple weeks. I guess I will find out whether I will stop after 18 cycles or go on to 24. It is working for me so I would like to go as long as possible. Has any reader out there gone for 24 months on Temodar?

Recently heard the news of a neighbor's young nephew who passed quickly after his diagnosis of brain cancer. Sad, sad news. But it reminds me how fortunate I have been in this fight. I am 19 months since diagnosis and plan to keep going! Fight on! #Stupidcancer

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Maximize Fun!

After dealing with chemo and radiation, a cancer fighter should maximize FUN! This is what I wore to work on St. Patrick's Day. Slainte!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

It has been too long. I am alive and well. Blood tests are good. Last MRI was in February. No growth. Working hard, parenting hard. Big challenge is that it is now Lent. I have given up all sweets: no candy, cake, cookies, pie, pop, ice cream, etc. Hopefully I will have the side benefit of taking off some or all of the winter weight. Still trying to decide what sport to focus on this spring and summer: triathlons? cycling? return to hurling? softball? a triumphant return to ultimate?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Half Full Thank You

Just found this video. Marcie and I appear at 1:12. Our youngest daughter is in a pic at 1:25 holding a "My Mom is Half-Full" T-Shirt. Who is going to do this race with us this fall?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!
It has been far too long since I posted. Not because things are not going well. Things are actually going very well! No growth, feel good; busy, busy busy. I will post soon with some plans for a great 2011: Easter trip (mountains), summer trips (beaches). Which triathlons? Which races to run? (Race for Hope in DC, May 1) Where to ride my bike? How to convince Marcie to get a road bike?
We are off to a great fitness start. Hitting the pool and the gym regularly. A Spinning class kicked my butt.
Have a great year everyone!

Inspiration can be found any where.