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Archive for the tag “cancer sucks”

What Not to Say to a Cancer Survivor

I could write a blog post on my thoughts on Susie and her Wild Ride. She is the illustration and the definition of the word LIFE.

Yet the gods seemed to strike us both down with Cancer (the c word) about the same time. My readers often applauded my optimistic view on my journey with the c word, and how I even could joke about it.. Well, I took my cues from Susie (not to be confused with Susie Q). She was as serious as Purple Pansies.

My cancer, while serious enough, amounted to a Pop Quiz while Suzie had closer to a real full mid-term exam. (sorry, I just broke rule #3) We both are alive and well now, some 5 or so years later. And one of us is (still) traveling the globe and the other still wishes he was. 

Live Life folks!

Make this day and every day awesome!

Thanks to Susie for educating us all about what to say and not to say as well as the life of a cancer patient and survivor….

Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

susie lindau boob report picture with plants in front of her boobs before double mastectomies breast cancer

I’m almost five years cancer-free and have survived all kinds of off-hand comments. Everyone wants to say the right thing to a cancer survivor, but sometimes not saying anything would have been better. Some were well-intentioned while others seemed like heat-seeking missiles. When that would happen, I would go to a very dark place. A place filled with fear. A place without hope. A place I called The Hole. Dread and worry would swallow me. Sometimes for days. All because of some stupid remark.

It seems silly and yet there were times when I felt as if a giant C for Cancer appeared on my shirt. Some people avoided the topic altogether. Some avoided me like I was contagious. Others only wanted to talk about it.

Here’s the delio. Most survivors are cancer-free after surgery with or without chemo and/or radiation. We want to keep it that way. It’s funny…

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Donuts for everyone!

Just came from Dr. O’s office. After waiting an hour for my latest PSA results, I walked up to the desk to let them know I was leaving. I had waited an hour already and it was 5 o’clock.

Could you please just call or mail me with the results?” I requested.

She agreed but first checked on them. She came back around the corner and gave me a casual thumbs up, “You’re good” she said.

Good?” I questioned.

She said, “Yes, your PSA’s are less than 0.1, you are good!

Ladies and gentlemen, my tests say I have no more cancer in my body!

Last test.

Last checkup!

Ladies and gentlemen….

Donuts For Everyone!

donutsExcept for my initial drop in my PSA’s, that was the biggest drop yet.

Know what?

I largely cut out my diet sodas for the last 6 weeks….I’m just saying.

But based on those tests I am cancer free!

…and back to working on my immortality!

So how do we celebrate great doctor visits at my house? (at least me)

With Dunkin Donuts...

And you all are invited too! I have plenty for everyone!

Know what?

Tonight I might celebrate a little bit more!

While I never ever felt sick from the cancer, I am feeling pretty good tonight!


First round of donuts are on me!


No, its not my time..

A Long Lasting Valentine’s Week

A four letter word for FamilyA four letter word for Family

There was a time, not to very long ago, that Valentine’s Day meant vacation. We didn’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day too much at our house. No, no Valentine’s Day here!

You see she’s allergic to flowers. We still have tons of chocolate leftover from Christmas. And what better gift of love could there be where you can celebrate it close to the equator wearing as little as possible in the dead cold of winter?

But now we have two adorable little girls and we hafta gladly exchanged a trip to the tropics for smiles on our cherubs faces.

No contest!

Vacation? Not so much now. This morning, after I handed out all the Valentine’s cards to the ladies in my family, I was unexpectedly ambushed on my bed with two wide-eyed girls. They jumped and body slammed their dear ol’ Dad until I was forced to defend myself. I subsequently wrestled them into submission and then tickled them until they begged for mercy.

And then we did it all over again!

But all these Valentine’s Day shenanigans did not suddenly Sprout up Valentine’s Day. Saturday was just the  culmination of a week-long Valentine’s Day of love shared in our family. My girls probably had a pent-up need to release and share their kind of Valentine’s spirit by jumping on dear ol’ Dad….


Valentine’s Week began with CHOCOLATE! Mommy made a chocolate fondue for our girls, a Christmas present from this past Christmas.

afondooIMG_20150207_184008111Happy Valentine’s Day Week girls!

The truth is Mommy had to go out-of-town for a few days on business and this was her way of bonding with the kids before she snuck out in  the wee hours of the morning the next day.

Don’t worry girls, you are stuck with left in Dad’s capable hands. Try not to get him in trouble!


With Mom out-of-town I needed to come up with some kind of dinner for the girls we decided to have OUR Valentine’s Day Dinner Date at our favorite restaurant, Carrabba’s. I told the girls if they behaved themselves in Mommy’s absence they could have dessert.

Angels now

Angels now

The idea had a coupla merits, besides getting Daddy out of the kitchen after a long day at work. 1) YOU do NOT want to go out for a Valentine’s dinner on Valentine’s Day or weekend. Speaking as an ex-restaurant manager it is very hard to create a memorable dining experience with chaos going on in the busiest day all year in a restaurant. 2) Bribing my kids for good behavior usually seems to work. Hurray for Dad’s parenting skills!

Daddy is such a push over...

Daddy is such a push over…


Wednesday night turned into Movie Date Night for my two precious Valentines. I took them to the movies (in our home cinema) to see their most recent favorite movie, Guardians Of The Galaxy.

Why is this their favorite movie now you ask?

It’s because they know all the words to the songs by now and get to sing out LOUD to the songs like Pina Colada, and they get to dance their crazy dances with Dad at the beginning and the end of the movie:

Lots of fun!


Thursday saw the return of Mom from out-of-town but also Valentine’s Gifts appear in the mail. Mom took a back seat to the girls opening their gifts and reading their Valentine’s Cards. They were so enthralled evidently that they didn’t take time to read the instructions…

No, the other way...

No, the other way…

They absolutely loved their gifts in the mail (some Valentine’s jewelry) and the sentiments behind the cards from their grandparents admirers.

What does yours say?

What does yours say? Did you get any money?


Valentine’s Day Eve our nanny called off I decided to take a very special day off from work to spend with my two lovely Valentines. I took them to a Valentine’s Brunch at Chic-fil-a (oh how they hate that place!). Dylan, my ultra perceptive oldest child and well on to my parenting skills asks, “If we are good can we get dessert?”

Me: (sigh)

yea, Dad likes dessert too. I have trained them well!

yea, Dad likes dessert too. I have trained them well!


Did you ever notice these at Chic-fil-a? They recycle their Styrofoam cups? I really have mixed feelings about this attempt at Reuse…

I wonder who else has used my cup?

I wonder who else has used my cup?

Later that day, during nap time, I had a very important doctor’s appointment. We ALL ended up celebrating with dinner that night!

We went to our favorite pizza joint followed by their favorite ice cream parlor.

vIMG_20150213_191138154OK, it was a celebration, maybe not THEIR celebration, but one just the same.

We invited a neighbor who has selfishly  help me wash my car the last two or three weekends. Funny thing, we found out he is grounded, he said, due his grades (sounds really  familiar) so his parents won’t let him go out with his friends….. but they did with me and my family….  🙂 . But he is a great young man and this old man welcomes his help anytime!

We all had a great time, at now the end of a special week, so this Valentine’s party really started to build and the craziness took off…

Gosh, I really look young there.

Gosh, I really look young there, don’t I?

…all ending up with my getting walloped in bed this morning as my two Valentines clobbered me as I ‘peacefully’ rested in bed.

So Valentine’s Day recap for my sweethearts:


Dinner Date

Movie Night Date

Valentine’s cards and gifts (jewelry)

Valentine’s Brunch

Wrestle with your Valentine(s) Valentine’s Day

Check, check, check, check, check!


Oh, my doctor’s visit?

It was with my Urologist. It was my quarterly check-up to test the PSA’s in my blood, the detection for cancer used. For the record my PSA’s have now gone down from a 7.5 pre-cancer operation to .03 as of yesterday. While I was thinking this may be my last appointment, the my Urologist wants to milk my insurance company see me one more time to see if my PSA can get to a .02, which was his goal.


My PSA continued to lower hence my post last night and the reward this morning:


To those one of you who guessed the donut reward for a positive doctor’s visit, Congratulations! And Thanks for following so closely to 3D.

I have a FREE one year subscription to my blog for your grand prize!

Now here is a question for you, for all of you out there that ask the question, “What can I get my loved one for Valentine’s Day that is something different but still something they will like very much?”

Well my Doctor U. had the answer to that!

While I was waiting to be seen at the end of the day I could vaguely hear my doctor in the room beside mine go over his patient’s options enough to hear the words Viagra and Sample and Valentine’s Day all in the same sentence. Hmmmm…

What a thoughtful Valentine’s gift, or gesture I thought to myself

….not that I need any for Valentine’s Day! Having the time to spend with the ones I love after my cancer scare is living enough for me! But I did like this doctor’s beside manner…

Yes, Valentine’s Day, my lovely girls in my life, and Dunkin Donuts keep me running!



I hope it is a great, big and long-lasting one with lots of memories for each one of you!

(Do Not Disturb)

OK, what’s the plan?

A few days ago our kitty disappeared. Mom remembers seeing the front door left open a bit after I brought in the groceries. He was old, by cat numbers. We had him as long as we had been married.

Kitty's Portrait

Kitty’s Portrait

My wife came home with him after a trip to her home town (quite undiscussed!) a few months before we got married. In fact, if  I am ever at a loss for how long we had been married, come anniversary time, I just ask how old is the kitty?

So the girls are a little up set with their kitty being missing. We put a bowl of food for him by our front door and a blanket to sleep in the next night. The night before of course were those frigid arctic fronts going through town where the overnight lows were below freezing.

I didn’t hold out much hope for him but the girls still wanted to believe. Finally I told Dylan he may not be coming home. Her face sunk to sad.  I explained he is old and how cold it got the previous night. Optimistic, or still not wanting to concede the inevitable, she offers, “Well God would watch over him and keep him safe, right?

If it were only that easy Dylan.

Through some coaxing from good friends and at home, I have started reading the Bible at night. I have never done this, for no good reason other than I don’t like to read.

Go figure, I love to write but hate to read.

I started on this easy ‘Read the Bible in a year program’. Right now I am reading in Genesis, specifically where God and Moses are talking about freeing the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Previously I only knew this story from Charlton Heston and the 10 Commandments.

Let my people go!

Let my people go!

Like any Good Book, the Bible offers a whole lot more account than the movie did. What struck me was although God wanted to free His people out of bondage He first continuously hardened Pharaoh’s heart to not let them go.

God tells Moses to throw his staff on the ground and becomes a snake, plagues come of frogs, gnats and locusts. Each time Moses hopes this miracle will free his people. After all, since he started asking Pharaoh to “let my people go” Pharaoh made it that much harder on them in slavery.

“God, please let my people go!”

Desperate, Moses pleads with God to free his people as they were suffering so. God responds, He hardens Pharaoh’s heart so in the end His greatest miracle will be remembered forever and there will be no doubt to how great He is.

God could have freed the Israelites the first time with the first miracle but that would not have shown the extent of His greatness.

And so, while I was running for most of the morning this past Saturday, doing my 1/2 marathon thing I was thinking (I had some time to kill)….

Sometimes, Dylan, we don’t need to understand God’s plan. It may not make sense to us at the time. It may even seem mean or our prayers aren’t being answered. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be Great!

This concept led me to think of our troubles with infertility several years back. We sought the best fertility doctors in town in trying to have a family. They boasted how we ought to be ready for twins as they were that good!

The doctors created a “perfect embryo” then implanted it in my wife. We were finally going to have a family! But the embryo died.

We tried this again. The doctors made some adjustments. This time I  /we prayed so hard; night and day, forceful begging and pleading for a child. The new embryo was implanted. This one ” couldn’t be better!” We prayed tirelessly. Yet the embryo died.

Undaunted and dieing to have a family we tried the IVF procedure one more time. Third times the charm, right? Everything went well. We prayed night and day, pleading to let this one work. Please God, let this one live!

We both fell silent for two days when we got the news.

I swore then and there I would never, ever pray again. Three years of praying and begging, and making deals. It doesn’t work. He doesn’t listen. Its a waste of time.

God, please let my people go!”

Well I wouldn’t have this blog if  ‘it was that easy.’If you have been following this blog for a little you know what amazing kids I am blessed with by now. God’s plan was GREAT! His plan is so much better than I ever could have imagined. So much better than I could have asked for! These two girls of ours are miracles from God.


Yes, he could have granted us our prayers the first time we went down the IVF road. Or the second. And we would have been very grateful. But what a skilled architect God was in fulfilling our dreams. And He has left an indelible impression in me, leaving no doubt to how great He is. A dream that will never be forgotten!Just like with Moses.

This past Saturday I ran my 1/2 marathon on a dare from a friend. Quite unexpectedly I got real emotional on the rain filled ride to the race that early morning. I teared up, making it even that much harder to see. And I screamed at the top of my lungs, “Thank you! Thank you God!”

WP_20140201_002Here’s the weather before the run. Unless you had a wet suit on it was no fun.

Yes, it was rainy and wet and cold for this run. The temperature was 48 degrees when I woke up and still 48 when the race started and 48 degrees 2 hours later when I finished.

It rained most of those two hours I ran, making for less than ideal settings to excel in shorts with a soaked shirt and a soaked head. Many times I wanted to take the short road back to the finish line and call it a day and not finish. No one would blame me I thought, considering. But I thought, it sure beats the alternative.

It sure beat lying in a hospital for surgery for the removal of an organ..or two. Or taking chemotherapy tablets or radiation. It sure beat staying at home with a compromised lifestyle because cancer had taken part of my body. Yes, running in the cold rain, unprepared, for 12 miles wasn’t so bad..considering the alternatives. I may not have been in the best shape of my life but I finished the 13 mile run!

While just a shadow of my former self in this race, I still did it!

While just a shadow of my former self in this race, I still did it!

When I first found out I had cancer back in May, it is safe to say I was scared. I was scared of what was going to happen to my future. Or if I even had a future. But I never blamed God. I knew he had a plan for me. I was still scared after all, I didn’t know what that plan was! But I knew it was part of His plan for me.

Looking at Dylan and Skylar that afternoon, I can’t help but think and get just a little bit excited about how great a plan He has for me this time!

full rainbow

What’s your mantra?

There was a dark time, back in May, when everything I knew, built, or dreamed of was taken out from under me. I had a meeting with my Oncologist that told me I had cancer. Me! At age 51! Me?

I’m too healthy! I feel too good to have cancer? How could this be?

I didn’t know what it meant at the time but when the doctor tells you you have the C-word it stops you in your tracks.

What would I do? What does it mean? What will happen to my family and those two precious little girls God entrusted to us?

It was probably the darkest two weeks of my life. I had some tests done to find out the extent of the cancer growth.

The day the doctor read me the results of those tests had to be in my Top 5 best days of all-time! I walked out a saved man, to some extent, with the promise of living a good long time.

And as I climbed in my car and turned it on and let the good news marinate in my head a little bit an unexpected song came on the radio that brought me to knees, “Its Not My Time”.

The song was an old familiar one. The lyrics brought sobbing and praising God.


Looking back at the beginning of this
And how life was
Just you and me and loving all of our friends
Living life like an ocean
Now the current’s only pulling me down
It’s getting harder to breathe
It won’t be too long and I’ll be going under
Can you save me from this

‘Cause it’s not my time
I’m not going
There’s a fear in me
And it’s not showing
This could be the end of me
And everything I know
Ooo but I won’t go

I look ahead to all the plans that we made
And the dreams that we had
I’m in a world that tries to take ‘em away
Oh but I’m taking ‘em back
Cause all this time I’ve just been too blind to understand
What should matter to me
My friend this life we live
It’s not what we have
It’s what we believe in

And it’s not my time I’m not going
There’s a fear in me
And it’s not showing
This could be the end of me
And everything I know

But it’s not my time
I’m not going
There’s a will in me
And now I know that
This could be the end of me
And everything I know
Ooo but I won’t go
I won’t go

There might be more than you believe
There might be more than you and me
There might be more than you can see

And I lived and breathed that song all summer long, right up to and through an invasive outpatient cancer treatment last September.

The results of the cancer procedure? Well they are about as good as anyone could ask for!  Thank YOU for all your prayers!

So last month a few people that are closest to me urged and encouraged me to start running again. I had fallen off the bus pretty good for the last 2+ years.

Not getting enough reaction from me they dared me to do a 1/2 marathon in February!

What? 13.1 miles…. in the cold! Are you crazy? I am not in any kind of shape to do that! And so one of them led by example and did one for me, showing it can be done.

OK why not? It worked! After all…I do have 4 long weeks to prepare and get up to 13+ miles. Geez!

Well that 1/2 marathon is this coming Saturday at 8:30am (pray for sun and some warm weather!)

hangar_lighthouse_withmedalsmallYou know what? I feel ready to do some damage to it!

I have been running, training, dropping a few pounds and I have my good running form back. And, afraid it will take me all day to run 13 miles, I have put in some time that says I won’t do too bad.

This afternoon I ran a good pace on a treadmill for over 70 minutes, burned nearly 900 calories and ran with that good form the entire run, not dropping to a tired shuffling of feet.

Here are some stats after the first 59 minutes:


So all things being normal I may be able to run this half marathon in under 2 hours. I would be soo happy with that! I may not crack the code and run it in 105 minutes like I did the race in several years ago. But that’s OK. That’s Not My Time…

Just the idea of running a race again, let alone one of great distance, was a distant memory back in May. Especially since I haven’t run a race this long since 2010.

So thanks everyone for your prayers and encouragement along this mind-numbing period. A very special thanks to my closest of close friends that duped me and encouraged me into this challenge. You know who you are! Some very Special Mates (SSM)! Thanks for kicking my butt and daring me to put this C-thing in the rearview mirror.

The song Its Not My Time will continue to be one of my mantras as I go through life. It goes right beside my other one, Hold On Tight. Two songs, two phrases I will never forget and hope to hold on to for a very, very long time.

These two mantras mirror the final words of the famous North Carolina State basketball coach, Jimmy Valvano as he bid farewell at ESPN’s ESPY awards in 1993 after it was found he could not beat his form of cancer. Jimmy started his V Cancer Foundation with the words and the drive and now trademark phrase, “Don’t give up . . . Don’t ever give up.”®

Never give up my friends!

If you have the time take a look at this by Jimmy V.

It can be very motivating!

So do you have a mantra you try to live by?

Care to share it?

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