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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Go Shorty, It's Your Birthday!

After Katie passed, I was never once suicidal. I don’t know if the antidepressants were working or my strong faith wouldn’t let me consider the idea. There was the occasional, “what if I just run off a bridge” moment but the selfishness of the act was beyond my ability to comprehend or plan. HOWEVER, I did not want to live. I prayed many a night that God would make me sick and take me away. I figured there was nothing left for me on Earth so why be here. 

As time marched on and those feelings began to lessen, mere numbness set in. Instead of praying for death, I started to just not care. If I lived, “oh well” and if I died, “oh well.” And this is the feeling I lived in for years. I came to grips with the fact that I was pretty healthy and a good driver so I probably wasn’t going to die. So I had to be content with living and I did. I rarely sat in my house if I was invited out. I was surrounded by friends and loved ones. And that was more than enough to keep me going. 

This morning, I woke up and enjoyed my many birthday wishes on Facebook and then all of a sudden it hit me. I’m 34! I had a sudden sunken feeling of I’m getting older and I still have so much to do. I told my girlfriend how I felt and she asked why I was so upset. And without hesitation, I replied, “I’m not ready to die.” And then it hit me. This really is the next step in my journey. I am no longer apathetic but I now have dreams and goals again. And I think that it is probably the best birthday present I can get. (Although the presents I got are pretty sweet!). So happy birthday to me and many more; we just won’t be counting the rest!
 With Comedian Jim Jeffries @ The Stress Factory

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Random Reminders

It has been over 4 years since I have updated this blog. I guess that means one of a couple of things: I've been very busy or I have moved on. At this point, it is safe to say that I just got busy.

October always kick starts the worst time of the year. After Katie died, the memories were so fresh and the dates were so clear in my head. September 30th, this happened. October 9th, this happened. October 11th, this happened. And so on. So as each day would unfold from October through November, there would be a bump in it. Some were speed humps that I could speed up and hope my shocks were good and others were mountains that would take me days to climb. But as each year has passed, minor dates have blurred and now I'm left to remember the big dates. But for the most part, they are no longer mountains. They run around in my mind like kids playing hide and seek. And once they are found, they quickly move on.

When Katie passed away, every day was filled with reminders of Katie. A cup, a show, a song, clothes, strollers, Camaros, and on and on and on. Everything stopped me in my tracks. Now, those same things still remind me of her, but they don't phase me anymore. They generally make me smile instead of hurt. And for that, I'm extremely thankful.

I like God's sense of humor . . . sometimes. I was contacted by a gentlemen who came across the blog and asked for my help to continue to get more information out to others living with or supporting those with cancer. And when I read his email, it made me laugh and then made me sad to realize that if I forgot this page existed, so did EVERYONE else! But I offered to help and if one person reads it, then hopefully an impact was made.

I have a feeling I'll be posting more again. Call me crazy, but pouring my soul out to the world always seems to help! Enjoy the article by David Haas and pass it along to anyone that could possibly benefit from it.

Fitness for Life: The Benefits of Exercise for Cancer Survivors

As a cancer survivor, your primary concern is to live a healthy lifestyle and remain cancer free. The extensive treatments to send the cancer into remission can take a mental and physical toll. Even though the outcome is worth it, your next step is to remain on the road of recovery. Staying healthy is a good way to maximize long-term health and exercising can help you accomplish this goal.

Many medical studies have shown that healthy eating and exercise can prevent certain cancer. Likewise, exercise may contribute to improving the quality of life for those diagnosed with cancer. Whether the treatment is for prostate, mesothelioma or breast cancer, some can weaken immune systems and energy levels. While exercising is not a cancer cure, it can make you stronger and fitter.

Benefits of Exercise

Medical experts recommend that you begin exercising as soon as possible after a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Some studies show that most people tend to decrease activities after being diagnoses with cancer. Depression, fatigue from mesothelioma treatment, for example, feeling sick and stress contribute to a less active lifestyle.

A sedentary lifestyle could have greater adverse affects on your body’s response to treatments. However, exercising may help your recovery.

You can experience many benefits through exercise as a cancer survivor. Some include a leaner body mass, lower weight gain and improved muscle strength. Exercising can also improve your mood, reduce fatigue and boost your self-confidence.

Exercises to Maintain Fitness

Overcoming the odds of beating cancer makes you a winner. On its website, the American Cancer Society recommends moderate to vigorous activity five days, for a minimum of 30 minutes.

This might not be achievable initially, unless you have a habit of exercising. Nevertheless, you can set small goals and build on the success as your exercise level increases over time.

The following exercises can help you remain fit for life.

• Resistance training to build muscle strength. Cancer treatments can cause you to lose muscle and gain fat. Lifting weights or strength training can rebuild the muscle you lost. Stretching exercises increase flexibility. This is a way to keep moving and get used to exercising. Stretching helps you maintain mobility and build up to a more vigorous exercise.

• Aerobic exercises can be jogging, swimming or walking briskly. You will burn excess calories and lose weight.

You can try any enjoyable activity to increase your fitness level. Make sure you get a complete physical before starting an exercise regimen.

By: David Haas

Friday, September 21, 2007

Go, Go, Go

On top of dealing with everything right now, Life IS CRAZY! It is go, go, go with very little rest in sight. I'm either working hard or playing hard and it all stuff that's been planned. I'm looking forward to having a day to just sit at home and mope. I think there will be time in November! I will be celebrating my grandparents' 60th anniversary with them this weekend. That's a long time. It's pretty much guaranteed that I won't ever see my 60 year anniversary unless I get married this year and then live 60 years longer than I want to! JK
I also found out when I'll be going back to finish my tattoo. They are wanting to try and work me in to the first episode of the next set. I'm not sure what that means yet but I'll let you know when I find out.
Here's a cute clip of Rebecca at the shore house this past labor day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Late Night Diner

So last night marked the anniversary of when we found out things were going to be serious.

Memory: Katie went with her mom to the MRI and then they were supposed to come to dinner at Bonefish. I remember talking to her around 6:30 to find out when they were coming in and she told me that her mom wasn't feeling well so she grabbed a can of soup. What had really happened was she had gotten a call from her doctor and told her to come to the office and to bring someone else to drive. There she was told that after racking their brains for all possibilities, the odds of these masses being anything other than pancreatic cancer were slim. When I got home from work that evening, I went about my night like any other normal night and she just waited in her brown chair for me to settle in. I guess I probably knew somewhere in the back of my mind that things weren't right and as long as I was normal, life was normal. Eventually, I sat down on the end of the couch closest to her and that's when she told me that she did have the results and that it wasn't good. This was the first time of many that I knew my body was in shock - my face went immediately numb, my ears started ringing and I lost all expression from my face. After we talked about what had happened to her that day, I quickly went to do some research while she got ready. In the short span of 5 minutes of research, I couldn't find anything promising. Katie was craving diner food so then we left to find an open diner. We first went to 4 Points and they were closed. Then we went to Hollywood, but they were about to close. So then we found Colonial in Woodbury and it was only us and 3 cops sitting down to eat. Katie ordered an open face turkey sandwich and I have no idea what I ordered. Isn't it funny that I can remember exactly what her turkey, gravy and potatoes looked like and I can't even remember what I ate. We spent the evening trying to game plan about our options, what we'd do next, and Katie spent a lot of time trying to console me. I guess we both thought that since she beat melanoma, she could beat this. I remember that we parked under a tree in the parking lot and every time I drive by that diner, I can hardly breathe because the memory is so painful. Luckily, it is rarely on my way anywhere. I think at some point, we were finally exhausted enough to go to sleep. I don't remember sleeping that night. I guess I will be finding out what I do and don't remember and that's why writing down these memories is important to me right now. It is so painful to recall but there's a peace in knowing that I have them.

I do know that that Wednesday is going to be pretty lost in my brain unless someone can remind me. I know there was a lot of time spent on the phone with my bosses and Katie making phone calls to get a biopsy scheduled. At first it was going to be local and then we finally got an in at HUP with their head GI surgeon, Dr. Drebin. God helped a lot of things fall into place for us, as he already had done by bringing us to NJ and putting us in this house and then opening a spot downstairs for us to move into.
I keep making jokes about wanting to sleep through the next 3 months but the truth is, I'm going to be so busy that they will fly by. And just in time, today is my last day of commuting to East Brunswick. I have enjoyed the opportunity that I've had there but it is too overwhelming dealing with the responsibility of the restaurant and my own emotional struggles. And this week is a hard reminder. The staff decorated my car yesterday because I jokingly told them I wasn't driving today. They got me anyway! I will miss them but the good thing is I'll see them semi-regularly in a couple of months.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Last Day Of Normal

I knew that today was the day that we found out that something was wrong with Katie but I didn't think about it being the last day that it would be "normal." It was the last day before we knew that this was serious. I remember telling a friend that they found something but that it was most likely masses caused by birth control pills or that there was a possibility that it was cancer but nothing super serious. It would be the last day that I would ever get think my life would continue on as planned. I remember be most concerned about the baby and how this would affect the pregnancy because I really thought that we were going to be dealing with gall bladder issues. If only that had been true. Sigh.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Text History

I was looking at the old phone I used this time last year and I pulled up the text messages that were still sitting in the memory and the realization hit me that this very time last year was the last time life was normal. There was a text on Sunday night from Katie saying that she didn't much accomplished because she was feeling so sick. Tomorrow would be her doctors appointment that snowballed into the discovery. I remember how sick she was but how we just thought it was pregnancy or gall stones or something far less serious. It's amazing how one day can change your life forever. How your hopes, dreams and goals can be completely smashed.
The weather has changed. The nights are very cool and Fall is in the air. I love this time of year. In fact, it was both mine and Katie's favorite time of the year and we used to love to go outside and smell the air and hold hands while walking Logan. I knew that this was going to be a difficult time, but it seemed so far off. Now it is here and every day will be a new reminder. So I have a feeling that my blog will be a way to record my memories. It will be good to remember, but so very difficult as well. I miss her so much right now. I miss seeing her with the windows open and a blanket around her waist while sitting in the chair working on sweepstakes entries. She would be wearing her old lady glasses, the TV would be on, Logan would be curled up around her and Kaiser would be nearby. I miss seeing her look up as I walked through the door and watching her face light up and ask how my day was or she'd start telling me about whatever she had been waiting to talk about. This sucks!


Through the worst tragedy I could never imagine, my life has become what it has become. Through this blog, I will continue to tell my story. Some days are good and many are not, but those are the cards I've been delt and I will continue to play my hand until the Lord makes me fold. Also, I hope that you will learn more about Pancreatic cancer and help bring light to this horrible disease so that other victims will be given more time to enjoy life than my precious wife had. Happy reading.