Why I Stride

Since today is World Pancreatic Cancer Awareness day, I thought I’d write about why I stride.  Stride of course refers to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s annual 5k called Purple Stride.  This Sunday, as we’ve done since 2015, Team Deb Force Five will be off to the races at the Broward-Palm Beach Purple Stride.  While it will be my first as part of the event team, it will also be our second Purple Stride without Debbie, which brings me to why I stride.

I remember the day clearly.  I had travelled with work to Orlando to present for the first time as part of our Military Roadshow. It was a pretty big deal and I was super excited.  We were driving up as a group and heading back that evening.  The presentation went swimmingly, so I spent my afternoon getting caught up on work.   And then my husband called, hysterical..   I was convinced something had happened to one of our kiddos.  When he finally calmed down, he told me the devastating news that Debbie had been diagnosed with stage iv cancer.  Instantly, my knees went week and I started to slide down the wall as I too started to cry.   At that point, the origin of the cancer was unknown, but the prognosis was dire.

At the time of her diagnosis Debbie was 40 years old.  She wasn’t a smoker, she ate exceedingly healthy and was an avid runner.  She didn’t fit the profile for a pancreatic cancer patient, but I think that’s the message.   According to a a recent study, pancreatic cancer will be the 2nd deadliest cancer by 2020.  Lung cancer is projected to remain the deadliest cancer.  While other cancers have seen a decrease in mortality rates, pancreatic cancer has not.  Researchers pointed to a combination of factors as to why mortality rates for pancreatic cancer have not declined.   Risk factors including an aging population, the relative growth of high-risk minority populations (African Americans and Ashkenazi Jews) and the underfunding of pancreatic cancer research.

Debbie was committed to finding a cure and research for better patient outcomes.  She was an avid supporter of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and the work they do to drive pancreatic cancer research.  Unfortunately, this can’t be done without money.   Pancreatic cancer patients and their families, like Debbie and her family, deserve better outcomes.  They deserve a survival rate well over 9%.

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We lost Debbie almost two years ago, but some days it feels like it was yesterday while others it feels like it’s been years.   Even still Goalielocks asks why they couldn’t do more for her.  I stride because I’m committed to ensuring that pancreatic cancer patients and their families have better outcomes.  I’m committed to helping drive research forward.  This disease has stolen so much from so many.  It certainly has from me.

You can support PanCan and Team Deb Force Five in Debbie’s honor: http://support.pancan.org/site/TR/PurpleStride/PurpleStride?team_id=14831&pg=team&fr_id=1573

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Back to Back

Wow, it feels like forever since I’ve actually had the time to post on back to back days.  We had a busy day of hockey and hockey related activities.  The morning started with the Mayor’s team fundraising at a Publix in Coconut Creek.  Thanks to the store’s generous patrons, his squad raised over $800.  Fortunately, he and the hubby were back in time to leave right way for Goalielock’s games.

Goalielock’s and his squad split the day dropping the first contest to the Hawks, but winning their second against the Toros.  I had a blast in the box with Tonya and DB during the first game.  Reunited and it felt so good!  Unfortunately, during he warmups for game two Goalielock’s left leg slid out on him and he pulled his groin.  Long story short, I walked out to hit the restroom pre-game and when I came back he was on the bench in a different jersey.  It only took me almost the entire first period to figure it out.  Needless to say, Goalielocks has been on solid regimen of ice for 20 and heat for 20 since he got home.

I’ve gotta give a shout to fellow hockey mom D. Green for the amazing ribbon she gave me.  I freaking love it.  It makes me wonder how the crafty gene skipped me entirely.  Truly, I have not one crafty bone in my body.  When I try to be crafty, it ends up looking like something you’d see on Netflix’s Nailed It. (love that show!) Nonetheless, since I don’t possess that skillset at all, I’m in awe of those who do it so well.

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Between Goalielock’s game, the Mayor had a four hour clinic.  We sent Goalielock’s to John’s house with the team, while we drove to Palm Beach to drop him off.   After dropping him off, we headed over to meet the team for some grub.  As for my Mayor, he’s completely exhausted after the craziness of his day.   It’s not often that he puts himself to bed this early!  Speaking of which, it’s time for me to head off  to practice my Swedish, read a bit and head to bed.

P.S.  Don’t forget to join Team Deb Force Five!

It’s Been Crazy

It’s been crazy around these parts hence the several month hiatus from the blog.  While the kids went north this summer, the hubby and I worked.  Oh and I tore my posterior tibial tendon, which has been so much fun.  Needless to say I didn’t do much this summer but work and elevate my leg.  Now I’m bootless, scooterless and ready to write!

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I did take on a new, super girl like identity as the summer ended: Scooter Girl.  You know like Avril Lavigne’s skater boi just older, with a boot and a lot less coordination.  I spent eight weeks in a boot and on my glorious scooter.  Whoever invented the scooter, also known by its significantly less sexy name as a knee walker, is my hero.  I can’t imagine having to spent eight weeks in a boot and on crutches – I wouldn’t have gone anywhere.  The scooter was a complete lifesaver.  It helped, of course, that my scooter was pimped out with a basket, a cup holder (how else would I carry my coffee), a memory foam padded knee pad cover and a bell (thank you KB.)

While I was on the scooter, I noticed that people were much nicer and helpful.  Even the snowbirds near me were sweet – amazing.  It was, however, a little demoralizing when a woman in her 80s told me she had been in the same boat and that I’d be okay.   She was so sweet.  Seriously, the snowbirds were sweet and if you lived in S. Florida you’d understand how amazing that really is.  It also sucked having to put on a cast bag to go outside or take a shower.  Having a cast during rainy season isn’t awesome.

The scooter also got us VIP entrance and upgrades at a couple of concert.  I definitely was not  looking forward to being on the law at an amphitheater with my scooter.  However, nothing was going to stop me from seeing the Imagine Dragons or Lindsey Stirling and Evanescence.   I think maybe that’s the lesson in all of this.  No matter what life throws at you, don’t stop living.  P.S. The Imagine Dragons with shirtless Dan is a must see show!

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Thankfully, I’m off the scooter as the craziness of hockey season is in full swing. I did have a scooter buddy at the beginning of the season, but I’m happy to report we’re both off our scooters!   It was a challenge to fit my scooter and their gear in the car.  Not too mention it’s tough to navigate the rink and find a comfortable viewing place for the games. I’ll admit that the bell prevented several potential collisions as I glided down the ramps at Ice Den.  Fortunately, the breaks on the scooter were quite effective.

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Perhaps the hardest part of the boot life is the inability to really exercise.  For eight weeks I was relegated to water workouts only.  We don’t have a pool at home, so I was at the mercy of traffic and the weather.  It’s been tough to be outside my normal workout habits.  It’s also tough to be passed in the pool by a geriatric swimmer, but I digress.  I’m still not cleared to run or do Zumba, but spent sometime on my TRX this past week.  It felt amazing.

At any rate, it feels good to back at the blog and bootless!

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While I won’t be able to run this year’s Purple Stride, I am still captain of Team Deb Force Five and am taking on an expanded role at the event.  Please join the Fight by joining Team Deb Force Five as a participant, donor or virtual strider!  Together we can help PanCan double survival rates by 2020.  Here’s the link:  Join Team Deb Force Five

Wanderlust

Wanderlust is defined as a strong desire to travel explore the world. Growing up I have always wanted to travel the world, but travel is expensive and so are kids. When I was young, we weren’t rich (weren’t poor either) and didn’t travel often.  If we did travel, it was normally within the state.   We took an amazing trip to California when I was thirteen.  This trip remains one of my favorite memories from childhood.  In addition, I was fortunate that my parents sent me on a couple of amazing class trips.  My goal growing up was to travel the world and see the sites.  Our last trip, Norway, fed my soul and reawakened my wanderlust. Moreover, it awakened the wanderlust in my kids.

There’s nothing better than exploring our globe and our heritage with the ones you love. Now that I’m getting older and have more money, I’m starting to see the future I’ve always wanted. A future that included exploring the world with my family and seeing all that this life has to offer. I’ve been so excited that this “future” is starting to become a reality.  Moreover, I relish the opportunity to share these experiences with my family.

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After traveling to Europe in high school, I fell in love with European history, architecture and art. The opportunity to traipse around the continent is a complete dream.   Norway was a complete dream as it combined my love of European history with my own heritage.  Moreover, it was made even better by the presence of my entire family and grandma.  For as long as I live, I will never forget the look of wonderment on my Grandma’s face as she looked up at the mountains and hills on the Kongevegen in Borgund.  You can’t script a moment better than this.

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I cannot wait for my next trip!  The future I have always wanted and worked so hard to get is close at hand.  Words are not adequate to describe how hard I have worked to get from the ground floor to where I am now.  Countless hours and years of dedication to achieve the results I have achieved and make my future possible.   All of my adult life, I have been working towards this future.

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As much as I love travel, I enjoy sharing these experiences with friends and family more.    A belief that travel and exploration is inconsequential and a needless expense has stalled my vision for the future. As the wind was knocked from my sails, a crushing pain has taken hold in my chest. The realization that what is important to me does not matter to the one I love most has been a crushing blow.  Nonetheless, I’ll pick up the pieces and move forward my plans for the future somewhat altered, but still intact.

 

 

Long Weekend

It was a glorious long weekend of no plans and no obligations.  We sent the Mayor to Key West on Friday for the weekend and he had an epic time.  As for the rest of us, we took advantage of the stormy weather and stayed in and relaxed.  It is hard to believe we only have four days left of the school year.  This year has seemed like a sprint.  Especially the last six months!

This year has been an absolute sprint with trips every month through April (could have used a May vaycay.).   In between the trips, we had a health scare with Goalielocks and possible surgery.   His procedure ended up being delayed because he had a bad cough, which made it too risky for him to go under.  Not even a month later, we were in an ER in New Hampshire with a suspected brain bleed.  Fortunately, the good folks at Mass General were able to quickly rule out the brain bleed, but his recovery would still be lengthy.

We ended up back in the ER in the beginning of March when his headaches changed in severity and type.  Unfortunately, he’ll experience headaches and other post concussion symptoms for the next six to twelve months.  We made it nearly two months before brining him back to the ER for suspected appendicitis.  Fortunately, it wasn’t appendicitis.  Unfortunately, it took a costly visit to the ER to confirm he had a virus with symptoms that mimic appendicitis.  Needless to say, it’s been exhausting and expensive.

I’m ready for some downtime and calm.  (What is that even?)  This Wednesday, we’re headed to West Boca to watch Goalielocks’ Moving on Ceremony.  We’ll officially have one in college, one in high school and one in middle school.  Despite my reticence to let them grow, time continues to march.  It’s a bit bittersweet as he’s absolutely loved his time at Logger’s Run.

Excitedly, we’re back to our normal summer pattern since we have no grand plans this summer.  Goalielocks and the Mayor will be headed North to spend the summer at Camp Grandma and Grandpa.  We couldn’t be more excited, nor could they.  Goalielocks cannot wait to be reunited with his former goalie coach, who is now at MEGA.  While they’re in Minny, they’ll be able to spend time with all of our family. Also, this will give me a break from the endless begging for a sailboat.

The Mayor, as you can probably see in the pictures, had an epic weekend in Key West with Capt. Rob and E.  He loved every single minute of it from being on the water in the driving rain to trying his first oyster!  Yeah, an oyster! I haven’t even had an oyster.  (Don’t judge me I grew up in the Midwest.) They spent their nights on a docked sail boat and spent their days exploring Key West.  Due to the inclement weather, they were some of the only people around.

Boy oh boy, this first period of hockey is amazing.  We still have four minutes left in the period and it’s already 2-1.   This series should be incredible and hopefully for hockey fans everywhere it goes to seven games!  Just a quick update here, I uploaded my pictures and the period has ended in a 2-2 tie!  I cannot wait to see what the second period will bring.

Terrific Tuesday

I don’t know about you, but I for one am glad that this terrific Tuesday is coming to a close.  Today was just one of those days.  There were several times I wish I could have disappeared out of a room today.  In all honesty, it could be the lack of sunshine and blue sky that has me over today.  Admittedly, we’re quite spoiled with sunshine in South Florida.  The past week, however, has been absolutely dreary.  It is driving me and everyone else here bonkers.

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Of course, a lack of sleep could also be to blame.  After all the excitement of last night, I got to bed much later than I would have liked.  #damnbird. Meanwhile, our rescued baby bird is living the high life in her protected and cushy enclosure.  As the hubby and I look for places to bring her, Goalielocks and the Mayor have been plotting to make our house her forever home. #notgoingtohappen.  Thankfully, the little birdie is doing well and is safe and sound.

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There was no playoff hockey tonight, so it has been a quiet evening for me.  I get these athletes need to rest, but selfishly I don’t want to wait for game 7.  Tonight’s game should be epic.  There’s nothing better than game 7 playoff hockey!  Since I’ll be up late tomorrow evening, I’m heading to bed a little early tonight.

Awkward

Awkward… What a word and a what a stage in life.  When I think of an awkward stage, I think back to junior high.   Junior high, a.k.a middle school, seemed to be the epitome of awkwardness for me.  On the other hand, it seems to be much less awkward for my boys, but that could be because their boys.  Junior high/middle school can be hellacious for a girl.  If there was one period in life I wouldn’t want to revisit, that’s probably it.

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In other news, tonight as I finished my workout on my TRX I was confronted with quite the incredible site.  I only wish a camera had been filming me as Goalielocks ran into my room, net in hand shouting how he found a baby bird while searching for his kayak paddle.  Yes, that’s right.  My boy ran into my room with the poor baby bird he found in a fishing net.  Apparently, the baby became separated from its mother and siblings and was laying by itself in the middle of the grass.  Honestly, my expression had to be priceless.  How else could one reasonably react while mid chest press on the TRX?  If I had to imagine what it looked like, I think it looked something like this…

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Needless to say, I’ll be calling Busch Wildlife center or another wildlife rescue organization in the morning to make sure this sweet bird gets a proper upbringing.  We did identify it as a common moorhen. It’s cute enough.   However, it belongs with an animal rescue organization that can raise it/rehabilitate it, so it can return to the wild.

Before this happened, Goalielocks came into my room urgently asking where his kayak was and that someone had stolen it.  Or at least that’s what I heard as  was running desperately out of breath on the treadmill.  Turns out he had only misplaced the kayak paddle not the entire kayak.  Boy, what a relief that was…  And then of course on the way to kayaking he rescued the baby bird.

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There was a couple funny awkward incidents this weekend too.  First, while we waited for our Shift shopper to arrive, he sat on my empty wall ball box falling into him getting stuck.  He was captive, so I was able to get a pic of him pretty easily.  Then there was Sunday.  We had dry rock and marine life shipped to us last week, so we had 3 huge boxes with biodegradable packing peanuts in them. I wanted to reuse the boxes for our charitable donations, so I asked him to dump the peanuts into the trash.  Unfortunately, he only heard three words of the sentence “dump the peanuts.”  Consequently, the packing peanuts littered the upper portion of our driveway around the garbage can.

When he came back inside so quickly, I was pretty confident that he had missed a key phrase in my request “in the garbage.”  So I asked him to go back out and clean it up.  Undoubtedly, he waited it out as long as he could until we forced him back out.  Unfortunately for him, the peanuts had already started to breakdown making it infinitely more difficult to clean them up.

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No more than five minutes passed by than he came to the door freaking out because the peanuts had encased and were sticking to his feet.  It was truly one of the funniest things I had ever seen.  I told him to hold on because I had to grab my phone.  I quickly grabbed my phone and headed out to check out both his feet and the mess he had created.  He had put a dent in his mess, but his packing peanuts shoes had me in hysterics.  I had to grab a pic! Now I can remind him if he had done it right the first time, his feet wouldn’t be encased in packing peanuts.  Talk about instant karma and a cautionary tale all wrapped in one or wrapped in packing peanuts.

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As I’ve been writing this, Goalielocks has already set the bird up with a nice temporary home.  The bird has everything it needs including a heat bulb.  This will ensure it doesn’t get too cold while in our care.  He clearly was, again, channeling his inner Gerry Durrell bringing home yet another creature for our menagerie.  I can only imagine how happy the hubby will be when he finds out.

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Already?

Already?  Really weekend just like that you’re over.  It seems like just five minutes ago it was 6:00 pm on a Friday night and the work week was behind us.. Yet here we are, nary a blink the eye has gone by, back to Sunday night and the beginning of another work week.  Although we accomplished as lot this weekend, it feels like we made no progress. I could definitely use a third weekend day to make me more productive around the house.

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In exciting news, we continue to add-on to our new tank.  In case you missed it, we’ve installed a 120 gallon saltwater aquarium in our living room and our remodeling the room accordingly.   Saturday we added a kole tang, macro algae for the refugium and a couple of coral frags.   Thankfully, the new creatures are acclimating to the tank very well.  Both the frog spawn and green star polyp corals have opened up, which is exciting.  They’re small frags, so we’re anxious for them to grow and cover more of the rocks.

Goalielocks is leading the project for the aquarium as he is the marine expert in the household.  We’ve had several freshwater aquariums and a nano saltwater tank before, but this is still a major undertaking.  Maintaining a saltwater tank is a lot more complex than maintaining a freshwater system.  Nonetheless, Goalielocks is well prepared.  Moreover, the tank is really starting to take shape and look great.  We’re anxiously waiting for our paired clownfish to host in the anemone, but they’re taking their sweet time.

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In other news, playoff hockey continues to be great.  The games have been high-octane and thoroughly entertaining.  Tonight the Vegas Knights, the first expansion team to reach the finals, won the Western Conference title and are advancing to the Stanley Cup. Not for nothing, but the Florida Panthers’ missteps clearly had a positive impact not he Knights.  After all, it was not too long ago that the Cats fired Gerard Gallant (huge mistake) and sent him packing in a taxi.  Then they dealt both Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault away as part of the expansion draft.  Along with Lars William Karlsson, these two gents make up the Knight’s lethal top line.  Needless to say, they’ve had a pretty good season.

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Tomorrow night the action will be back in D.C. as the Caps take on the Lightning in a must win game.  The puck drops at 8:00 pm, so I am assured another late night.  With the adrenaline of playoff hockey, who can sleep right after a game ends? I know I can’t.  It would be nice to have a Florida team in the Stanley Cup Finals, but I’ wouldn’t be disappointed if the series went to seven games.  I know, I know I’m a little greedy, but the hockey has been outstanding and I don’t want it to end.

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In non-hockey news, I have to wish my Great Grandma Brown a very happy 102nd birthday.  You read that right, she’s 102 years old. For context, when she was born we were two years into World War 1.   When I think of all the changes she has witnessed in her lifetime I’m astounded.  I can’t fathom how much our world has changed in the 102 years she’s been on this earth.  It’s an incredible thought.   Moreover, she still lives independently with her little dog.  I hope I got her genes.  Please join me in wishing her a very happy 102nd birthday.

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I had thought about going back to the daily prompt and writing about narcissism tonight, but I just didn’t have it in me tonight.  I thought hockey, saltwater aquariums and my great grandma would be infinitely more interesting. I’ve written about narcissists before anyway and really don’t wish to give them anymore airplay.

Wow, almost forgot there was this huge wedding this weekend. I didn’t get up to watch it.   Don’t get me wrong, I like the pomp and circumstance, but I am not a morning person.  Later that day I watched the highlights on Hulu.  It looked like a beautiful event.  Of course, the single best picture of the day was of David Beckham.    Who else watched the wedding?  What did you guys think?

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Late Nights

I love playoff hockey, but the late nights get tougher with each passing year.  This year’s playoff run has been full of drama, fun to watch and a little gross (thank you Brad Marchand.). Admittedly, I’m sad that my Wild didn’t make it past the Jets in the first round.  Nonetheless, there are several Minnesota boys to support in the conference finals.   Of course, as I’m writing this I have the Mayor to my left – cheering on the Lightning and Goalielocks to my right cheering on the Capitols.    This makes for an interesting game experience.

My favorite moments of this playoff season are Dustin Byfuglien manhandling two players at once like they’re a toddler.  The man, pure and simple, is a beast.  He’s unequivocally one of the players to watch during the conference finals.   Check out these awesome clips of Byfuglien being Byfuglien.  The first clip even includes a nice view of Fleury’s ear tickle on Blake Wheeler.  Yeah, you read that right.

I can’t wait to watch the Jet vs. Knights game tomorrow night.  Both teams are incredibly fun to watch.  Plus between the the Knights’ amazing pre-game entertainment and introductions, you know with these two teams you’re going to get a fast paced, physical game. As for now, with the Caps/Lightning game winding down, I should probably head to bed.

P.S. I thought about posting the infamous licking video, but honestly can’t bring myself to give that guy any publicity.

My Mayor Turned 12!

Yesterday, my mayor turned 12!  I can’t believe our youngest has only one year left before becoming a full fledged teenager.  While he’s not in the teens by number, he’s certainly in a teen when it comes to his appetite and his demeanor.  Of course, the Mayor’s been feisty since he was born, so none of this is a surprise.   Fortunately, my Mayor is a sweet as he is feisty.

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His birthday weekend was pretty low key.  While the hubby helped my brother with the floors, Jake worked and Goalielocks was at a friend’s, my Mayor and I spent the weekend hanging out.  Saturday we upgraded his phone to the iPhone 8 as his iPhone 6 was starting to fail in everyday.  Undoubtedly the phone served us well, it simply wasn’t going to last one more day.  Thankfully, the demise of his phone was timed well with his birthday weekend. He was overjoyed today when he got home from school since his phone held it’s battery all day.

We also picked up a Fitbit for both he and Goalielocks since they’re going to start running with me.  In addition, we got some new workout clothes, a new wall ball, a curved agility ladder and an acceleration trainer.  All the things they’ll need to be in good shape going into next year’s hockey season.  If it weren’t for the slight fever and cold The Mayor had this weekend, we would have started our workouts this weekend.  Nonetheless, I had blast this weekend with the birthday boy and cannot wait to see what the next year will bring him.

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Tonight we had planned to start running together, but of course, life had a different plan.  This morning Goalielocks was beset by severe, localized abdominal pain.  When I left for work this morning, I assumed he had picked up his brother’s cold.  Apparently, I was wrong. #winning While at work, I checked on him periodically.  His symptoms were a bit worrisome as doctor google suggested, he likely had appendicitis.   I was both slightly worried and slightly encouraged that doctors google didn’t say he was dying.  For once, I thought doctor google might actually be on point.

I headed home early to take him into urgent care, so we could rule out appendicitis.   His symptoms were pretty well aligned to the condition.  After the year we had, I didn’t want to press our luck by waiting it out. I had visions of his appendix bursting as he binged watched Family Guy on Hulu.  It was not a good vision…..  Urgent care wasn’t able to rule out appendicitis as they couldn’t run a CBC and get timely results.

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Back to the ER we went….. You know it’s bad when they don’t ask for an insurance card anymore because they recognize you.  Or when the doctor comes in, he remembers treating your family before. #notwinning.   As with any trip to ER, we spent several hours of our lives waiting for lab tests, ultrasounds and consultations.  Fortunately, Family Guy was on and helped us pass the time.  Ironically, it was on the very episode I started watching last night, but missed when I went to take a shower.   I know feel like I have closure having watched the episode and several others in their entirety.

Thankfully, after a long wait, we were given the all clear by the doctor.  Both his blood work and ultrasound were negative for any abnormalities.  We left the ER with a diagnosis of gastritis and Zantac/Pepcid AC as a means to treat the discomfort.  We’ll continue to monitor him as he still has localized pain and will be following up with is pediatrician.  Thanks to everyone from the love, prayers and support today it is very much appreciated.  As a side note, the ER rejected my suggestion of a frequent flier program (i.e. every visit you get a stamp and your fourth visit is free.). Special thanks to my girl Jutta for the brilliant suggestion!  As for us, it’s time to reset the days without an ER visit to 0.

 
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