Big Day

It’s a big day. Thursday. Yep, Thursday has supplanted Friday as my favorite day of the week. Why you ask? Well, every Thursday I get to see and talk to my ride or die (aka my oldest.). Thank god for FaceTime, which gives me the ability to see his smiling face no matter where in this world he’s hiding. Seeing his smiling face every Thursday gives me immeasurable comfort.

Yet this Thursday isn’t like every other Thursday. Not only do I have the best call of the week about to happen, but the Goohees take on Minnesota State in the Frozen Four tonight. Two Hobey Baker finalists and their teams will be fighting for a spot in the national championship game. Through out the season and the playoffs, these two teams have been incredibly fun to watch. I can’t wait for tonight’s game.

Of course, before I get to watch any game, I’ll be meeting with the Broward/Palm Beach PanCan affiliate. Our marquis event, Purplestride will be popping off April 30th. Our affiliate is absolutely killing it this Purplestride season. I love our team and the impact we’re making in our community. Debbie would be proud.

This morning at work had been super sleepy. Consequently, I’ve got a lot accomplished for Purplestride. I started my morning music off with Metallica, but am now watching Foo Fighters’ last show before Taylor Hawkins passing. It’s an awesome show, but absolutely gut wrenching knowing Hawkins passed away two days later. Jake and I saw the Foo Fighters last time they were in town and the show was absolutely epic. The amphitheater was filled to the brim. You literally couldn’t walk anywhere. They’re definitely a band I’d pay top dollar to see again. And now back to my big day!

Finally

Well I’m finally feeling better. Although I’m still dealing with head congestion. Obviously , sinuses suck. I can, however, finally eat without feeling like it’s all going to come up right away. I’m not sure if that’s a blessing or a curse since I’m on the two week fast for the Fast 800. I kid, I kid of course it’s a great thing. Finally, after waiting over a week, I can finally eat the spring mix, tomatoes and chicken I bought for salads. Naturally, the spring mix expires tomorrow.

Normally, I’d make dinner on Wednesday’s, but our Pancan affiliate had an awesome webinar with Dr. Donoway tonight. He presented on strategies for attacking advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer. It was super interesting and he did a fabulous job making the material understandable for a lay person like me. I love our PANCAN affiliate and community!

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Thankfully if I had wanted to cook dinner, I would have been able to since all my meat arrived today. You may recall that I got my Butcher Box delivery on Sunday completely destroyed and thawed out. Thank god the garbage man comes on Tuesday because that box was stinking up my garage. Which coincidentally says a lot since my garage is full of hockey equipment. Today’s delivery was in absolutely pristine condition.

Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*I’m reading Far From the Madding Crowdby Thomas Hardy last night. This is quite the departure from the world of Queen Asa.

*I’m still under the weather. Consequently, I took another rest day today.  Unfortunately, there will be no rollicking or running until I’m better.

*We’re tracking the Tropics here in Florida. Fortunately, all the tropical weather is moving away from us! Unfortunately, the heat has really cranked up with heat indexes in the triple digits.

*The hubby picked up Dunkin’ this morning, which was awesome sauce.

*For dinner, I made myself some salad with chicken, spring mix and tomatoes. I thought about adding an egg, but that would put the calorie count too high. This week I’m strictly limiting my carb intake as part of the 5:2 Plan, so it was mostly chicken for me.

*My favorite surprise on the underwater cams, I watch during work, is seeing an octopus. Today I watched the safari cam, which never disappoints.

*Today’s word of the day is mistress. In the words of Anton Chekhov, “‘medicine is my lawful wife and literature my mistress.”

*I took my puppies including sweet Anakin for a walk. Today he didn’t pull my arm off or anything like that. I put on his harness

Reality Check

After yesterday’s disappointment, I was handed a reality check. For the last several years, I have volunteered for PanCan as the Teams Chair for the Broward/Palm Beach affiliate. The journey of a patient and their family is arduous and fraught with fear. Fortunately, most of the patients I’ve know didn’t lose their job or benefits during treatment. This gave them one less thing to worry about. Can you imagine the horror losing your benefits in the middle of treatment? Unfortunately, I know this isn’t always the case. Hence, the reality check and utter disappointment.

Consequently, this is also how I know I’m on the right place career wise. When my colleague, who was a seasonal hire, got seriously ill with COVID, the leadership team worked with HR to protect his job. They didn’t have to do this, but their willingness to do it for a seasonal employees spoke volumes. Coincidentally, I also think it speaks volumes for the employee in question. Perhaps this is also why my employer has repeatedly been named as one of the best employers in the country.

Anyway, my day at work was slower than yesterday, but still extremely productive. I’m happy with the pace of my production. Meanwhile, I’m waiting for the Hubby to return from Orlando. They headed out several hours ago, but I noticed on the Life360 app that they were headed north on the turnpike instead of south. Whoops! Needless to say, he’ll be home a little later than anticipated.

Last night we decided to see how Anakin would do sleeping out oh his crate. I left the door opened a crack. When he realized his crate was open, he ran into our bedroom and jumped on the bed. He spent two minutes on the bed and then went back to the living room. Ironically, he was laying in his crate when I went to check on him.

Goalielocks brought him upstairs to see if he’d sleep up there. Again after a few minutes, Anakin wasn’t having it. He whined until Goalielocks took him back downstairs. Afterwards, he did come into the room for a bit, but then headed back to the living room. I don’t think he likes to be separated from his sisters.

Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*I read Demons, by Dostoevsky. I am really enjoying this book so far.

*I thought about running, but decided to rest my knee.

* I bought more cherries, so I could attempt the cherry custard again. Last time I overcooked it.

*The family and I are watching the Stanley Cup Finals in lieu of continuing our Thirty Rock binge. Thankfully, our power is flickering now that the storm has passed. Consequently, it knocked out the wifi too. Apparently, technology is my nemesis tonight.

*I spent my day with the puppies. This evening I worked with Anakin on some training skills. He did a great job. Of course, I rewarded him with kielbasa, which is his favorite.  We’ve now gone through two kielbasa’s this week.

*My favorite surprise on the underwater cams, I watch during work, is seeing an octopus. Today I watched the safari cam, which never disappoints.

*There were no big thunderstorms today, which was nice. The lightning tends to interfere with my work phone. Thankfully, the tropics remain quiet.  I’m sure we’ll have another reality check soon.

*Today’s word of the day is free. I got my free coffee today at Dunkin’. Free coffee day is always the best!

*I took my puppies including sweet Anakin for a walk. Did I mention I hate gnats, flies, and mosquitos? I’m bought some fly traps. I’m absolutely sick of those little buggers. Pretty soon they’ll get a reality check of their own!

World Pancreatic Cancer Day

Today is World Pancreatic Cancer Day and across the globe we’re uniting to improve patient outcomes for this deadly disease. Pancreatic cancer is the only major cancer without significant improvement in survival rates of the past decades. Our patients, our friends and our families deserve better.

Thankfully, I have plenty of purple to wear. I started the day rocking my Minnesota Vikings shirt (Skol Vikings!) It is awesome when you can support your team and an amazing cause at the same time. I went to my 12:00 yoga in an nice purple Gaiam top and my favorite Gaiam yoga mat (also purple.)

I’m hopeful as the general public becomes mor aware of the disease that our collective voice for more research will get louder. We need more dollars out against the disease if we are to unravel it’s secrets i.e. early detection methods and a cure. PanCAN has been hard at work the last twenty years increasing awareness and research. I’m excited with that the next decade will bring us in terms of research. Nevertheless, our voices cannot be quieted until we have found a cure.

You can support PanCAN’s mission in honor of World Pancreatic Cancer day and in my friend Debbie’s honor by donating here.

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

TMinus Seven

It’s tminus seven until Jake, and my brother and his wife head to Scandinavia for an epic adventure.  Jake and I spent our morning picking up a few last-minute items from Kohl’s. It’s going to be in the 40s-50s, so a light jacket should suffice.  Since we live in Florida our fall wardrobe for Scandinavian weather isn’t quite up to par.

After Kohl’s we headed to Barnes and Noble.  I’ve been reading book after book as I work my way through the top 500 fiction and non-fiction books.  I’m currently reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, but should finish it in the coming days.  It’s delightful this far, quite the departures from Tolstoy’s Resurrection.  I’d highly recommend both novels.  For the trip, I bought Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Since paperbacks were 3 for $30, I was seriously tempted to by several books.  I behaved and walked out with only two.

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In addition to Larsson’s novel, I picked up a book on Swedish grammar.  I love DuoLingo, but I needed to read through the grammatical rules.  Every night I try to spend at least 30 minutes practicing Swedish before reading for the last hour before bed.  I don’t expect to be fluent, but I hope to at least be able to communicate in Swedish while in Stockholm.  As an aside, there isn’t DuoLingo for Finnish or Finnish grammar books at our Barnes and Noble.    Please see video below for what I imagine I’ll sound like.

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I am super excited, not just for the trip, but for November’s Purple Stride.  This year I’m unable to run due to my left ankle, so I’m taking on a different role.  For this year’s event, I’m happy to announce that I am the Team Chair.  I’ll be in charge to driving team results and recruitment.  Those of you on the fence of joining team Deb Force Five – now it the time to join.   If you’re not in Florida that’s okay!  You can join us as a virtual strider.   Join by clicking here.  I’ll leave you with one of Freddy Mercury’s iconic live performances.  I, for one, cannot wait to see the Queen movie coming out next week.

 

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!

P.S.A.

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

Giving Tuesday

As we wind down a glorious Cyber Monday, may we give our full attention to Giving Tuesday.  Tomorrow is all about paying it forward and supporting causes that are near and dear to our hearts.  November, for me, is all about building awareness and funds for Pancreatic Cancer Research. When I run, however, I use charity miles, so for every mile I log a donation is made to the ALS Foundation.   Undoubtedly, it is a wonderful way to tie my training and important causes together.

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This month our Purple Stride Team, Deb Force Five, raised almost $10,000 for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.  A lot of this important came from the tight knit hockey family, which has rallied around Debbie and her family since diagnosis.   The support of the hockey community continued last weekend, which was great to see.  Debbie would have been proud.

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In addition to the Purple Stride event, the Mayor’s team also collected food to donate to families in need this Thanksgiving.  For my kids’ it is almost incomprehensible that their are children in their community without a bite to eat.  I’m so happy the Mayor had an opportunity to participate in this initiative.  A big thanks to VM, SF and JF for organizing it for our team!

Speaking of bites, I’m gonna make bake some cookies tonight.  I wanted to bake them for the boys’ lunches yesterday, but ran out of time.  While they bake, perhaps I’ll finish the copious amounts of laundry that went undone this weekend or perhaps not….

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In the spirit of Giving Tuesday, here’s the link to Team Deb Force Five.  While the race and competition is over, the need for funds is not.  Consequently, you can donate here: Team Deb Force Five.

Tonight’s song is “Buddy Holly” by Weezer.  This video was one of my favorites when it debuted in the mid 90s.

Today We Waged Hope

Today we waged hope for better outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients and their families.  After months of anticipation, the Purple Stride 5k was upon us.  It was a tough, heartfelt morning full of love for Debbie and her family that left me in tears a couple times.  Team Deb Force five won an award for raising the most funds as a team for the second year in a row.  Unquestionably, Debbie was the key our success.  Our collective love and the respect we hold for Debbie continues to inspire us to wage hope.  She was a tour de force, who inspired so many of us.  

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While we were highly successful fundraising, my training and preparation for the race was poor.  Sadly, the results showed this as I finished with a time of over 30 minutes.  Excitedly, Jake and The Mayor had awesome showings with the Mayor getting 3rd place in his age group with a time of 28:11.  Albeit Jake didn’t place in the top 3, but still finished with a time of 25:13.  Of course, he was disappointed with his time feeling that he could have done significantly better.  Nonetheless, it was still over a minute faster than his time at the event last year.

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At the start of the race, The Mayor and his teammates, Jake and my co-worker Imani were at the front.  The Mayor and his teammates were super excited and nervous to embark on their run.  They were the cutest.  It was a sea of purple as we lined up at the start.   This was my first run at FAU and this particular course was absolutely beautiful.  Undoubtedly, I wish I had been better prepared for the run, but now I know what I need to do before the next event.

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After the event, my stomach was churning -thanks to chili I ate yesterday, but we waited for our team to finish. As the team members finished as we enjoyed the free food and we waited for the Mayor to get his medal.  A big congratulations to the Mayor and fellow Deb Force Five member HB who placed 3rd and 2nd respectively in the under 13 age group.  I now owe the Mayor $50 as he finished under 30 minutes and he beat me handily! 

Lastly, while the event may be over our work is still unfinished.  There is a long way to go in the war against pancreatic cancer and doubling survival rates by 2020.  In fact,  it isn’t too late to donate to Team Deb Force Five.  If you’d like to donate, please click here. To our Deb Force Five family, thank you for your participation, your donation and your continued love and support of this beautiful family.  

Today’s song is “The Sky is a Neighborhood” by the Foo Fighters.  I was jamming to this song as I finished my third mile today.  It’s a great one!

 

Goalielocks & Debbie

Goalielocks & Debbie actually sounds like the name of a television show, but its actually two of my favorite people for whom I’m eternally grateful.  Goalielocks always had an affinity for Debbie.  He loved her like a second mom.  Moreover, he had a profound respect for her.  He was devastated when she was diagnosed.  He actually knew before us as he had figured it out from comments TK had made at school.  However, he didn’t mention anything to us until after we had told him.   It was hard for him to wrap his head around the fact that she had done “everything right,” but was diagnosed with stage iv cancer.

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He didn’t understand how someone who didn’t smoke, drink, eat poorly and exercised regularly could get cancer.   My mother-in-law was diagnosed with Stage IV triple negative breast cancer in 2011.  At the time, Goalielocks was in fist grade. Undoubtedly, it was hard for us to tell the kids that their Grandma was so ill.  Nevertheless,  it made sense to him.  I’m sure that was weird to read that, but stick with me here.  Once we finished talking, Goalielocks said “it makes sense given she smokes, drinks, doesn’t eat right and doesn’t exercise.”  Strangely, as a six year old child, he had a pretty good handle on major diseases and their causes.   He was sad, but since the diagnosis made sense to him it wasn’t as scary.

Flash forward four years and the tough questions were coming our way.  While he could make sense of his Grandma’s diagnosis, he couldn’t wrap his head around Debbie’s.  Truth be told, I think many of us felt similarly.  It didn’t seem fair that someone who had followed all the rules ended up with this diagnosis.  Since the diagnosis didn’t makes sense based on behavioral patterns, the diagnosis was very scary.

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Cancer is a scary disease.  Debbie, however, showed Goalielocks and all of us what true strength was.  Moreover, she showed us what it means to be brave, to persevere, to love, and to live fully.  We were honored to be able to help their family while Debbie was on hospice.  Consequently, my boys spent a lot of time with her those last weeks.  In what was the most difficult season of her life, she continued to show us all what it means to love selflessly, to live fully and be brave.  I am forever grateful for the time my kids, the hubby and I were able to spend with her.  While her neither her diagnosis nor her passing make sense to us, she will forever serve as our inspiration to love selflessly, live fully and persevere.

There’s only thirteen days left to the Purple Stride Event in Broward-Palm Beach.  While we’re still $4,000 away from our goal, I am hopeful we can close the gap in the coming week.  To join our team or donate in Deb’s honor, please click here.  Currently, there’s no panacea for Pancreatic Cancer as survival rates remain around 7-8%.

Tonight’s song  “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”