Purple Haiku

Calmer Evening

It’s been a calmer evening in the household after all the noise and frustration of last night. I spoke with the Assistant Principal of the boys school and feel comfortable with our plan for Goalielocks as he recovers. Also spoke to one of the Mayor’s teachers after discovering the Mayor had spelled the teacher’s email address wrong all semester. No wonder he had 0 points for his article assignments! He’s busy fixing them tonight.

Today was also tough because it’s our dear Debbie’s birthday. It’s a tough milestone for many of us.  I still found myself getting choked up periodically throughout the day despite my hectic schedule. It’s been nearly a year since we lost her. Ironically, it feels like it was both seconds ago and decades ago. Time is on a weird continuum when you’re dealing with grief and loss.

We also lost a giant today with the death of Stephen Hawking. I could write for days about this brilliant mind, but that’s not his most impressive feature. Both Hawking and Debbie were given devastating, terminal diagnosis when they were far too young. While a lot of people would buckle under the diagnosis, neither of them did. Amazingly, they both choose to live to the fullest as they faced their own mortality.

When I write or say Live Like Debbie. I really mean it and I try to live it. What I mean by that is I’m trying to live my life differently by living to the fullest and treating people differently. (Not that I was some kind of asshole before or something.) Specially, my goal is to brighten people’s dY, to be helpful, to inspire and to leave people better off than when I met them. It doesn’t have to be something big, it could be a smile or a good morning while you’re waiting in line for coffee.

I miss my friend very much. It’s tough to lose a friend who is in the prime of their life. It’s tough to lose someone you love. Moreover, it’s tough to see people you love experience such a profound loss. It’s tough to explain and square how something like this happens to someone so young and vibrant. The thing is there’s really no explanation, which leads to one simple fact. Life is too short to get caught up in the small stuff, so my friends Live Like Debbie.

In honor of Debbie’s birthday, please consider donating to the Pancreatic Action Network in her honor. Pancreatic Action Network

Tonight’s song performed by the Offspring is “Gone Away.”  The lyrics of this song are absolutely on point.

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Days of Gratitude

Days of Gratitude

I continue my days of gratitude posts today in honor of my friend Debbie.   Today I am grateful for the time were able to spend with Debbie and her family.  Moreover, I’m grateful that we were able to help them in their time of need.  When a friend is faced with a devastating diagnosis or prognosis, what we call the “Meatloaf  rule” goes into effect.  Meaning whatever you need, we’ll do.  There’s no “but I won’t do that.”

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Last March after Debbie had gone into hospice, we were helping clean and bleach the floor.  She was going to hire something, but there was no need since we could all do it.  Admittedly, we like to keep things light in our house and love making people smile and laugh.  Naturally, we had to find a way to make them smile and laugh.  Unfortunately, for all of them it resulted in a sight they cannot unsee.

 

As we prepared to drive over, the hubby took his battered pair of jeans and cut them off as high as they could go.  Oh yeah, he  made himself some daisy dukes.  You should know that my hubby suffers from the disease no asatall. He proceed to put on the shortest pair of shorts I have ever seen and we drove over.

When we got to the house, we knocked lightly so as to not wake Debbie.  John answered the door and Luke’s choice of wardrobe hit him like shock and awe.  He was clearly transfixed and mesmerized by the sexiness of Luke’s legs.  We entered the house and his family lost their ish.  When Debbie had woken up from her nap and came downstairs, her reaction to hubby was priceless.  She was laughing so hard, although I’m sure there was a shock and awe moment for her like John had experienced.  Nevertheless, we had succeeded.   Truly, you couldn’t help but laugh as you looked at my hubby in his sexy daisy dukes scrubbing the floor.

I’m so grateful that we were able to lighten the mood for awhile.  I should say (allegedly) that  the hubby did put on some basketball when he and John made a Home Depot.  I can’t believe John wouldn’t want to be seen in public with the hubby in Daisy Dukes!

As a reminder, our Purple Stride event is only 17 days away and we have a big hill fundraising hill to climb. You can join our team or donate to the cause at Team Deb Force Five.  Lastly, I’ll share a piece of advice I gave one of my kids tonight.   Life is way too shorts to let squabbles or arguments simmer.  As conflicts arise with people that matter, deal with them timely.

Tonight’s Song Disturbeds cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence.”

Love is Stronger

Love is Stronger

Love is stronger than cancer undoubtedly.   It doesn’t always feel like that.  Sometimes the pain that cancer has caused brings us to our knees, but that’s why awareness and advocacy are hugely important.  Like most people, I wish I knew nothing about this insidious disease.  Why?  The only way you really learn about its devastating impact is when a friend or family member is diagnosed.   Otherwise, the disease is a complete mystery.  The battle, the fight for a cure for many of us is personal.

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Today begins Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month here in the states.  For us it will culminate at the Purple Stride event on November 19th.  I’m a huge supporter of Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and their goal to double survival by 2020.  Importantly, PANCAN is not only working towards a cure, they are a priceless resource to patients and families contending with the diagnosis.  My friend Debbie was a huge proponent of the organization and spoke at last years Purple Stride about how their services helped her and her family.

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For the last two year Debbie a fearless, courageous and incredibly strong women completed the Purple Stride 5K.   She was in the middle of chemo for stage iv pancreatic cancer and she completed a 5K.  Up until my first Purple Stride event, I didn’t think I could even run a mile let alone 3.1.   Her strength was so inspiring to me that I took up running.  I went on to complete 12 5Ks in 2016.  She made me better in so may ways.

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It breaks my heart to even think that she won’t be with us at this year’s Purple Stride.   Her absence makes our mission that much more important.  While Debbie is no longer her to champion the cause, we are and we will.  Until there’s a cure, until another family doesn’t have to suffer through this horrible disease, we will keep on fighting.  In her honor, I’ll be posting daily this month to help raise awareness and raise funds.  Finally, one thing I learned from Debbie, and there were so many, was living in gratitude.   Additionally, I’ll be including something that I’m thankful for in each of these posts.

You can help support the cause by joining or donating to our team here.

Wage Hope

Wage Hope

There are only 28 days remaining until we wage hope at the Purple Stride event in Debbie’s honor.    Team Deb Force Five was the top fundraising team in 2016 and the 3rd place team in 2015.  Since her diagnosis in 2015, she became an advocate for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PANCAN.) Most importantly, it is our team goal to continue the mission and support the work of PANCAN.  PANCAN’s goal is to double survival of pancreatic cancer patient’s by 2020.    This is a huge undertaking.  Furthermore they cannot achieve this goal without our collective support.

Here’s the link where you can donate or sign up: http://support.pancan.org/goto/DebForceFive

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What do Luciano Pavrotti, Count Basie, Joan Crawford, Micheal Landon, Patrick Swayze, Steve Jobs, Alan Rickman, Dizzy Gillespie, Sally Ride and Bill Hicks all have in common?  Pancreatic Cancer.  It is a disease that does not discriminate against race, income level or even age.  Consequently,  I had always thought of it as a disease of the elderly, until my healthy friend was diagnosed at 41.  It was an enlightenment I could have done without.

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Faced with the diagnosis of Stage IV pancreatic cancer, Debbie chose to live life to the fullest.  She was a huge advocate for PANCAN and the great services they provide.  Significantly, she was the keynote speaker at last year’s Purple Stride event.  In her two year fight against pancreatic cancer, Debbie taught me and many others a lot about what it means to live, love, fight, persevere and be brave all with grace and dignity.  Debbie will always be a beacon of light in the many lives she touched including mine.  This event is a wonderful opportunity to honor her and support her beautiful family.  Lastly, I look forward to walking, running, skipping, hopping or dancing with you to wage hope.

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Purple Stride Broward-Palm Beach

Last week I received an email announcing the Purple Stride Broward-Palm Beach Event.  I can’t believe it is that time of the year again.  We are less than a month away from the racing (running) season in South Florida.  Since the heat index has been in the triple digits since we got back, I’ve been training on the treadmill.   It is never too early to start training as the race will be here in a jiffy.

Today I setup our team for the purple stride event happening on November 19th at FAU (Florida Atlantic University) in Boca Raton.  We will be racing under the team Deb Force Five for the third year in a row.  My goal is to be the number one team in fundraising for the second year in a row.  We are shooting for $10,500.

As I updated the information and the team’s website, I got choked up.  It hit me like semi-truck that this year would be painfully different.   August 26th will make five months since we lost Debbie, but it still feels so fresh.  Grief is awful.  Like a thief in the night, it comes out of nowhere and steals your happiness.  It pops up unexpectedly, forcefully and with so much pain.

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After I collected myself a bit, I got on the treadmill to put in my thirty minutes.  The first five minutes were tearful, but as my run continued my hope and sense of purpose returned.  I made a promise to Debbie to continue advocating for pancreatic cancer awareness and fighting for a cure.  It is a promise I cannot and will not ever break.

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In the coming months, we hope to announce the launch of a pancreatic cancer immunotherapy clinical trial that Debbie, Melissa Nicholas and I had started working on last December.   It destroyed me that we were not able to launch the clinical trial, so Debbie could benefit.  In hindsight, I think Debbie knew this since she was a pharmacist.  As a neophyte to the industry, I had hopes that we could get it started right away.

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She was a second mom to my kids and they loved her to pieces.   Her memory is never far for anyone us.  My boys insisted on lighting a candle in Debbie’s memory at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim.  Afterwards in the gift shop, they picked out a praying angel, for her, that watches over us from our kitchen.

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You may have seen the new shirts that were posted to the site this weekend.  My boys and I have been hard at work designing shirts and a business plan for our new store.  For all of us, the creative process and the opportunity to honor Debbie’s memory has been cathartic.   The profits from our merchandise will go towards funding the clinical trial and towards a scholarship program that helps families with the expenses for travel hockey.

For more information on Purple Stride Broward-Palm Beach or to join our team click here

For more information of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network click here

Fore more information Pennies In Action click here

Fore more information on our store click here