Today We Waged Hope

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!

 

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Honk If Your're Thankful

Honk If You’re Thankful

Honk if you’re thankful!  Judging from the sounds of my morning and evening commutes, S. Florida drivers are super thankful.  Who knew that it was gratitude driving this behavior not anger issues or self importance as I had thought.  I wanted to share with you one of my favorite Debbie stories tonight.

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Let me take you back to last winter.   Our boys had home games early.  The hubby picked up John and TK and bring them to the rink  for warm-ups.  Debbie and I didn’t need to be there an hour early. Consequently,  she picked me up an hour later.  She was even kind enough to stop at Dunkin’, so I could get my coffee fix.  On our drive to the rink, we talked about things she wanted to do in the near future.  She was headed North to New York to visit family and ski, but she wanted to go to Iceland to see the Northern lights.

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It was then that she dropped it on me.  Debbie had decided that she wanted me to take her to a rave in Miami.  Keep in mind, this was probably a week or two after the devastating fire at a rave in San Francisco that had killed 36 people.  Not to mention, raves in Miami aren’t known to be held in the safest locations or be the safest events.

I looked her and asked if she was serious and/or crazy, she was in fact quite serious.  As I’m digesting this request, it dawns on me that Debbie determined that I might just be the hockey mom crazy enough to take her to a rave.  Sadly, and I hate to disappoint people here, even I am not that crazy.   We started talking it through and I told her that likely we’d both end up dead if we went to a rave in Miami.  Can you imagine two hockey moms at a rave with glow in the dark pacifiers?  I mean, can you?

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Rather than head to a rave, I suggested we try going to Ultra or WMC in Miami.  The atmosphere would be similar, but more controlled than a warehouse rave.  Debbie started looking to possible DJ shows we could hit too, but that pesky hockey schedule kept getting in the way.  As it turns out, WMC and Ultra were scheduled on spring break when Debbie and the family were going to be out of town.

One of the things that struck me most in our conversation was the fact that Debbie and her family had been planning things in three month windows.  Debbie and John, throughout Deb’s illness, were both so inspiring in their attitudes and approach to life.  In that  moment, it struck me like a ton of bricks.  While we all plan our lives in days, months and years, they had been planning their life around an illness for almost two years.  Just when you think you’re inspired by people, they blow you away with their amazingness in a whole new way.

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On the heels of the boys’ state tournament, we received the devastating news.  Debbie’s doctors were admitting her to hospice.  Incomprehensibly, Debbie’s doctors determined that she had exhausted all treatment options.  It bothers me that Debbie and I never got to SoBe to enjoy a dance party, but I know she’s dancing in heaven.  The lesson here is don’t wait to pursue your passions or your bucket list trips – go for it now.  And of course, honk if you’re thankful.

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Lastly, tonight is the deadline for online registration for the Purple Stride event.  If you’re thinking about participating, it’s go time.  There is no deadline for online donations to the team.  However, donations received after Friday will not be applied to the team total.  You can join the team or donate here Support Team Deb Force Five!  You can also cheer us on Sunday at FAU.  The race starts at 8:30 am.

Tonight’s song is one of my favorites from Swedish House Mafia “Don’t You Worry Child.” At their peek, the group spent most of their time providing the soundtrack in SoBe.  I hope you enjoy the song!

 

Daily Prompt: honk

Purple Haiku

Purple Haiku

In honor of Pancreatic Cancer month, I wrote a Purple Haiku.  I am by no means a poet, so please be kind.   Cancer is an insidious beast.  Nine years ago today, cancer took my grandfather from us.  My Grandfather lived a good life, but he wast was still taken far too soon.  Like Debbie, my grandfather’s cancer impacted his digestive system (colon) and had metastasized to the liver.

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I go Purple, including purple streaks in my hair, because raising awareness for pancreatic cancer can and will save lives.  Moreover, I advocate for meaningful research like the work the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network does because this is how we will find a cure.  Importantly, the goal of PANCAN is to double the survival rates of pancreatic cancer patients by 2020.  I am proud to support this cause for Debbie, for her family and for all of us.

By the way, if you’re wondering how you can join or support Team Deb Force Five, you can do so by clicking here.  So without more delay, here is my first attempt at a Haiku since high school.

Wage Hope

Now that you are gone
Our hearts are empty and broke
Grieving we wage hope

Purple stride is here
training has made us faint
yet we won’t give up
 
We run in purple
your spirit energizes us
record time is ours
 
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Finally, the song for tonight is “Believer” by Imagine Dragons.

Faint.

demand better

Demand Better

One of PanCan’s most powerful slogans is demand better.  Demand better for patients and for survival.  Pancreatic Cancer is now the 3rd leading cause of cancer related deaths in the U.S.  By 2020, pancreatic cancer is forecasted to be the 2nd leading cause of cancer related deaths surpassing breast cancer.  Meanwhile the 5 year survival rate for pancreatic cancer has increased from 7% to 8%.  While the increase is welcome, the survival rate for pancreatic cancer is still way too low.

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The diagnosis of pancreatic cancer to anyone’s friend or family member is horrifying.  What I respected so much about Debbie is that she lived her life fully not allowing the disease to define her.   I’m grateful to have had her in my life and for the example she set.  Additionally, she was the epitome of grace under pressure.  In the midst of her treatment, she was committed to making the future brighter for all pancreatic cancer patients.   Our commitment to the cure steadfast driven by her absence, which is felt profoundly by all of us.  I promised her that I would never give up the fight that I would always wage hope as her proxy.

Join us or donate to Team Deb Force Five here.

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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Carpe Diem

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time thinking about the past and the future. For some reason, we like ruminating over what has happened and what may happen.  This presents a number of problems of course.  When you focus on your past, you really never move forward.   Regardless of what has happened in the past, its best to live and learn.   I truly wish there was an easy answer for how to do this, but there really isn’t.

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In the moments unoccupied by thoughts of our past, we worry about our future.  What will happen in your career?  How will your bills get paid? How will your kids do in school?  A myriad of questions and worries that can eat away at you if you let it.  I know I’ve certainly had many sleepless nights worrying about what may be.  Silly, I know, yet I can’t stop.

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Here’s the problem.  As we descend into the madness these preoccupations can bring, we miss out on life.  The reminder of this usually comes as a harsh sad reality via regrets after the loss of someone we love.  I recently lost a dear friend, an excruciatingly painful experience, who taught me and many others about life.  The lesson was about living a life of no regrets.  A lesson about living a life full of love, loved ones, and experiences no matter what cards you are dealt.   Life isn’t always puppies and unicorns.  Although I would love it to be that way.  Instead of descending into the madness, grab life by the horns, carpe diem and #LiveLikeDebbie.

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