5 years later….

It’s been 5 years since my husband was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma. I am happy to report he continues to be healthy and thrive. 5 years, two cancer surgeries, and many many follow up appointments later, we feel like we can exhale. 5 years is the critical juncture that shows a high statistical probability for longevity. We are grateful. Each day is a gift, so live it.

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I ran a half marathon

I trained and ran a half marathon, and so many people have asked if I’m proud of myself. I am proud of that accomplishment, but I have to tell you, the run itself was somewhat anticlimactic. I ran though beautiful Golden State Park, at mile 10 I ran up a 1000 yard hill.  (ok I walked up the hill, but so did everyone else) I trained, as much as my schedule would allow. My longest run was 11.5 miles before the 13. So I knew going in, I could finish it. I am fortunate to have tremendous support from my husband who allowed me to run while he cooked dinner, and he watched the kids so I could run. The real celebration and sense of accomplishments goes to my family that ran it with me. My husband walked it and finished it, despite his need for back surgery. My cousin ran it, and finished it, with little training, because she’s in medical school. My cousin’s wife finished it despite her lack of cartilage in her knees. And my aunt, she walked it 5 weeks post cardiac stint. (She walked with my paramedic husband, that’s how she convinced the doctors to let her walk a half marathon 5 weeks post stint.) So yeah, I ran a half marathon with no issues, and finished it, but my family overcame tremendous obstacles to finish a half marathon. I am awed by them.

I am hooked, by the way, and have my eye on some half marathons in the spring time. I’d love to travel to sea level again, there’s more oxygen there than here in the Rocky Mountains.

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Kids, dogs, and chaos

I love my life. I am so grateful for the blessings and challenges. My kids are the best, and no I haven’t been hacked. They are sweet and thoughtful and challenge me in the best ways possible. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, or that my floor is alway vacuumed. I struggle with this because I think my house should be spic and span, but there just isn’t enough time to simultaneously get everyone ready for the day ahead and clean the house. After school it’s homework for me and the kids, and after school activities. Like the song says I need to let it go!

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Batting Clinic…. or Lessons for Life

We went to the Rockies Fanfest this weekend. In short we had a great time. We bought actual Rockies seats, and while we made a charitable donation, we also became the coolest family on the block. (Shhh, let me live in my little fantasy world!)  We saw the club house,  the humidor, and Cargo signed our baseballs!

The highlight of the day was the batting clinic. I expected it to be a fun little bit of info for my two all star baseball players, but as it happens, life has a funny way of talking to you, in unexpected ways. The clinic was taught by two former Rockies players and a bull pen catcher. The first thing Ellis Burke says is “The most important thing is balance, you have to have balance to hit.” That’s when I took out my smart phone and started taking notes.

Precepts are applicable to a variety of fields in life. The whole time they spoke, they spoke of the lessons they learned in the batter’s box, but really are lessons for life, whatever our path in life.

*Be able to see with both eyes what’s coming at you (from the picher)

* It’s not where you start (your batting stance), it’s how you finish.

* If your stance isn’t working, try another one. Brent Manes says he had about 8,000 different stances.

*The Game is all about making adjustments.

* A medium length stance is the best

*Don’t overthink a slump, slumps happen, just go back to basics, and keep swinging

*Confidence plays a major part in hitting. Be confident.

*Have an even keel, and just play the game

*You can’t ride the roller coaster of every win and loss at over 100 games a season, so keep an even keel.

* It’s a game of failure.

I preach the value of failure, to my students (this doesn’t make me a popular teacher), to my kids, to my friends, and personally I always look for the lesson in my failures. I think that the element of failure is part of the attraction to baseball. You can lose a few games and still win the World Series. In life, too, there’s a lot of failure, but you have to go back to basics and try a different stance.

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I’m behind….

As is often the case in life, things aren’t always what the seem. I’ve gone back to the classroom and teach 4th grade. While I am enjoying my class and my school breaks, it’s a little getting used to in terms of time management. In the 6 years I was gone, a lot has changed in the district and so I’m behind on blogging. I’m grateful for my job and grateful to work with such fantastic people, and hopeful I will figure out a better balance between work and home.

The photos start on our fall trip to Aspen, through the fall holidays, birthdays and end up at Christmas. We’ve managed to stay busy and are looking forward to the spring!

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Fabulous family adventures around the states of Colorado and New Mexico

We traveled down to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to see the International Balloon Fiesta, and of course so Theo could see his favorite cousin Katie. After 6 hours of driving, plus time for potty breaks, and food breaks, Theo decided he was never going home, because it’s too much driving! Ha! He may have been influenced by all of the cool and different toys that Katie has, or by New Mexico’s charm. In any case, we did see the balloons, and hiked the beautiful, 4th of July canyon in the Manzano Mtns. We ate at Sadie’s New Mexican restaurant and shared a fruit tart at our very favorite coffee shop, the Flying Star. We got to meet, hold, cuddle, and coo at our Great-Nieces, Sophia and Olivia. All my boys were enchanted by the babies. I was impressed with my boys! The drive home was more of a challenge, with many more potty stops, and much whining, it was more of a 8 hour day. We spilled out of the van and spread ourselves out in the house, our hearts full and happy to be sleeping in our own familiar beds!

The adventure continued the next day as we headed out to Aspen …..

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Tis the season…. for baseball. I’m a sentimental gal. And I find it no small miracle that kids and families play baseball. This is our third season out playing T-ball/coach pitched baseball. I know the stats, only 3% of kids in sports get a college scholarship for their sport ability. Then what are stats of them going pro? Never mind, don’t tell me. I’m not in this to have my kids go pro. I just want to have fun. I think that’s what we are doing. I’m in my 3rd season of coaching my two older boys in T-ball/coach pitched baseball. I’m a girl who played fast pitch softball in elementary school. I’ve got basic skills. I love baseball and I think it’s a fun game. So we play. We practice once a week and we play a game once a week. And I find it magical that parents bring their kids out to a rainy Colorado baseball field and play ball. (and in some cases when the coach doesn’t get the weather bulletins, we play through possible tornadic activity!) Families could be doing a million other things, but they come to practice and help pitch, coach, bat and throw the ball. We are a developmental league, so while we practice skills, heart is what matters most. And all of my teams have heart. Could 5 year olds get any cuter? And they tell me they are real ball players because they have batting gloves. I love it! I love their enthusiasm! I love that they sing silly songs in the field. I love when they tell me they are the best batter on the team…. all of them. As we head into the thick of another seasons, I hope they love the game of baseball like I do. I love the history, (League of their own anyone?) I hope they find themselves in planned games on teams. I hope they find themselves on random pick up games of baseball, like I did once, with my shoes as first base, ghost runners, and an afternoon of fun. I hope they remember their friends and the fun with their community on a Wednesday night. I love playing games, if nothing else, for seeing all sorts of friends from all corners of the community. And as they make their way in this world they get that what makes the game of baseball is heart. Everyone wants to hit a grand slam, run all the way home, and be safe, but sometimes all you need is a base hit,  to get on base, and take your time getting home. We are enjoying the magic of baseball season, and are awed by the little everyday miracles of kids making it to practice. I hope you are finding the magic in your days of summer….

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Back to work

Mike has been signed off by all possible doctors, trust me when I say there are many many many doctors, to return to his regular firehouse duties. With Mike back on duty, we managed to stay busy with swim lessons, friends, and Mimi and Pa. Mike got some overtime this week as well. We are adjusting to this shift in the schedule, but I know the boys miss him. It’s evidenced by all the constant giggling, screaming, and general ignoring of requests for help.

We aren’t sure what to feel. On the one hand, we are very grateful that Mike isn’t sick, for the whole year and we are looking forward to our family adventures. My 20 year reunion is coming up, boy scout camp for both Stephen and Freddy, not to mention all the regular holidays with Mike being healthy and well. We are so grateful. Lighting candles, prayers and rosaries, burning sage, dances of gratitude, all crazy kinds of grateful. Healthy, that’s the rub. We are and must assume he’s healthy, but we don’t know it. It just nags a little at the back of the mind, what if…..

We are proactive, working towards a more cancer free diet, lots of veggies, less processed sugars, swapping out red wine for beer. We are getting in our regular workouts. Mike is diligent about wearing pants inside of his work gear to give him another layer of protection between the boots and his body. He’s cleaning his gear. We smile whenever we can, because smiling is good for you! (It increases your face value) Seriously, don’t underestimate the power of smiling and being happy, it can add 7 years to your life. And since right now treatment isn’t an option we are doing everything we can to stay positive and healthy. We smile, and stay positive. We eat lots of yummy veggies, and we move forward. We plan for our future together and we enjoy our kids.



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Confusion and Delay

So today is our day. Today we learn the fate of medicine we are relegated to. Today we learn whether our life is hugely challenging for a month and then levels out or whether our life just gets harder as the  year goes on. Today we were once again told to wait. This holding pattern stinks and is not one of my strengths. Then out of nowhere we were told No treatment, no medicine.

Ok? After talking to his oncologist, it seems Mike was not accepted into the clinical trial because of a pre existing condition called sarcoidosis. The only treatment available to us then is interferon, which can exacerbate the sarcoidosis. Currently, Mike is asymptomatic for his sarcoidosis, and his doctors would like to keep it that way. If you’ve followed our blog thus far then you know that surgery alone can be a cure for melanoma. He’s had two surgeries, one to remove the tumor and one to remove a larger margin of tissue. And given that his lymph node is clear and his scans, CT, and MRI have all come back as clear as well, I think the plan is to be watchfully waiting. Mike already has baselines for scans, and blood work. He has several doctors that he works with and will continue to see.

I think we will also seek out a second opinion, just to be sure that we are headed in the right direction. While alone it’s not always enough, in addition to working with our doctors, acupuncturist, we will continue with a healthy life style. I am not totally at peace with this decision as of yet, but it’s only been a couple of hours to digest.

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