May 25, 2010

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I could have sworn I used this title before but after searching the blog, I'm in luck, the title is available!

Let's start off with "The Good" - I've been off Advil for nearly two days. After experiencing quite a bit of pain in my left hip last week and earlier, things took a turn for the better over the weekend. I still don't have full leg motion, but being able to put the Advil aside is great. I was at the point where I was taking 800mg every 8 hours. This isn't an issue once in a while, but long term use at this level can cause stomach issues. I walked a mile yesterday morning and worked out for about twenty minutes this morning. While at the oncologist's office yesterday I had my left hip x-rayed. If this turns out to be arthritis then it looks like I might add Celebrex to my daily dosage of meds. Updates on this to follow. It's strange that I am hoping that it is arthritis. The alternative is not a welcome thought at this time.

"The Bad" also has to do with yesterday's appointment. My PSA number came back and it has once again gone up a little. Currently my PSA is 129.6, up from 118.3 last month. No panic has set in, we just hope to bend the curve next month!

"The Ugly" is the fact that I will be looking for a job as of June 30th. Though I have known about this since September, there were some indications until yesterday that the date may be extended. It's not all that terrible, I have 36 weeks of severance. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, I can switch to Mary's health insurance next year when mine runs out. With twenty years of experience in telecommunications and a pretty solid resume I have faith I'll find something in due time.

Oh but there's more...Looks like out air conditioner just went out! When the thermostat is set at 76 and the temperature in the house is 86, you know there is problem! To top that off, the U2 tour was just postponed until 2011, so much for my first live U2 experience this summer!

In closing, I want to add this cliché ridden statement; "It's all good people!" Seriously, we've been down this road before and we'll come out better when it's all through.

May 21, 2010

Angels and Demons

Part of my challenge with this blog is trying to come up with a catchy title for each post. Yes they are riddled with clichés but for the most part, I try to make the reader think, "Where the heck is he going now?". However, when they finish they then think, "Oh, I get it!". Let me be clear, I am in no way suggesting I am so clever that this happens all the time, just occasionally. Today is one such occasion.

In the past two weeks the world has lost two wonderful people to breast cancer. One was a former administrative assistant here at work. Though Mary and I didn't know her well, we knew her for a number of years. When she found out my story we had a great chat about being positive and focusing on life and not the disease. When we needed items for our golf tournaments, she was always eager to ask our VP for donations. God bless you Patsy, you are
missed and I was honored to know you.

The next loss is much, much more painful for me personally. I know as I start to write about this that I will cry. When I went through graduate school from1999-2001at Rockhurst University, there was a woman, a true angel that blessed all of us students with her presence. She was the administrator for the ExecutiveMBA department, but that was just a title. For many of us, she was like a mother or grandmother. When she found out about me she called, we talked and she too was positive, reassuring, etc. At that point in 2005 she had already gone through a bout of cancer and had been in remission for some time. We saw each other a few more times at class get togethers and she was always very encouraging to me. At some point, perhaps two years ago, she called me at home one evening out of the blue. She was just 'checking in' but I sensed something more. I didn’t push it. By the time we ran into each other at a Christmas party in December of 2008, I was aware the cancer had returned for her. I asked her about the phone call and she admitted she called to talk, to tell me. She said that after we started to talk, she didn’t feel right about passing her burden on to me. Wow, I again am brought to tears as I remember the phone call, the conversation, the meaning of her actions. Selflessness in it's highest form. I miss you Marian, your smile and your hugs.

On a completely different note, I would like to provide some insight into my current status. In my attempt to remain active I may have crossed the line to OVER active. Two weeks ago, I played disc golf twice during our tournament. I was a little sore, but so was everyone else! Last weekend I played both days, but it rained for most of both rounds. Two things happened; one I picked up some kind of virus and basically spent Sunday afternoon and most of Monday on the sofa feeling achy from head to toe. Additionally, my left hip started hurting with a bit more severity than I have experienced in quite some time.

This problem persists today. Advil helps for about 7 hours but I am trying to go 8 hours between doses. The last hour can be, well lets say interesting! Each day gets a little better, emphasis a little. I am trying to get by until Monday when I have my monthly Oncologist appointment and we can discuss further. I pray this little demon is arthritis but we shall see. It sure is putting a delay in the plans I had for the vegetable garden!

May 12, 2010

Five thousand reasons to say thank you!

The events of this past weekend were absolutely exhausting! I wouldn't however have it any other way based on the outcome!

We raised over $5,000 for advanced prostate cancer research!

On Friday night we held our second annual Friday Night in the Greenhouse event. It was a great time and not only did I run into some old friends, I met a few new ones as well. Words cannot express how grateful I am to the people at Suburban Lawn and Garden and specifically to the Stuecks. You are unbelievably generous with both your time and resources.

Saturday was our third annual Prostate Cancer Doubles Shootout, disc golf tournament. The event has grown each year and in 2010 we continued the trend. 42 teams registered for this years event. We had sponsorship from a regional micro-brewery, and the weather was perfection and the FLHW Board came through with another great lunch!

My day began at about 6:00am and I was out the door by 6:45 in order to get things started. I was well rested and still reeling in the events of the day before; the greenhouse and the fact I got another hole in one... details and an update to follow. It was a chilly 41 degrees as the golfers began to arrive, but as the crowd increased, so did the temperatures. We were able to get the first round started about twenty minutes late, but we had built a little flexibility into the schedule.

I was partnered with my friend and the co-tournament director Gary and we played with a few other friends. Our round started out normal; Par-Birdie-Par and as we approached the short forth hole we were greeted by the owner of the course and fellow FLHW board member Mark. These two, along with the five others I was playing with began to lightly jab at me regarding my hole-in-one on this very hole the day before. Cries of "Come on hot shot, let's see it again" were never ending as I walked to the tee box. I grabbed the same disc, and let go what immediately felt like the exact same throw. The result?

Another ace! Same disc, same hole, two days in a row!!

This is my disc sitting in the basket on Friday

As I've shared with others, I was mobbed! I've never been high-fived, back slapped or hugged so much in my life! It was unbelievable!

It was a personal highlight for the day but the success of the event overall was even better! Once again I met many new people and hopefuly convinced a few to get tested for PCa. We raised a lot of money for the cause and enjoyed some awesome disc golf on a beautiful, private course.

I would be remiss if I did not close with thank you to the following:
The FLHW Board; Rich, Mark, Steve, Chris
Bill and Bo
All the players
Tallgrass Brewery
Gorilla Boy Bags
Avery Jenkins
Johnny's Tavern
Llywelyn's Pub
and all the others sponsors

May 05, 2010

Quite memorable

I heard this on television last night; "The things you do for yourself die with you. The things you do for others lives on forever"

I did paraphrase this, and although I searched for the original source, I could not locate it. However, it remains my unwritten mantra. Even before I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, I was the type of person to jump in and help others without anticipation of reciprocal favors. This idea lives on in Faith, Love, Hope, Win. The foundation is not about helping David, it is and will remain about helping others battling this disease by supporting the research for better treatments and perhaps one day a cure for advanced prostate cancer.

Isn't it sad that so many people in our society live with a mindset completely opposite, the old, "What's in it for me?" approach to life. The gift of life is too short to live that way. I continue to believe I was put here for a reason and given prostate cancer in order to help others. "It's not all about Me", as I have said many times in the history of this blog.

I am looking forward to Friday and Saturday's FLHW events. I know they will go well, but I always get nervous leading up to our events. Once again the weather is forecasted to cooperate. Saturday will be a chilly 42 when we get started in the morning, but perfectly sunny with temperatures climbing into the mid-sixties!

I walked the disc golf course yesterday with the owner and his wife. They are truly good, generous people. Even though I have played the course a dozen times I couldn’t help express my gratitude to them for the use of this piece of property. To repeat an earlier description; where the subdivisions end on the south end of Overland Park is where this property and the 'country' begins.

With that thought, I close by repeating the quote I started with because it applies to these people as well as to myself: "The things you do for yourself die with you. The things you do for others lives on forever".