August 29, 2006

A slight delay

This afternoon Mary and I met with my Urologist, a.k.a., the worlds greatest doctor (WGD). We discussed my rising PSA numbers, tomorrow's scans and the plan for chemo next week. He agreed with everything, including our concern about starting chemo on Tuesday. While we acknowledge that chemo is inevitable, we want to make sure we select the most effective protocol possible. The doctor affirmed that pursuing chemotherapy now, while I am still in good shape - strong, both physically and mentally, will lend itself to a more successful result from the regimen.

Additional updates we are considering...though my PSA number went up to 54.66 on August 18th, when we met with our oncologist last week and had another blood test on 8.23, it was down to 41.77. Still high, but a 24% fluctuation. Additionally, she is moving to another office located in north Kansas City. She is staying with the same group, but the location is not practical for us. With her departure, she will be transferring us to a peer in her practice, a doctor we have yet to meet. (I'm not real comfortable walking in there Tuesday and meeting him for the first time as he injecting me with Taxotere). WGD called the new oncologist while we were there and posed the question of potential clinical trials that might offer potential benefit to my situation. He agreed that we should meet to review the latest scans, PSA results and potential trials.

Another issue is there are a few clinical trials we would like to investigate before we move forward. Both include using Taxotere, but they combine the chemotherapy (Taxotere) with other 'ingredients'. Our thought is, as long as the study includes the standard, bench mark treatment, we'd consider it. Both of these do. The only issue so far is one is in Columbia, MO (two hours away) the other in St. Louis, MO (four hours away). In both cases it appears the treatment regimen is weekly for three weeks, then one week off. This would require a lot of travel and time away from work. Perhaps they could be administered here in KC? We're not sure if that is even an option.

So our next step is to receive a call from the current oncologist Friday. She will have the results of tomorrow's scans and also update us on potential trials at MD Anderson and Sloan Kettering. If cancer activity is captured on the scans, chemo is definitely the next step. What still remains to be determined is what, where and when?

August 28, 2006

Billy Joel was just plain wrong!!

"Only the good die young"? Oh how wrong you were Mr. Joel!

We got a call this morning that we knew was coming. As much as you prepare yourself mentally, it just really hurts when it comes to fruition. My Grandmother passed away this morning.

As I've mentioned here before, she was truly a saint. Born in 1905 she visited King Tut's tomb via steam ship in the 1920's, she lived through the depression, two world wars, and lived for almost forty years after my Grandfather passed away. She will be missed by all. I love her so much. I know she is in heaven, she was sent from there after all.

So, after spending all day being poked, prodded, jabbed and examined, Wednesday night we are off to St. Louis for the services. Then it's back to KC on Saturday for several Labor Day weekend gatherings before T-Day (treatment day).

August 23, 2006

But will it 'Hurt'?

It looks like we've reached the next step. I had blood drawn again today. The doctor just wants to make sure there was no mistaking the 54.66 reading from last Friday. I also have scheduled new bone/CT scans next Wednesday the 30th. The blood test and the scans will determine a baseline.

Dr. Sheehan is going to place calls to both MD Anderson and Sloan Kettering to verify the availability of any clinical trials. If nothing fits my particular case, I will begin Chemo on the 5th of September.

I worry, not for me, but for her. The stress, the concern, the "what if's". I have to do my best to help her focus on what good may come of this. Many side effects COULD happen, none of them might.

And so I go on, a new chapter, a new story unfolds.
The woods of Sweden all ready seem like a lifetime ago…...
Though the song in it's entirety doesn’t necessarily fit the topic, the beginning seems to say it just right:
Johnny Cash
I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that's real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything

August 22, 2006

Additional thoughts on 54.66

So I get in my car after work, Im driving home, thinking. Thinking I should let out a good cry, I mean after all isn’t that what I should be doing? If you thought yes to that question you need to go back and read more of the thoughts I have shared in the past! However, this really and truly sucks and Im pretty darn ticked off at this point.

Of course Im not going to cry! As a matter of fact the nausea I was experiencing right after lunch passed and I consumed my usual afternoon regiment of carrots, raisins, yogurt, an apple, a Power Bar and, well that was about it. I was able to get through quite a bit of work considering. Mary and I talked a few times. She found one potential clinical trial that combines Taxotere with some type of vitamin-D concentrate. The best part is at a minimum I would receive the same treatment that I would receive if not in the trial. Well see, there is a lot to discuss with Dr. Sheehan tomorrow.

I fight on, again. This is not over. It’s not even close to over. Cancer took the latest round but there are many, many more to come right now I have a feeling Im ahead on the scorecard!

At this point I again can’t help but think of others. There is a little boy in our Parish, Ben. He has eye cancer. They thought they had gotten it all but it has come back. Now they have to remove his eye AND he has to go through 52 weeks of chemo (not so bad for me after all is it!!) Ive never met him but it’s my guess hes one heck of a kid!!

There is a prayer service for him tomorrow night, Im going to try to go. I ask that you add him to your prayers.

The dreaded call....54.66

If you ever find yourself in this position (battling cancer) and the following event happens, be worried, very, very worried:

I had blood drawn for a PSA test on Friday. So today, as I'm having lunch with Mary and Brad (before he starts school tomorrow), the phone rings.

"This is ____ from the doctor's office, she would like to see you at 8:00am tomorrow morning to go over your test results". (She couldn't actually give me the number), "One of the nurses will have to call you back with that information".

Second call: "This is ______ from the doctor's office I have your PSA results, your number has risen dramatically, it is now 54.66. Dr. Sheehan would like to see you tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM".

So now I sit here at my desk trying to fight back the urge to purge my lunch. Sorry, but as you know I don’t hold much back here. I also am fighting the urge to cry and curse and hit something and just curl up for awhile in a dark, quiet place…….

Looks like chemo comes sooner than later.

Like last winter I'm not concerned about the actual treatment regimen, I'll approach it with my usual "bring it on" attitude. It's the fact that we have to face this step…….now - so soon.

Do you think we'll sleep much tonight?~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Novena to Saint Peregrine
Oh great Saint Peregrine, you who have been called "The Mighty" and "The Wonder-Worker" because of the numerous miracles which you have obtained from God for those who have had recourse to you. For so many years you bore in your own flesh this cancerous disease that destroys the very fiber of our being, and who had recourse to the source of all grace when the power of man could do no more. You were favored with the vision of Jesus coming down from His Cross to heal your affliction. Ask of God and Our Lady, the cure of these sick persons whom we entrust to you.
Aided in this way by your powerful intercession, we shall sing to God, now and for all eternity, a song of gratitude for His great goodness and mercy. Amen.

August 20, 2006

Euro Trip - 'The Open' and the close.

It's Saturday morning, the day of the Open. I'm tired, I need a long hot shower, a large hot meal and a bed, sleep…..

The amateurs started on the Ancient Course (easier of the two, if only slightly). I find my way out the 8th hole where I am paired with two chaps in the "Advanced Am's", Dan (a Brit) and Rutger (from Holland) and Kev (another Brit) who is also competing in the am’s with me. Dan and Rutger were pretty good, Kev had only played a dozen or so times before the Open. I threw an awesome first drive, followed by 71 other shots that were not so good. My putting was horrific. I blame it on exhaustion. While I had shot a 51 in KC the day before we departed, hitting putts from all over the place, I probably left 6+ strokes out on the course today due to poor putting. By no means would I have done as well as Pete's 57 (par), but if I could have hit a few putts, a round in the mid sixties was easily possible.

Like the Modern Course that we played on Friday, this course offered a challenging layout; uphill, downhill, long, short, hyzers, anhyzers, woods, fields, nettles etc. The best part of the round was when Dan offered me the use of his one-man tent on Saturday night. Additionally, he was able to also scrounge up an air mattress as well! Ah, sleep!!!!

After they regrouped the players based on our first round scores, I was paired with the three Brits; 'Richard the 5th' (one of the chaps camping next to us), Tom and Sharon. Richard played better than the rest of us proving his first round score was an anomaly. I shot one stroke better than this morning but continued to struggle with my putter. A perfect example was the long par four 7th hole; I threw a long drive that rolled just into the infamous briar trees. I was able to get off a good second shot and then left my approach about 15ft left of the pin. Doink, and my putt hits the rim of the basket and falls short for a bogey 5. I bogeyed the Hypotenuse, the 8th (800ft, 150ft drop), birdied the 9th, and 12th but continued the Jeckle and Hyde golf that had plagued me since Sweden.

Like ball golf, a large part of this game is mental. Remain positive, think positive, forget bad shots etc. I’m just going to keep repeating the exhaustion excuse. It's my own fault and in the end it didn’t take anything away from the trip, after all how lucky am I to even be here in the first place!!!

At the end of the second round I found myself in 18th out of 25 players. Pete was still holding on to second! I was able to get partially cleaned up using the cold water spigot and the soap and shampoo Mary insisted I take (I'll have to thank her for this as well!!) Dinner was a BBQ (I broke down and had about 6oz of pork before Thomas alerted me to the veggie burgers!!). Thomas was a friend of Joe's from Germany. Born and raised in Long Beach he graduated from UCLA and moved to Germany in 1999 to do support work for the Airforce. He was a pretty cool dude; he raised bee's and harvested honey, was a vegan etc. A free spirit or modern day hippy would be the best description I can come up with at this point [included here with the utmost respect]. We chatted quite a while, he asked about the bracelets and I tried to give him the details. It was the same result as when I tried to talk to Joe in Sweden, I couldn’t get the words out. I told him enough that he understood what was going on but it was again way to emotional for me to talk about it.

By 10pm I've had enough, I can barely stay awake. I find my way into the one-man tent, take off my shoes and slide onto the air mattress. I think I fell asleep in less than a minute (just like home, right Mary?). 6 1/2 hours later I'm awoken by the sound of rain. It was light, more importantly peaceful like you could not imagine. I rolled over and slept three more hours finally getting up around 7:30.

As we rose Sunday it continued to rain. Fortunately I brought a nylon wind jacket that repelled most of the moisture. I made my way to the 14th tee. Actually we stood under the trees by thirteen with the sheep and the chaps that were playing in the group behind us. This group included Joe’s friend Matt. We teed off at 9:00am and as we played the first hole the rain stopped. By the time we finished our 5th hole we were playing is shorts and t-shirts again. It turned into a beautiful partly cloudy day. For me, the sleep paid off, I carded an eight over 65. This was good enough to move me into 10th place. Pete, played good enough to retain fourth place.

We had planned on leaving about 2:00pm in order to get Joe and Matt back to Heathrow for their flight to Paris. The top five players in each division go on to play a 9 hole final, this was to begin at 1:30. Pete was about to inform the tournament Director that he was unable to play when Joe garnered a ride with an English bloke he’d played with earlier in the day. A quick good-bye to Matt and Joe and Pete and I made our way out to the 10th tee for the final 9 holes.

Except for a few long delays for ‘rules’ determinations, nothing eventful happened in the finals. Pete was able to hold his own and finished quite impressively in 4th place!

Pete and I returned to Heathrow taking a route that took us through South Hampton and about 15-20 miles north of the southern coast of England. It was a relaxing drive as we listened to the BBC broadcast of Tiger Woods winning his 11th major, the other British Open. There was a lot of weekend traffic headed back to London and we were parked on the M3 on several occasions for 20-30 minutes. By the time we returned the car and got back to the terminal at Heathrow it was after 9:00pm. Pete found us a place to stay but by the time we dropped our bags and walked to the Pub/Tavern they had stopped serving food. A few pints of Guinness, a quick shower and it was lights out by a little after 11:00pm. The bed could have been made of nails, it didn’t matter. 8 hours of sleep later and I felt a little more like my old self.

We arrived at Heathrow by 10am even though our flight didn’t leave until 2pm. We found an internet terminal and used the time to catch up on email and I believe I even posted an entry here? Our flight was 2 hours late departing because they had to return to the terminal and allow a sick woman off the plane. New rules require that is a passenger departs, so must their luggage. Being that we were on a 747, this took quite a long time to complete. So even before we took off Pete and I are freaking out. Were we had built three hours and forty minutes time in order to get from JFK to LaGuardia, we would now have about ninety minutes. We would also now be required to go to luggage area after the rude female drill sergeant from Virgin made us check our luggage. I did my best to find things to occupy my mind; ‘King Kong’ and ‘16 Blocks’ took up almost 5 hours. The former was terrible on a 7” seatback screen, the latter was your typical Bruce Willis flick, though slightly more entertaining.

Our flight departed LaGuardia at 7:40, we got off the 747 at 6:00. Immigration was a breeze and we were at the luggage carousel by 6:10. At 7:00 our bags final came off the conveyor belt! Forty minutes left….no possible way we would make it. However, thanks to a great cabby, Pete’s impersonation of OJ through the terminal and the wonderful folks at Midwest Airlines we made it.!!! I walked in the house at 10:59pm, did some laundry, took a shower and was off to the Lake 7 hours later. The Lake…..well that’s a whole other story!

And so, this journey like all journeys, must come to an end. Was it worth it? That’s a hard thing to try to evaluate at this point. From a disc golf sense, hell yes it was! We played almost 200 holes of golf in 6 days, on three spectacular courses, we met some really, really good people that we all hope to see again here in the states one day soon. We saw so many things that many people are never fortunate enough to see at all; I thank God once again.

From a personal sense it was good to get away from Cancer. I thought about it a lot less than I normally do and for long periods of time not at all. There were several times when it came up and as I mentioned previously, it was too emotional to discuss. Looking back, it was the thoughts of Mary and Brad that weighed so heavily on me at those moments. I missed them; I wished that they were with me. I really think we were so busy all the time and so taken in by our surroundings and the golf that I was able to forget, if even just for a little while. That alone made it worth it.

Finally, Pete – I could thank you a million times for allowing me to tag along, to intrude and that wouldn’t be enough. Fate brought us together 7 years ago, it’s hard to believe a lifetime of memories can be stuffed into seven short years. While at Rockhurst, each Saturday morning on the course, through all the other BS that has happened in your life and mine and finally while on this trip. Mary is my soul mate, you are and will always be my friend, compadre, my mate (in the British sense) and I love you like a brother. I thank God this evening for your friendship. Let’s do it again next year, but perhaps this time we can stay stateside….I read that Wisconsin has 88 courses, the same number as Sweden!!!

August 17, 2006

Twice the Fun!

Tomorrow, August 18th, is a very significant day for two reasons:

First, it will mark 18 months since I was diagnosed. Wow, it seems like a lifetime ago!! So much has changed and so much has happened in my life. I find it incredible to think that it has been that long. As I reflect, I don't think I have a whole lot to add that I haven't said here before….

From my post on February 23, 2005:
"...hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies."

"Get busy living, or get busy dying."

The second event is I will have my first PSA test since May. I'm pretty anxious. We won’t know the results until early next week. Where we left off in May is as follows: my PSA had risen between January and May, ending at just over eleven. A level below one is the level we want to reside. Days prior to the last test I began taking Casodex again with the intention of blocking ALL testosterone. I had stopped taking Casodex back in November when my PSA started rising the first time. In May my Oncologist told us to stay the course and take the summer off and not have a PSA until mid-August. This would give the Casodex ample time to work it's magic. I pray it has again!

I just found out last night that a very good friend of my fathers is going through radiation treatments for Prostate Cancer. I haven’t talked to him directly so I don’t know any of the details at this point. Please find room for him in your prayers.

Over the weekend I will post the rest of my travelogue and photos. I added one below that wraps up Sweden and the the last will cother cover the British Open, the trip home and a wrap up on the entire trip. I'm not sure how entertaining they are to you but I started, and thought I'd go ahead and finish up!

August 16, 2006

I had decided to just wrap up Sweden and the British Open in one last post, but realized it's going to have to be two posts; this one will conclude our time in Sweden and get us to the site of the British Open. The next and last post will be the Open and a wrap up of the trip as a whole. I just went through my journal and there is way too much to convey in one post.

Stockholm; Thursday 7/20
OK, 3am was a little late to be up, especially since we golfed until 10pm. Exhaustion is an understatement. I'm up and out by 9:55 in order to get to the stores when they open at 10am. I am in search of a gift for Mary. I cannot explain how difficult a task this is! Jewelry really makes no sense, it's not like there are these incredible bargains, plus I'd rather go to 'Carl' back home. The clothes over here are a little weird, after all men wear Capri's!!! No kidding! (click on the picture, look at the guy in the hat about 10 feet in front of Pete!! I told Mary I was going to bring a pair back but I couldn't do it...she was relieved!)

I bought her a t-shirt with Moose on it [inside joke here, it would take to long to explain]. I leave with nothing substantial, I'm going to be in trouble!! Hopefully, I'll find something on Monday if I have time in London?!

So as I walked around and people watched (with my iPod producing the mellow sounds of Kenny Chesney's 'Old Blue Chair') I couldn't help but take a few minutes to thank God for blessing me. Seriously, regardless of my current health issues, how many people get this opportunity! I could have walked and walked and walked for hours…..serene. I would really like to come back here someday and take more of it in, this is such a beautiful city.

Pete and Joe are slow rising and we eat a quick breakfast and head to Jarva. [Joe is contemplating writing a story "How to survive Europe on the sandwich", very funny but oh so true!]. We played 18 holes, my round was the same, nothing to brag about. We stopped to grab lunch, sandwich materials (go figure) and headed to Lilljon's. It was yet another beautiful day in Sweden, temperature in low 70's, sunny, very few clouds.

It was after two o'clock when we arrived. We ate and headed off to the first tee. Though the tents were still in place, no campers were to be found. As a matter of fact there was hardly a soul in the park at all. I played a few strokes better than yesterday, Joe and Pete a few worse. Regardless, it was sad to depart and head to the airport.

Our flight to London was the only leg of the journey that was not crowded. The three of us spread out and had our own personal rows. I fulfilled my goal of finding something for Mary by purchasing a strand of Japanese pearls and matching earrings from ‘duty free’. They are very unique, and quite pretty, if I do say so myself.

Friday July 21 (London/Salisbury/Beaminster)
We altered our plans slightly and decided to make a stop at Stonehenge on the way to the tournament. Salisbury was about half way to Beaminster, 90 minutes from London. The drive was an experience to say the least. Pete was the pilot of our Peugeot SUW (sport utility wagon; much like a Chrysler Pacifica).

Not only was the steering wheel on the wrong side, it was a manual transmission! I rode co-pilot, Joseph was the navigator, with Matt acting as the narrator. We made it to Salisbury by about 1:00am but having no idea where Stonehenge was in relation to the town we just pulled over, parked the car and tried to get a few hours of sleep. I tossed and turned until about 4:45 when the sunrise began to wake the others. We decided to try to find Stonehenge before the sun actually rose and thanks to a very friendly British chap we were there by 6:15ish. Only one problem - it doesn’t open until 9:00! Here are the photos we took while passing the monument at 35 miles per hour.
By 7:30 we had made our way to Crewkern, a few miles from Beaminster and Whitcome Farm, the site of the British Open. Starving, we began our hunt for food. As it turns out the town does not come to life until 8:00am. The grocery store was closed and all of the restaurants (both of them) were closed. About to give up, we found refuge at "The King Edward Inn". We had a comfortable English breakfast and were off to the grocery by 8:30.

The grocery presented yet another dilemma, with no cooler or means to cook, what to buy? Chips and salsa, fruit, bread, granola bars, beer and large quantities of bottled water.

We were able to find Whitcome Farm and a place to camp without incident. Having nothing else to do, we were playing our practice round by 11:00ish. We brought some of the London heat with us; high 70's but very muggy! The farm had two course, the Ancient and the Modern. The former slightly easier, the latter was a beast! Without directions or a map we found our way on to the Modern course. This place was massive! The elevation change between the first hole (low point) and the eighth hole (apex) was probably 400'. Not the Rockies but when you are use to the flat lands of Kansas, this was spectacular. A few downers; stinging nettles and briar trees. The course was lined with both. We have nettles on a few course here in Kansas but they are wisps compared to these terrors. For those of you not familiar with nettles, read this, look at the photo as well!!!. [] By the time we finished our practice round both my shins felt as if they had Novocain injections! It took several hours for the sensation to subside. Additionally, my legs were covered with scratches from the briars as we had our share of errand shots. I shot a respectable 69 but the climb up the hills of this sheep farm took the remaining energy I had.

Here are a few shot of the course:
Joe on #7, last time we ever saw this disc!!

#8 The
Hypotenuse, the 8th (800ft, 150ft drop)

Pete, Joe and Matt on #12 (give you an idea of the elevation change)

Joe tee's off on #14 (click on the picture and you can see the basket)

The four of us signed up for mixed doubles. This provided a good opportunity to catch a glimpse of a few holes on the Ancient Course. Pete and I were paired with 'Penn and Teller' two gents from Sweden and Finland. Again, a long story behind the moniker Pete gave them, kind of funny but not worth sharing here. We shot -3 as a team, they shot -8 and took third place.

By 9:00pm I called it a night at tried to sleep in the back seat of the SUW. At this point I had gotten about 6 hours of sleep since Wednesday. I was exhausted, the Peugeot offered little relief. By 6:00am, after getting maybe 2 hours of sleep amongst the seat belts, shoes and other various items I gave up the fight. The sun was rising and the day of the tournament had arrived.

NEXT UP: The Open and a wrap!

August 13, 2006

TV / Radio appearances

I've added a new link to the right, "FLHW Press" There you will find a link to my TV appearance on July 12th and a radio interview I did in June of 2005. The interview from last week will be added later.

August 10, 2006

Eurotrip - Stockholm Day 2

It's day two in Stockholm. I awoke at 7:30, 6 straight hours of sleep for me is good! I went to back to bed until 8:50, showered and then hit the city market right next to our hotel. It was CHILLY out! The overnight low was in the high 50's, it felt great! [I noticed it was around 100 degrees in KC the day before].

I made the mistake of buying some cherries from some Middle Eastern vendor. They were good but the guy tried to sell me every other variety of fruit in his stand in addition to a few cherries. Back off dude, I just wanted a few cherries. He was offended when I departed with just the cherries, he’ll get over it.

I made the mistake of buying some cherries from some Middle Eastern vendor. They were good but the guy tried to sell me every other variety of fruit in his stand in addition to a few cherries. Back off dude, I just wanted a few cherries. He was offended when I departed with just the cherries, he’ll get over it.

Pete, Joe and I had agreed to meet around 9:15 so I took stroll a few block around the hotel. Found 'Wayne's Coffee' ( From the looks of the place, décor, the signage, fonts etc. you would have thought you would have thought you were in Starbuck's. The only difference is their primary color was navy blue. Is there a lawsuit here somewhere?

After meeting Pete and Joe we decided to visit Wayne's world for breakfast. [observation: nobody smokes. Well except Pete]

Finished a light breakfast and it was off to the Gamla Stag. For those of you who have not been to Europe this was your typical old town area; cobblestone streets, in this case completely pedestrian. It was familiar to us at first, and then we realized it was the same pedestrian street we tried to drive down last night as we were mis-directed while trying to find the hotel! Good thing it was deserted at that hour!

Our travels were limited but what we saw of Stockholm it is very cool; clean, well kept old buildings etc.. I could have walked the streets for days with hundreds of small shops, eateries and more. The exchange rate makes shopping for

gifts quite favorable. I was able to get Brad and others tee shirts etc. for around $10. I only wish I had more time to look at more Swedish items.

We made our way to the area where the Stockholm Jazz Fest was being held. Nothing was happening at the time, the shows were at night. Sting was playing on Friday, would have been fun but England calls. We had a nice lunch at an outdoor café; an awesome bowl of fish soup and a hearty garden salad with smoked salmon!

Around 2:00pm we found ourselves back at Jarva for another round. I vowed to play better, I didn't at first. I threw a 37 on the front but a +1 29 on the back including a birdie on the very tough 18th.

We attempted get directions to a nearby course, Lilljon's. It took us about an hour to find it, we even had to ask two other Swedes for directions. It turns out the last kid was a few hundred yards from the park entrance and did not know it! In the end what we found was disc golfer heaven. The course was beautiful. Dispersed through a forest of granite out croppings, ferns, hundred foot pines, birch and other trees. It was spectacular! There were short, tight holes through the trees. There were longer, more open holes through meadows. Uphill, downhill on and on, it was priceless.

We were greeted at the first and second holes by campers. Their tents, though not in the way, were pitched right in the middle of the fairway! The lady on the first hole apologized as she stood in amazement. She had no idea she was camped in the fairway, it was apparent she had no idea what disc golf was! The campers on hole two were friendly as well but they tried to recruit Pete and get us to attend their religious services that evening. We continued on avoiding being rude.

Proceeding without a map, it took us quite sometime to get through the first round, perhaps three hours. We went back to the car for water and a light snack.

It was almost 8:00pm at this point but the course and 18 more holes were calling! Joe lit up the last round shooting a blistering -8 (50). I was up and down, good shot, bad shot etc.. Fatigue caught up with me, a premonition of days ahead.

We made our way back to the hotel, dropped off the car and headed out for dinner. It was a little after 10 but we found our way to the 'Bar Calonia'. The menu claimed a Mexican cuisine, it was good, but far from the Mexican we are use to in the Midwest. We washed the meal down with several local pilsners again and headed back to hotel around midnight.

Tired, but surviving on the adrenalin of the day, we nuzzled up to the bar at the Hotel Rica. Pete was working his magic again on the lass at the front desk, Joe and I spent the time getting to know each other a little better. In retrospect listening to him was like listening to myself at 22. He's a great young man, has his head on straight and has a charming personality. We talked about school, disc golf (of course), love, life etc. it was an inspiring conversation.

One thing to note - I couldn't talk about me, cancer, Mary etc.. I'm not sure if Joe asked or if it the conversation just migrated to the subject but as I tried to speak, the emotions exploded. As many of you have witnessed I can talk about this all day. I can talk about my case, the need for testing, on and on, an on. Most times I can get through these conversations with very little or no emotion. Tonight for some reason I couldn’t talk about it. Joe understood, we moved on to other subjects.

Between the conversation and the constant use of the hotel's internet terminal the next thing we knew it was almost two o'clock. Pete and I had made separate trips to 7/11 for a few Heineken's and I gave up a little after two in the morning. A long overdue call to Mary and I shut down at 3:00am. I can't remember the last time I stayed up passed midnight much less 3:00am.
[Tomorrow morning I must find a gift for Mary]

August 09, 2006

TV Time II

I have another television appearance tomorrow. Sometime between 10-11am I'll be on "Kansas City Live" on Channel 41.

I only have a four minute segment so I'll be focusing on the golf tournament. I'll tape this as well and do my best to get both of these posted in the next week.

On another note, I was interviewed by a writer for 'Men's Health' magazine back in April. The article was supposed to be in the September issue, it has been delayed until December.

I have a lot more notes and pictures from the trip but decided I'm going to condense these to two (maybe three) more posts; a wrap up in Sweden, the tournament and UK, and an epilogue. I'm still riding high from the experience, it was unbelievable!

August 05, 2006

Euro Trip 7/18 [London- 1st round in Stockholm]

We made it to London safely thanks to our friends at Virgin Airlines. We arrived on time and made it through customs without a hold up, the beauty of carry-on luggage!
I tried to sleep on the plane ride over but like usual, I was unable to doze off. Virgin offers personal video in all the seat backs so I watched "The Transporter 2" and "Fun with Dick and Jane". The former was entertaining, much like the first movie, not real deep but action packed! As I type this up two weeks later I can’t even remember watching the second movie? I do remember it was horrible but I trudged through and watched the whole thing.

We met Joseph right away and went ahead and checked in for our flight to Stockholm. With four hours to kill we are on the Underground (subway) headed to the heart of London, Piccadilly Circus. We're really looking forward to getting to Stockholm, playing disc golf, taking in some of the local sites and food. We left KC almost two days ago, seems like forever.

We ate sushi (yes I love my sushi) at the fountain at Piccadilly and proceed to walk and walk. We saw Westminster Abby and a few other sites then returned to the Tube (subway) in order to get back the Heathrow for our flight to Stockholm. The flight was two hours late departing which really cut into disc golf time!

We landed at 7:15 Stockholm time (GMT +1 or Central time +7) picked up the rental car and were on the disc course by 8:15. No worries mate, the sun didn’t set until 10:30 and we were able to get in 18 holes before dark!
The course, Jarva, is a private course that costs aprox. $5 to play. It is billed as one of the finest course in Europe. No offense, but these folks need to get to KC! The course was challenging, a few par 4's along with a few par 2's that were actually rather difficult. Pete limped along, sore ribs and all and played the last 9 holes rather well considering his condition.

We got a little mis-directed finding the hotel. A man is never lost, he may be off track, or mis-directed but we always know "where we're not"! We dropped our bags at the hotel at about 11:30pm and headed to the nearest local pub/eatery. Of course the kitchen had closed but Pete talked the bartender into three enormous slices of lasagna which we proceed to engulf. Remember the sushi at Piccadilly twelve hours earlier, that was the last time we had eaten.
As Pete gimped to the bar for another round of the local pilsner, Joseph asked "What's with the sausage fest"? Not catching his drift he explained that there were no women in the establishment…..hmmm? We were never sure or not, frankly it made no difference we were in our own little world, but we may have eaten an awesome meal, scraped together at the last minute, at a gay bar 5,000 miles from home!

Later we strolled back to the hotel, had a pint at the hotel bar and tried to get directions to a few more disc courses. As helpful and friendly as the staff was, they needed a bit of education in the lay of the land in their hometown. We decided to return to Jarva the next day and seek assistance from fellow disc golfers. Before retiring for the night we decided to stay another night at the Hotel Rica instead of attempting to find new accommodations. Pete worked his magic on the front desk staff and we got the same rate as I secured via Expedia. I called Mary and was sleeping by 1:30am, tomorrow we do a two hour walking tour of downtown Stockholm and the Gamla Stag (old city). Posted by Picasa

August 03, 2006

August 3, 1991

Today is our 15th wedding anniversary!
As proven in this blog, I am not the best writer but I will try as always.

Words are an inadequate vehicle for what Mary means to me.
She is:
My strength
My beacon
My heart
My soul

She is:
My meaning
My soul mate
My reason
My purpose

Pressed for time this morning I'll just close by saying without her I am nothing, because of her I am who I am.

August 01, 2006

Euro Trip - 7/16-17

My odometer flipped to 10K miles on the way to pick up Peter. Nothing significant about that fact, it's just an observation.

We're at the airport, it's starting to set in, we're leaving. I'm getting really excited - I'm already missing Mary and Brad.

I played one last round of disc golf yesterday. I shot my best round ever (-3/51) I had 5 birdies, 2 bogies, it was awesome! Hopefully more rounds like that are ahead!

So we are off to Chicago, then NYC before leaving for London tomorrow night at 7:50pm. Our flight to NYC was 45 minutes late, great start, good thing I have my iPod and a few books!!!

7/17 (NYC)
We stayed up late, had Peruvian food, as the Ethiopian restaurant Phil had recommended had changed hands. Joe's friend Patrick from KC was in town doing mission work so he came by to visit as well. The four of us had a number of beers, talked and talked and talked while listening to way to much Steely Dan~ "Phil, can I put on___ NO!". Got to bed about 1:30am.

Phil, Pete's friend from KU is originally from Paola, KS. He graduated and left the Midwest 20+ years ago. Said he'd never go back. He has lived in the same apartment for 20 years. I'm not sure how he does it. He's an editor/writer and the lifestyle of a New Yorker is so different. He pays equivalent to a midwest mortgage payment for 750 sq ft. in New York. I'd go nuts! He's a great guy. We talked this morning for an hour or so while Pete slept. Turns out Phil had brain cancer a few years back, all clear now but it apparently took 18+ months for the doctors to get his medications right. He said it was a real struggle. I told him more about what was going on with me and we discussed Pete's daughter Maggie a bit. I found it interesting how after knowing each other for 12 hours we could be so open with rather heavy emotional topics. Must be that part of that Midwestern upbringing.

We left around 9:30 and started just walking the streets; the UN, Grand Central Station, NYC Library, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral (I lit a candle for Mom, Mary, Brad, John W., Karen, Rick in Houston and all the other PC survivors). We missed Mass. The place was gigantic, yet beautiful, so much stained glass! We walked through Central Park and found our way to an enormous Whole Foods Market under the Columbus traffic circle.

We ate sushi and then continued our walking tour until about 2:30. We got cleaned up and caught a cab at 4:00pm to avoid some of the traffic issues at rush hour. A little more than 14 hours until touch down in London, the anticipation is mounting. Posted by Picasa