Saturday, January 29, 2011

Date Night

Dori is feeling much better and learned yesterday she's still 100% donor DNA. She trained this morning for her upcoming half marathon, walking in unseasonably warm weather. It may top 60 today. She'll receive the Vidaza treatments next Monday through Friday, one week after they were scheduled.

I'm in between kids' basketball games, and may actually ride the bike after a five-miler with Pepper late yesterday. I didn't run Monday through Thursday, still lethargic from "the crud." Last night's run was worth the wait and couldn't have been more timely. I had a rough week.

I'm realize I'm not going to be appreciated much the next few years. I remember how much of a pain I was from age 13 to 16. I thought the world owed me something. No one around me was perfect, certainly, but my approach didn't make things better. I took awhile to mature, 15 years frankly to cover all bases.

I'm learning what it's like to be on the other side of this. It's hard, doesn't seem rewarding, and sometimes leads to frustration. Part of it is emerging from a challenging three years of dealing with cancer. More of it, however, is just being a parent dealing with our childrens' transition from adolescence to [fill in unflattering Noun of the Day here].

I needed to vent, and did earlier this week. I may have said a few words I shouldn't have, but I did get some things on the table. I was honest, raw and emotional. I think it helped, but it isn't something I want to do again soon. Nor does my family. But it came to a point where I had to make things clear - I'm not just a dad trying to provide but a person with feelings.

One pounding thought all week was, "When do I get time for just me?" The constant feeling of having to be somewhere in 15 minutes can be taxing, especially if I don't get to run or do something different every so often.

The good news? Dori and I have a date night tonight and the house to ourselves. I'm feeling mighty fine about that.

Monday, January 24, 2011

High Anxiety

We're reminded from time to time that we're not in control of everything, no matter how hard we wish or try. That about sums up last weekend.

Dori has been battling a cough and some minor stomach issues the last few days. I thought for sure she had a cold, maybe the onset of a rough one. I've had one for a week, but nothing too bad.

When I looked at Dori yesterday, I knew she was thinking of other possibilities, like the dreaded "R" word. I was about 95% sure that wasn't occurring, based on my extensive (tongue) medical (in) training (cheek). No fever, a cough and that was about it. Today, she headed to Vanderbilt for a scheduled visit - Round 5 of 6 of Vidaza - with my Mom accompanying her for support.

I was at work when Mom texted Dori's counts were normal and the real experts were getting her a Z-pack and postponing the Vidaza round. Despite my confident prediction, I almost cried when I learned she simply had a cold, triggering a release that included a push away from my desk and a hug from a co-worker I trust.

Dori sounded hoarse, when I called her. I told her I would pick up the kids, asked what errands I needed to run, and said she only needed to focus on rest, hydration and eating well.

The other part of the weekend was spent watching a child struggle, then refocus on moving forward. It's hard to watch children come up short, but it's good for them to face adversity. Teaching children to deal with shortcomings is what we're supposed to be doing as parents, I believe. Too many parents coddle and lose those moments.

I think parents do best when we present challenges as opportunities. I like to ask hard questions, relate my own shortcomings and how I dealt or deal with them, seek buy-in and encourage positive responses. Yes, once in awhile, a butt-chewing is in order, especially when pep talks or reason aren't working. The easy way out is the loser's way.

As I look back on last weekend, it was an exhausting potpourri. I invested a lot in my family, working with half a tank. I tried to run six miles Saturday and struggled. The cold had taken too much of me; I had to walk at Mile 4 for a short spell. I didn't beat myself up, but went out yesterday for a short run that felt better.

We move on.

Monday, January 17, 2011

For a Great Cause

Dori has set up her fundraising page in support of Gilda's Club. Of course, we encourage anyone interested to consider making a secure donation.

We continue to support three important organizations - the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation and Gilda's Club. I believe LLS certainly had a hand in enabling Dori to continue to be with us, Kanzius holds great promise to find a cure for all cancers and Gilda's supported our family through tough times.

Dori walked three miles Saturday morning with 150 Gilda friends, and came home and ran a mile on the treadmill. Inspired, I ran six hilly miles Saturday in our neighborhood and eight flat miles in Shelby Bottoms today with Pepper.

Yesterday, Will and I watched a lot of football, something I haven't done in awhile. We love the Chicago Bears, who have four former Vanderbilt players who play important roles. Will's godfather Al joined us in watching the Bears beat the Seahawks 35-24; then Will and I watched the Jets shock the Patriots. The entire family plowed through rotel queso and chicken fingers, not the best training food. Today's run, however, was surprisingly fine.

Work has been busy and is about to get busier. To deal with the inevitable accumulating stress and to have a goal, I plan to train for the Tom King Half Marathon, a local race in March that I PR'd a few years ago. I'm not gearing for record time, but would like to run a good race.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Someone's Training

Dori the Warrior started training this morning to walk a half marathon. She's walking three miles with the folks at Gilda's Club, for whom she will raise funds. The race is in late April.

When she asked me for an opinion, I said I think it's awesome, but you might run it by Dr. Jagasia at Vanderbilt. His simple reply? Go for it!

On the way out the door, Dori said, "This is so not me," as she trudged into the cold. New sportwear covered her like an eskimo.

Oh, but it is you, my dear. You've already completed 20 marathons in the hospital and at home, more than most humans could endure. I'm looking forward to yelling my a%$ off for you in the spring. Let the miles pile up and the funds come in.

I think I'll do a long run today.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Winter Progress

Dori completed Round 4 of Vidaza with flying colors. Her donor DNA is a perfect 100%. She feels good, and her itching is gone. Good riddance.

Snow hit Nashville early this morning. With four inches on the ground, I took the kids sledding early to the hill I enjoyed as a boy. Will and Kathryn had a ball, and I made one Franz Klammer run down the slope with Will. My back is thanking me, but it was worth it to hear Will howling with joy as we went full speed.

I talked with the sister of a dear high school friend, as our children sledded. She said she didn't know anyone who has been through more than our family. I said, "Really?" I know many folks who have been through much worse than us. I replied the last 10 years have been the most challenging and rewarding of my life. Dori said "we're still here" when I recounted the episode.

I worked from home today, but managed to get over to Radnor Lake State Natural Area with Pepper for a brief hike. I'm glad I brought our camera. Walden Pond in Nashville ... pretty awesome.

The kids are playing some fun basketball this winter. Both teams are improving. Will's team is surprisingly undefeated, having endured a few thrillers. Kathryn's team finally broke into the win column, with a half-court three-pointer to end the third quarter and a traditional three-point play near the buzzer to win by one.

I may not have mentioned I'm not coaching this year because I want to enjoy the games WITH DORI from the stands. It's one of the best calls of my life. I still have some coach in me, which is hard to muzzle, but I so want Dori to see the kids improve and excel, which they're doing.

But you may not want to sit near me. My voice carries, like a coach's should.