Monday, August 29, 2011

My Run Against Cancer

It's time to rumble.

The fine folks at Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation have set up an avenue for people like me to raise money for their breakthrough non-invasive treatment of cancer. KCRF has been featured several times on 60 Minutes. If you've followed this blog for awhile, you know I'm jazzed about what they're doing. It's a big reason I've decided to run the Cape Cod Marathon and raise money for this special effort.

When Dori relapsed this spring, one of the first calls I made was to KCRF to see where human trials are. They're a few years away, and they need funds. They've had great success with their technology on rats, frying cancer cells while leaving the non-cancerous cells intact.

I'm an optimist, but I'm also a realist. I haven't swallowed the kool-aid, but I'm wanting to make some, for everyone. It's one of the ways I can honor Dori, along with raising our children the right way.

You can help with the former. I'd be honored to have your support.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Yesterday morning, I ran 14 miles with a team of 10 who are dedicated to doing something about cancer. The run went very well, six of the 14 in the hills of Percy Warner Park. The air was perfect. Fall is around the corner.

My friend Jim, a lymphoma survivor who loved Dori, invited me to join his group, most of whom were with Team in Training. Jim is kind, unselfish and just a champion individual. I also ran with Sammie, who is there every Saturday to set up water stations and encourage new runners.

I met a lot of nice people yesterday, including Erica, a mother of three, who is running her first half marathon; Teri Ann, who fights through asthma during her training; Emmitt, who organizes area races that help support causes in our community; and other cool folks. That's the thing about running ... You meet a lot of nice people when the sun rises. Glass half full, smiles, can-do ... you know the type.

After 10 miles, I ran solo, adding some mileage to reach my 14. Only at Mile 13 did I feel some discomfort. That's where I talked to Dori, feeling her presence and smile. It was one of the nicest moments I've had with her since her death. It's the same conversation I will have with her on the other long runs and marathon later this fall.

My fundraising page is up, and I'll post it after one final kink is fixed. I'll be inviting you all to join me for the ride. It would be an honor to have you along.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Moved to Action

After a full day of cleaning the house, doing the laundry and running errands, tonight's choice was either to watch pre-season NFL football or blog. Here I am, folks.

Work is good, and the kids are back in school. Routine has returned, and my running is ramping up. Dori is still on my mind constantly, very much so on my training runs for the Cape Cod Marathon. I have completed nearly two months of training for this race, the same one I completed in 2009. Dori adored the Cape, and the kids and I love it, too. We'll honor her in many ways while we are there.

The first break from the heat arrived midweek, and I took full advantage. After a wobbly 10-miler last Saturday, I ran five in mid-60 temps, then another six Friday morning. It was so much easier after suffering through the July-early August oven. Once it cools off more, I'll be running 15s and a few 20s. I'll be fundraising, too. More on that later.

One of Dori's best friends e-mailed me this week to share she has been notified by the Be the Match folks. She may be called soon to donate marrow and save a life. Through mostly Dori's efforts, hundreds of new donors are on the registry. It's not too late to register, just click. If you're into saving a life, I encourage it. Some of you may remember Hans, Dori's donor. Without him, we wouldn't have had her with us for four precious years. Go ahead, click.

Something else moved me this week. A woman I dated seriously before I met Dori shared she's running her first half marathon and will be doing so with Team in Training to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She'll be running for Dori. So many care. It is inspiring, even comforting, to learn what good people are planning to do.

I saw a cartoon earlier this week that hit home about the times we're in. Whatever your political bent, it will make you think and maybe move you to do more for someone who needs you. Someone you may or may not know. The world needs more charity and sacrifice, more than ever, if we're gonna get out of this mess.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Writings of Lewis

It's hard to blog these days. I don't have much time and often don't know what to say. When I do, it's not worth repeating what the kids and I have experienced that day or week. We've had some very hard days.

How often can one blog about boundless emptiness? We appreciate people consoling us. But their pity, or our seeking it, is not good for the soul.

Obviously, life is very different than it was a few months ago. No one can or ever will replace Dori. Everyone gets that. Most also get it's best just to say something sweet and consoling, listen a little, and then move on to some mundane topic. Most do. A few don't, but no need to rant right now. I've done that with a few friends, and this blog is PG-13.

We're each grieving in different ways. Rather than go into what we're specifically experiencing, I'll share some excerpts I read recently in A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis. The book was a gift from the mother of one the kids' friends at school who lost a husband tragically years ago. It was accompanied with a very nice note about her own grieving experience. I brought it on our recent trip to Florida, and I'm glad I did.

Lewis' account of the loss of his wife to cancer is about losing and regaining bearings. In the foreword, Lewis' stepson notes "the greater the love, the greater the grief, and the stronger the faith, the more savagely will Satan storm its fortress." That seized my attention, even before reading the author.

Lewis said, "The act of living is different all through. Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything." OK, he understands.

Then more, "Who thinks there is some device ... that makes pain not pain? It doesn't really matter if you grip the arms of the dentist's chair or let your hands lie in your lap. The drill drills on."

"What grounds has [her death] given me for doubting all that I believe? I knew that these things, and worse, happened daily. ... I had been warned - I had warned myself - not to reckon on worldly happiness. We were even promised sufferings. ... The case is too plain. If my house had collapsed at one blow, that is because it was a house of cards. The faith which 'took these things into account' was not faith but imagination.

"[A person] has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover himself."

That's as blunt as it gets. No candyman here. I'll share something personal now. I am still going to church, praying, all those things. But I'm not really praising God very well right now. Singing hymns is especially hard. I shared this with a friend, who said something that made sense: "God knows that, Jim. He knows you're hurting." Give yourself a break.

Back to Lewis, who a little further along in his grief, notes "bereavement is a universal and integral part of our experience of love. ... Then comes the tragic figure of the dance in which we must learn to be still taken out of ourselves though the bodily presence is withdrawn, to love the very Her, and not fall back to loving our past, or our memory, or our sorrow, or our relief from sorrow, or our own love."

Simple writing, deep thinking. I wonder if Lewis felt the first two months of grieving was more like 10 years. It does to me. I'm back at work, and school starts soon. The return of the routine has helped some. Time is the other answer, as hundreds have already shared. If that's the case, maybe someone can make it go faster.