Friday, August 24, 2012

Light the Night 2012: Team Life's a Beach

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's annual Light the Night campaign is approaching. Events take place across the country to honor survivors and the memories of loved ones lost. Walkers carry illuminated balloons-- white for survivor, red for supporter, and gold for in memorial.

For anyone who would like to join the Life's a Beach Team, please click on the appropriate link below.

We greatly appreciate the support that's been given already this year. It means a lot to our family, and to all the patients and their families whom it will benefit. To show our appreciation, we will be raffling off movie tickets (# TBD) in early September. All who have donated to our team this year or signed up for the walk will have their names entered.*

Life's a Beach Team Home Page

Life's a Beach pages by walk site:
(On the day of the walk, registration begins at 5:30pm and the walk begins at 7:00pm.)

September 13 - Milwaukee, WI (Veteran's Park)

September 23 - Minneapolis, MN (Target Field)

October 3 - New York, NY (Basketball City)

October 20 - Verona, NJ (Verona Park)

October 27, Woodland Hills, CA (Warner Center Park)

* Unlike your typical big contest, family members will be eligible, since Katelyn, who can't read, will be drawing the names.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happy Halfway!

I just took my last four ATRA pills for this round. Four rounds done, four to go.

During competitive swimming practices growing up, we used to shout that expression halfway through hard sets. This doesn't feel so different. Halfway through the pain, and just like with those hard workouts, I'll grit my teeth and get through the last four rounds.

Thank you to all my coaches and teammates for teaching me how to be mentally tough!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

First Birthday

Today would have been Lily's first birthday, if she'd been born on her due date.

It seems like it would be hard to miss someone we never knew, but Ryan and I do. We feel her absence the most during the moments that would be perfect for Katelyn to spend with her sister and playmate.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

PCR Remission Test Result

The PCR test came back clean: I'm still in remission!

Right now, I feel so sick that I can't think about celebrating with chocolate cake, or even adding a picture of it to this post. I've been throwing up throughout this morning, which means the ATRA dose I took this morning is likely not still in me.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Today is the first day of round four of eight. On our way to my last appointment with Dr. Goldberg at the John Theurer Cancer Center, we passed a display of patient artwork in the lobby. The reproductions were from cancer patients across the country, but JTCC does offer free art classes as a form of therapy. Some day, I'd like to try one. I am a believer in art therapy (Coping Through Creative Expression). Until I can fit one of the center's classes into my schedule, I've decided to do a little art therapy on my own. Below is the result of my effort this morning, before popping the first four pills, entitled ATRA Art. A mock interview follows, which was just as enjoyable to write.

Q & A with the Artist

Q: How did you prime your canvas?
A: The same way any other good leukemia patient would: with disinfectant.

Q: What inspired you to include the broken tea cup in this piece?
A: It was sitting on the dining room table next to me when I began working. The tea set is one of Katelyn's all-time favorite toys. She first became capable of imaginative play shortly after I returned from my induction hospital stay, so our first tea parties together are great memories for me. Last week, she dropped the tea cup on a tile in our kitchen. It will be glued back together. Just as these treatments have been gluing back together our happy family life.

Q: While you were working, were you worried you might sneeze and blow the design?
A: Yes. I wore a face mask from my days of no immune system.

Q: The pills all face the same direction in the deliberate lines. Was this intentional?
A: That would be one heck of a coincidence if it weren't. I wanted to create the impression of order in chaos. At one point, too late, I realized I'd placed a pill facing the wrong direction. Hopefully no one notices.

Q: Did any particular artists influence this masterpiece?
A: Vik Munz. I dig his work.

Q: Did any particular drugs influence this masterpiece?
A: Perhaps. Theoretically, it would fit my treatment timeline.

Q: Can we expect to see more greatness from you in the form of ATRA Art?
A: I can't commit at this point, but the fact that I have four more rounds to go should give you a sense.