Pray, Hope, and Don’t Worry

I have a busy week ahead of me.  I have a brain MRI tomorrow morning and a CT scan of my chest and abdomen next Wednesday.  The MRI and CT scans are to see if the cancer has grown, increased, or spread.  Overall I’m feeling good, but I am feeling more fatigued this week. My chemo dose was increased this past cycle and I noticed I was more tired than previous cycles.  But the side effects are not as bad as my other chemos.  I am looking forward to my week off of chemo, which starts this Friday.  I’m also excited because it’s Anabel’s 2nd birthday on Saturday and it will be a fun weekend with Janie’s mom and brother visiting to help partake in the festivities.  Special thanks to Gerrit Benson and Mat Leslie for visiting this weekend and playing in a golf tournament with me and Tom Michaels.  This weekend was full of special moments and ringing ears.  In regards to my upcoming medical tests, all I can do is pray, hope and try not to worry.  I ask for your prayers, positive thoughts and positive vibes for the days ahead.

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On Eagle’s Wings

The crew before the game

The crew before the game

This summer was unique in many ways. One special aspect of it was that I saw many friends and family that I had not seen in a long time. After visiting with them, I would think to myself… Am I seeing all of these people because I’m going to die soon? Is this God’s way of having me see people I care about before I die? This perspective was negative and represented where I was mentally after my surgeries. When my summer was winding down, my thoughts changed to… Because I have been through so much suffering in the past 18 months, God is rewarding me by allowing me to see my friends and family.  My rewards haven’t stopped. I can see it in the success of my giveforward page as well as my time spent last weekend in Philadelphia.

I’m a HUGE Philadelphia Eagles fan (it’s rather pathetic). When I was a kid, my uncle had season tickets to the Eagles and he would always get Eagles attire for my brother and me. As I grew older, I became a more intense fan. If the Eagles won, the following week would be beautiful. If the Eagles lost, the next day would be miserable and that misery would linger through the week.  When Janie and I began dating, she quickly realized how the games affected me and would attempt to cheer me up after big losses. For example, after the Eagles lost the NFC championship game to the Carolina Panthers, Janie adopted our first bulldog Bart. I’m also a little superstitious when it comes to the Eagles. If they’re on a losing streak, I might change the shirt I’m wearing for the game. If they win, I’ll keep wearing the shirt. I also partly blame myself for the Eagles losing the 2004 Super Bowl because I moved my television to a different room to watch the game. I realize the absurdity of my behaviors and thoughts, but this is the Eagles.

Last season, I discovered another way the Eagles impact me. During the three-hour game each week, I’m cancer-free. Because I’m so engrossed in the game, cancer doesn’t cross my mind.  For me, this past weekend was the equivalent of a kid going to Disney World. My good friend Kirk Meekins, a fellow Eagles loyalist, wanted to help us and brainstormed ways to help. He knew I loved the Eagles and wanted to do something special for us. He began contacting his friends who were Eagles fans, who then contacted other Eagles fans, who contacted other Eagles fans. Through those connections, he was able to get me and my family tickets to the game, passes to get onto the field before the game, and access to the team in the tunnel. They also got us a hotel room for the night before the game. Previously, I’ve held the belief that Katie wouldn’t go to an Eagles home game until she began dating…in her thirties, but how things have changed and how I’ve changed. This past weekend was amazing in so many ways.

One memorable moment was going to mass in Philadelphia. Kirk surprised me on Saturday night by telling me that I would be going on the field before the game. I now needed to get to the stadium earlier than I originally planned. As a result, I needed to find an earlier time to attend church so I could maximize my time in the parking lot and on the field. I googled “catholic churches in downtown Philadelphia” and compared mass times to find the earliest one. I found the closest church with the earliest mass. Walking into the church I noticed a sign that said…here lies the remains of the first American male saint, John Neumann. This was special to me because I take a relic of John Neumann to my CT scans and MRIs. I was completely shocked and realized this weekend was truly something special. I don’t believe in coincidences anymore, I believe everything happens for a reason. I see this experience as another sign that I’m going to be ok.

Once at the game, it was better than any Disney vacation. The whole experience was amazing and reinforced the beauty of the human spirit. Yes, an Eagles game reinforced the beauty of the human spirit. People I’ve never met before went out of their way to help me and my family enjoy something I love. All of us talked about how it would be an epic weekend, but it was above and beyond our expectations. I know the first half of the game was ugly, but the Eagles ended up winning 34-17. The victory guaranteed a wonderful week ahead for me. I can’t express enough gratitude to Kirk Meekins and the fellow Eagles loyalists who helped orchestrate this memorable weekend. Kirk you’re a rocket surgeon. Thanks so much for making an already unbelievable weekend even better. So far with my new jersey, the EAGLES are undefeated. E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!!!!!

 

Janie and I on the field

Janie and me on the field

Katie's first game at the Linc and she's on the field.

Katie’s first game at the Linc and she is on the field

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