Wednesday, March 2, 2016

What If We Can Go

We made it to six years cancer free! I had some recent checkups last month and everything came out good. The PET scan always detects a small mass in the middle of my chest. It’s been there since I started Chemo but it has not grown or moved. My Oncologist says its scar tissue from the Bleomycin drug that they gave me during Chemo. You try and not to freak out at stuff like that but it’s hard. I will continue to go once a year for checkups. I will continue to be active, eat healthy and try not to freak out!

These past few years my wife and I have been talking about moving from our house and living in a cleaner environment. We talk about growing real food and living off the land as much as possible. It became a dream of ours to live on land and to live simply without debt. We would go back and forth coming up with different reasons NOT to do something like this. One of those big reasons was the fear of my cancer coming back. I do not want to live fearful.  I can stay comfortable in my current situation and always think what if. I did not want to say to myself in 10-20-30 years what if we HAD followed our dreams? I do not want the “what if” I get cancer again be the reason we didn’t do something like this. I do not want to be waiting around to see if cancer will return. I do not want to wait and think about “what if”. But what if my cancer does not come back? What if the reason that I was diagnosed with cancer was to wake us up! What if we as a family can make a dream and a different way of thinking actually work! What if we can go!

So we are following our dreams and moving across the United States to live simply, growing real food and living debt free.

Our family blog

Thursday, June 18, 2015


      Recently I had my 6 month checkup which consisted of just blood work. Only blood work this time because we can’t do too many PET scans due to the PET scan itself can cause cancer! Everything came out normal. So now my Oncologist wants me to come in once a year for checkups. With these checkups we are looking for signs of cancer but also testing my body for long term side effects of the Chemotherapy that was pushed through my veins. In the next 10 years I will be doing tests to check my heart and lungs to see how strong they are and if they have anything wrong with them due to the Chemo I was given. Knowing the side effects of chemo was one of the reasons I keep up with running, hiking and now trail running. These activities will help my body recover and stay strong as the years go by. Sometimes people ask me why I don’t run with headphones. It’s because I want to feel my heart pumping and my lungs breathing. Makes me feel alive!

      This past year I have been having very sensitive skin and seems like I was allergic to everything. I believe cutting out gluten, sugar and processed foods are helping and I’m hoping eating this way my body will eventually heal itself. We have seen numerous different types of doctors, specialists and gone through all kinds of tests and nobody can give me answers. They see my past history with cancer and chemo and they say that’s why I have these issues. Really, they don’t know! Only thing I can do is try and “control” my allergic reactions. The only thing we can control is the food we eat, moving and exercising the body. We believe that food has the power to heal. It may take some time but time is all we have! I know gradually my body will heal if we continue to eat clean and stay active. This way of thinking is definitely teaching us about patience. We are not in it for the quick fix that people have grown accustomed too. My body needs to heal from the inside out not the other way around. We now look towards alternative ways of healing because I tried the chemicals that all doctors prescribe and it doesn’t work. I’ve tried it. After trying different natural things for my allergic skin my wife came up with a body butter that has been extremely helpful. I would be wondering lost through the forest if it wasn’t for her. 

      We are continuing our adventure in living our life with less stuff. It’s taken a lot of time and effort to pare down what truly is important to us. It’s amazing how much stuff you have that really doesn’t make you happy. It’s weird when you really think about each thing you own and if someone asks you, “Does this item make you happy”? No, that thing does not make me happy. That memory makes me happy. That action makes me happy. The process that it took to do that makes me happy. But that thing that I’m holding onto in that box tucked away in the corner of the house or garage that nobody sees does not make me happy! Once we figured that out now it’s like a snowball and we can’t stop getting rid of stuff. So, patience is  a huge part of our life right now.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Five Year Remission

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Two Year Remission

I have been in remission for two years now! My recent scan came out good and now instead of going for checkups every 3 months I will go every 6 months. When the doc told me I could start coming every 6 months I kind of felt like she took away this shield that I was carrying. It is like I would have this reassurance every 3 months that I was still cancer free. I would almost look forward to it. Well, I new this day would come and it finally did.

In October I finally ran that full marathon that I been training for since just before I was diagnosed with cancer. 26.2 miles! I guess it was my two years of remission partying gift to myself. I highly recommend doing one full marathon at least once in your life. It will make you feel like you can accomplish anything. It was truly an amazing experience!

Our baby girl was born in August perfectly healthy! So, she has been keeping us on our toes as of late. A fantastic moment when she was just born they were cleaning her up right after the labor and she was crying like crazy, as baby’s do. I went over to her and saw her for the first time I called out her name and all of a sudden she looked up at me and opened her eyes and stopped crying in an instant. All of my fears, worries, and anxieties that I had with having cancer all of a sudden in that moment vanished. After that I new everything was going to be just fine.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The New Normal

A lot has happened since my last post, which was over a year ago. Lorraine and I are having a baby girl! She will be arriving at the end of August. We have been very busy trying to get the house situated and getting ready for the next chapter in our lives. The question that came up a lot when we were first telling people that we are having a baby is if we had to use the sperm banking. Being that there might have been a chance that I wouldn’t have been able to have kids due to the chemotherapy. Well, it was all natural! It actually happened quicker than we thought it would. So, it all worked out! I am also training to run my first full marathon in October, which has been keeping me healthy.

I have been in remission for a 1 ½ years now and I am still going for checkups every three months. Every time I go I do a blood test and a CAT scan of my whole body. Six more months of this and then I will be going every six months instead of three months for checkups for the next three years. Since being in remission its hard not to think what if the cancer comes back and how would I deal with it. Any little thing that happens with my body, such as if I have body aches, tiredness or allergies I kind of freak out about it. A part of me thinks cancer again and I try to talk to myself and say everything is going to be o.k, which it has been. When doing stuff around the house I find myself doing multiple things all at once because I feel that what if something happens and I can’t accomplish things anymore. Especially with us having a baby and the new house it makes me think about that more and more. It does become stressful at times and I try to not think about the “what if” situations but man its tough. Its different nowadays in a sense that there was my life before the cancer and this is my life after cancer. It’s like a different kind of normal. Since being in remission two close people in my life had been diagnosed with cancer and I hear through different people how they know someone that was just diagnosed. Even though the treatments were very different than mine and no matter how advanced the cancer is you need to still try and beat it. I mean if you didn’t try and give it the best you can then everyone would wonder “what if”. I know it’s easier said then done but it can be done. Don’t give up the fight!

When the doctor finally said I was in remission my first question was do I need to be eating healthier now and exercising more? She said, “No, just do the things you did before”. This never made sense to me and always stuck in my head. I thought they would give me some kind of nutrition plan to follow or something. At the start of my remission I did try and be like my old self but every time I would eat a hamburger or have a beer I would think, “should I be eating this”? It would bug me so much that I am slowly getting rid of bad food in my diet and everything in moderation. I can see it would be very easy for someone to think I can eat, drink whatever I want as long as it makes me happy! I wonder though are you really happy? It’s hard to change eating habits and healthy habits but it’s possible. I guess if cancer did end up reoccurring I would want to say that I did all I could to prevent it. So, Lorraine and I started doing our own research on eating healthier foods and started eating more veggies, fruits and organic type foods. Try to stay clear of processed foods and eat more whole, raw food. We find that eating this way is not easy and its something to get used to. I do feel healthier than ever by changing our habits. Running and training for a marathon has also been my daily routine which has made me stronger and relieves the stress. People seem like now that I’m in remission I will be back to my old self like nothing happened. Which I wish was the case. The remission part of my cancer is a whole other beast that I’m still trying to tame. The new normal!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

One Year Later...

It has been one year ago today since I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s. Crazy! I remember it like it was yesterday. How I felt when the doctor told me what I had and when I told Lorraine and my family about it. I still get emotional thinking about it. I am now five months in remission and feeling normal as can be. It was like it never happened. I’m back to running, hiking and doing the things that I always have done even before the cancer. Like I said before it was like I was adrift at sea for six months almost like a dream. Hard to believe a year later I am healthier now than ever. I already had my first three-month checkup and I’m still good to go! I hadn’t been to the doctors since my Chemo days so the nurse’s and doctors were excited to see how healthy and hairy I looked. The doc says I was the first healthiest patient they seen in a while. I ended up taking out my Port in my chest at the end of February. They wouldn’t let me keep him. Now I have an inch size scar where they used to pump the chemo in my chest. Other than that you would never know I had cancer.

As most of you know during the chemo treatments Lorraine and I were still looking for a house to buy. On March 5th we finally found one and it has been everything we wanted. So, this first half of the year has been the best yet! Like night and day compared to where we were at a year ago. Lately we have been extremely busy trying to organize our house and trying to get situated. After going through chemo and everything else that goes with having cancer I feel that I can accomplish anything. If something is not going the way it should be I always think back to when I was sick out of my mind and think this little thing is nothing compared to having cancer. It helps me in just about every situation. When I’m running and I feel like I want to stop because I’m tired. I’d rather be running and tired than go through cancer again. It boosts me up and I think that wasn’t bad at all.

Keep moving forward and never give up!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Back from the Sea...

I am officially in remission! My results from my latest PET scan didn’t detect any cancer. I am happier about this result because this PET scan is more accurate than the CAT scan I had in December. I had to wait a week for the results of the scan and as you can imagine it was a tough week. Thinking about what the results may be was an awful feeling. You try and stay positive but every moment of the day you think about it. I am going to have to do this every three months for the next two years and then every six months for the next five years after. I imagine this first scan was the toughest and it will all be routine from here on out. It was a tough road but Lorraine and I did get through it and now we can move on! Felt like I was out at sea for seven months and finally hit land! The Doc gave me the O.K. to take out my Port! So, I may take it out within the next month. Perhaps I can keep it in a jar or something. You know, for old times sake.

It has been two months this week since my last Chemo treatment and I’m feeling pretty good these days. I was able to get my first haircut in seven months and now I am able to comb my hair and my eyebrows are getting darker. I may let the beard grow for now. I been running and hiking more and started golfing again. I still do get kind of tired but not as bad and I can tell the tiredness is going away. It’s amazing how your body can recover and become stronger from such awful treatments. I hate to say it but I feel that the cancer took a piece of me. I don’t think I feel the same as before. I have different worries and stress that I didn’t before. I feel like I was more worry free before the cancer. Sometimes when I’m out and about I look around and think that most people don’t know how much your life can change so quickly. Talking to different people about my experience almost everyone always says, “If I get cancer I don’t know what I’d do?” Unless these things happen to you we really don’t realize that we will suck it up and focus on being healthy again. I tell them, “I know what you would do” you will deal with it and focus on being better because we want to survive. Sometimes I notice when people see me they look like there not sure to ask me how I'm feeling. Its like if they are not sure if I want to talk about it or not sure if they should bring it up. Please don't hesitate to ask me questions about my experience. I'm more than willing to share them and talk to you about them. Before I started the Chemo treatments a friend who went through the similar experience told me to keep doing the things you love, never give up hope and continue listening to the music you love.

at Priscilla (Lorraine sis) & Toms Wedding 2/6/10