Happy Father’s Day!

My dad!

Sadly I lost my dad three years ago.  I guess I shouldn’t say “sadly” because he lived to the ripe old age of 94!  Come on, I hope I can live that long and still have all my senses about me.  He was sharp until the day he passed.  His body just wore out.

I have so many great memories with my dad.  He was the king of the “one liners.”  I remember one day talking to him on the phone.  He was probably in his mid 80’s.  Out of the blue he said: “Ed… do you believe in the hereafter?”  I thought he was getting deep and responded:  “I guess I do.”  Not realizing he just set me up for the zinger, he came back with: “I keep going into the bedroom wondering what the hell am I here after!”  Zing!  He got me.  Another time I was telling him that Patty and I started walking regularly.  He returned with:  “Remember, I used to walk four miles a day when I was in my 70’s.  (Ok, here comes the zinger…) Then I found a shortcut!”

He was “older than most fathers when I was born.  He was 42.  I was a surprise.  Having a father that was older than my friends fathers bothered me when I was young.  I was 12 with a 54 year old dad and all my friends dad’s were in their late 30’s and early 40’s.  But his age didn’t stop him from being my dad!  He was always involved in whatever activity I participated in.  He was my baseball coach for every team I played on.  He never turned down an opportunity to toss the baseball around in the back yard.  Not only was he my baseball coach for years, I look back and he was also my life coach.  He taught me right from wrong and instilled a sensitivity in me that I’m so thankful for.

My dad had a unique was of showing disapproval and discipline.  It was the “look.”  He didn’t have to raise a hand to me, he’d just have to give me “the look.”  If I got the look I knew it was time to stop whatever it was I was doing.  My dad did spank me one time.  I was young, around 5 years old or so.  My mom caught me and a friend playing with matches.  She was more the disciplinarian in the house.  But this time she deferred to dad to handle the dirty work.  My dad came home from work and she met him with: “Joe… I caught Eddie and Max playing with matches today!  You need to spank him!”  My poor dad.  I know he didnt’ want to spank me.  He really didn’t.  But, mom gave him the orders and he had to carry it out.  He took me into the bedroom and very formally said: “Drop your pants.”  I was already crying without any formal spanking because I knew I had let him down.  He sat in a chair and told me to lay across his lap.  Then in a sad voice he said: “Son, this is going to hurt me more than it’ll hurt you.”  He swatted me two times.  He didn’t hit me hard at all, but enough to make his point.  I remember it like yesterday.

My dad was so proud when I became a cop.  I’ll never forget the big hug he gave me when I graduated from the police academy.  It was a hug like I’ve never had from him before.  He was so excited when I started work that he bought a police scanner so he could listen to me when I was working.  He was the first to call me when my shift ended to get the dirty details on some kind of exciting call I responded to. He never missed a shift.  He’d even go to bed with the scanner on when I worked graveyards.  I’m sure my mom just loved that!  I was able to take dad on some ride-along’s.  He loved it!  I remember one night dealing with two drunks who were fighting in an alley.  Dad wanted to help me break it up but I made him stay by the car.  I sent one drunk in one direction and the other in a different direction.  Things never go as planned and of course, as one of the drunks wanted to challenge me and prove to me how tough he was.  Before anything happened, I was able to give him a face first resting position on the hood of my patrol car while I handcuffed him.  I remember glancing up at dad, and there he stood leaning on the open passengers door, with the biggest grin on his face as if saying “that’s my boy!”

This is something… I can feel a lump in my throat as I’m writing this!  I do miss my dad.  You don’t realize it until they’re gone.  It’s been a little over three years since he passed and there’s hardly a day when I don’t think of him.  Funny, about a week ago I was in the kitchen and I thought “I should give dad a call!”  Damn… I don’t have his new number!

So today, if it’s at all possible, give your dad a big hug and tell him that you love him!

Follow-up doctor appointments

 

Here’s Patty and her sisters, Kathy and Dottie, this past weekend in Coronado. 

(ok, not really, it was taken last May in Maui)

We got a couple of doctor appointments out of  the way today.  This morning we met with Patty’s reconstruction surgeon.  Overall, everything is looking “ok” but not quite up to par where he had hoped she’d be.  Things just take a long time to heal when you’re going through chemo.  One would think that having surgery back in late July, things would be perfect by now.  But the TAC that Patty had is one of the strongest chemo’s they’ve got, so things take a little longer to heal.  But, he was hopeful that everything would be good in about a month now that she has no more infusions.  It’s all about waiting for the poison to get completely out of her system.  It’s been four weeks since her last infusion so they figure it takes a good two months before it’s gone.

This afternoon we met with Patty’s oncologist.  According to her, everything is on track.  She had a blood test yesterday which revealed her white cell count to be on the low side but the oncologist didn’t seem concerned about that.  The doctor put Patty on Tamoxifen which is a hormone therapy that blocks cancer cell growth.  It’s all about beating any kind of reoccurrence!  So, she’ll take the Tamoxifen daily for two years then most likely change to a different and newer hormone therapy for a couple more years after that.  It’s all good!  Patty will go back and see her in a month to see where’s she’s at.

The big test comes up next Tuesday… the dreaded CAT Scan.  Patty’s oncologist said she wasn’t concerned about it, but then again, she’s not the one going through it!  As I said in an earlier post, Patty’s experiencing some anxiety over it and I don’t blame her in the least.  It’ll be good to just get it done and find out that things are great!  She’ll have the scan on Tuesday (the 18th) and get the results on Thursday (the 20th).  Please pray that the results of the scan snow no signs of cancer anywhere in her body. 

Overall, Patty has been doing pretty good.  The low white cell count now explains why she has had two colds in the past month, the most recent come on this past weekend.  But, she’s on the mend.  Her hair is slowly sprouting up at the rate of  a trillionth of an inch every-other-day! 

Patty’s sister Kathy and her husband, John, came to town this past Sunday.  They stayed at Lowes in Coronado and invited us to stay Sunday night, so we did.  Even though Patty was battling her cold, we had a really good time and it’s always great to see Kathy and John.  The timing was good as Patty’s brother, Jim,was also in town.  This was the first time in six years that all the Marron siblings have been together!  Family is always good for Patty!

Our little condo is officially listed for sale as of today.  We had about 15 realtors view our condo this morning while we were at the doctors.  I think I had mentioned earlier that we had put off selling the condo until we knew exactly what was going on with Patty.  But now that things are definitely looking up, it’s time to sell and get into something with some room!  Wish us luck!

So, bottom line, things are looking pretty good but, then again, things are still pending!  That’s the frustrating part!

Oh, by the way, a little bird told me that there were some complaints that I haven’t been adding pictures to my last few posts… I won’t name any names about who complained other than they start with “N” and “P” and are from Prescott, Az.  Leave it to the “zonies!”  I promise you’ll be seeing more pictures in the future.  🙂

Auld Lang Syne

Auld Lang Syne…What the heck does that mean???  You know how the song goes… “Should old acquaintance be forgot…”  I know it’s sung every New Years Eve when the clock strikes midnight, but the phrase “Auld Lang Syne” makes no sense to me!  Actually, each individual word means nothing to me!  I’ll be completely honest.  Up until recently (10 minutes ago), I actually didn’t know the phrase was “Auld Lang Syne.”  I used to sing it as: “For old ang sigh!”  Come on, admit it, I know many of you are guilty of this!  I’m certain people have sung it as: “For old ang zine”; “For hold ang zyne”; “For old aunt Gzyne”; “For old any sign”; “Foothold and sign”; “For the aunts of mine”! 

I looked each word up in the dictionary.  This is what I came up with:  Auld:  A Scot word for old.  Lang:  A Scot word for long.  Syne:  A Scot word for since.  What???  “Old long since?”  Ok, now I’m totally confused!  I need to keep digging!

I checked through Wikipedia.  Now I’m getting somewhere!  Once you read through all the gobblygoop, Auld Lang Syne is loosely translated as “For the sake of old times!” 

Remember the movie “When Harry met Sally?”  I found that they had a conversation about this.  So I’m not the only one!

Harry: “What does this song mean? My whole life, I don’t know what this song means. It means ‘Should old acquaintance be forgot.’ Does that mean that we should forget old acquaintances or does it mean that if we should happen to forget them, we should remember them which is not possible because we already forgot about them?”

Sally: “Well maybe it just means that maybe we should remember that we forgot them or something. Anyway, it’s about old friends”

Bottom line… It is about old friends who have reunited and celebrating the friendship with a “cup of kindness”.  Booze!  I’m glad we got that straightened out!  That’s your lesson for the day!  If you’re at a New Years Eve party this year, and the conversation runs dry, use this tidbit to keep the party going!

Can you believe that 2010 is nearly over!  Wow, another year under out belt.  I’m pretty confident that 2010, unlike most previous years, will mark a “special” year in our lives.  It’ll definitely go down in the top 3 of “Years I’d never want to relive!”  

For Patty and me, 2010 has had its amazingly great times as well as low’s as low as they can get.  It’s had many challenges and trials that hopefully a lot of people never have to face.  Looking back over this year, I’ve realized that life is full of daily challenges… mental, emotional and physical.  Some challenges are greater than others, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that they’re still challenges. 

Lance Armstrong beat testicular cancer.  When all was said and done, he said that having cancer “Enriched” his life.  I thought long and hard about that statement and how it applied to Patty and me.  It’s so easy to focus on the negatives in life and sometimes it’s difficult to see the positive.  The last thing we’d want to do is give cancer credit for anything positive!  The truth is, dealing with cancer can change your life in positive and encouraging ways.  Here’s some thoughts on how our lives have been “enriched.”

We’ve learned that life is a privilege, not a given!  It can be taken away from you at any time.  Patty has always been in great shape.  Exercise has always been an important part of her life.  She’s the last one you would think would be diagnosed with breast cancer.  But, it happened.  It’s so easy for us to get caught up in our daily ritual and just take life for granted. We’ll never take anyone or anything for granted again!  Patty and I have talked about this many times.  She said her goal is to make the most out of every day and to always tell people how much they mean to her and how much she loves them!  I’m following her lead!  Don’t sweat the small stuff (it’s all mostly small stuff anyway). 

We’ve renewed our faith in God!  Patty and I were both brought up in Catholic families.  We both went through Catechism and everything that goes along with it.  We both drifted from our faith and, as we call it, have been a “work in progress” over the years.  We’d talked about going back to church for a number of years, but I’m embarrassed to admit it, it always seemed like something “more important” got in the way.  It’s interesting how quickly God comes back in your life when you’re faced with a life threatening disease.  We’ve learned how strong the power of prayer can actually be.  In Patty’s case, she went from an initial diagnosis of the cancer having metastasized and being incurable to localized and curable as a result of the power of prayer.  God let us know that Patty having breast cancer “Was not the end, but the start of a new beginning.” Patty and I now have a relationship with God.  We attend church on Sundays, pray regularly and praise God for the blessings he has given us! God has forever changed our lives!

You know the old saying “you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family!”  You’d think that we’d hand-picked each and every one of them!  Patty’s battle has brought us closer to both.    We’re so blessed to have such a great family.   I made mention of this in my Christmas post… We’re so lucky to have such a close relationship with our kids!  All the kids have been so supportive through this trial.  They’ve not only brought us support, but also love and when needed, laughter!  Then take it a step further… our sisters, Patty’s brother, father, aunts and uncles have also been very supportive and given me a hand when times got a little tough!  There’s a bond between sisters that goes far beyond the “Secret order of Women” which I described in an early post.  These three (Patty, Kathy and Dottie) are quite the team!   We’ve learned that life is about people; love them and spend time with them while you can.  If you can’t love them then gently move on. Work at your most important relationships.

Last, but definitely not least, is how this disease has brought Patty and I so much closer.  It hasn’t been easy in the least.  It’s been a drain on both of us.  She’s my best friend and I know I’m hers!  There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do for her and I know there’s nothing she wouldn’t do for me!  In the big scheme of things, I now know that God put us together for a reason.  We have so much love and respect for each other.  That love and respect has grown ten fold over the past nine months.  Who would have thought! 

So, using the “glass half full” theory, I guess there was a lot of positives that came from this trial! 

Here’s to a “quiet” and “uneventful” 2011!  We have so much to look forward to!  Come midnight tomorrow night (if we’re awake) Patty and I will raise a glass to each other as well as Auld Lang Syne!

Merry Christmas

As Andy Williams sang… “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” You know what? It really is!

I realized this morning just how much I’ve missed over the past ten years, living in Northern Ca. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a catch-22. In a way, I wouldn’t trade the experiences and friends we’ve made in Northern Ca. for anything in the world. On the other hand, this was the first Christmas in 10 years that I’ve been able to spend with our kids! It’s also the first Christmas in 10 years that I haven’t worked! Let me tell you, I’ve loved every minute of the past 24 hours! Let me recap…

You know how our life has been… go, go, go! Between work and Patty’s “Adventures in Chemo” and just life in general, (plus the main fact that I’m a guy!) I hadn’t had much time to Christmas shop for Patty! So I got up early yesterday morning and blasted over to North County Fair, the closest shopping mall to our house. They opened early on Christmas Eve so I was on their doorstep at 7 a.m. when they opened. I discovered this was the perfect time to Christmas shop! There was me and probably 20 other “last minute husbands” with a whole shopping mall to ourselves! Fortunately, I already knew what I wanted to get, so I was in and out, with bags in hand, within a half hour! (I may just consider shopping like this every year! Too easy!) The next stop was at the grocery store to pick up things for our Christmas dinner with the kids. I was at Ralphs by 7:45 a.m. armed with my shopping list that Patty wrote for me. I could have been in-and-out within 20 minutes, but after 16 years of marriage to Patty, I still have a real difficult time reading her handwriting! I was home by 8:30 a.m., still not bad.

The plan for Christmas Eve was dinner in our little condo with the kids… Kristi and Ryan, Nic and Joey, Steven and his girlfriend, Acacia. I had picked up a 9 pound prime rib earlier in the week and we were having that with scalloped potatoes and some kind of vegetable. I spent the day, not just cleaning and prepping dinner, but trying to keep Patty under check so she wouldn’t do too much and be tired when everyone got here at 6:30 p.m. The day went smooth. I was able to convince Patty to take a nap around 2:30 p.m. She took a good two hour nap!!!

By the way, Patty is doing just great! Her “taster” is starting to come back. She’s feeling physically stronger, but still get’s tired easily. Overall, we’re close to two weeks since her last infusion and I couldn’t be happier with how she’s progressing. I’d guess she’s at about 75% – 80% right now. Another week and she’ll be around 90%. By mid January, she should be well on her way back to being her-old-self! (I probably shouldn’t use the word “old” in that description!)

Our little condo looked great… Christmas tree lit… lights up and lit on the deck and mantle… Christmas CD’s playing… the condo had the aroma of prime rib in the oven… I had a cocktail in hand… life is good!

The kids showed up around 6:30 p.m. I couldn’t have felt closer to my family once there all arrived! We all laughed and joked. Once dinner was served and we all sat at the table, I looked around at each and every one and just couldn’t have been prouder! We have such a great family! We finished dinner and played a game called “Apples to Apples.” It was a lot of fun. Patty begrudgingly hit the wall a little after 10 p.m. and went to bed. The rest of us continued to play the game until around midnight. Wow, midnight! I normally have a good three hours of sleep under my belt when midnight hits!

Patty and I woke up around 8 this morning. We stayed in bed for a while and had our morning coffee. We got up around 9 and exchanged presents… just the two of us. I looked at Patty at one point (she didn’t catch me)… I just thought to myself how in love I am with her! We’ve been through so much these past 9 months and here we are… together… celebrating Christmas. Patty (we) are so fortunate to have discovered this disease early on.  There are too many women who aren’t that fortunate.  But, Patty is alive and well!  We have so much to look forward to! We have such a great family! There is no drama and we all get along so well!

The past 24 hours have been awesome!  “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

Merry Christmas!

No-Mo-chemo!

She made it!!!  Yes, she made it!!!  December 14th… the day we’ve been looking forward to for what seemed like an eternity, finally came!  Patty’s 6th and final chemo infusion!  What a big day for Patty!

Patty told me she was a little nervous this time around.  Nervous about how the side effects were going to be.  We had both been fighting colds the past week… hey, the family that has colds together… (can’t think of an appropriate ending for that phrase right now.)  We were both a little concerned that her cold could interfere with this last infusion.  We met with our Oncologist at 9:30 a.m. and everything from her blood work looked great!  She had the green light for this last treatment.  Everyone in the Oncologist’s office were so excited that this was Patty’s last treatment!

The infusion was scheduled for 10:00 a.m. and everything went smooth as possible.  You could tell that Margarita, our oncology nurse, was happy for Patty but also sad in the same sense that this was the end of our dealing with her.  We’re hoping to stay connected with her in the future! 

I couldn’t let this day go by without some recognition.  Her last chemo was just too big to let slip through the cracks!  So, over the past week or so, I’ve been sending emails and calling friends and family to come over and help celebrate this big day.  Nicole helped me arrange a surprise party for Patty.  nothing too big, but just close friends and family.  Like I said, Patty’s infusion started on time.  I waited about 15 minutes then made up some lame excuse to leave for a short while.  (I said I had to return a cable box to the company before we got charged for it.)  So I flew home.  I stopped by Party Plus and picked up some pink balloons and pink streamers etc.  Once home I zoomed around decorating the condo.  I should have taken a picture of it, it turned out pretty good!  I then zoomed back to the hospital within a short time.  (Wow… a lot of zooming going on!)  Patty’s treatment ended around 1:30.  I had told everyone to be at our house by 1:45.  It was great!  We got home around 2:00.  Patty had no clue that our friends and family were inside.  I opened the door… I had a “Congratulations” sign just inside with balloons around it.  Patty saw the sign and said “Oh how sweet!”  then everyone jumped from their hiding place yelling “Surprise!!!”  It was awesome.  Patty was very touched that everyone came to congratulate her!  She loved it.  We had 14 people crammed into our little place… it was perfect!

So, she made it!  No more chemo!  What a milestone and this woman of mine did such a great job going through it.  I’m so proud of her!   We’re going to have a challenge from the side effects for the next two weeks or so.  Then after that… she’ll get stronger and stronger.  Her hair, eyelashes and eyebrows will begin to grow back.  Yesterday represented a day that marked the beginning of our new life!  We’re both excited to bring in 2011 because it’s going to be such a great new year for us! 

This morning when I left for work, Patty was still in bed.  I leaned over to give her a kiss and she was crying.  I asked if those were good tears or bad tears.  She said they were good tears!  Good tears because she’s done with her treatments and has so much to look forward to in the future!!!

  Another “Mirror Message.”  It’s a little hard to read but it says:

                “You did it!”

           “No-Mo-Chemo!”

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

When Patty and I were first married (Wow!  16 years ago) we found Thanksgiving to be a crazy day.  We never had dinner at our house, so we’d get  up early and make whatever it was we were taking to our destination dinners.   Notice the word “dinners” is in the plural!  We’d generally drive from Lakeside down to Chula Vista to have the early Thanksgiving dinner with my family who generally ate around noon.  We’d finish at my parents home, then drive all the way up to Temecula to have Thanksgiving dinner with Patty’s family.  By the time the day was over, we’d put on about 130 miles roundtrip and have consumed two full Thanksgiving meals!  After doing this for a few years we finally decided we’d change the ritual and have Thanksgiving dinner at our house for both families.  This totaled anywhere from 25 to 30 people but what a great time we’d have.  The cooking generally started a couple of days ahead, doing the small time-consuming things that you could safely store in the fridge.  Then the day of, we’d put thing in high gear and really knock out the food.  Of course, the bloody mary’s started around 9 a.m.   The problem with starting the BM’s so early is that once you start, you can’t stop!  That always made for an interesting day!  One thing I was insistent about was everyone sitting at the table.  I don’t know many people who have tables, chairs and table settings for 30 because I know we didn’t, so we’d rent everything.  3 eight foot tables set up end to end stretched from our dining room way out into the living room.  But it worked!  I remember each year, when the food was served, I’d always sit at one end of the table and look down the line of people and see everyone I loved in the same room, at the same table, all having a great time.  There were my parents, Patty’s parents, her sisters, my sister, our kids, our aunts and uncles, grandma, cousins and a few friends.  And loud?  Oh man!  It was loud!  But that was ok… everyone was having fun!  What a party!

Each year there was always at least one disaster.  This one is in the top three of Thanksgiving disasters.  I remember one year, everyone was packed inside the house and even flowed out to the backyard.  Patty and I were in the kitchen.  Patty needed the pepper for something.  She found  the full pepper shaker sitting on the hot stove.  She picked it up and didn’t realize the plastic stopper in the bottom of the shaker had stuck to the stove top.  When she lifted it, the pepper flowed out the bottom of the shaker.  Doesn’t seem like a big deal, but the fan was on above the stove.  I watched as the ball of pepper got caught in the air flow from the fan.  The ball swirled and rose, then made its way across the kitchen.  As the ball of pepper blew across the kitchen like a swarm of bees, I watched as it took out anyone and everyone in its path!  This ball of pepper wiped out at least 10 people, maybe more!  There was coughing and sneezing like I’ve never witnessed.  Patty and I were the first victims, followed by grandma, Patty’s aunt and anyone else breathing in the area.  It’s wasn’t that funny at the time, but looking back, it was pretty comical!!!

Today we’re planning on spending our day at Nicole’s house.  We offered to host the dinner in our condo clubhouse, but Nicole insisted that she and Joey can handle it at their house.  It’ s probably a good thing since we’re not sure how long Patty will last today.  This will be another Thanksgiving with the entire family!  We’re looking forward to the day!

So, what am I thankful for today?  I could say the traditional politically correct things by just saying I’m thankful for our health and family.  That’s too easy.  I look back over the past year and I’m thankful for a number of things… I’m thankful for the relationship I have with Patty!  I’m thankful of that because of the trials we’ve endured this year.  As tough as they’ve been, we’ve grown so much closer and stronger than I could have ever imagined.  I’m thankful that she is doing so well and we only have one more chemo to go!  I’m thankful that we were blessed with our second grandchild,  7 week old Avery.  She’s such a doll.  I’m thankful that our 1st grandchild, Mia, is with us on this holiday.  She is such a cutie and so smart!  I’m thankful that my daughter, Kristi, is pregnant with our 3rd grandchild!  We’re counting the days until he, or she, will come into this world.  I’m thankful to be living in San Diego again to be close to our family and friends, not just for today but everyday.  In that same note, I’m really really thankful that I don’t have to shovel snow or clear the driveway this Thanksgiving.  I’m thankful for the geek that invented the internet.  Without it I would have never been able to start this blog and be able to share our journey with all our friends and family.  I’m thankful that we’re starting to look for a new house!  (Living in 708 square feet is killing us!)   And last but not least, I’m thankful that I have a pair of pants to wear today that are a little big that will allow me to have that 2nd helping of food and grow into them! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Introducing… Avery Nicole Cox!

Here’s the proud grandma holding our newest grandchild, Avery Nicole Cox!

 

 

 

 

This is what it’s all about!  The phone rang yesterday morning around 7:30 a.m.  Whenever the phone rings that early, Patty generally lays in bed and gives me privilege of answering.  Yesterday was unusual because the phone rang and she bounded out of bed like a woman on a mission.  It was like she knew what this call was about.  It was Nicole.  She announced that her water broke and Joey was out surfing and she couldn’t reach him.   Fortunately, Nicole lives less than ten minutes from us so we gladly zipped over to her house to give her support.  Once there, grandma (aka “Mom”) knew what to do to easy any apprehension Nicole may have had.  Everything was calm.  My job… to time the contractions.  I’ve done this before!  Joey  called shortly after we arrived and rushed home.   We followed them to the hospital and then, as with any birth, we were in the waiting game.  Of course Avery decided to take her time entering the new world.  Can you blam her?  She was all tucked away in a warm cosy place…

After a long day, Avery finally gave into Mother Nature and showed herself to the world! 

Patty was just beaming (as  you can see from this picture!)  She’s such proud grandma, times two!.  This is just what the doctor ordered for her!  Yesterday was an amazing day.  Whatever issues Patty and I are dealing with, suddenly disappeared!  It was  a great feeling, even if it was for one day!

Nicole is doing great and hopefully she and Joey got some rest last night because their lives will now change, forever!

Congratulations to Nic and Joey and also to the proud grandma!