“Putting on the Glitz” Komen Fundraiser!

Patty, Nicole and Linda (owner of Poway Jazzercise Fitness Center) hosted a “Putting on the Glitz” fundraising event to benefit  Susan G. Komen for the Cure this past Saturday at the Poway Jazzercise Fitness Center.  Unfortunately I had to work so I wasn’t able to attend but from what I heard, it was an evening filled with fun, sweat, friendship, tears, laughter, energy and best of all… money to donate to the cause!

Patty, Nicole and Linda worked hard over the past few weeks to pull this event together and their hard work proved to be successful as when all was said and done and the dollars were counted, they raised $2,340.00!   All together, team Patty in Pink has raised a grand total of $6,940.00!!  I think that’s quite an accomplishment to be proud of!

Since I was unable to attend the event and can’t really talk about it first hand, I’m letting Patty fill in the details…

This was such an inspiring fundraiser!!  The staff and teachers at Poway Jazzercise, along with many volunteers, put together an awesome spread of food.  We received so many wonderful raffle prizes, we had a table full of things to choose from.  At 6:00 p.m.  Linda, the owner and instructor along with my daughter, Nicole lead us in a Burn and Blast Jazzercise class.   The other instructors from Poway and Escondido got up on stage to help lead us.  There was so much energy in the room and so much love and support it brought tears to my eyes.  There were about 35 to 40 attendees, all dressed in their pink glitz.  The donations had already started coming in prior to the event and each women who attended donated a minimum of $20.00 for the class.  People were so generous.  After the class, we munched on healthy food, along with a lot of yummy treats and had the raffle drawing and a silent auction for Ryka shoes donated by Jazzercise.  It was a blast and I am definitely feeling the Burn and Blast today.  I am so humbled by all of the support Nicole and I received from the Poway/Escondido Jazzercisors.  There is a special camaraderie within the Jazzercise family and it was definitely reflected in this very special event. 

This event was so successful, I have a feeling this may be a yearly event!

Kristi, Patty and Nicole

Patty saying her "thanks" to everyone

Burn and Blast!

Nicole and Linda leading a classPatty thanking everyone for their support

More Burn and Blast!Keep going ladies!

As Patty gets stronger… we travel!

We had the best time this past weekend!  We made a trip up to our old “stomping grounds” between Placerville and Lake Tahoe where we had spent the past 10 years of our lives.  We were both really excited to make this trip as it would be the first time out of town in nearly a year since Patty was diagnosed!  We were not only excited to get out of “Dodge” for a few days, but we were also excited to have the chance to visit with friends that we’ve really missed.

Patty had purchased our tickets about six weeks ago with Southwest.  She felt pretty good about getting the “internet deal” for a relatively good price.  The only issue with the internet deal was that the best price tickets were for flights people don’t want to take as our departure was scheduled for 6:30 a.m.  Thank God I’m an early person… Patty is quite the opposite.

Patty and I were at the American Cancer Society event the night before.  We were pretty wired when we got home.  We finished laundry, packed our bags, cleaned the house and hit the bed around 11:00 p.m.  I set the alarm for 4:00 a.m. which would give us time to shower etc and be out the door by 4:45 a.m.   Do you remember when you were a kid and your parents told you they were taking you to Disneyland the next day and  how you woke up every hour to see if it was time to leave yet?  That was me and Patty that night.  We woke up pretty much every hour on the hour!  In fact I was laying wide awake in the dark at 2:00 a.m. and realized Patty was awake also!  We laughed about it eventually fell back asleep.  I got up about 10 minutes before the alarm went off.  I showered, make coffee and rustled Patty out of bed.  We were on the road right on time… about 4:45 a.m.  Leaving at this time would allow us time to drive to the parking lot a few miles from the airport, shuttle to the airport, check our bags, stand in the security lines etc…  As I’m sure you’re aware, timing is everything when it comes to the “airport!”  We finished checking our bags and went to the security area.  My God!  I’m not exaggerating; the security line must have had 100+ people.  I asked Patty: “What the heck are all these people doing up so early?”  The line seemed to stretch forever!  We got in the back of the line and surprisingly it moved somewhat quick.  Not real quick, but somewhat quick.  It took maybe 15 minutes to get to the security area… remove your shoes, belt, watch, empty your pockets etc…  Thank God they weren’t using the Body Scanner as that would have taken more time.  We got through the security area and walked over to the electronic board that shows the arrivals and departures.  I scrolled my eyes down to the Southwest departures to Sacramento.  Ah, there it was, flight 522 to Sacramento, departing at 6:30 a.m. at Gate 1.  Perfect!  Wait a minute… Gate 1??????  That’s in another part of the airport!!!  I looked at my watch and it was now 6:10 a.m.  We had 20 minutes to run to another part of the airport, go through another security line and get on our flight!  Not a chance!  But, we had to give it a shot!  We made it to the other security area within minutes, but now we found ourselves in yet, another line.  Not as long as the first security check line, but this one was utilizing the Body Scanner which is a slow process!  We were both on edge hoping to make this flight. Suddenly a woman who worked for Southwest walked over and yelled our names… “Is there a Mr. and Mrs. Sousek here?”  I called to the woman who looked at me and with somewhat of a snotty attitude asked: “Why are you late?  Did you get lost?”  Whatever!  I told he that we had gone to the wrong area, hoping she would move us to the front of the line, but not a chance.  She just walked off.  We were now about the 5th and 6th people in line and they stopped using the Body Scanner so thing now moved quicker, other than still removing our shoes, belt, watch, empty our pockets etc… We got through the other scanner, grabbed out things and ran to the gate.  There stood the Southwest Airlines woman (with the snotty attitude) who informed us that we missed our flight.  The next flight to Sacramento departed at 8:30 a.m.  Patty looked at me with a frustrated expression and said: “Oh man… we could have slept in another two hours!”

We made the 8:30 a.m. flight and landed in Sacramento a little before 10:00 a.m.  I joked with Patty that I learned if you send your bags on the flight before your scheduled flight, there’s no wait when you arrive at your destination.  You just walk over to the baggage claim area, pick up your bags and leave!  Too easy!   Sacramento was cold, cloudy and appeared ready to rain.  We rented a 4 wheel drive Chevy Tahoe since we were going to snow country and were on the road by 10:30.

Our first stop was in Placerville at the El Dorado County Department of Child Support Services.  This is the office that Patty retired from in February 2010.  She hasn’t seen these people since she left.  We arrived around 11:30.  Patty was so excited to see everyone!  We walked through the security door.  People heard Patty’s voice and immediately came to the front of the office and showered her with love, hugs and tears!  It was so obvious to me how much these people truly care about her!  I know a lot of women in this office and also got my share of hugs.  I had a number of thank you’s for keeping them informed on Patty’s progress through this blog.  (That made me feel good!)  Patty and I stayed about an hour.  We got into the car for our drive up to Lake Tahoe.  Patty looked at me and said: “I’ve really missed those people!  I just love each one of them!”

We arrived in Tahoe about an hour later.  It had been really stormy and snowy up there for the week earlier and we had hoped the roads would be drivable.  We lucked out and had clear roads all the way.  We stopped by the Tahoe Child Support Branch Office.  Some of the staff had changed since Patty left and others whom she wanted to see were off that afternoon, but we had a really nice visit with Donna who was holding down the fort that afternoon.  We visited about a half hour.  Next stop was by my previous employer, Heavenly Mountain Resort.  It was funny, driving up the road to Heavenly made me feel like I had never left.  It was all too familiar and natural for me.  We dropped in on my old boss, Casey, and his office manager, Audrey.  Casey was on the phone when we barged in and the look on Audrey’s face was priceless when she saw the two of us.  I said: “Damn, if you don’t keep this door locked anyone can just walk in!”  Casey heard my voice, and I could hear him stumble his words on the phone.  We visited with the two of them for about a half hour.  We then went to another area of the resort where I found a close friend of mine, Curtis.  We visited for about half hour with him.  Unfortunately my other close friend from Heavenly, Mark, was off that day so I didn’t get to see him.

After visiting with our previous co-workers, Patty and I realized that we really miss a lot of those people.  You know, you spend 8 hours a day with them, 5 days a week!  That’s a lot of time, especially when you’ve done that for 8 to 10 years.  These people are very special to you.  Speaking with Curtis was like I had just spoken with him the day before.  Nothing had changed.

We’ve made an open invitation to any of these people to look us up if they ever make it to San Diego.  (Remember, we’re moving out of our 708 square foot condo in two weeks!  We’ll have the room for guests!)

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!

Number 5 is officially done!!!

Patty will probably kill me for posting this picture!  She had her 5th infusion about three hours ago.  She’s already pretty tired… but she’s all snuggled in her Charger blanket! 

OK.  Number 5 is officially under our belt!!!  This is a huge milestone since now we really start the countdown!  ONE MORE TO GO!!!  Just 21 days… Come on December 14th!

Patty didn’t get much sleep last night at all.  She takes those darned steroids in the morning and again at dinner the day before the infusion.  The steroids just “pump her up” with energy.  So needless to say, when it’s time for bed, she’s ready to work out!  It was well after 2 a.m. before she dropped. 

I woke up this morning early as usual… somewhere around 6 a.m.  Patty was dead to the world.  Knowing our appointment with the Oncologist was at 9:30 a.m. I figured it’d be safe to let her sleep in until 8.  So that’s what I did.  We both got up and got ready for the day, excited that this was the next-to-the-last infusion!  We left just before 9 and once finding a place to park etc, it was close to 9:30 a.m.  I was pretty proud of how I timed things.  Patty had a message on her phone which she checked as we were walking through the parking lot.  She looked at me and said it was the Oncologist’s office that called at 9:10 a.m. wondering where she was!  I asked why they would call 20 minutes early and she said her appointment was scheduled for 9:00 a.m!!!  Damn… I was off a half hour.  I thought “No big” I’m sure they have people running late all the time.  Well, it was a “big.”  After everyone pulling strings for Patty to see the Oncologist (which, by the way, made us late for her 9:30 a.m. infusion!) we were able to see the Oncologist.  You could tell she was a little perturbed that we were late.  Her nurse later told us that the Oncologist doesn’t like patients to think they can call their own hours!  Hmm.  Long story short, everything worked out ok.  She saw the Oncologist then started her infusion an hour late!  I was a big boy and took the blame.  I figured I may as well fess up since I knew Patty would throw me under the bus if she was asked.

So… number 5 is officially done.  Now we’ll see how the next few days go.  We’re hoping for no more “Adventures in chemo!”  I have established rules for Patty… #1:  You must to listen to me… it’s for your own good!  #2:  If you need to get up in the middle of the night, wake me up before you attempt to get up!  #3:  Turn on the bedroom light if you want to get up!  #4:  If at anytime you go into the bathroom on your own, leave the door open!  #5:  Don’t forget you love me!  Failure to adhere to any of these rules are against the law and there will be punishment somewhere down the road!  (I sound pretty tough, don’t I!)

everyone, please pray that the next few days go well for Patty!  We can use the extra help!

I’ll keep you posted on how things go!

If I don’t post anything in the next couple of days, have a great Thanksgiving!!!

El Dorado County ladies (and a couple guys) ROCK!!!

There are few times in your life when something or someone really touches your heart from a kind act where you’re absolutely speechless.  The only “speech”, per se, is to cry tears of humbling emotion. 

Patty and I moved from San Diego to Northern California in April of 2000.  She immediately went to work for the El Dorado County of Child Support Services in Placerville.  She had a great career with that department, quickly climbing the ladder from a supervisor position, to manager and finishing her career as the department’s program manager.  During that 10 year run, Patty, at one time or another, supervised pretty much everyone in the Placerville and South Lake Tahoe offices.  When I say “supervised” I really should say “touched” every person in those offices.  Just how much Patty “touched” those people was very evident when we opened yesterday’s mail…

I picked up yesterday’s mail like any other day.  I noticed a card mixed amongst the other mail, like bills and flyers from the local grocery stores.  There was nothing unusual about the card from the outside.  It was addressed to Patty with a return address from the El Dorado County Department of Child Support Services in Placerville.  I brought the mail in and divided the “Ed vs. Patty” mail, not  paying much attention to Patty as she went through her stack of mail while sitting on the couch.  Suddenly I heard her crying softly!  I asked if she was alright and she couldn’t talk as her eyes were focused on the card.  I walked over to comfort her but realized that she didn’t need comforting… all the comfort she needed was in that card!

The outside of the card was really cute!  It was shaped like a bra.  It read: 

Girlfriends are like a good bra –

always there to lift you up!

And this card indeed lifted her up!!!  It was signed by everyone from her old office, each person writing a small message to lift her spirits!  I’ll admit, when I saw the card and read what people wrote, I fought back tears!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But that wasn’t all… there were papers folded inside the card.  The office had a “Pink Party Day” as a fundraiser for Susan G. Komen for the Cure which raises money for breast cancer education and research.

Below was the announcement that circulated the office:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The people from the  El Dorado County Department of Child Support Services raised over $600.00 in Patty’s name to donate to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patty and I were so touched and humbled by the amazing effort this group went through to do this in Patty’s name!  You know how you may work at a place for a number of years, then you leave.  Maybe once in a great while after you’ve left, someone will ask: “Do you ever hear from so-and-so?” or:  “I wonder what ever happened to so-and-so?”  Or even once the person has left, that’s it.  Gone!  Not this office.  These people truly care about Patty and truly care about how she’s doing.  I can’t even begin to tell you how much this gesture means to Patty!  It’s all she talked about last night.  Some friends stopped by today and that card was the first thing she showed them!  I even heard her on the phone with Nicole and another call from her sister, Dottie, talking about how much this meant to her! 

The timing for this gift couldn’t have been any better!  As I’m sure you’re aware, Patty had her last chemo infusion this past Tuesday.  The side effects from this treatment came earlier and much stronger than usual.  The side effects knocked her down pretty hard yesterday.   Knowing that all her friends from the office did this for her really lifted her spirits and gave her some strength to get through the day!

Words can’t express what Patty, as well as I, feel.  (that’s unusual for me, since I’m rarely at a loss for words!)  For now, all I can say is YOU GUYS ROCK!!!

Thank you so much!!!