A lot of people have learned already, but now it is official. Melanie has taken a new job with Frito Lay that is having us move back to St. Louis. We have mixed emotions about the move as we will miss our great friends and family here in Dallas, but this is a great opportunity for Melanie and I am really looking forward to spending some time around my family as I have lived in the area for only a year since I graduated from college so many years ago. The boys feel the same way, but are very excited to be able to see their cousins more often. We don’t know the date yet as we have to sell our house here and find one in St. Louis, but as it approaches I will be sure to share.
Mason just got done going to the bathroom and he was gone for quite a bit so when he came back in the room I asked him if he was alright and his response was…”Let’s just say that nature called and she had A LOT to talk about.”
He gets it from his mother.
In honor of the start of the Blues and Stars regular season I thought I would share some videos of the boys’ latest hockey endeavors.
Cutler has finally started pre hockey, which is basically just skating lessons with the equipment on and a stick. He clearly needs to work on using his right foot.
Mason has moved away from goalie this year and is skating out, in his video he is taking a penalty shot with the slow deliberate approach mastered by Oshie. Here’s to hoping he develops the shot to go with it. Sadly I cut the video off before he dropped to the knee and used his stick as a rifle as part of his sniper celebration.
I just downloaded way too many photos and videos from Cutler’s itouch (yes I realize he is a bit young to have one) and found this cute video of Cutler and his lil buddy that helps him raise hell at their brother’s games.
It’s way beyond that time of year again where I uncomfortably start to hit everyone up for our annual fund raising effort benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of Cutler. Without their research and support, the fight against blood cancers would not be anywhere as far along as it is. So, with the month of September being Blood Cancer awareness month it’s time for me to start pushing you for your help in eradicating blood cancers.
We invite you to join us as part of the team on November 1st in Frisco for a fun night of celebration and memory and helping raise awareness of the incredible work that LLS does on a daily basis. If you can’t join us, any donation of any size is greatly appreciated. Both efforts can be achieved by clicking on the link below.
I understand that donating to specific charities is a personal one and so to help motivate you, aside from Cutler’s story, please consider the below as some motivation and supporting factors for choosing LLS.
- LLS exists to find cures and ensure access to the best available treatments for the more than one million North Americans currently living with or are in remission from a blood cancer
- Last year alone, LLS invested nearly $74 million in cutting-edge research
- For more than 60 years, LLS has invested more than $1 billion to advance cancer therapies and save lives
- LLS is currently funding the work of Dr. Robert Collins at UT Southwestern in a revolutionary new study named Beat AML (What Cutler beat)
- Nearly 40% of new cancer therapies approved by the FDA between 2000 and 2013 were first approved for blood cancer patients
- LLS has helped advance laws in almost half of the states to ensure coverage and payment parity for cancer medications, regardless of how or where administered
- Since the early 1960s, five-year survival rates for many blood cancer patients have doubled, tripled or even quadrupled, thanks to the funding of LLS
- In 1964, the five-year survival rate for children with ALL was 3%. Today it’s approximately 90%
- In the last year alone, LLS invested $35.2 MILLION into leukemia research
- Hodgkin lymphoma survival rates have more than doubled, to 87%, since the 1960s
- LLS poured more than $20.4 MILLION into lymphoma research in the last year.
- The survival rate for myeloma more than tripled since the 1960s
- LLS funded myeloma researchers to the tune of nearly $10 MILLION last year alone
- LLS helped advance Gleevec® for patients with CML; this oral drug is now helping patients with other cancers
- LLS-funded researchers helped advance Rituxan ® (rituximab), an antibody that helps boost the immune system to attack cancer cells in patients with lymphoma and CLL
No ice water required to be poured over your head and no public pressure, just a simple request to make Someday Today and help join the fight.
On facebook I have seen a lot of postings of remembrance to where someone was and what they were doing on this date when tragedy hit The World Trade Center, The Pentagon, and the brave individuals that helped take down the plane in Pennsylvania saving so many more lives. It is touching and I can remember back to what I was doing at the time and what I did that entire day as I sat and watched everything unfold. However, five years ago we had our own personal brush with potential tragedy that makes this day suck that much more.
I’m sure most of you, who actually read this, already know our story, but in order to make my head stop and hope to slow the emotions today I need to share again. It will be a long and most likely blabbering story, but it is something I must do.
Five years ago today we took Mason for his four year check up and we brought Cutler along because he had been congested for about two months leading up to this day. So, we figured while we were in the doctor’s office we should ask about the red spots that were starting to show on Cutler’s stomach and his head. The amazing Dr. Okamor looked at it and considered his two months of a “cold” and thought we should go see a hematologist and happened to get us an appointment that day. So off we went and it was on this day, when I stepped off the elevator, that I discovered that a hematologist was also an oncologist.
After Dr. Goldman looked Cutler over and consulted with his partners he thought it was just a skin condition, but wanted to take a blood test to be safe. Once the blood was drawn he gave us a name of a pediatric oncologist and we figured we were good to go. UNTIL, we got the phone call five minutes from the house that we needed to return to the hospital immediately, but they wouldn’t tell us what was wrong over the phone. Fortunately, as we turned around and headed back, Dr Okamor called and we convinced her to tell us what was going on and she told us they believed he had Leukemia. It was a punch to the stomach like I had never felt before and something I would wish upon no one.
The next day the official diagnosis was that Cutler had a very rare form of Acute Myeloid Leukemia. He started chemo immediately and was in remission after his second round, but we continued on with another round to prepare for his stem cell transplant via unrelated cord blood. December marks fives years since the transplant and I am happy to say that Cutler leads a normal life. However, like the terrorist attacks in 2001, this attack in 2009 still rings strong in my head on this day.
- The feeling of fright when I saw the Texas Oncology sign as I stepped off the elevator when I didn’t know about blood cancers
- The fight to not panic after the call that told us to return to the hospital immediately
- The punch that left me breathless while driving back to the hospital when Dr. Okamor informed us they thought it was Leukemia
- The comfort of the nurses and staff upon our arrival and throughout our six month stay
- The confidence and patience the doctors exuded when answering questions about the treatment plan, even for the 25th time
- The effort required to “stay strong” in front of my wife
- The feeling of helplessness as I left my six month old baby and my wife at the hospital so that I could get Mason and take him to get pizza and play games as we had promised
- The total loss of emotions as I got to my car
- The need to pull over two blocks away from the hospital so that I could calm down enough to keep driving
- The inability to answer my mom’s question as to should she come down
- The relief when she just told me she was on her way
- The torrential down pour that only added to the blur caused by my tears
- The support from my great friends that helped me get our other car home and helped shield Mason the next day so he could attend his very first soccer practice
- Running through the downpour while Mason and I both got drenched trying to get into Amazing Jake’s for marginal pizza and games
- Trying my best to not let Mason know how serious things were with Cutler to help keep his simple four year old life care free
- Trying to choke down a piece of that marginal pizza while Mason put away more than enough for the both of us
- Putting Mason to bed and then doing one of the worst things someone in that situation could do, research on the internet
- The feeling of utter despair as I read the mortality rate for AML
- The comforting call from my CEO telling me to get off the internet and that she didn’t want to see me working until I was ready
- My awesome neighbor stopping by with an ambien so I could try to sleep
- Finally letting the ambien work so that I could get enough rest to start the fight for my baby’s life the next morning
Occasionally we take the boys fancy places, like a wedding. They sure do clean up well. Pay no attention to Mason’s basketball shoes.