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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Relax With Your Favorite Blanket

As children most of us had a comfort blanket or toy that we lugged with us everywhere. IT was our security. IT was home away from home. IT  relieved anxiety, stress and discomfort. IT was dirty, ripped, ugly, old, smelly and sticky. But IT provided the  comfort we needed at the time.

Funny that the same comfort is still needed when we are adults. I still have a blanket in which I love to snuggle. I have had IT for at least 10 years and pull it out even in the summer time. IT provides comfort and warmth, IT relieves tension and stress and IT still takes away the worries of the day. Surprisingly, IT is in much better shape than my "tucky" was after 10 years! 

I have found that my husband also has a favorite blanket with which he snuggles. This blanket has provided him comfort and warmth for a number of years and throughout his illness. Recently, with the addition of our new puppy, Bella Eve, my husband has succumbed to sharing his blanket with her. She pulls the blanket out for the both of them to use and they snuggle together during their daily naps.  Bella even got to take the blanket with her when she stayed at a friend's house while we were out of town. I knew this blanket, and it's familiar smell and feel,  would provide her the security and comfort she would need during her first trip away from home. 

No matter what your age is or whether you are a human or canine, the blanket continues to provide a bit of peacefulness. So, during this hectic holiday season, take time to sit back and relax with your favorite blanket! 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Dream about your best friend

I am grateful to have had many friends in my life, but only two real best friends. The first was my late mother whose 72nd  birthday would have been celebrated this week. She was a very warm and caring person with a big heart. She listened with interest and offered advice only when asked. She was there for me during my turbulent teen age years and supported me despite many poor choices. She was my pillar of strength and the reason I am so resilient today. Her motto was "If this is the worst thing that ever happened to you, boy aren't you lucky!" Nothing could ever get us down. Nothing could break us!

I longed for such a friend in a husband. I longed for a husband who would be my best friend. I dreamt about having a man with the same compassion and love for me that my mother had. I  longed for a man who shared an interest in what I had to say. I dreamt about a man who loved me unconditionally....and thought I was as funny as I thought I was. (what? I really am funny!)

Well, my dreams came true just a month after my mother passed away! Craig was introduced to me by mutual friends. Upon picking me up on our first date (in a limo, none-the-less), he stated, "This is the 2 year anniversary of my mother's death." I responded, "Well, this is the one month anniversary of my mother's passing!" I just knew our mothers in Heaven had schemed getting us together and they were quite successful!

I am so grateful to have my dream of marrying my best friend come true! I am so grateful to have a husband who is my best friend, my confidante, my lover and my companion! Truly, this is a gift as many married people do not have this in their spouse. I am grateful. I do believe that dreams come true. Craig is living proof!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Love Vegetables

And, thank goodness I do, because vegetables have been a big part of our diet these past 7 months! If you have been following my other posts, you would know that not only are we eating differently due to Craig's cancer treatment plan, but also, I am cooking for a first time ever and with lots of vegetables.

We have learned to embrace edamame beans, spaghetti squash, a variety of peppers,  beans, beans and more beans. We weren't allowed all vegetables as some interfered with the process of Craig's medication including eggplant, tomatoes and asparagus...basically our three favorite vegetables were forbidden during the one year treatment.

However, just recently while I was searching some new recipes, I stumbled upon a recipe/resource section on the site for Craig's treatment. Most of the recipes on the 1st 10 pages had tomatoes in the ingredients. I inquired with his doctors only to learn that although tomatoes were forbidden, cooked tomatoes were allowed!! UMMMMMMMMM, that makes a HUGE difference in our diet! We spent 7 months  indulging in olive oil on everything. Suddenly I can dress up our wheat pastas and pizzas with marinara sauce. (Insert loud "ahhhhhh" sung at a high pitch!)

So, given my inept domestic skills and our dietary restrictions, our dinners have been interesting to say the least! I recently took a dry run at making a Thanksgiving meal for Craig. Special note: Our Thanksgiving meals are catered every year. Yes, that is how pathetic I am in the kitchen. None-the-less, I made us a meal with all of the ingredients Craig and I could now have:
Turkey-check
Corn-that's fine
Waldorf salad-modified (raisons-cranberries forbidden)
Sweat potatoes-Minus brown sugar-added apples & honey
Green bean casserole-No mushroom soup..instead I mixed heavy whipping cream and parmesan.     Pulled that right out of my rump!
Pumpkin pie-wheat crust and homemade whipped cream with stevia!

Craig gave me an A+ for effort and an "A" overall. Not gonna lie, the wheat pie crust=not so good!

So as we prepare for our annual Thanksgiving meal this year, I actually have to so a little cooking for Craig and me. As my family engages in a catered meal, we will be dining with homemade, healthy, natural vegetables as our sides. No nap for us as we will be highly energized by the good eats!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Love your pets

Well, it has been many years since my husband or I have had a dog and now a first for us to have one together. Five years ago we became empty nesters and broached the topic of adopting a dog a number  times...until we watched, "Marley and Me." That movie was a deal breaker for both of us as we sobbed incessantly and then emphatically agreed we were not ready for a puppy.

Well, five years later, now that we have slowed down a bit and find ourselves home more due to Craig's illness, we started talking the puppy-talk again. It all came to fruition his birthday weekend when I stumbled upon a picture of an adorable 8 week old Terrier/bull mix from the shelter. We fell in love with the picture, and then again when we met her in person. She was one of 4 in a litter rescued from an abusive and neglectful home in a bad neighborhood. She had been malnourished and abused, but was on the mend. We knew the moment we met her that she was the one!

As I was signing my life away at the check-out of the shelter, I was asked about her name. Hmmm. I came in thinking I was buying a boy and had great names like, "Willy" and "Sammy" all ready to go. But this cute Petey-from-the-Little-Rascals-look-alike was a GIRL. I needed a name and a name that had meaning. I felt at the moment like the sky parted and a golden light shone down upon me as her name came to me: "Bella Eve"  BELIEVE! Our life motto is now our new best friend.

Bella Eve is quite the character! We have had her for only a few days and we just love her! She has been such an asset to our home bringing some positive change,  excitement and more laughs than usual! She has already gone shopping, taken several walks, met her neighbor friend dogs and taken car rides. She is adapting well. Of course, as a puppy, she is still peeing & pooping in the house, and biting, chewing and jumping up.. but these behaviors are diminishing by the hours. Despite all these minor puppy flaws, we sure do love our Bella Eve! We do BELIEVE she is a warm welcome to our family and home!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mind Over Matter: Love Cooking

Mind Over Matter: Love Cooking

Superheroes

I can't say that I ever had a favorite superhero as a child, but I certainly do as an adult: My hero is my best friend, my husband, Craig. You see, for one year, Craig has battled that epidemic of a disease, cancer, like so many others both young and old. His diagnosis came as a complete surprise as he was pretty health conscious and well-read on carcinogens. Heck, he wouldn't even use regular deodorant because it had zinc, a cancer-causing ingredient.  And forget diet and low-fat products, because of their deadly aspartame. He knew all the foods and products that caused cancer.

But, what he didn't know was LIFE causes cancer.  Cancer has no prejudices or concerns over one's eating style, let alone their lifestyle, income, race, religion or ethics. When cancer comes knocking on your door, it is there to stay for a while, or maybe longer, and you better just embrace it.

And, that is just what my great hero did! From the beginning of his illness his eternal optimism inspired many. He had lived for years with the mantra, "Believe," but this was the real test. Does he really believe? Even with this harsh prognosis? Yep, he still believed! When the doctor showed him his bone scan laden with cancer, he heard the mention of arthritis in one area and decided that was all he had...all over his body..including his cranium? Arthritis? Oh, my eternal optimist was at it again.

He believed he would get through this ordeal. He believed he would be cured. He believed God still had more for him to do here on Earth. So, he continued to plow forward with a positive, faithful approach. An outpour of love, support and prayers came from friends and strangers from everywhere. He believed.

He believed even when  the doctors from the two largest and very well-known cancer hospitals here in Cleveland said they couldn't do much for him, but basically keep him comfortable. He believed despite chemo not even being an option because it was too far advanced. He believed despite them  giving him a few radiations solely to keep him from becoming paralyzed by the cancer that had broken his spine in several areas. He just kept on believing.

He prayed.
He met with his  dear friend, our pastor, many times.
He believed
He remained positive.
He stayed optimistic.

And then a program from Panama kinda just fell in his hands. Thank you, God. The doctors there assessed his test results, diagnosis and prognosis and gave him a 97% of FULL RECOVERY. Not remission. Recovery.

He believed.
He began the treatment in April, five months after his diagnosis.
He had to change his lifestyle and diet to accommodate the medication. It was a BIG life change.
He believed.
He got stronger.
He got healthier.
He looked better and better.
He continued to believe.

Today marks one year from that cold, dark night that he was sent to the hospital immediately after an MRI showed his doctor something very serious. It has been one year since he was bed-ridden and unable to walk or sit without great support and help. He believed.

He recently had his 9th treatment from Panama.  He believes.
No complaints ever. No doubts.
My hero has emulated and lived the mantra, "Believe!" He has been a role model to so many throughout his journey. He has inspired the healthy and the sick....because, he believes.

It took me 40+ years to ever have a hero in my life. It was well worth the wait. "Cancerman" Believes.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Love Cooking

Seriously? Love cooking? ME? Yep!  Anyone who knows me, knows the kitchen was a foreign room and cooking an unknown entity...until this past Spring. My husband's unique cancer treatment required a restricted diet....a VERY restricted diet...like, no white sugar, no white flour, no pork and VERY limited animal bi-products, no acidic fruits, limited veggies, no spices...oh the list goes on.

None-the-less, I embarked on the dietary journey with Craig and we cleared our pantry, fridge and freezer of all the forbidden foods...and hired someone to make our meals for us weekly. Pathetic, I know. But,  if you ever saw me in the kitchen you would understand. You see, the first time I made Craig a romantic meal for dinner, well, the romance turned into a night of hearty laughter due to my domestic demise. My homemade alfredo noodles kinda coagulated and looked more like a matzo ball, yet I doused it with alfredo sauce and served it with a pie server anyway. After Craig was able to suck the doughy concoction from the roof of his mouth, he kindly referred to my creation as "The damndest shit!" He then assured me that the only thing I ever have to make him for dinner was:  RESERVATIONS! And so began our years of eating out and me never cooking at home despite our  beautifully renovated kitchen.

So, here we were in the Spring spending hundreds of dollars for a friend to prepare our meals for us. Ugh! It was time for me to embrace my culinary fears and Love cooking! It  hasn't been 100%  pretty, case and point: noodles I kept in a crockpot for 4 hours, but Craig has been forever grateful. There are actually meals he craves and begs me to make for him, like my berry-buckwheat pancakes.  My energy balls, banana-peanut butter-strawberry ice-cream, cole slaw and pesto-wheat dough pizza are pretty awesome, too.

I have found myself in the kitchen each weekend preparing his weekly supply of homemade granola, a variety of ice-creams and a few dinners. It has gotten to the point where he actually bought me not one, but TWO aprons for Sweetest Day, and recently ordered the The Precision Induction Cooker for me to advance my culinary skills in the kitchen!!!   Gotta love it!

I love my husband. I actually love cooking now, too. My mother would be so proud. Miracles never cease:)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Startin' Summer!

We are off to an exciting start to the summer! Craig had a positive consultation at the Clinic today. He had his zometa infusion to strengthen his bones and they are thankfully holding off from the hormone injection. His numbers are "amazing" per the head of oncology at the Clinic so he only needs to get monthly blood tests! Yahooey!!

He is feeling good and will be undergoing some intense treatment this month. They are doubling the dosage of the protocol and increasing the duration to weekly for three weeks. This means for three weeks beginning June 16th he will be on oxygen for half a week, then off for half a week. We are hoping he continues to have minimum side effects from the medicine during this time!
The pool is open and the golf courses are green. We are hoping to partake in both soon!!!!
Gratefully enjoying our lives!!  

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Gratitude

Well, six months ago I certainly didn't know how this Memorial Day weekend would look.  Would Craig be healthy? Would Craig be home? Would we be up for entertaining? 

Yes. The answers are, "Yes!" Thank you, God!!

I am elated to say, we were blessed with another fun-filled weekend, topped with our annual Memorial Day  party! We had 55 people show up and join us in celebration....and we remember each and every guest, along with each conversation, thanks to our sober-free lifestyle..8 weekends and going strong!!! Hehe! We also enjoyed many side dishes laden with Craig-approved ingredients! Yummy! 

Many friends and family members commented on how great Craig looked. His color,  skin, and  weight loss were all noticeably improved since people last saw him. He took his second administration of his BX protocol almost 2 weeks ago and has faired pretty well since! He has some new aches in his hips which we hope and believe is the cancer breaking off his bones and leaving his body! Yippee!

This journey has certainly brought positive changes for me, as well. I'm running races (not from the cops), feeling better than ever and getting creative in the kitchen..that room that's been sitting idle in our home for a long time. My two recent favs: sugar-free, flour-free oatmeal-raison cookies and sugar-free (agave substitute) strawberry soft-served ice cream. DELICIOUS, if I don't say so myself!!


Memorial Day is a day to remember with gratitude  all those who served and died for our freedom. As I reflect over the past 6 months, I am not only grateful for our freedoms, but also grateful for our lives in general. Craig never served in the armed forces, but he is still a hero to me. He has fought hard for his life with dignity, pride and optimism. I am quite proud of my hero!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Ain't No Stopping Us Now

(This picture was taken last weekend after Craig and the boys mulched all Saturday!)


Craig recieved his blood test results this week and they showed great progress! YAHOOEEY!!!!

For those of you with medical and or cancer experience, here are his numbers:
*PSA -This is down to 3.85 from 2000 in November.
        
          (yes the decimal is placed correctly).
*SED-This is down to 8 from 20 last month. This is a cancer marker indicating disease by the proteins in the red blood cells.   A normal SED reading for him would be 1-10.   He is right on!
*LDH -This blood test is performed to detect and determine the extent of tissue disease or damage to the brain, kidney, muscles, liver, and lungs due to bone fractures and/or cancers. Craig's has decreased from 236 to 203. The ideal or normal range is 105 to 133 so we are moving in the right direction!!! YAHOOEY!

None-the-less, Craig will undergo his 2nd treatment next week.  He will again be on oxygen for 72+ hours and we hope for yet another great experience with this dose.

Next weekend Craig plans on travelling  with Jessica to Wisconsin where she will work at a camp all summer. We are grateful that he has this great opportunity to help her get there.

Thank you again, for all of your thoughts, prayers and kindness throughout this journey. Craig and I have  always traveled well together and enjoyed our trips. I believe we are traveling well through this journey, as well, and making the best of the experience!

Gotta Believe!!!

They Come In All Sizes

This, my friends, is from my hero, Craig:



Well its been 7 weeks since, as Kasey calls it, the "Journey" began. The diet has been interesting to say the least. Learning to plan your travels with the location of the nearest bathroom always in mind has become the norm. I truly don't believe that we evolved with incisors not to eat meat. But, to my vegetarian friends out, there I can say I tried it for 5 weeks and the best thing of that time was the small steak I had at the end of the period. Don't get me wrong I enjoy vegetables just not all the time.

To my dear friend Dave Walton, who so eloquently gave me a plan to fall back on should I be having bad days, I say, "many thanks." All that time you've spent in the wilderness has given you a great perspective. Oh, and yes I did alert all my favorite distilleries as to cut their production for the coming year. Although after having my journey mans card in partying for 40 years I made sure I had a great team in place to take up the slack during my hiatus.

On the whole, considering what I had growing up and down my spine, I feel pretty darn good. Yeah, there's still a lot of aches and pains but as I get up on these wonderful Spring mornings we've had of late my thoughts turn to a spirit of thankfulness. I believe in this new protocol I've embarked on, and it seems to be working. Kasey has taken it upon herself to educate all of the team on cancer marker numbers, although I shake my head when friends at coffee hour at church on Sunday congratulate me on a good PSA number.

Now, to the "They come in all sizes" statement. Several years ago in a Christmas letter I spoke of my childhood hero, my Uncle Joe, He was bigger than life in that young mans eyes, 6 foot 6 inches tall, played for the OSU Buckeyes and walked with a quiet assurance and a very giving heart. I have been blessed with a lot of giving people in my life and now I want to acknowledge my littlest Hero. She's barely 5 foot tall might weigh 100 lbs on a good day but has one of the most wonderful hearts I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. I was lucky enough to marry this lady and thank God every day for meeting her. She's my traveling companion and is on this journey with me and I am very grateful. She, too, has learned how to locate the closest restroom.
Thank you Honey.

To the greatest support group on earth. As always, Thank you.
I love you all.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Inspired Children Inspire Me!


I was deeply moved to tears today when I received  a stack of letters in the mail from a class of third graders.... taught by a former student! Recently,  Brittany Cook,  purchased both of my books, BELIEVE & LOVE, and shared them with her 3rd grade class. The students then wrote me heart-felt, genuine letters filled with  appreciation, empathy and kindness.   Most importantly, their letters showed they understood the books' messages!!! 

Their response was overwhelming. 
They got it! They were living it! The books enriched their lives!

Thank you, Brittany, for making my day and affirming that these books can and will help children of ALL ages learn the valuable lessons of resiliency!! Read for yourself! I only posted a few, though they were ALL beautiful and appreciated! 



Sunday, May 5, 2013

WE CAN DO THIS!


What a great few weeks Craig and I have had! We are truly blessed and enjoying life to the fullest! Craig is exercising,  taking two mile walks, doing yard work and getting out daily! 

We just completed week 5 of the protocol. Craig was excited to reintroduce red meat and chicken to his diet, though he has to ration his servings. Two weeks ago he submitted his blood work to the Delta Institute and they told him to hold off taking his next dosage as the first dose was doing a good job! He submitted his next blood work on Friday (5/3). So,  we will hopefully find out later this week when he takes his next dose. He feels good and looks great. His back gives him some pain when he overdoes it, but overall, he is in good shape. 

Thanks to the Seitz boys and Forrest, the mulching, flowers and garden are complete (weeks ahead of schedule) and the pool opens Friday. We are ready to embrace a fun-filled summer and still planning on having our annual holiday parties! Six months ago I didn't think I would be writing any of that, but thanks to all of your love, support and prayers, Craig is back on his feet and playing with his friends! Same sandbox, different toys, I guess:)

Last weekend we endured the tests of all tests: we went out with Diane & Kurt Soderstrom. For those of you who know them, and know us, the combo has always been, well, quite "fun," to say the least. This being said, adventuring out with them last Saturday evening was quite a risk for us  as we were on week 4 of no alcohol. But,we did it!!!! Diane and I went to the "Salon Saloon" (my name for the salon at Crocker that has a full bar in it) while Craig and Kurt went to Happy Hour. Both Craig and I enjoyed our filtered water, not only there, but also at dinner and in the hot tub with them. WE DID IT! We maintained sobriety the entire night with H2O only!! Yahooey!! I nicknamed the Soderstroms, "SOBERstroms" just for kicks and giggles, of course! 

So, don't be scared! You, too, can enjoy a fun-filled night with the sober-somewhat-vegan-not-quite-gluten-free Kellems! We're a real hoot to be with...really:) Just give us a call and we can go out and play with you, too!!!

Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

"F" to the 4th power


Recently Dr. Mark, our dear friend and pastor of Old Stone Church, sent us a video of some of Craig's  friends from Johnny's Restaurant singing, "Don't Stop Believing!"  It made our day!  Yes, we are still going strong!! 

I responded letting him know we are doing quite well given F4 (F to the 4th power): Faith, Family, Friends and Food. 
More specifically: 

Faith: Church is the  highlight of our weekends. Craig is so grateful to be able to get up, get out and get to church. We took for granted this simple opportunity we had weekly and now embrace it!

Family: I don't know what we would do without them! Craig's little Angel, Jessica, keeps him young and entertained daily! She is her father and she is daddy's little girl! He has been getting out once a week with Joey, enjoying a movie which saves me from having to see any of the awful  Sci Fi movies out there! Thank you, Joey! My father and sisters keep me humored and I can drink vicariously through my sisters each weekend without feeling horrible the next day!

Friends: Now I understand why Mary Pat says she needs younger friends:) Craig is just one of the guys. Paul has surgery on something every other weekend, Kenny had open heart surgery, Dave just had back surgery, Kim's neck is a mess and may require surgery...so, in the big picture, Craig is one of the gang!!  His freedoms and health are put into perspective each day given what every one else is experiencing.

Food: Craig told me he would have devoured me the first weekend if it weren't for our dear friend, Bick, who has been preparing our food weekly!  We are loving her creative meals and delicious desserts! Some  favorites include her banana-peanut butter ice cream made with only those two ingredients,  peanut butter cookies, hummus, pesto pasta (made with some special pasta) and every dish that has had tofu! Geez, I hadn't had tofu since my Grateful Dead daze, I mean, days.

I need to add a 5th "F" and that is Fun:  It's Weekend #3 (49 to go for those of you counting) and we are still having fun! We even like each other sober. We're not quite as entertaining, but likeable, none-the-less. We have gone to a Cavs game, seen a movie, visited with friends, gone to happy hour to see one of our favorite bartenders, Jill, drank vicariously through Bob, and shopped for much  smaller clothes (Craig is down 50 lbs)....we are just living the dream, living the dream!!! 

Craig feels good. He is working out, taking walks and riding his recumbent bike. He gets out each day, stops in at work, has lunch with friends, runs errands and is only napping a little bit each afternoon. 

We are blessed. We are grateful. And to the boys at Johnny's, we will not stop BELIEVING! 


Monday, April 8, 2013

Rested & Ready


"Rested and Ready"

As the Avett Brothers sing, and he believes, Craig is “Rested and Ready!”

We cleansed, lost weight and ate and drank things we could barely pronounce. 
And overall, Craig feels great! His 72 hours after the medicinal administration ended this morning at 8am. He did not feel any nausea or flu-like symptoms as we anticipated. He did  feel a  little bit of a “different kind of pain” in his back this weekend. We are hopeful this is the cancer falling off of his bones. Yahooey!

What originally seemed like a 72 hour  sentencing, turned out not to be so bad. 
After seeing my friend Mary Pat’s mother with a 75 foot oxygen hose, I encouraged Craig to look into getting something longer than the 15 foot hose that came with
the machine. The 50 foot hose that he found allowed him much more
freedom! He could actually get all the way up to bed, downstairs to his
nordicbike and outside to the patio. He was even able to enjoy the hot
tub Saturday night while wearing the oxygen tubes!  Most importantly, Craig
was so diligent about the amount of hours  he was on the oxygen, that he
banked up enough time to leave the house for church. That, was by far,
the best part of his weekend! Realizing that he can use the few hours he
is allotted off of the machine each month to go to church boosted his already
good spirits! 

So, though our lives have changed a bit, some things are still the
same. We enjoyed Happy Hour out on the patio drinking distilled water
and doing shots of wheat grass. We ate some delicious meals prepared for
by our dear friend, Bick, who is hired for the year (or maybe life) to keep us fed.
(Craig felt her meals were even better than Veigns at Crocker-WOW)  We
had guests (Anne, Michael, Bob)  join us throughout the weekend   for
vegan-like meals, smoothies or just shots of wheat grass. YUMMY!! 
So life hasn't changed TOO dramatically, has it? :) 

My role through all of this according to the Delta Institute is
to be Craig’s "Advocate." However, through my nagging and pushing him to get up
and away from the TV each day to exercise, I have seemingly been given other nicknames, like:
“Badvocate,” That’s when I nag too much. 
“Madvocate” That’s when he doesn’t listen to my nagging:) 
“Gladvocate” That’s when he listens to my nagging and does what I
encourage him to do. 
Hehehehehe
Actually, Craig started coaching me on the Bowflex and the two of us are enjoying getting buff together:) He  just may be the centerfold for the Believe Magazine...if there were a magazine!

We are grateful for a peaceful, nice weekend and look forward to the rest of our journey. I’m not even going to tell you how many more weekends we have of this new lifestyle...because I  kinda enjoyed it:) 

“Through believing you may have life in his name.” Dr. Mark Guiliano
April 7, 2013. Amen. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


                                             "Don't Stop Believing!"

That has been our theme since Craig's terminal cancer diagnosis in November of 2012. We have been overwhelmed with the love and support of our friends, family and our Old Stone Church family. About two months after Craig's diagnosis, his friend, Harry, wanted to have a surprise get together for Craig. Harry, his wife, Craig and I all planned a dinner at our friend's establishment, The Tradesman. An hour later, Craig was mobbed with love and support from about 70 people who entered the bar in a single file line to Journey's, "Don't Stop Believing!"

And so the Love Mobs began. We created additional mobs for others afflicted with Cancer including my high school classmate, Brigid, my dear friend, Shelley and my colleague, Jessica and her son, Owen. We made fleece blankets that were signed by the "mobsters," gave each person a copy of my "Love" book, and gave them a Love Mob CD  that my sister, Judy,  created which was filled with uplifting songs! The friends who were mobbed were overwhelmed with emotion and pleasantly pleased with the outpouring of encouragement and support. The Love Mobs were truly uplifting!

We were pleasantly "Mobbed" twice this past  weekend before our new journey began on Monday April 1st (new treatment plan that lasts a year and requires a very strict diet).  After I took Craig out Friday for a nice dinner at his favorite restaurant, Johnny's,  over 100 people join us in celebration again at the Tradesman. We were again uplifted by the love, support, kind words, hugs and encouragement. We had surprise visits from a long-time friend, Marie and Jessica  came home from college to support and surprise her father. We were greeted by long-time friends, new friends, church friends (Carl!!!), former students of mine and of course, our family! WOW! We are so blessed!

But the mobbing didn't end there! Our family and friends again mobbed us at church Easter Sunday. My sister, Peggy and Pastor Mark arranged everything and several pews in the front of Old Stone Church were filled with our loved ones! Both Craig and I were overwhelmed with emotions. That was by far, the most beautiful act of love and kindness that we have recieved, and we have been blessed with much love and kindness!!! Friends who don't even attend church, came to mob Craig. Our friend, Dann even brought his mother and sister! My father, three sisters and some nieces and nephews were present, as well. Pastor Mark made reference to Craig and this special Love Mob and even sang the main verse from Journey's "Don't Stop Believing!" Again, WOW! 

We are so grateful and blessed! We will not stop BELIEVING!!!  

BELIEVE & LOVE

Well since the onset of my husband's terminal cancer diagnosis in November of 2012, we have certainly shown that Believe is not our motto, but our lifestyle. Not only have we been blessed with so many friends and family who have given us love, encouragement and support to keep on believing, but, thankfully, that is just how we think, also! 

Although the two main hospitals here in Cleveland told Craig there was nothing they could do for him because the cancer was so far spread (bones & lymph nodes), we refused to give up. In a strange & twisted way, we ended up under the care of a new doctor who knew of a cancer treatment from Panama. We embraced the idea immediately. These Panama doctors explained to Craig that because he was stage 4 and because he had 10 radiations, they could only give him a 97% chance of full recovery. WHAT? That's 97 percentage points more than the Cleveland hospitals could give him! Yahooey!! The good news is, we don't have to travel anywhere to get this treatment. Everything is sent to our home as they believe home care is the best care for the mind, body and spirit! The doctor who told us about the treatment is overseeing everything to make sure we are doing it all right!

This program is quite intense and requires dedication and a loved one to advocate and watch over the patient. That's this girl, right here!! Since my husband has to be on a strict diet (somewhat gluten-free, somewhat vegan, high alkaline, no acidics and NO alcohol) for an entire year, I chose to join him for support. I didn't think it would be kind to be enjoying cake, cookies and Crown Royal while he's munching on fruits and veggies this next year! Now that's LOVE, right??!! 

So begins our journey. We began the cleansing on Monday. Today is Wednesday and I am down 3 pounds (back to my high school weight) and ready to eat the mulch in my flower beds:) I have never been on a diet, watched what I ate or abstained from alcohol. Craig is down 6 pounds. I told him that at this rate he will be down 730 pounds by next April:) This is going to be quite a journey, but very well worth it given the 97% chance of full recovery for my husband!!! Craig WILL be the poster child for BELIEVING! 

We are blessed!
 We are grateful! We Believe!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Laugh at your mistakes

Laugh at your mistakes....clearly, I have laughed a lot throughout the years! I am a firm believer that you have to be able to laugh at yourself before you can ever laugh at anyone else. I have a habit of pointing out my errors and poor judgment and turning them into elongated stories that I often times find humorous and hope the listeners do, also! I have so many favorite times where I messed up so bad and could do nothing but laugh about it.

One of my favorite mistakes took place a few winters ago. I was on my winter break and we had about a dozen guests come ski at our ski house at Holiday Valley, New York. A few times during the trip the topic of our return home came up. The group couldn't believe that I had to go back to school on the Monday after New Years.  They all had off until Tuesday. That Sunday I hurried everyone out of the house and back to Cleveland as I had to get home and get ready to go back to work the next day..... So, there I was sitting in an empty parking lot Monday morning looking at a very dark and clearly closed school building.  Apparently, I also did not have to return to work until Tuesday. I must have laughed for 10 minutes in between calling and texting all of the skiers and my family to let them know about my mistake!

This does take me to another funny mistake I made while skiing. (I told you I had a number of stories!). My friend and I were at that same ski resort many years earlier and while going up the lift, we saw a sign, "Open Restaurant and Bar."  Being a bit parched and hungry we perused the top of the mountain but to no avail. Back on the lift, we reread the sign and decided to take a right off of the lift and peruse that area. Well, this continued a few times until we finally asked the lift attendant where the "open restaurant and bar" were. He was confused at first until we explained we saw the sign going up the lift. Next thing I know, the attendant is laughing hysterically, eventually getting out that the sign says, "Open restraint bar" a directive necessary for proper lift exiting. Haven't stopped laughing at that mistake!!!

We all make them. Mistakes that is. It's ok to laugh at them! It's ok to teach your children that mistakes happen and not to get uptight about them. As long as you learn from them, it's ok. Live and Learn. Don't just Live.  Laugh!