Thursday, October 25, 2012

Peleton-Beating Hills and Winds

Last weekend was an interesting one… but we’ve long known what I continue to experience that the power of a group is far more than just the sum of the parts. It was a privilege to attend a REV cancer conference where pharmaceuticals, organizations like Livestrong and the American Cancer Society, world class treatment places (like the Head of the Duke Oncology Department!) discussed how to make things better, how to balance collaboration and competition. Friday night was the Livestrong dinner. Lance Armstrong made an appearance and recognized what I hope is the echo of our lives that whatever we contribute to has to be bigger than any one individual. I don’t know what else to say about that entire situation other than like a child born of my parents who weren’t, planning or even hoping for a child, I’ve never been ungrateful for my life. In the same way, I am grateful for all of the Livestrong help and I don’t know what to say about the origins of it but I don’t think that gets within a 100 miles of nullifying the good directions they have pointed me. There were technical difficulties so the video of why I had been invited was not actually shown but other people who had been at the dinner… let me know they had seen it and were moved it and I awkwardly said thank you and moved the conversation to my guest, my mother who had just done her first half marathon. It was a good meeting point where she met the woman who gave me those rings of hope, a friend from South Dakota and from Chicago whose own facebook posts and approaches to life and cancer makes me realize that I’ve done some growing but they are giants compared to me.

I was an incredibly grateful mood that my daughter will continue to sleep in the house she’s dreamt at since birth, that in no way really was cancer any longer an emergency in any way of my life. I sat and absorbed what will probably be the fanciest dinner of my life and the kid who almost 2 years ago was told to make sure he didn’t take in caffeine or alcohol, well let's just say at that dinner, I made sure I had both. I wish I could have brought everyone to the dinner who has been part of the help but as I sat a crowd of people who were grateful for life and for living it strong, my mind where making new memories didn’t struggle with one. At court earlier that day, there had been someone from my local medical team, a letter from Duke, people from ultimate Frisbee, people from running, friends who had known me since elementary, family that had known me since birth, the minister I’ve sat and done counseling with for over a year,coworkers and for those of you who have seen the Livestrong video,  the woman who taught me how to braid Kiana’s hair, and my own mother who had given me some clue as to how to parent, something I’m far from perfect at but I think cancer’s made me work harder at it. 

Saturday morning, I went and coached the marathon training group I have and ran with the guy who wanted to part midway and do harder workout through tougher hills. He gave me the option to bow out since I had the 100 mile ride but we ran side by side for the workout. If I’ve learned nothing else, it’s best to have some company through the up and downs.

The 100 mile ride would come Sunday. It was hell. It was hotter than I’d ever cycled in, tougher hills than I’d ever done, and a 20 mile an hour head wind for what seemed like 80 miles of it. I’m still not good at this drafting thing but I sure tried it more than I ever have. I’m not good at breaks so I didn’t take any so when I was drafting I did it behind a variety of different groups, making small talk with some people, seeing banners of people I’d never heard of  and others that now I knew of or had heard of. I’m not sure which was emotionally more difficult to process, the “In Honor of,” “In Memory of” or “Survivor” but the longer I get into this journey I had echoes of each of them.

I am still nervous about this custody thing, about this cancer thing, about this employment thing but I let those things be in the back of my mind during the ride, and well the center of my mind has a hole so I keep trying to focus on my heart which is stronger in many ways. This has to be at least a combination of the fact that my medical restrictions make me walk, ride or run most places. There was one hill in the ride which was a 16% grade (showing how big of a rookie I am, I’m not really sure what that means), there were a half dozen riders who had to walk it. I went to my lowest gear and pedaled as hard as I could where a crowd at the top was shouting us to make it. About halfway up, there was a guy sitting on the floor looking frustrated and tired. Another rider stopped, got off his bike and started walking both bikes up and the other person stood up and looking both frustrated and grateful got up and walked behind them. I never saw them again but that moment burned into my memory.

Someone had a sign there that was “In Honor of Iram J. Leon, stronger than ever.” I don’t know that I think I’m stronger, even if I am more athletic which at the end is literally one foot of the other but I am more grateful, which has to be a form of stronger. There’s part of this journey where I’ve been the guy on the floor with his bike laying next to him, perhaps too many. But every once in a while, today, anyday, I hope I can be the guy walking with both bikes. Cause whether it’s a peleton, or a conference, or a relay team or an ultimate team,  being in it together is important. There’s an old quote that that teamwork is working towards the same vision, even when that vision is blurry. Cancer, my life and the ways those have intertwined have some very blurry elements but I’m very grateful for the team. And 100 miles further into it. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

No Emergency

So the court hearing didn’t exactly happen… Well it didn’t happen at all but there were people there who had written letters and were prepared to testify that I have done everything necessary, taken whatever precautions  that the doctors recommended and then some to try to be as responsible as a dad I can under the circumstances.  It was my impression that my exes attorney was less than well informed about my medical condition. The letter from Duke was obviously helpful. They tried to get me to sign an agreement that I would sign away custody if I was every found collapsed again. They asked that I would sign a release giving them access to all my medical records so they could have it reviewed independently by another doctor to see if I was fit to parent. The short version is that the answer to that was obviously absolutely not because quack doctors are found everywhere who could weigh in. They still are hoping to have a Federal HIPPA law overruled by a judge somewhere down the line but we weren’t going to sign off on it.

It was amusing for them to argue that my pushing my exes boyfriend was due to my medical condition but let’s be frank… some people were surprised it hadn’t happened earlier and let’s be clear, it was therapeutic but if nothing else shows my discipline, I’d never gotten anywhere near that level of losing my temper until I was within my legal rights to do so. Anyone who thinks my moral rights weren’t crossed long ago has different morals than I do. It might have helped that my attorney literally had the picture of me next to my mother and next to his mother after the surgery to explain to a judge why there might be some tension. An explanation attempt was made that because of the tension between Kiana’s mother and is why she brought company but of course anyone who thinks that would be relieved by bringing her boyfriend lives in a different reality than most people.

There were about 14 people there ready to testify about my parenting skills and even my exes attorney stated that we aren’t saying you’re a bad father. I didn’t say anything but what I wanted to say was, no I’m a grate father but you know I wanted to say it a little less eloquently.
In the end the attorneys agreed to draft a document that felt like winning on all accounts. It hasn’t been written or signed but the agreement verbally that day was that we would go to counseling (something that I hope and pray happens because no matter what the past is, we’re stuck with each other), that Kiana’s mom was welcome to bring anyone she wanted any time she wanted with the exception of one person, and that less of our finances will be run through each other but rather will be run through formal institution. I hope and trust this lets us focus on the bigger picture, somehow finding a way to coparent and raise our child. 

In the end, I walked away feeling that due to the Duke appointments being set so far away, that this court while it’s not yet concluded because other than emergency  hearings these things take months, that cancer is in no way an emergency in my life.

From there I went home and while some of the people who had come to the hearing offered to take me out to eat, I wanted to make sure to get to my daughter’s first track and field day. Court sessions drag out and so I only caught the final event, the dance off. You better believe I danced like no one was watching. My mom and I went to the Livestrong gala. The video was supposed to be shown but due to technical difficulties none of them were shown L. Still, there were a few people who told me they had seen it and thanked me for it, still an awkward feeling. Still, the day before, I had gone to a conference where different organizations were present about how to better mix the balance of competition and collaboration between the different organizations dealing with cancer. I myself am an athlete that realizes that you have to have both elements in order for things to be at their best and where the balance of that is… I don’t know. 

All other things aside, what I talked about the most at the Gala was my mom doing her first half marathon at sixty. Michael J. Fox said after his illness that “Family isn’t an important thing, it’s everything.” I would expand that to include friends but I am glad that this has given me ‘awareness’ of that.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Best Mirrors

The return to Duke went very well. I talked to them about the ADD medication we had tried and let them know that it didn’t seem to be that effective, confirming perhaps what the local doctors believed that this was a structural not a chemical problem. They recommended taking it on important days if I wanted but that it wasn’t going to be a normal thing.

More importantly the guy who has seen more doctors than he cares to realize.. In the last two years, 2 neuro surgeons, 3 neurologists, 3 neuropsychologists, 3 oncologists, 2 general physicians, 2 ambulances, 4 trips to Duke, dozens of appointments (still not a month without one) lots of nurses, physicians assistants, physicians aides, receptionists, (mostly good people), left there with no return to trip to Duke and showing exactly why I love my Duke oncology team, we revolved it around their annual 5k in April and they wrote a letter on my behalf stating my condition was stable. While I actually have a letter in my possession that says that cancer wasn’t what was left, we decided, I think intelligently that since the doctors have never had any clear consensus from day one to day now that we’d go with the most conservative approach because, if on Friday, when this emergency hearing happens, we can present to the judge that nothing has changed or gotten worse in regards to my medical conditions. 

I played in a camping ultimate tournament on the east coast while out there. Without fail, everytime I’ve gone to Duke I’ve also taken a trip to somewhere else, the original trip with my previous spouse, the other 3 to catch friends on the east coast. Part of that is for some reason the Raleigh Austin flight is ridiculous and each time it’s been cheaper or about the same to take a three way trip. A picture here is where I stayed and it is helpful for the trips to not just be to deal with cancer. Somehow it’s very cool that the next one is around their 5k… I wore my Mohawk up there and got reprimanded for the fact that I had sent them no poster. I will be sending them one.
And I sat with my tourney with medical records, school records, letters from people who had been there before the divorce and she sat and thought it out and was honest that while she couldn’t predict anything, she thought no judge would see this as an emergency where Kiana should only receive supervised visits and she hopes that the judge will throw out the case as we see it, as frivolous. 

It was interesting that the day after I got back was when Lance Armstrong resigned as head of the board and Nike drops it’s sponsorship of him etc. I’ve had a few friends (and strangers) ask me question about that but what can I say? I don’t know anything about cycling and frankly I don’t care. I’ve met the guy a couple of times but I was proud of him, whether it was forced or a choice (but the guy started the foundation so at some level it had to be a choice) for recognizing that something was bigger than him even though he started. I am a guy who was a surprise and didn’t meet his dad till I was 15. My daughter was a  surprise. Sometimes things have to outgrow, or at least outlive their origins.

But nonetheless, while the last few days at Duke, sitting with an attorney about the court about the emergency hearing, Lance Armstrong’s deal, I am still a fan of Livestrong and a fan of life. The person who drove me around Austin was my friend Alycia who we’ve known each other since we were 14. They say that old friends are the best mirrors and we’ve known each other 18 years now… I mean whatever makes us 29… but it’s been interesting to see each other grow. We’ve gone down very different paths than I think either of us would have called back then but she pointed out that I’m a better dad and a better runner because that’s the way I always was, that focusing on something makes me better. I said showing her the neuropsychological report that my IQ is in the 99% percentile and my verbal abilities are higher than most people even with a high IQ that some of my abilities to learn due to memory are severely hampered. She was there when I was valedictorian and I am like I couldn’t do that anymore. Somehow it was incredibly comforting to hear her say that I seemed to have focused on better things. 

I am worried about tomorrow but less than I was when first heard the news. I am worried about cancer but less than I was when I first heard the news. As this blog has often said who knows what’s coming but I hope that some of the friends I’ve kept and made along this journey… that in due time we will be good mirrors because we’ll also have become old friends.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Nightmare Scenario

I sit here blogging at 3:00 in the morning which shows how well I’m sleeping I suppose. The nightmare scenario described previously in this blog begins… call it foreshadowing if you will or self-fulfilling prophecies. But today, of all things while at Livestrong talking about the gala (I’d been trying to get her mother to let Kiana go but she said they hadn’t in anyway helped Kiana) and seeing a poster they were signing for my mom, I got an email with a scan of legal service that said that we were having an emergency meeting on October 19th, of all days the day of the Livestrong Gala. ( All other memory issues aside, these connections to Livestrong are intriguing. I put off surgery to run their first marathon. Kiana’s mom would literally leave the night they opened their facility, their bike ride makes this new car restriction easier and their Gala and the custody conversation

It literally states and you know how private I am and either way this is public record: “His health impairs his ability to take care of their daughter’s parties in a safe manner. Your client has had a seizure and was found on the side of the road. The parties child is only 5 years old and if he has a seizure while caring for her, it could be very dangerous.” It talks about  my neurological problems resulting from my brain cancer and that I should only have supervised visits and that she be designated  as the person who has the right to designate the primary residence of the child.

I sat down an attorney and how did I not go into that or the medical field… these guys know how to bill you… but I understand why the professions are important and both attorneys, as I hear is typical, is asking that the losing parties pay for both fees. She thinks that it will look suspect since these conditions were there before the divorce and that it refers to a recent collapse of which anyone who reads this read about it the day after it happened back in March 7 months ago. It was simply explained to me that it may look petty that the reference to my collapse is billed as recent but the fact that I am more than typically capable of seizure has had children removed in the past but it is the hope that because there has never been a time I’ve been secretive or reckless that it won’t matter.

As I did the day I was served with the divorce petition, I skipped the workout today. It’s odd, a psychology major, even being aware of many things that are hoping and coping mechanisms… I put off surgeries to run marathons, I sneak out of hospitals to go running and even after I am found collapsed, I get up and run 15 miles two days later but when the possibility of losing my family, my wife at the time and my daughter now… that stops the drive.

Things will not get settled for good on October 19th but they’ll be reset for a long long time like sometime into next year. I’ve let the Livestrong guys know that if I am told that morning that I won’t be living with my daughter and only will be allowed supervised visits because of this that I won’t be making the gala. As the video clearly states, it was for her that I was able to keep it together and well… if it’s because of this that I have incredibly limited access to this, let’s just be clear, that’s not going to be a night where I should be socializing. If you read this, I think it’s clear I was never fighting just to avoid death but rather to keep living….

It’s 3:30 in the morning and I am writing this because I am awake in a nightmare scenario. Hopefully this passes and I am back to trying to get my grandma to sign up for her first 5k in 10 days but if not well… then I don’t know what to say. I missed the workout last night but Kiana is having a playdate tonight and we aren’t missing that. I’ve said that for a while, I don’t know how much time I have left with her but I have tried to shield her from the effects of this as best as I know how.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Better Half

Three years ago I’d never run anything longer than a 10k in my entire life. I wanted to knock out 1 marathon before 30 just to check it off. Along the way I did some races including two half marathons… and 3 years later I’m still at it. However, this year, I did something new and got into cycling to do a century for the Livestrong challenge, since if nothing else the last 2 years have taught me that new challenges come with some costs, physical, financial and emotional but hey…  Kiana loves butterflies and one of her books talks about how they have to be able to tear through some struggles to learn to fly. I don’t know that I’ll ever learn to fly but I am sure trying to not learn to quit.
I haven’t been allowed to drive for a month so cycling has become my car or walking has. It feels incredibly serendipitous that I learned from that training how to be a better biker, excuse me cyclist. My blog, picking up a hitchhiker, is named that because I’ve picked up every hitchhiker I’ve ever come across and I am not sure I actually believe in Karma but I’ve gotten rides or ridden to everywhere I need to go safely.

I wasn’t missing this half marathon no matter what because it was my mom’s first and there’s something about not missing firsts. It was a lot tougher than I realized it would be. I borrowed a stroller from the expensive Bob types and it makes a huge difference. I was running with Kiana so I couldn’t have earphones like I usually do for races so I had a little portable speaker system. And unlike typical… I didn’t want to be rude so I started further back to not be in people’s way with a stroller. The songs for this playlist were well thought out and they were incredibly about home…wayne watson’s the long way home, Celtic thunder’s I wanna go home, when you’re home from in the Heights, Maroon’s five when you’re home, and it ended with Bon Jovi’s who says you can’t go home. Some of those are about home in general and some are hopelessly romantic for the guy who seems so insistent on being single…  The last meal I had before going out there was at a Chinese place whose fortune cookie seems to want to argue with me like some friends and family do.

I wish I could tell you a lot about the race but the honest truth is that it was cold and windy and I was just trying to keep going.  I breathed harder than I have for any race other than track ones because I literally buckled down to hold the stroller steady for a good section of the race and my back hurts a lot 3 days later. Kiana slept for the first half hour and every so often after she woke up gave me the heckling faster, daddy after that she does every so often.  Plus I had this Mohawk that surely made me more aerodynamic.

A guy ran with me for about miles 5-10 and said to me there was no chance we could keep that pace. I stayed behind him since he was from there figuring that would keep my spatial orientation issues from letting me get lost. I thought he was right but it only turned out true for him. I had a heckler (Kiana) to keep me going moving from 5th to 4th at that point. I could see the leaders but they were “forever” up the road. I tried to gun it and would pass 2 of them literally in the last half mile but never could catch the first guy. I ended up 19 seconds behind him in gun time and 5 seconds in chip time.  But while winning would have made my day and anyone who reads this knows I’m competitive, I was there for something bigger. I tried to get Kiana to go back out but it had gotten colder so she stayed with grandpa waiting at Ratliff Stadium, home to Friday night lights. A policeman who controlled the final intersections (I was bundled up and wearing a hat by the time I passed him the second time) asked why I was going back and I told him to finish with my mom; I was stopping to make sure I was heading back the right way. He started to tell me about a crazy guy with a Mohawk who was running with a stroller; I took off my hat.  I jogged back out on the course and the volunteers at mile 11 said that there were no half marathoners left, that they had all gotten on the trail wagon. I was in shock and let’s be clear would have been thoroughly disappointed in my mother if that was true. It turned out she was just up the road and I would see her, jog out to her and we’d finish the last couple of miles together. Kiana would join us as we did the last quarter of a mile on the track and I got my mom to jog the last bit (or what she thought was jogging anyway).

The local paper ended up doing a story on my mom’s first half marathon ( I’ve done a lot more and even with trophies have never made the paper… oh well. As we crossed the last policeman, he shouted at my mom, your son is my hero; the girls I finished between are mine and why I keep going. The newspaper was kind enough to send me the picture of us finishing together and you better believe that’s on this year’s holiday card. (email me your address if you want one).
I’ve ran other halfs, the next one is the one that I would do not too long after the biopsy with the coincidental bib of 911.… and now that it’s getting darker… I hope I can still figure out a way to get to the workouts. But I had bib #8 on this, appropriately enough, I’ve gotten it on the 3 most significant races, the Livestrong Marathon, the BrainPower 5k and the Crossroads Marathon. A lot of my life for the last two years have felt like some strange crossroads but while that was my second best time in the half marathon, it was my best half. I hope this half, my better half, my best half so far in my opinion even if it’s slower is symbolic of my life where my family is active participants not just spectators.  I am in the second half of that too and no matter what else I’ve gotten wrong, I’m getting better at those parts. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Eschew Obfuscation

Well, the panel sat down and talked about my case and the short version is it’s not clear to a board of 20 plus experts where to go from here. For the time being we are not worried about the tumor and no one feels the need to do tumors any more frequently then every six months. I call that a win. The guy who didn’t want to take pain medications in the biopsy or surgery, who has always been hesitant about taking the anti seizure medication… well now I pushed and prodded to get essentially an add medication prescribed to him that only 1 doctor thinks might help. Only one of my original doctors from Duke thought it would help with the local guys thinking it served no function since they believe the damage is structural not chemical and that it could cause more seizure. Still, at some level I am grateful that the doctors are willing to try things even if they disagree… Obviously if you read this, I’ll let you know how it goes. I am putting starting it till Sunday after I do my mom’s first half marathon with her since theoretically it could trigger more seizures… but either way they labled the arm spasms that and I am restricted to driving until the day before the Austin marathon… somehow that Livestrong 100 mile bike training ride seems serendipitous.  I walked to a medical appointment this week and I had promised Kiana I would have lunch with her at school this day and realized I wouldn't make it back so... I took the bus for the first time ever living in Austin. The smile on her face at lunch made it worth it.

Apparently Kiana’s mother’s boyfriend actually tried to have charges pushed because of getting pushed off my property and the government thought there was nothing there worth pursuing because well there was nothing there worth pursuing. And speaking of government, my old government job offered me a settlement of 3 months worth of medical coverage and the unpaid hours that I had accumulated from having scheduled my MRI’s at 9:00 and not having had any funds to take vacation from the last couple of years… While a cursory reading of this blog will tell you that we both mishandled a lot of the situation throughout all this (I believe them at the beginning which led to my distrust but trust begets distrust). But at the end of the day, as I said a few days after being terminated to my friends, I screwed up by forgetting something on the stand and there was no pattern there and the fact that these guys didn’t contest unemployment shows there was no pattern but the fact that I just kept trying to overcome all this without sharing any of it was my mistake. In Boston, I got lost the day before the marathon walking around town and called a friend who got me reoriented back and interestingly enough got me back by some serious backpedalling. It is interesting to me that the neurosurgeons both the local one and the one at Duke are the ones who think I still won't make 40. So I suppose this thing with my old job is a decent settlement and the paperwork isn't clear but I think we'll end up with signing it. Ironically, a sticking point was that they wanted me to retroactively resign and I wouldn't because well i'm not the quitting type. You gotta love the fact that I am the one arguing to an old employer that I want them to leave a firing on my record.

I tried to continue the helpful spirit and while this Mohawk isn’t my style, I died it yellow for Livestrong day figuring if nothing else I should be a good sport.  Then the day after that, I went to the cancer and transitions class and I’m continuing to be a fan of those guys, realizing that the rookie mistake I’ve made all along is not admitting some of these things to myself, and therefore to others. I have to keep, despite this memory, remembering that even if a lot of this is journey because no one has ever been quite through all of it, it doesn’t have to be alone. I’ve even offered to host a support group for young cancer since Livestrong was looking for people to do that.

Nonetheless, despite all that, I am heading to West Texas to run my mom’s first half marathon with her pushing a stroller. The legs still work and loving my mom and daughter still work. And I’m going to literally  push that love in whatever way I can. This is titled eschew obfuscation (you should look that up) and to continue to make progress, I have to do that.  Okay, it means avoid being unclear. Someone asked at my running group if I notice any differences from the surgery and I have all along and they are noted over and over again in my medical records, that I have a hard time remembering people and their names, it’s a facial recognition issue and with spatial orientation and with some immediate memory problems (ironically the guy who asked, I would ask someone who knows about this who they were a little while later). You can’t just throw that out to everyone but you shouldn’t try to hide it from everyone including yourself.
And in the midst of all that, I literally became  a cancer poster child with one of my favorite pictures of Kiana and I now being on one of their poster… which I hope is helpful to someone cause at some level it feels… strange. One friend asked for one and Livestrong gave me 2 (they offered more but I didn’t know what to do with that), one for me and one for my mother. The friend offered a $100 donation to Livestrong to support my Austin marathon race so if you want one do something similar (it could be less) and I’m sure I can get you one.
My mom’s about to run her first half marathon and I’m going to run it pushing Kiana. At the latest doctors appointment my resting heart rate was 48… getting closer to the best it’s ever been (right after Boston at 47). So maybe my brain’s not what it was 2 years ago but my heart’s better. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Lion's Pride

Today is Livestrong day. Appropriately enough I have an appointment there for counseling… yesterday I went and got a Mohawk for Hawktober, brain cancer awareness month. A couple of hours after that I have a big medical appointment where Austin’s first ever neuro-oncologist will weigh in on what having presented the case to tons of doctors come in. A couple of weeks after that I return to Duke.   This, like that scar and that tattoo, are party of my identity.
I've been biking and running and applying for jobs, still not ready to accept the disabled label. 3 years ago when I started running again it was with the Austin marathon relay. Back then I ran my leg at about a 7:00 minute pace and our team then had got a 3:10 time. This year, our team won the marathon relay in a time of 2:43.34 and I ran my leg at about 6:06. And I keep listening to Bon Jovi’s hold on to what you got, it doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not, we’ve got each other and that’s a lot, for Love, we’ll give it a shot.  At some level, I want to fall in love and tell someone I want to know what Love is, I want you to show me for the spontaneity and randomness of it all. The honest truth is for the last race was the first time I hadn’t made a playlist for a race in forever and I didn’t have a GPS watch and was just going to go out and jog it (it may have had something to do with the fact that I’d ran 19 miles before with the group I’m training). But the competitive nature and streak came out, it came out and as I started seeing the first 2 relay groups go out… I borrowed a GPS watch and created a playlist on my iphone and when it was time to go, I went and went and went. The elite time of 10ks, how you get into the first wave of races is to break 38 minutes so with exhausted legs, I went to push and push and push and ended up getting 37:45 and winning my leg of the relay with my team winning the whole thing.

I met with the guy coordinating the Livestrong 15th anniversary and he sat and asked some questions so he could present a more full story at their anniversary. They told me tickets were $1000 a head and my reaction internally was well I can't afford that and then he said they would be giving me 2 of them. I have no clue who you invite to that type of thing. One friend said you should get a date for that which is an amusing thought since he said they might show the video and if that's not the most awkward first date ever... He said that people had requested to sit at my table and meet them… which blows my mind frankly… That meeting was appropriately enough right before the cancer and transitions classes and to both them and him I had acknowledged that my face name recognition is less than adequate. Appropriately, frustratingly enough I couldn’t remember of the guy who had sat next to me, whose name was Leon… I made far more thorough notes the second time around.

Still, when I went to go the Mohawk last night, I biked up there both because I don’t want to ask people for help any more than necessary and to train for that 100 mile bike ride in 3 weeks. Yet the pride that doesn’t want to ask anyone for help still asked for a ride to West Texas this weekend on facebook because I don’t want to miss my mother’s first half marathon no matter what…

I helped run regionals for ultimate frisbee again as I did 2 years ago, a few days before the seizure that would start all this. I asked for a lot more help and wasn’t even the tournament director, just assisted her with it, helping make some things happen but she was awesome.

Still, I’ve been walking Kiana to school and to many many places some a few miles away (on those I use the stroller). But I’m in shape so there’s nothing to complain about. And Kiana has been fine with running and walking even on a cold rainy day. Today as it was chilly she said can you just hold me and carry me and I’ll do all the upper body work I have to do that as long as I need. How long the driving restriction lasts will be told to me today… what medications to play with will be consulted with me today as well as Duke in 2 weeks… Yeah I’m nervous, yeah I’m worried, yeah I’m frustrated but the day will end with a bike ride to and from a track workout and a little girl getting kissed good night.

My pride through this helped me put off a brain surgery to run a marathon, it makes me bike instead of asks for rides unless absolutely necessary, it’s making me go broke in other ways, but the right part of this Lion’s pride is his child… And I hope to always do right by her even on days like today, Livestrong day, where at the beginning of the day, some of that is incredibly clear and some of that is clear as mud. Here is hoping more is clear and less is muddy at the end of the day. Still even on the days it's unclear I have a little girl who stops and smells the flowers all the time and at some level, that's good she helps me slow down to do that. If that's not living strong, I'm not sure what is.