Update on Dad and New PR for Micah
April 15, 2016
This year I will be running the Lincoln Half Marathon with my youngest son, Micah, by my side. We are running for Bappa and Grandma (my parents and his grandparents). Here is my/our story...
There are certain moments in a person’s life that are forever etched in their mind and in their heart. You are not the same person before that moment in time. The past 3 years I have had several of these moments. The first was three years ago. My mom was healthy, active, and enjoying retirement. She woke up one day with a stomach ache and thought she had the flu. After a week she decided to see the doctor. Later I read her journals and the truth was she must have known something was very wrong. She described just not feeling like herself and was hoping she was being paranoid. She wasn’t. After her blood work came back abnormal they ordered a CT scan. On November 1, 2012, my dad, mom and myself waited patiently for the doctor’s office to call with the results. “We would like to see you in person in one hour” is what they said when we finally got the call. As we waited in the room for my mom’s doctor to come in, you could have heard a pin drop. When the door finally opened my mom’s doctor had tears running down her face. My heart started to race and what followed was a blur of scientific terms that sounded like a foreign language. I swallowed hard and said “could you please explain what is going on? I don’t understand.” She said, “your mom has advanced stage pancreatic cancer. It is inoperable and incurable. The best option is chemotherapy to buy her some time.” I just stared at her and could not catch my breath. I could not move and then the tears started. All the way home I kept thinking they must be wrong. My mom is in shape. She eats healthy. She works out. She’s so beautiful and amazing. This cannot be happening to MY MOM. But it was. And it did. Just five short months later after a horrific battle with this evil cancer, she left this earth. The hole that was left when she died has never gone away. I know that it never will.
This used to be where my story ended. My mom died from pancreatic cancer. It was devastating and horrible but I fought back by getting involved with Project Purple. I ran Marine Corps Marathon and raised money and awareness and felt her by my side every step of the way. I brought Project Purple to my home state of Nebraska where we became the official charity at the Lincoln Marathon. Over the past two years over 150 runners raised money and awareness for this disease. I worked so hard being on the Board alongside some amazing, dedicated people who were also touched by pancreatic cancer. We raised a lot of money and funded research and helped patients. I started to feel like my mom’s death, although excruciatingly painful, finally had some kind of meaning. Like I said, this used to be where my story ended.
Then I had another moment… the kind I talked about before. The kind of moment that knocks you to your knees and takes your breath away. My dad called a couple of months ago. He said he had a stomach ache over the weekend. He said he woke up yellow on Monday morning. I honestly do not remember the rest of his words but I know I was driving and I pulled over and started hyperventilating and crying. He kept reassuring me that it was going to be okay. But I knew too much. Three years of being involved with Project Purple had educated me about this disease. And I knew. I called Dino who had become a very good friend throughout this journey and we both cried. But we also hoped that maybe we were wrong. After blood work, a CT scan, and a subsequent biopsy, we were delivered the unthinkable news. “Your dad has stage four inoperable pancreatic cancer. It has already spread to his liver. There is no surgical option and the best we can do is chemotherapy to buy him some time.” As if that was not bad enough, the horrifying blow was delivered on my mom’s birthday, July 30th.
Since then my dad has begun chemotherapy. It is hard to wrap my brain around being at the same cancer center as where my mom was treated. All of the sights and sounds of that office bring up so many awful memories. I can still see my mom in that sad place as she deteriorated over the course of a few months. Then I look over at him and just shake my head that this cannot be happening. Again. But my dad needs me. He needs me to be cheerful and positive and comforting and strong. So I have been and I will be. I do not understand why my mom died from pancreatic cancer. I do not understand why my dad will die from pancreatic cancer one day. All I know is that I hate this cancer with every fiber of my being and we HAVE to find a cure. Three years ago our family knew very little about pancreatic cancer. Today it has broken our hearts not once but twice. So I will be lacing up at the Lincoln Marathon for my mom and my dad and all those affected by this evil, deadly cancer. It will be an emotional journey for not only me but my youngest son, Micah, as well. He announced to my dad who we all call "Bappa" that he was going to run the Lincoln Half Marathon for Project Purple. I could not be prouder. We will run those 13.1 miles for our mom/grandma, dad/Bappa, and all those affected by pancreatic cancer.
Thank you for any donation you are able to contribute. I ask you to pray for those fighting and for the researchers working hard to find a cure.
From my entire family, THANK YOU for your donation to Project Purple!
Some Facts about Project Purple:
In the last four years, our charity has provided $500K in grants to top medical centers specializing in the study of pancreatic cancer. We have carefully selected institutions based on the quality of their work and their researchers. Recipients include Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Tufts Medical Center, University of Nebraska Medical Center, NYU, and Columbia. Grants have also been awarded to postdoctoral students and professional researchers, to support studies in early detection methods, a cure, and a better understanding of the mysterious and deadly disease.
Patient Financial Aid
Project Purple helps support families and individuals dealing with the financial burden of pancreatic cancer. Patients who are currently battling are given support with medical bills, living expenses, and travel. We also give care packages to patients to provide comfort during hospital visits.
For the past three years, Project Purple has helped undergraduate, graduate, and nursing students achieve their academic goals by providing scholarships. These awards are given to bright, passionate students whose lives have been adversely affected by pancreatic cancer. Many have lost parents or other close relatives to the disease, other had the disease themselves.
For more information about these programs and what you can do to help support our mission, visit us online at www.run4projectpurple.org. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.