Journey of Your Life

 

As I’ve mentioned before, I think there is something special about the way a song can speak to you and seem like it was written about your life.   This weekend, my wife and I were at a Jake Owen concert and he played a song that I had heard before, but this time, he gave it some extra meaning.  Right before he started playing, he talked about how his Dad had beaten cancer and how proud of him he was.  He said the song reminded him of what his Dad went through and how close they are.

This song resonated with me even before knowing that his Dad is a cancer survivor, just as I am.

Every time I hear it, I think of my grandfather and the type of man he was.  I learned so much growing up and working side by side with him.  He was a man of few words, but when he spoke he chose his words wisely and each one left its mark.  I lost my Grandfather earlier this year and I can tell you he is a man that had a huge impact on my life and will never be forgotten.

Thank you Jake for the song and thank you Gramp, for the advice on the Journey of My Life.

#JakeOwen #JakeOwenMusic #CountryMusic #JourneyOfYourLife

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

LakeMonsters 08.05.2015The Vermont Lake Monsters held a cancer awareness night at the ballpark last week and Cancer Canknot was invited to attend.  We were able to set up on the concourse and reach out to share our story with everyone that stopped by the booth.  We made some great connections with some great people during the event.

The cancer survivors and their families were all able to line up on the first baseline and be recognized for what they have overcome.  It was a humbling moment to look around and know that everyone else standing out there had faced the same Goliath opponent.

Along with the privilege to attend the game and be on the field, I was also given the honor of throwing out the first pitch.  As such a huge baseball fan, it was a very proud moment for me and it was made even more special by having my family there to cheer me on.

I’ve been to many baseball games in my life, but none as special as this one… a game I will truly never forget.

Our Most Precious Cancer Canknot

Erica Canknot1Before I was diagnosed with brain cancer, we always knew we wanted a second child; a sibling for Bryce, a little one to run around at the holidays, another little one to love. Even after given an initial prognosis of 6-12 months to live, we never stopped believing that we would have another child. I can remember at one of my first radiation appointments, the nurse was talking about some of the side-effects of the radiation / chemotherapy and she asked if we had any questions. Anna and I proceeded to ask if the treatment I was undergoing would effect the chances of having a child in the future. You could notice the shock on her face when she heard the question, as not many people fighting brain cancer are thinking about having a child in their future.

I was on oral chemo, Temodar, for a year. We waited a few months after my chemo ended to start trying for a baby. Not knowing the effects that chemotherapy had on my body, we didn’t know how long it would take or if it would even happen. Not too long after we started trying, we found out we were pregnant. Of course we were overjoyed! With us both being planners, we knew we would find out what we were having; would it be a little boy or girl?

As soon we found out that we were going to have a girl, we immediately knew what her name was going to be, our little

Erica Jane

Erica would be named after her daddy; and I couldn’t ask for a better gift. Erica Jane is our Most Precious Cancer Canknot.

Cancer Canknot Stop You From Saying “I Do”

Eric and I have the opportunity to share our Cancer Canknot story with many people, and we always love it when people have an opportunity to share their story with us.

We are always impressed by the strength and resiliency that each story tells, however one conversation we had recently with a survivor really tugged at our heart-strings.

Eric and I were at an event that Cancer Canknot was a part of and a woman walked up to our booth. Usually Eric or I will try to tell the person a little bit about Cancer Canknot and how it got started, but this person already knew who we were….she proceeded to tell us that she had recently been diagnosed with cancer. Previous to her diagnosis she was engaged to be married and when she got the diagnosis, they quickly tied the knot. Having seen the story behind Cancer Canknot in the local news, and knowing of the Cancer Canknot Jewelry, she now has a Cancer Canknot Ring as her wedding band. Just Amazing. Love[1]

When Eric and I came up with the idea for Cancer Canknot, we couldn’t imagine that we’d inspire these types of stories to exist. It still amazes us  how each person wearing a piece of our jewelry has made Cancer Canknot their own. In this woman’s case, Cancer Canknot Stop You From Saying “I Do.” Beautiful.

A Tough Pill To Swallow

I was cleaning up a few things recently and came across something that immediately brought back a lot of memories.

IMG_6447

A few short years ago, this was my life.  Pill bottle after pill bottle, day after day in order to help save my life.  I still remember taking the Temodar and almost instantly feeling sick to my stomach.  I had anti-seizure medication, narcotics for the pain after surgery and pills to help me sleep. I even had pills to help settle my stomach from all the pills I was taking.

The pills were bad, but the blood thinner may have been the worst.  It was a shot that I had to give myself everyday in the stomach, alternating sides as the scar tissue built up and made it hard to puncture the skin without resistance and a strong burning sensation.

This was my life for more than a year… a year that taught me a lot about myself and has made me a better person.

In the end, every pill and needle did its job… and it was worth every poke and tough pill to swallow.

 

 

Cancer Canknot Take Control

In my downtime, it is typical for me to browse popular news-based websites to catch up on recent stories for the day. Today was no different, as I finished my lunch I popped open the web browser and did a quick search on Yahoo. One of the first headlines to read was ‘Massachusetts Mom Beth O’Rouke Types Own Obituary Before Her Death. ‘ Purely based on the title, I was inspired to read more. Was the obituary the result of a cancer related death? It was.

As I read through the article and noted the heartfelt words she penned before she passed, I couldn’t help but feel emotional for her story. She was a wife and a mother to two young children. This was yet another life taken too soon from this disease known as cancer.

With our family having been touched by cancer, every time I hear a story of a person affected by the disease, whether it’s a story of a survivor or of someone who has passed on, I always walk away with some hope and inspiration. After reading this article, it was no different. In her obituary, Beth wrote, ‘Cancer loses grace and love wins,’ which is so inspiring .

In this story, it proves that Cancer Canknot take control. Beth was in charge of her life until the very end. And while I never met Beth, her story has made an impression on my life. My heart goes out to her and her family. Cancer Canknot.

Cancer Canknot in the Caribbean

One more thing that Cancer Canknot do; stop us from taking family vacations and making many more wonderful memories for us to remember. IMG_6087

Cancer Canknot made its way to the Caribbean last week through route of a Disney Cruise! As we’ve said before, family is what it is all about. We made some amazing family memories as we visited the islands in the Caribbean, all while reminding ourselves of everything that Cancer Canknot do!IMG_6109

We wore our Cancer Canknot t-shirts proudly – which even prompted a few people to stop and ask the meaning behind the slogan. Our conversations and mission truly seemed to inspire others, which still amazes us.

Having been given 6-12 months as a prognosis really makes us realize that every moment and vacation spent together is a blessing. Cancer Canknot take away those precious moments and memories.

Cancer Canknot Clothing

A big THANK YOU to everyone who supported our Cancer Canknot booster campaign. With your support we were able to raise $539.62! Your support has allowed us to send our first donation to support cancer research. For our first donation, we have sent it to Mass General – Center for Cancer Research. The Mass General Cancer Center says it well on their website: Every Single Day, Every Moment, Holds the Opportunity for Something Amazing to Happen. Eric is a shared patient with Mass General, so we hope our donation helps that something amazing to happen; Cure Cancer.

People are seeing you all wear your Cancer Canknot shirts around town and have asked us where they can buy one. We are happy to say that you can now buy Cancer Canknot clothing from our website! We have men’s, women’s and youth sizes/styles available.

Check them out at cancercanknot.com

BlueSSFront HoodedBlackFront LSBlackBack WBFront White Hood YouthBlackF

 

MRI Results

As I have mentioned in my previous blogs, I try not to spend too much time thinking about Eric’s brain cancer and the possibility for it to return. However, the week of his MRI’s and follow-up doctor appointments, I can’t help but find myself being a little more anxious than normal.

Last Tuesday Eric went to University of Vermont Medical Center for his routine MRI. He always likes to get a late day appointment  to limit his wait time at the hospital. No matter the time of day, me and the kids go with him. This time was no different. We all loaded in the car, walked down to the MRI wing of the hospital, kissed Eric on the head and he was off to get scanned. Since his appointment was around dinner time, while Eric was in getting scanned, me and the kids ate dinner in the hospital cafeteria. Shortly after we were done eating, Eric was finished with the MRI and we walked back through the hospital to go home and await for the results of the scan the next day with his Oncologist.

It isn’t the MRI itself the gets me nervous, it is waiting for the results. I will find myself looking at the clock frequently at work as I wait to leave in accompanying Eric to the doctor’s office. In preparation for hearing the results,  I will play through the scenarios in my head of what the results could be in anticipation of what the doctor will say.

Eric and I met up at the Oncology office for his late afternoon appointment. As soon as I walked in, I noticed myself paying attention to the nurses and office staff, watching how they interacted with us. If they seemed sad, did it mean that they had bad results? Eric filled out some paperwork in the waiting room, and then nurse called us back to the room. I could feel my palms getting sweaty and my heart starting to race. As we walked to the room, the doctor was in the hallway talking to another nurse – he didn’t look at us as we walked by – oh, no that couldn’t be good.

We waited in the room for a mere minutes, which seemed like hours. I heard the doctor open the door, looked at him, still trying to analyze his body language in anticipation of what he was going to say. Then the words came out of his mouth:

YOUR SCAN LOOKS PERFECT!

Ahh, I immediately relaxed, and found myself smiling. From there on out, it didn’t matter what the doctor had to say. My perfect Eric was still perfect.

Even though it has been over three years since Eric’s initial diagnosis, the anticipation of the results don’t seem to get any easier for me. I still get nervous with wonder in hoping that everything still looks clean on the MRI. We are blessed that Eric has continued to be a survivor of this disease and the results of his February 10th scan still are as perfect as he his.