• Alexis,  Anniversary,  Cemetery,  Dan,  Family,  Grieving,  Leah,  Memories,  Rachel,  Raine,  Tom

    Death is Nothing at All

    It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever…

  • 2018,  Awesomeness,  Birthday,  Dan,  Drink,  Family,  Gratitude,  Grieving,  JD,  Joy,  Leah,  Memories,  Raine

    Simple Pleasures – October 2018

    Let’s Play Some Random Catch-Up … Pretty unexpected but Raine loved it — Cheering on a golf game at the country club reception following Great Grandma Karpiak’s funeral. Read her obituary here. Highlights of that family gathering included Raine getting a chance to play with his cousins — Pictured here: JD on guitar and Bennett on drums. Raine asks us to play nerf basketball with him everyday all day. This particular afternoon, he wanted to increase the difficulty of a three point shot. That meant piling items upon himself?   I celebrated my 38th birthday with lots of messages and love from all of the wonderful people in my life.…

  • 2018,  Awesomeness,  Celebrate,  Dan,  Father's Day,  Grateful,  Memories,  Parenting,  Raine

    Father’s Day 2018

    Happy Father’s Day to my amazing husband, Dan Herzing.   I am a dork and signed Raine and Dan up for a Father-Son Basketball Camp at Eureka College without even thinking about the fact that Dan has only one reliable lung, vertigo, and a recent complete shoulder replacement. It didn’t stop him from attending today, doing the best he could, and not even caring that he might have looked a little awkward and funny to all the other dads. Since his S4 diagnosis in 2014, we have been blessed with FOUR Father’s Days together. Raine will someday know how utterly amazing this is. For now, he was just happy to…

  • Announcement,  Awesomeness,  Cancer,  Cardinal + Finch,  Dan,  Gifts,  Grandpa Don,  Honestly,  Leah

    Young Cancer Family Starts Gift Business – We Need Your Help!

    {Medical Update: Dan’s shoulder replacement surgery was successful! He is such a rock star; he was sent home the following morning. Like, 24 hours later–In a giant hospital t-shirt that said “get moving,” super tight scrub pants, and no shoes. Clearly, I was not prepared with an overnight bag. He started physical therapy after two weeks of resting and is driving, cooking, and managing his pain well. We are keeping a close watch on his edema for signs of infection but so far so good!}   I developed this little hobby of making gift boxes full of wonderful goodies. I pretended it was a real business and gave it a…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  Alcensa,  ALK,  ALK-Inhibitors,  Anxiety,  Cancer,  Corey,  Dan,  Honestly,  Leah,  Lung Cancer,  Nick,  NSCLC,  Radiation,  Scanxiety,  Surgery,  Surgxiety,  Targeted Radiation,  Tumors

    Medical Update – Shoulder Surgery & Radiation Results

    We spent a Saturday evening in Chicago celebrating the 40th birthday of our bestie, Corey. (Shout out to Corey! He is the reason we ended up dating and getting married.) Dan had just enough energy to live it up and enjoy being with friends. So this guy likes to keep me on my toes. Wednesday Dan will have surgery for a complete shoulder replacement. First thing I know is that his shoulder hurt while golfing, and then all of the sudden we are in for a matrix bionic shoulder. Ok, that might be extreme, but I have seen the sling he will need to use and it kind of makes…

  • Awesomeness,  Beer,  Berry,  Books,  Dan,  Friends,  Grandpa Don,  Gratitude,  Grieving,  Home,  Honestly,  Illinois,  Leah,  Photos,  Sunday Sunday,  Taylor

    Sunday , Sunday – Edition 2

      Things that made me smile the last two weeks … What made you smile? Having drinks with my neighbor and friend, Taylor, Friday. We used some of my mom’s glasses from the hutch collections to sip our blueberry sour lambic. She helped me untangle ribbon for the gift boxes. We talked about anything and everything while the kids played. You know, adulthood? Raine describing the new business to his buddy: My mom got a business. She makes boxes (gesturing to them). She puts little surprises inside and when people open them, they’re like, “WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOAAAAAAHHHHHH!” Should I make that my tag line? The sun. I know everyone here thinks it…

  • Awesomeness,  Bipolar Disorder,  Dan,  Dr. Singh,  Gifts,  Gratitude,  Hobbes,  Hope,  Marriage,  Sunday Sunday

    Sunday, Sunday – Edition 1

      We survived another week! Time for another. Things that made me smile … What made you smile? The kindness and generosity of somone who is going to help us get Hobbes treatment to remove the tumor on his tummy. Creating a new playroom for Raine so that he can pretend he is an American Ninja Warrior. Vegan cookies from Cyd’s. My options are thin for a dairy allergy, so when in Peoria … Buy 4 cookies and live large! ( I would share a photo…But you know it! I ate them so fast.) Catching up with friends. Celebrity name drop! TAYLOR BLACK. JON BYLER DAN. ALLYSON PATTERSON. The support…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  Anxiety,  Cancer,  Coping,  Dan,  Gamma Knife,  Lung Cancer,  Metastasis,  Parenting,  Radiation,  Raine,  Targeted Radiation,  Tumors

    Talking to Raine About Daddy’s Radiation

    It was a quiet Monday night. We finished dinner and Raine was anxious to watch the tv show The Voice, his latest obsession (he is rooting for Noah). Rather than head for the living room, I asked him to stay at the table for a talk. I was flying by the seat of my pants in an attempt to tell him about Dan’s radiation appointment the following morning. Dan didn’t even know it was coming. *** First, I busted out his creepy puzzle that reveals all of the anatomy of our bodies. It lets Raine place puzzle pieces in layers–skeleton, organs, muscle, and skin, as well as the clothing worn on…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  ALK,  ALK-Inhibitors,  Cancer,  Chemotherapy,  Dan,  Dr. Kumar,  Lung Cancer,  Medical Jargon,  Metastasis,  NSCLC

    Medical Update: More MRIs and Stopping Chemo

    “And one has to understand that braveness is not the absence of fear but rather the strength to keep on going forward despite the fear.” – Paulo Coelho Based on MRI results in August, we spoke with our new radiation oncologist, Dr. Mackenzie McGee with OSF, as well as the opinion of Dr. James L. McGee, and have increased the frequency of these scans and now have them at the gamma knife center in Peoria. There is a spot that could be brain mets but it hasn’t changed recently. It will be more closely monitored if they find enhancement, gamma knife radiology would be the next step. In other news: With…