We have a walker

Colleen took her first tentative, Frankenstein-ish steps earlier this week. She is just so proud of herself!

I also need to try out some newfangled HTML5, so let’s kill two birds with one stone:

(Straight HTML5 with JW Flash Player fallback)

Seven years and counting

Seven years ago today, I was an emotional wreck. I knew something was wrong. The thing I had dreaded and feared since my dad got sick and died a few years before was now a reality.

I didn’t have an official diagnosis yet, but I knew. A few weeks prior I had been at the Y, really pushing myself. What felt like a good workout quickly turned into a severe pain in my lower abdomen. As I was poking around trying to figure out what was wrong, my hand grazed something hard that shouldn’t be there. I immediately recognized what it was, but didn’t want to admit it to myself.

Cancer.

It took a couple of weeks of sleepless nights before I made an appointment to see the doctor. Even then, I was too afraid to bring it up, instead asking for something to help with my insomnia.

Finally, the Thursday night before Memorial Day weekend, it came to a head. I could no longer ignore it – I either had to face the truth, or it would kill me.

I don’t generally believe God speaks to us in an audible voice – at least I’ve never experienced that. But as I prepared to call my mom to let her know what was going on, I felt His presence in a way I haven’t before or since. If I could put words to that presence, it would be “Don’t worry – I am with you. We will get through this together.”

I won’t go through the whole ordeal again, as I’ve blogged extensively about it in the past. But I feel compelled to document where I am around my cancer anniversary every year. While there are other days I could celebrate – the last day of chemo, the first day my tumor markers dropped to the normal zone, the day I was given the all-clear by the oncologist – I choose to celebrate the anniversary of my diagnosis. It’s the day that changed my life permanently – I became a cancer patient, and eventually a cancer survivor.

Going through a serious illness has a way of bringing your life in laser-sharp focus. The week after my first round of chemo, I was at a neighbor’s pool (oblivious to the fact that chemo makes you much more likely to get sunburned… but I digress). As I was trying to relax and ignore the waves of nausea and heartburn, I was thinking about my life and what I wanted out of it. I always wanted to be a husband and a father, but at that moment it became my primary goal. As I am realizing more and more every day, life is short. But it’s too long to go through alone.

I think back to that day, and look at where I am now. Seven years later, I’m a couple of weeks away from celebrating my first Father’s Day. I am blessed with two of the most amazing girls one could ask for – my wonderful wife and my adorable daughter.

Life is good.

It’s March already?

My last blog post was your typical apology for not blogging more often.  And I followed that up with a three month silence.  Oh well.

2010 has had no small share of excitement, for lack of a better term.  December was very busy at work with the typical end-of-the-year rush as everyone attempted to get their slates clean for the Christmas break.  Then we had Christmas in Columbia, followed by New Year’s in Chicago.

Sadly, while we were in Chicago, my grandmother passed away.  It wasn’t a huge shock, as when we saw her on Christmas Eve it was obvious she wasn’t doing very well.  But it was still very sad, and we’ll miss her greatly.  Emily lost her last surviving grandparent in 2006, and now I’ve lost mine.

The next week, the earthquake in Haiti struck.  While natural disasters have always meant “all hands on deck” at my job, this one was particularly exhausting.  There were UMC executives caught in the quake, and this marked the first “big” event since a staff restructuring that was supposed to facilitate faster and more numerous updates to our website (but with fewer staff members to share the load).  It was stressful to say the least.

Colleen is doing great – just growing and learning every day.  She’s sitting up on her own, her first tooth is coming through, and she’s starting to talk – in a manner of speaking… she’ll say “dada” without much prompting, but she doesn’t associate it with me  – yet!  Her personality is really coming through, and every day is a new adventure with her.  She’s now seven months old – hard to believe she’s closer to being a year old than she is to her birth date.  Where does the time go?

And we’re back.

…it’s such an interesting and exciting time in my life and it would be a shame to not write about it.

Seriously, Daddy?
Seriously, Daddy? That is not a hat.

After quite a bit of shuffling around, the blog is back. Long story short, I started noticing some odd files showing up on my site a few months ago.  I deleted them, but then in late October I noticed they were back with a vengeance.  Nearly every page throughout the various sites I host had been affected by what I believe was an include file injection.  So the easiest option was to burn everything to the ground and start over again.

So here we are. Whether or not I can actually be bothered to update it is another story, but it’s such an interesting and exciting time in my life and it would be a shame to not write about it.  Our first baby – Colleen Alexis – was born on August 5th, and is an absolute joy for both of us.  She is healthy and happy – we couldn’t ask for anything more.

So with Christmas vacation approaching, I hope to be able to fix up the site a little (the current template leaves much to be desired) and start updating more regularly than I have over the past couple of years.  Social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter have made it so easy to shoot off quick thoughts and opinions without having to sit down and really develop them into a decent blog post.  Which is sometimes nice, but at the same time, there’s value in actually taking that time to really “unpack” those thoughts and get them down on paper.  Er… screen.  Um… you get the idea.

Hopefully there will be more to come soon.