Step 2 – Cancer

So me and my enlarged spleen went to the hematologist/oncologist for about a month and a half.  They ran tests, forgot to run tests, and ran tests again.  The diagnosis finally came in late November… hairy cell leukemia.  By this time I was taking a nap after getting ready in the morning, taking a nap in my car at work, taking a nap before dinner and going to bed around 7pm.  I was BEAT!

The CFO kept saying “I bet you have cancer.”  Well, at the end, she was right.  I thank God that it is a VERY treatable form of Leukemia.  The doctor had one last test to run to confirm it… a bone marrow biopsy.  This is one of the areas where the medical profession is not 100% truthful all the time.  The word “uncomfortable” has many meanings.  Luckily my Oncologist is a great Doctor and a great guy.  He said “you know what uncomfortable is… something that is happening to you, not me” 🙂

Know what you call the Dr. who graduates last in their class?… Doctor.

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Camping with eight year olds

Boy, camping sure is a lot different now.  We skipped about camping for about two years but we did have some fires at home and with our neighbors. Now the kids are riding bikes, fishing and playing a lot on their own.  It is better and worse.  I see them growing but I can see the time ticking away.  Ten more years and they will be graduating from High School… SCARY!

Fire at home watermark

Children, let them be little because they’re only that way for a short while.

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How work has changed

I left the working world back in March of 2008 when the Triplets were about 18 months old.  If you have read this blog before you know I owned my new position as a SAHD.  One of the things that drives me CRAZY is asking people “do you work outside the home?  Staying at home with kids is not work, it is a calling, it is greater than any job out there.  Calling it work is bringing it down to a level of, well, work.

Back to my job.  I am an HR Generalist where I do recruiting and HR.  I have been blessed with a great opportunity, a great boss and great coworkers.  It is funny how easily I got back into the routine of working.  Now, it was not easy to find this position.  I looked for eight months.

The biggest change in work is that it is work.  I can now turn it off more easily than I did before.  I guess six years of staying at home with the kids helped me.  I hope it helped them:)


On the internet you can be anything you want. It’s strange that so many people choose to be stupid.

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The lead up to cancer diagnosis

I guess I should first write about being diagnosed with hairy cell leukemia.  Yes, I realize that it is a VERY funny name.  It is also VERY rare and VERY treatable.  The whole story started with a cannon ball.  Not the kind that was in the civil war but rather the kind that kids love to do off diving boards.  Bruiser begged and I acquiesced.  I did warn him that I was not going to enjoy it as water was going to shoot up my nose, which it did and I did not.

A week later my nose started swelling and since we were headed to the beach for our end of summer beach trip, I went to the doc in the box.  He told me that I had a contusion and it would heal.  No big deal.  But it did bleed quite often and I had began to get tired more quickly.  A month, yes A MONTH later the doc in a box called and said I had some unusual lab results and they wanted me to come back in.  In the meantime I had tried to give blood but they told me my iron was too low.  That had never happened before.

When I went back the the Dr. they ran more blood work to tell me I had low iron and I was anemic.  They recommended I go on an iron supplement.  Iron supplements can be a pain in the rear, literally.  So I did some research and went with gentle iron and it worked well.  My iron level came up and the only side effect was, well… things were a little darker.  But I was still anemic.  They referred me to a hematologist.  Oh yeah, my spleen was also enlarged, GREAT!

Who knew that hematologists were also Oncologists?  We do now.

More to come,


People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.
Isaac Asimov

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I can’t believe it has been almost two years!

Where to begin… In the last two years a lot has happened!  First, the kids are in second grade.  In April of last year on the same day the CEO quit her job and I started my career back up in a new HR position.  Oh yeah… last Fall I found out I have Leukemia.  Don’t worry, it is a chronic Leukemia but the week of Chemo did suck quite a bit.  I have not written in a long time.  Not sure why but I definitely have the itch again so I hope to get back into the swing of things.  I am also tweeting @MsparkAl.

Talk to you soon!


Beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer.
Henry Lawson

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We won!

Wait, is that a good thing?  Now we have at least one more baseball game.  It was nothing short of amazing how they played the first inning.  Almost everyone hit off the coach pitch. They actually RAN between the bases!

By the third inning we were back to watching the ball as it raced base not one, not two but three defenders as what should have been a base hit turned into a home run.  But that first inning… it is possible:)

Wish us luck Wednesday!  I am not sure if “good luck” is to loose or win:)  lol!

Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.
Yogi Berra
Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets.
Yogi Berra


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A testing we will go….

I may have said this before… “I don’t read, I can, but I don’t.”  With the Triplets being in school I have learned that if I choose not to read things it can leave them and me in the lurch.  “Daddy, you forgot to…” So I have made a concerted effort to read the information they bring home: newsletters, memos, calendars, etc…

I realized the other day that the Triplets have testing this year!  TESTING!   The CFO and I are both good test takers and she did very well is school.  Let’s say I enjoyed all that school had to offer:)  Or as I heard a CFO say one time “we were the half of the class that made the upper half possible.” 🙂

The funniest thing was that the information from the school was very explicit as to not make them nervous about this.  We were told to tell them they will be working in “special” workbooks.  OK, no worries.  They get back from the first day and I asked if they did anything special in school.  Their answer… “yes!  We are taking a test!”

Only the shallow know themselves.
Oscar Wilde
But the person who scored well on an SAT will not necessarily be the best doctor or the best lawyer or the best businessman. These tests do not measure character, leadership, creativity, perseverance.
William Julius Wilson


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I told a friend the other day that I elevate procrastination to an art form.  No, really, I do.  The friend I told that to is a close friend that I want to help.  I actually feel the need to help him.  His name is Chris Roe and his charity is Encounter Ministries.  They do one fundraiser a year and we need your help.

My goal is to raise $5000.  Sure one check for $5000 would be awesome but I would actually rather have 500 people give at least $10.  Why?  Because I want more people to know what they are up do.  Their #1 “thing” is setting guy’s hearts free.  While that still sounds all sissy to me it really is a big deal.  I feel as if most of us guys are left alone in this world to suck it up and handle all our crap on our own until something becomes so big in our life that we join a 12-step recovery program.  While I think recovery is a great thing I believe there is a middle ground…. Encounter.

Please give what you can,


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I saw a Yahoo article about a mother who wrote about regretting her kids.  She said in the post “Still, I wished no harm on Stuart and invested every ounce of my energy in caring for him. Even so, I know my life would have been much happier and more fulfilled without children.”  I asked myself “filled with what?”  I am not saying that my life is “filled” with my children but I can guarantee that if they were not in my life it would not be “filled” with anything good:)

She does go on to say that “What I valued most in my life was time on my own; to reflect, read and enjoy my own company and peace of mind. And suddenly that peace and solitude wasn’t there any more. There were two small interlopers intruding on it. And I’ve never got that peace back.”  That being the case she should regret being married more that the children.  Also, how is it that she never got it back, especially when she confesses no real bond with her kids?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not judging her.  No, really, I am not.  I just want to point out the fact that SHE SO IDIOT.  She mentions several times in the post that did things on purpose that she knew she did not want to do…. That leads me to one of my favorite sayings from a good friend: “Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.”  Amen.

Why post about this?  Mainly because I think we all fall victim to this mentality, even me.  Another good friend loves to say that many of us live our lives like we arrived 40 minutes late to the movie of our life.  We know that something important is going on, but we are not sure what that is or what to do about it.  We are also not sure if the characters in our movie are for us or against us.  And what is the plot?

I actually appreciate her relative self awareness.  What I don’t like is the complete apathy for the fact that she did all this to herself.  She even demanded on raising her two parasites herself.  So what is better?  I would argue that having already having children she should have paid someone to help raise them that actually wanted to do it.  It reminds me of the stay at home parents that do it because the “have to.”  Now I get it if you are fired and you then stay at home till you find another job but if you actually choose to raise your kids then please don’t say you “had to.”  It lacks accountability.

I constantly tell the kids “they did not make you do this.”  I do truly believe that we each choose our own actions.  I even tell them “you may have frustrated me but it was my choice to yell at you.”  As Eli said in the movie The Book of Eli: “you always have a choice.”

Laughing at our mistakes can lengthen our own life. Laughing at someone else’s can shorten it.
Cullen Hightower
In the space between yes and no, there’s a lifetime. It’s the difference between the path you walk and the one you leave behind; it’s the gap between who you thought you could be and who you really are; its the legroom for the lies you’ll tell yourself in the future.
Jodi Picoult


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Teaching the kids to sharpen their knives

No, I am not really teaching them to sharpen an actual knife but it is a great analogy for what I do what to teach them.  I may be off on this but you do not actually want to “sharpen” your knife a lot.  Sharpening actually removes the metal.  Where as a sharpening steel does not actually sharpen the edge but rather straightens it.  That can be done again and again without damaging the edge, if you do it correctly.

That is what I want the Triplets to be intentional about who they are around.  Another thing I want them to learn is that they can learn while teaching and teach while learning.  It is kind of like John Maxwell’s saying: “Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.”  We are always influencing others.

Another thing is turning it into a daily habit and to look for opportunities to learn from others.  Man, this raising kids stuff is tuff!

Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.
Benjamin Franklin
Your children are the greatest gift God will give to you, and their souls the heaviest responsibility He will place in your hands. Take time with them, teach them to have faith in God. Be a person in whom they can have faith. When you are old, nothing else you’ve done will have mattered as much.
Lisa Wingate


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