Quote of the Day

In this draconian

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Friends Don’t Let Friends Fight Cancer Alone

This post was co-written by Denise Thompson


I’ve been putting off this post much longer than I should have. Considering my blog is supposed to be about “Life As We Know It” I truly feel horrible about not sharing this story sooner.

My brother-in-law Erich has colon cancer. In March of this year, he began experiencing lower back pain and intermittent abdominal pain. After a visit to the family doctor and an immediate colonoscopy, he was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 33. Let me repeat: AGE 33. After surgery to remove part of his colon and a large cancerous mass in his abdomen, he began chemotherapy and continues to undergo treatment.

I know so far this sounds pretty tragic, and it is. However, that’s not why I’m sharing this. I’m here sharing Erich’s story because it is an inspiring one. His attitude through this entire ordeal is nothing short of miraculous. Is it all sunshine and roses? Absolutely not. There are rough minutes, hours, even days as he deals with the side effects of his chemo treatments, the mounting medical bills, and the stress the comes as a result. The thing is, Erich is not letting his cancer define him. He wants people to see HIM, not his cancer. That strong desire has allowed him to enjoy life, despite the bumps in the road.

Erich is quite a character. At age 3 he began singing Elvis tunes which led to him impersonating the King at several venues and events across Fulton, Peoria, and Tazewell counties in Illinois as a teenager. After hanging up his jumpsuit he took a serious interest in acoustic guitar and country music and in his mid-twenties began performing as a one-man band. After much success, he decided to take his career to the next level by joining a band. Erich Thompson and the Stone Cold Cowboys performed numerous shows at venues across Illinois and Iowa. They earned the distinct honor of becoming the house band for 97.0 River Country and earned the privilege of opening shows for numerous Nashville recording artists including Dierks Bentley and Jason Aldean. In 2007 Erich decided to put sic on hold to focus on his family. Since his “retirement” Erich has renewed his love of pool and has become an avid horseshoe pitcher.

Despite the emotional and physical stress, Erich continues to work, play pool and throw shoes. He and his family are always on the go, living their lives, and not allowing cancer to define them. This family truly is an inspiration.

Many people with whom I’ve shared this story have asked how they can help. As you might imagine, the medical bills are piling up. Even with insurance, it has been very difficult for this family to keep up. To that end, there will be a benefit held this Saturday, October 2, 2010 that truly will be a family affair. There will be horseshoe, bags, and broomstick pool tournaments, a jump house and crafts for the kids, a DJ, karaoke, raffles, a live auction, a silent auction, a 50/50 drawing, and Erich’s former band will be getting back together for the night. I encourage each of you to check out the benefit website to see how you might be able to help.

Thank you and God Bless

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

DWTS - Episode 1

My favorite TV guilty pleasure returned last night: Dancing With the Stars! I know, its cheesy and none of the celebrities are mega superstars. But you know what? I'm OK with that. Why? Because I don't watch DWTS for the "stars." I watch it because its fun, sometimes in a "can't take my eyes away from the train wreck" kind of way.

Each season there is always at least one celebrity I cannot wait to see perform, and last night, that person was Jennifer Grey. Dirty Dancing holds a very special place in my heart, as do Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. Adding to my excitement, she is paired this season with one of my favorite professionals, Derek Hough. I'm not ashamed to admit that their performance last night had me teary-eyed. Dancing the Viennese Waltz to "These Arms of Mine"? WOW!

Now, I know the producers are intentionally playing up the whole Dirty Dancing thing with Jennifer, but that just makes me love the show even more. The producers know how to draw audiences in and connect them with the contestants. This show gives viewers a glimpse into who these people are, allowing us to see sides of their personalities we don't normally get to see.

While Jennifer and Derek are my personal favorites this season, there are a couple of others to watch out for as well. Kyle Massey (from That's So Raven) blew me away last night. I knew he was funny, but last night he was oozing charm. His pairing with Lacey is a good one. Brandy and Maks were pretty good as well, and are certainly going to make it to the finals.

The rest of the field was pretty weak, but it is only week one. Bristol Palin surprised me, and if she can loosen up a bit on the dance floor, she could surpass expectations. Florence Henderson was fun to watch, and while her dance moves have a long way to go, I believe her personality will keep her in the competition for a while. There were a couple of people that were extremely painful to watch, especially "The Situation" and David Hasselhoff. The latter makes me sad, because I LOVE LOVE LOVE Kym Johnson and will be devastated to see her go early in the competition.

Do you watch DWTS? What are your thoughts on the cast and their premiere performances?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Playing Catch-Up

It has been a LONG time since I’ve posted. I keep telling myself I’ll get this blog going regularly, and then something comes along that keeps from following through. Story of my life. I will say though, that my hope is this blog will help me reach a very important personal goal: to follow through.

I’m notorious for starting projects and not finishing them. This particular bad habit reeks havoc on my marriage, my relationship with my children, and my own peace of mind. I get wrapped up in so many things, and I often find it difficult to manage my time properly. I often let other, seemingly just as important things, pull me away from my current task, especially when that current task is something that impacts me alone.

So, today I am making a commitment to post more regularly. I have lots of ideas to share, from crafts to parenting to philanthropic endeavors. There are a couple of things I’ll be posting about in the next couple of days that are especially near and dear to my heart, and I’m hoping my readers will be able to help.

Things have been crazy around our house, as usual, not that I’m complaining. School has started back up, which always makes things a bit more interesting. We had a great summer, especially since we actually took a real vacation this year. That’s a post subject all on its own, but suffice it to say, Kure Beach, NC was fabulous! We have lots of projects coming up including painting some bedrooms, a benefit for my brother-in-law (another soon-to-be-coming-to-a-blog-near-you post), birthdays, and home re-organization.

I’ll be back soon with a hopefully inspiring post about my brother-in-law, Erich and his battle with colon cancer, and what you can do to help. In the meantime, please leave a comment, letting me know what kinds of things you all like to talk/read about. This blog is ever evolving and I’m excited about the possibilities.

Have a blessed day!