Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tragedy strikes once again

The truth is that death surrounds us all. It's always around us whether it's on the news, a few blocks away from us or even affecting our own family at one time or another. I guess for me lately it just seems that it's a black cloud around me and I can't seem to shake it. As many of you know, my close friend Rusty Sneiderman was shot and killed one week before Thanksgiving. I have enclosed a picture of Rusty holding my son, Ethan as well as a sketch of the killer. Please pass the sketch along so we can find the guy. It's been really tough. I have written an entire piece on Rusty but I want to wait until after a lot of the media exposure has died down before I share it.

Andrea has been an a true rock for both ours and Rusty's family. I don't know where she finds the strength but I am really proud of her. I am having a hard time dealing with my friend's loss. It's been very difficult for me to put into words. I'm sorry if I have not called some of you back. This is how I get sometimes when I'm upset but I promise to make the return calls soon.

Losing my doctor earlier in the year (July), finding out about my friend's five year old son dying (October) and now getting the devastating news about Rusty has been very difficult to take. Not only do I feel awful for the families who were affected, I also can't get the thought of death off my mind. Andrea and I had to explain death to Avery since Rusty's children and Avery and Ethan are very close. She's had several questions over the last few weeks, questions that we've reluctantly had to answer. Some of her questions have included "Do only boys die? Don't people only die when they have gray hair? I'm not going to die, right Daddy?" Try explaining that to a four-year-old.

I appreciate all of you that have written me and Andrea. I also appreciate you keeping Rusty's family as well as the other families recently affected by death in your prayers.

I really miss Rusty. He not only was a good friend but he was always a big supporter of me and this blog. Whenever we'd get together, he'd say "I'd ask you how you've been but I read your blog religiously so I already think I know." He always wanted me to do more in life and take advantage of my public speaking ability. I hope to honor him by persevering in my motivational speaking role.

Writing and reading a eulogy at Rusty's funeral was the one speech I never wanted to make. Rusty and I only knew each other for 2+ years but he was such an amazing friend that it felt like much longer. I only wish I could have gotten more time with him. We had all of these plans and I'm sad that we won't be able to see them through. Over the last week or so since his death, all I can think about is his smiling face. He had such a great personality. I miss calling him or getting lunch with him and laughing at his self-deprecating humor.

The other day I set up my punching bag that I hadn't set up in 6 months. I needed it. All of the horrible things surrounding me lately stirred a lot of anger in me. I had to hit that bag. I have used it four times in the last two days.

It's ironic that none of the three people around me who have died had cystic fibrosis. For a long time, the only friends I lost were due to this disease. It's not that it makes it any easier but it's a fact that I cannot ignore. I have reached out to my sponsor and even my rabbi to talk further about death. I actually have to thank Andrea who called Rabbi Heller and had him meet with me. I'm not the most religious person in the world but I needed to talk someone who is close to God. I needed to talk to him as far as why I questioned God and his decisions. He took away an amazing friend, an extremely bright doctor and a five-year old who had yet to make his mark in the world. I question God's decisions. At the same time, I know the cliché that life is unpredictable and you have to appreciate each day. I'm just sick of being reminded of this fact.

I know that there are things that I should be thankful for. Ethan continues to persevere with his speaking, my father is doing amazing and my family's overall health is pretty good. Negative issues tend to overshadow the positive stuff when I am depressed. Of course, it's close to winter time which is when I usually get physically sick as well as mentally irrational. At least though, I can see that as a problem instead of ignoring these feelings and letting them fester.

I will be continuing all of my emotional therapy by praying daily and seeking support from my group. I also see George every 3 weeks and Dr. Rad every 2 months. That certainly gives me an advantage over past winters when I tried to deal with all of my issues in my own head. To quote a peer who also deals with depression, "When we take advice from our own minds, we are behind enemy lines."

Hanukkah is coming up in less than a week and I look forward to seeing the kids and Andrea smile as we celebrate the eight days of lights. I'm really not sure of Hanukkah's true significance except that my children get to unwrap gifts and play with their new toys. Maybe the significance for me is that it will take my mind off the awful things that have surrounded me over the last few months. I sure hope so.

I wish all of you well and I wish you a happy and healthy holiday season...and please be safe.

Best Wishes,


Monday, November 15, 2010

Tobi time, Wish is over and looking forward to family

This is always a tough time for me. While I might be handling my depression, it is almost winter, the days are over earlier and I'm back on Tobi for a month. I also know that I have a doctor's appointment 4 weeks from now and will also be taking another glucose test to determine if I need to go on cholesterol drugs.

This morning I started my Tobi treatments so 55 more to go after this morning's episode. I'm still between 183 and 185 pounds which is 12 to 14 pounds lower than I was in mid-September. I have to keep at this weight and continue to take my fish oil in order to try and avoid cholesterol meds. I have enough meds to take.

I think I've found a song that really describes me. It's "Long December" by the Counting Crows. Take a listen. December feels like the longest month for me.

My depression and other emotional issues have been kept in check for over a year now. I don't consider it a milestone though, only a mile marker in the marathon of life. I'll talk about it in my next meeting to encourage others and I'll be sponsoring my own sponsee probably in January.

I'm really excited to reach over a million dollars at Wish. I think when everything is said and done, I'll visit Wendy's grave. The last time I was there was when I first attended Ridgeview for my emotional issues. I want to tell her that I'm going to be okay and that her name is going to lead us to a cure one day. Twelve months ago, I placed a softball on her grave that told her that I would always give it my all for her and that we are going to cure CF in her name. I still believe that. I just hope I'm here to see it. On her birthday this year in December, I'll be placing another softball on her grave. I have enclosed a picture of it on this blog.

All and all, life is good. Andrea and I have some fun plans this week. The kids are continuing to grow. Georgia's football season is mercifully coming to an end. I'm ready to close out Wish for Wendy and focus on even more important things - my family.

I hope all of you are well.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Wish for Wendy

Well, last weekend was exhausting. On Friday, Andrea and I went to the CF Foundation and loaded the truck essentially by ourselves. It's tough to find volunteers on a Friday afternoon. Then we found out that the Wish for Wendy shirts were still at the press so we had to pick them up Friday night. Then Ethan had a 102 degree fever when he woke up Saturday morning and so we told our nanny not to bring him to the event. I can't tell you how much Andrea did this weekend between helping me with the truck, organizing the signs and dealing with my concern every time a drop of rain hit the pavement over the last week. She was a life saver. Thanks honey!!!

So that was pre-event. The event itself went great. Chipper Jones came out and signed autographs for 25 thrilled donors. My team, the Wish for Wendy Foundation Warriors, won our first fundraising crown and won a game in the tournament. Lego's Outlawz and For Josh met in a rematch of last year's final and this time it was For Josh taking the crown preventing Lego's Outlawz from 4-peating.

Other people who appeared included 10 of the Atlanta Falcon Cheerleaders, The Atlanta Beat women's professional team, Ray Mariner and Star 94, Nick Green, Paul Ossmann, Mark Bowman from, Caboose the Clown, Les the Magnificent and the Chick Fil-A cow.

We eclipsed the million dollar mark and will have our final numbers in mid-December after our on-line silent auction and all of the team donations come in.

I'm really excited that we raised so much and that my sister's name will some day be synonymous with a cure.

Thanks to all of you who donated and volunteered to this event.

My sister (picture enclosed) is smiling somewhere. I just know it.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Trick or treat

I hope everyone had a great Halloween. Only 5 more days till Wish for Wendy!!! I'm really excited.

I just wanted to share my experience with the kids last night. Avery, Ethan and I went trick-or-treating. Avery kept telling me she was bored. Well, in her words, "Daddy, I'm boring." Ethan kept running as fast as he could and then when we got candy, wanted to eat it on the spot! So I thought this Halloween would be a failure. I was wrong.

We got home and I told Avery that she and I could hand out candy. She wanted to sit outside though and of course Ethan followed. What I thought would be a 5 to 10 minute experiment that would be the equivalent of watching paint dry (Andrea hadn't seen a trick or treater all night) turned out to be anything but that. Avery and I came up with chants. Here they are:

If you can make it up the hill, you can get your fill.
We are fine and dandy, come get some candy, love Ethan, Avery and Andy.
The candy is free so come see me.
Come get your candy. We have candy!
(This was Avery's favorite.)

We ended up with about 120 trick-or-treaters and were out there for about an hour. Ethan even was talking and saying "Happy Halloween" to every trick-or-treater that made the trek up our hill. Both the kids gave out candy and really enjoyed it. It was awesome.

Here are some cute pictures from last night. Costume credit goes to Andrea as she bought these adorable outfits for A & E. I hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween. I know Woody and Buzz did.