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July 2010

Know It. Fight It. End it.

Everyone needs a hero.

In the case of my friend Kirk, his dad Steve is his hero.

A lifetime resident of Colorado, Steve  has lived an active life as an entrepreneur, volunteer firefighter, award-winning jeweler, stained glass artisan,  adoring father, loving husband and proud grandfather. Nothing's ever stopped Steve from living life to the fullest. Not prostate cancer. Nor a broken back. 

Steve and his awesome wife Bonnie are legend in the town of Cripple Creek, Colorado. Their business, originally started by Steve's parents, has been a part of the Cripple Creek economy for over 108 years.

Life was good for Steve and Bonnie.

The night before they were scheduled to leave on a cruise to Italy, Steve was hospitalized. The diagnosis? Pancreatic cancer.

According to Wikipedia :

Patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer typically have a poor prognosis partly because the cancer usually causes no symptoms early on, leading to locally advanced or metastatic disease at time of diagnosis. Median survival from diagnosis is around 3 to 6 months; 5-year survival is less than 5%.[52] With 37,170 cases diagnosed in the United States in 2007, and 33,700 deaths, pancreatic cancer has one of the highest fatality rates of all cancers and is the fourth highest cancer killer in the United States among both men and women. Although it accounts for only 2.5% of new cases, pancreatic cancer is responsible for 6% of cancer deaths each year.

5-year survival is less than 5%. Five percent.

You don't see Pancreatic cancer coming.There's no vaccincation you can take for Pancreatic Cancer. It doesn't announce itself until it's almost too late. And often when it is too late. It's ugly, swift and merciless. And usually fatal. 

When Steve received his diagnosis, he vowed to fight the disease with everything he had. He endured chemo, surgeries, more chemo and all the horrible side-effects involved with battling this particularly gruesome type of cancer. He's fought hard and strong and so far he's winning his fight. It's been an uphill battle all the way.

So why I am writing about Steve's story? And why am I sharing it with you?

For two reasons.

#1 - Steve is a hero. An honest-to-goodness American hero. He's not backing down even when the odds are against him. I wanted to put a face to the name of this hero and a face to the legion of Pancreatic cancer fighters...and survivors.

#2 - You can help Steve and everyone that battles Pancreatic Cancer. It's simple. It's easy. It won't cost money. It will only take several minutes of your time.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 is the Fourth Annual Pancreatic Cancer Call-In Day

What is the National Call-In? 
The National Call-in is an opportunity for all Pancreatic Cancer Action Network supporters across the country to join together and with one voice to tell Congress that while you can't attend Advocacy Day in person, you believe that the time has come for Congress to take action on pancreatic cancer! 

How does it work? 
On Monday, June 21st, 2010, you will receive an email with instructions on how to place the calls to your Representative and your two Senators. The email will include their office phone numbers, and what we'd like for you to say. The calls should take less than 10 minutes of your time, but they will significantly impact our efforts to make the pancreatic cancer community heard. make sure that you receive an email for the National Call-In, please enter your email address here. The information will also be available on June 22nd. 

Why do we call in?

"Pancreatic cancer gets by far the LEAST research funding from the National Cancer Institute among the five most lethal malignancies" (source)

Since 95% of Pancreatic Cancer patients don't survive, there aren't many patients left to advocate.

This week, Steve and Bonnie are doing just that. They're in Washington, D.C. for the Pancreatic Cancer Network Advocacy Day to make their voices heard. Steve had round 21 of chemo right before he left for Washington. 

For all Steve's gone through...for all his family has gone through...for what other families are going through right now.

The cure starts with a call. 

Please take a moment to Facebook/Blog/Tweet or email your family and friends. Get this message out to everyone that has a phone.

You have the power to help. You have the power to be a hero.

Please be a hero.

My New Crush!! new crush!  It's only been 3 days since this crush developed, but oh, what a 3 days it's been!

It started innocently enough. We met at the Starbucks upstairs near my place of employment. What started as a lark soon turned into a full-on 'must-have-every-day-in-my-life' kinda thing.

My new crush isn't a person (yeah, like I'd talk about anything THAT personal online) but rather a food I'd never really liked and wasn't that enamored with.

Yogurt. Yep, Starbucks Strawberry & Blueberry Yogurt Parfait.  I've NEVER liked yogurt. It never filled me up, always tasted like fruit-filled air, and never really floated my boat. Oh, I'd TRIED to like yogurt. The whole 'eat it cause it's good for you' reason is why I used to buy it only to have it sit in my fridge and go bad cause I hated it in the first place.

But this Starbucks Parfait Yogurt?? OMG!!! Delish like I can't describe (without the granola tho. Granola = YUCK in my book).

Maiden tasting voyage was Tuesday morning. I'd gone upstairs to get a Venti glass of ice (Vitamin Water tastes so much better drowning in ice) and altho the Raspberry Swirl Pound Cake looked good, my gut instinct told me to go for the yogurt. I was all  "WTF gut instinct???", but obeyed the feeling.

OMG - Couldn't believe how good it tasted. Wound up sharing my opinion of my newfound love in the breakroom with my coworkers who I'm sure thought I was nuts. But I couldn't stop talking about how good it was. Had it again Weds. Then once more on Thursday.

Two downsides that I can see - #1 -price - $4.73 (w/ tax) a pop #2 I can't be going to Starbucks every time I want one of these yummy treats.

Late last night on my way home from Ignite Boulder Speaker Practice I swung by King Soopers to stalk the yogurt aisle. Sadly, none of the labels touted 'Tastes Just Like Starbucks Yogurt Parfait" so after reading a ton of labels I went with Stonyfield Yogurt

It was ok, not as good as Starbucks but not bad.

So I'm reaching out to you guys!  What is your favorite yogurt that you can't live without? That tastes good & is good for you? Preferably organic, if it's not too much to ask? And not too spendy either!

Crushes are a good thing so please send a new crush my way, ok?


If you could wish for one material thing with the guarantee that your wish would be granted, what would you wish for?

My wish? For a house of my own. A sanctuary filled with sunlight, rejuvenating & relaxing colors, spotlessly clean, newer than old. A view of the Flatirons which also means a view of our stunning Colorado sunsets. Surrounded by leafy trees filled with twittering birds.

Ideally 3 bedrooms with a Master Bedroom far removed from the rest of the house. A sanctuary within a sanctuary. Walk in closet big enough to hold my dresser and clothes. A bathroom with waist high counters, pull-out drawers, lots of light yet lots of privacy too, a window that opens (I love ventilation!), separate shower and tub, recessed lighting.

I'd like a drywalled & painted two car garage that's located just off the kitchen. The kitchen doesn't have to have granite altho it does look nice. I sorta like the stained concrete look...but that's just me :-) Appliances don't need to be stainless altho the fridge must have a built-in ice maker. Side-by-side would be awesome! I particularly like a kitchen that looks into the family room/great room...not so much of a formal dining room type. Having a kitchen & great room adjacent to a covered deck would be extremely cool!

While I have nothing against carpet (Berber is really cool!) I'm partial to wood floors. Visited my buddies Tom and Dale the other night and their new hardwood floors were yummy enough to eat...they were GORGEOUS!!

Which is keeping with the rest of their gorgeous house :-)

Having a home is on my mind all the time these days. It's the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thought that enters my mind as I fall asleep. I'm even considering a second job to save extra money for a downpayment. I want a house in the worst way, yet am determined not to get in over my head with my next real estate purchase.

So in the meantime, I think/dream/imagine what my next house will hold for me.

Some of the other 'nice-to-have's" are :

* HE Washer/Dryer

* South-facing driveway/front of the house (still hate ice!)

* Central heat & air and ceiling fans

* Safe / Clean / Well-built

* Solar would be wicked cool!!

* Nice non-nosy neighbors (I've had an excellent track record with this wish!)

* Great location

* Cross ventilation (there I go again - me and my ventilation demands)

* Finished walkout basement would be nice

Most of all, I want it to be the place that's meant for me to call home. I don't know where you are, future house, but I can't wait to meet you!