Saturday, July 11, 2009


It's been a pretty eventful summer so far... I've been to 3 family reunion vacations, nearly completed 2 semesters of graduate school and begun searching for a house. So if you've been anxious to see a new post on my blog since my last one dated April 4th... get over it.

Work is good despite difficult market conditions. I've managed to avoid 2 rounds of layoffs so far at IM Flash. We keep hearing rumors about the NAND flash memory market picking up, but it hasn't translated into any comfortable feelings of job security yet. A couple of weeks ago my team was affected and my good friend Dave was let go.

We've had several vacations in the past month and a half. Our first trip to Capital Reef National Park was a nice getaway. We stayed at a nice motel in Torrey, UT and got to see much of the park and enjoy good company with the Phelps. The hyroglyphics were nice, but it was really cool to see a couple of really nice bucks moseying through the park.

Our second trip was to Georgetown Lake in SouthWestern Montana. The weather was pretty bad the first 3 days. On the third day it actually snowed on us (June 22nd). We had a good time with the Friels despite the bad weather. The fishing never picked up, but I did catch a little Rainbow on a dry fly on the Blackfoot river near Missoula. This is the river made famous by the movie "A River Runs Through It" so I was excited to have some bragging rights.

Last weekend was the Phelps extended family reunion. Total head count... 154 of 183. The Phelps reunions always draw a crowd. Each year this event gets better for me. I still don't know half of the family members names, but I enjoy getting to know more of them. It was my in-law's turn to host the event, and I'm always amazed at how much work goes into planning and preparing for meals and programs. Kylan had fun being in the Silly Circus and eating the candy that was passed out on movie night.

Finally what I'm most excited about is getting our own house. Leslie and I have talked about this for nearly 3 years during times when nothing was affordable. We're excited to get a better sense of stability and independence that comes with homeownership. ... on a side note, it's also nice to have a tan and be getting haircuts again too.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Business Socks

Yesterday I attended an important meeting to discuss supplier rationalization with a team from purchasing. I was in the middle of expressing my opinions regarding difficulties in the application of criterion for 3 different tiers of suppliers when I noticed a lump in the left sleeve of my polo shirt. I reached over to remove this obstruction with the full attention of those in the room to pull out one of Kylan's socks. Luckily most in attendance were parents themselves, so everyone got a good laugh at my little wardrobe malfunction.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Sportsman's Expo

I had the opportunity to take Kylan out for a day of guy stuff at the Sportsman's Expo. I believe it is never too early to teach kids to love the outdoors - camping, fishing, hunting, and vacationing in Alaska were always exciting to me as a kid.

There were a lot of cool booths with some pretty fun things to look at. One booth had a baby bear cub that you could take pictures with; another had a baby owl and falcons. Then there was this big dog retrieval show. The trainer would throw a fetch toy down a runway into a large swimming pool. Somehow nothing could top Kylan's favorite attraction this year ... the large industrial sized vacuum that they used to vacuum the water that spilled out of the pool. I tried a number of times to pull his attention away from the vacuum, but the noise the vacuum made was just too exciting. He's always had a fascination with vacuums, and this was the vacuum of vacuums.

We stopped at a California Redwoods booth and took a picture.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Oh ... that hair! Part 2

So hair is no longer a novel thing in my life. As my chia-head clearly demonstrates, with a little water, sunlight, fertilizer, and healthy rest ... hair grows nicely!

I find it comforting fitting in with the norm enough now that I don't need to explain my hair loss. When I first began losing my hair and had shaved my head bald, I took my car in to have the transmission serviced. While waiting to pick my car up, the shop owner's mother was waiting in the lobby also. "What did you do with all your hair?" she candidly asked. Although I appreciated her directness, I reluctantly gave her the grim truth about my treatments. Looking back I wish I would have made something up like "I just had a bad haircut." I've always liked being the light-hearted, happy-go-lucky guy that makes people laugh.

So I'm feeling much more at ease these days meeting new people with nothing to explain. Don't get me wrong; For those of you who know me, I enjoy sharing my experience with the beating the disease, and my testimony of the divine intervention that brought me to where I am today. But very few people care to get into a conversation on such a deep topic having just met me. And with a sign as apparent as total hair loss, it can be a bit like social leprosy. So here's to social normalcy and to not having awkward conversations out of obligation. Life is great! Life is fun! Live hard and die when you're good and ready. I'm planning on being around awhile.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Oh ... that hair!

Some of you have wondered what I might look like as my hair returns. Being bald has its advantages, but there are advantages (especially during the Winter) to having hair. You might wonder ...will it be thick and lustrous? Now that Fabio is crashing into birds on roller coasters, with whom do you measure the sexiness of a man's hair. Oscar Bluth from Arrested Development might now be our best example.
Okay, so I'm not there yet ... but its coming.

You can't really see the growth in this first picture.

Now I'll have to admit that seeing myself without any eyebrows or eyelashes is a little disturbing, but I'll be looking as sexy as Oscar Bluth in no time at all.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 1 - Cancer Free

Today I'm changing my count from counting up from my first chemo to counting up the days I've been cancer free. That's right, I said cancer free! I met with my Oncologist this morning. She came to my room and stood outside the door reading my recent scan and had to call the Radiologist who read the scan to be sure about my prognosis. The scan not only shows no sign of active cancer cell growth, but the tumor is completely gone. The tumor had barely shrunk after chemo #3 and #4, and it was still 6cm in diameter at #5. To some people this might just be considered an unexplainable surprise, but to a religious person like myself I'm calling it a miracle.

I'm going to add a ticker to my blog counting up my cancer free days so that I can move on to the more important purposes of this blog - hobbies. So thank you all one more time for your prayers and support. Stay tuned if you would like and I'll try to keep this blog worth your reading.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

Day 114 - The Plan for Recovery

I'm not out of the woods yet, but I've finished my last scheduled chemotherapy and am coming out of my bad days nicely. Since I have tenatively committed to returning to work and graduate school full-time on February 16th, I'm fairly confident that going forward, I will only be treated with radiation. That being said, here's what my doctor has planned for me.

On February 10th, I will undergo a PET scan. The purpose of this scan is to see what cancer cells in my body are still active. This scan is different from the previous scans which measured only the size of the tumor. Regardless of size, if the tumor or cancer cells are not actively growing anywhere in my body, then the remaining tumor can be killed with radiation. My Oncologist informed me that at this point, I will beat the cancer, it's just a matter of how. If active cancer cells are still growing, I may need to undergo 1-2 more chemos.

That being said, here's what I do know about my tumor. After the first 2 chemos, it shrank 66%, and after the next 2, it only shrank about 5% more. So the active cells mostly died in the first 2 treatments. Another interesting tidbit about cancer is that it grows when your body is in an acidic state, or less than 6.0 pH. I tested mine this week and my body is in balance leaning toward an alkaline state at 7.0-7.25 pH. So cancer would have a difficult time being active in my body in it's current state. It's only speculation at this point, but I won't know the plan for sure until my Oncologist gets my report on February 12th.

Once I've completed treatment and have beaten the cancer, I hope to dedicate this blog to more uplifting adventures like camping, fishing, and snowboarding. Thank you again for your prayers and support.