Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My Baby Girl

As I sit here starting the 6th round of this cycle of chemo, I am reminded about how fortunate I am to be able to write this blog. I wanted to send a special message to my daughter expressing my pride in the little lady she has become and will be...
Lexi, I was so proud of you when Mommy told me that you had all A's and you raised your C to a B in Reading. It is not so much that I am proud of the grade, but more the fact of your effort and that you continued to stick with a very difficult task, which you have now overcome! This is a great early lesson in your life, where staying the course and little extra work will pay off in the end. I am also so proud of the way you step up and help your brother when he needs extra assistance and the way you let him sleep on your floor at night when he can't sleep. I have snuck upstairs a couple of times and have been so touched by your "funny" conversations. You are both very lucky to have each other and I hope you guys will grow closer as you get older.
Lexi, you are doing so well in school, dance is coming along great, and you have really become a good soccer player because of your effort and willingness to be aggressive. I feel like you are developing some great work ethics and habits which will payoff in the long run. But as quickly as I enjoy you growing up, it breaks my heart to see my innocent little angel develop into a beautiful young lady. I still remember your amazing newborn face as if it was yesterday and now having a 10 year old is very humbling.
I know it has been difficult with me being in the hospital and being sick at home so much, but I love the way you take such good care of me by asking me what I want to drink and helping me with my heating pad. I love the way you come in the room and talk with me about how your day went. You sound very grown up and mature about your day and it gives me something to look forward to. You might talk a lot, but I love every word that comes out of your mouth! I want you and Austin to know how proud I am in both of you for the way you have handled everything. It is very difficult for Daddy to cause more issues than we already have and not being at home as much as I would like, but you both have done very well considering.
Lexi, I hope when you read this you will understand what I was thinking and how much I love you and how you inspire me to continue to fight everyday whether I feel like it or not.

Love Always,

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Something a little different...

First I would like to thank my sister for the concept that I am going to try and imitate. Besides the fact that she is religious about her blog, I love the fact that she has written a few of her blogs, as if she is writing a letter to her children.
So I would like to start by telling you Austin how much of an inspiration you were to me today. Not to say that I am not proud of you everyday, but today you showed my a courageous spirit that proved to me that you will be a noble and honorable man one day. Your patience, focus, and effort at your first National Qualifying Taekwondo Tournament was such an incredible experience that it gave me a sense of pride that I didn't expect to experience for a few more years. Even in the face of chaos, stress, and fear of an overwhelming moment...you chose to rise to the occasion and shine like a true Samurai Warrior. Must be some of that Laynor Japanese fighting spirit, Boos willingness to overcome odds, and McDaniel passion that allows you to dig deep. I want you to know that I would have been proud of you no matter what, but the fact that you showed a heart that overwhelmed me with emotion and a focus that showed the potential that you possess if you set your mind to it.
You gave our family honor today and I will always be proud to be your father no matter how long I am part of your life here on Earth or Heaven above.

Your Humble Father...
With All My Love,

Monday, January 11, 2010

2009 Difficult But Thankful

I should probably take a lesson or two from my sister about making time to update my blog. I apologize that this is my first entry since September, but as always, time seems to have a way of getting away from you. The Fall consisted mostly of me working, enjoying my time with my family, and continuing treatment. I handled the Taxol pretty well, once I got used to the cycle and its physical effects. I stayed pretty active and worked out when possible. My best friend, Mike Salazar, made the transition from San Antonio and moved in with us. He has provided tremendous support and ever present laughter because of his great sense of humor. The kids have really taken to having Uncle Mike around to help out. I know making the move from San Antonio was not an easy decision, but I hope he realizes how much we appreciate the support. Both Lexi and Austin continued to play soccer all Fall and still seem to really enjoy playing. Austin has become quite the soccer player, with his shut-down defense and speed...sounds like somebody else I know...lol. Lexi has also become quite the little defender, but making the transition to U-10 has been very difficult on our team and the competition has improved.
Fall flew by and we were very excited about Christmas because the Boos Clan all came into town and good times were in abundance. Seeing my sister Kari, her husband Brian, and all three of her precious children were icing on the cake. My nephew Shane is already a genious, my niece Myann is gorgeous, but stubborn, and then there is Anders who is as cool as a cucumber. Seeing Uncle Guy, Aunt Melinda, and all my cousins was such a special treat. Special thanks has to go to my Uncle George for initiating the whole idea and seeing it through, he has always been such a special Uncle during the most difficult of times. My Uncle Roy, Aunt Pam, cousins Lori and Terri all made the trip from Bama and my Uncle Mark and Aunt Kathi came in from Pittsfield. I forgot to mention it earlier, but we made a trip to Pittsfield, MA this Fall and had an amazing time. I only wished we could have visited a little longer and got to see 59 go at it again.
My mom, Papa, dad, Grammy Pammy, Mimi, Bam Bam, and all our friends have continued to embrace us with love and guidance when we need it most. We are so blessed to have such great friends like Winn, Eric & Paige, and everyone else who pops in on us from time to time. Winn is always there when you need him and the first to pitch in when he can, he is truly a great person and wonderful friend. Eric and Paige have continued to amaze us with tremendous support especially in the wake of their loss, with Eric's brother, Ted having a very untimely death. He left a wife and two beautiful daughters and it scares me beyond belief that my family potentially could suffer the same fate one day.
I feel that I am trying to cram too much in and promise to update my blog at least once a week going forward....New Year's Resolution.
We did receive some discouraging news about the metastatic growth of tumors in my liver and the tumor in my heart is showing new activity. They have surgically implanted a double lumen port and I started a very aggressive form of Chemotherapy, single agent Ifosomide. As Eric stated, it shares a common element that Mustard Gas has in it...explains the sense of confusion this treatment causes. I am also having to do inpatient chemo for the first time ever and I was very discouraged by the fact that my kids can't visit me in my room because of the health risk evident. Going forward I am mentally more prepared, but this will, undoubtedly, be the most difficult obstacle to face at this point. My employer, David Yurman, is the most compassionate company that anyone could ask for. I having very supportive executives and an amazing team that continues to humble me with their words of encouragement.
I have found a way to slow time down and I am enjoying every moment with Lexi and Austin. Dani and I have difficult moments, but we try not to let it ruin the present. She IS my heart and when she aches, I ache...causing her pain has been very difficult for me to except whether by choice or not. I, also, worry about my mother and father, but know they have amazing support with John and Pam and I am so grateful that they have someone to love them and support them during this difficult time. I appreciate the opportunity that God has provided for me to continue to focus on what is important at all times and not taking one moment for granted. Regardless of the outcome, I will have no regrets...
To quote my nephew, Shane, " Uncle Alex, you need to eat my mommies chicken noodle soup like fifty, no twenty, no five, OK three times a day and you will be all better". My greatest with is not just to be around for my own kids, but I would love to see how Kari's turn out as well.

Keep Praying and Believing...Faith and Hope is all you need!
God Bless,

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Full Throttle

Wow...not only did the summer fly by, but its back to the fast pace lifestyle of Dani adjusting back to work, the kids in school, and then, of course, all of the extracurricular activities to attempt to make. Summer was a nice break, but you can't help becoming a little lazy and definitely spoiled. I really have no idea how Danielle is able to balance so much and survive on such little time for herself. Between making sure the day-to-day mandatory duties are fulfilled such as getting the kids up for school, organizing their activities, and then juggling her schedule continues to amaze, but inspire me to help when I am able.
If it wasn't for our amazing family and friends, I truly don't know what we would do. Danielle's godsister, Shannon, and her husband, Donnie, are always such generous friends making sure Lexi gets to dance and anything else we ever need. Their family is such an inspiration to us because they have such incredible obstacles that life has thrown at them and they continue to not only persevere, but to help out, others, when able. Our gratitude for them extends beyond a simple thanks and I hope we can return the favors someday.
I also wanted to mention a wonderful event that I participated in on Monday, August 31st. It was an amazing charity golf tournament sponsored by Linda Armstrong Kelly and her husband Ed along with Steven and Lee Nagel at the Gleneagles Country Club in Plano(Swing Fore!Yellow). But as amazing as the event was, even more amazing was the fact that, Chris Glass, my Lambda Chi Big Brother and good friend sponsored the event in honor of The Alex Laynor Foundation. Beyond the humbling gesture, I was able to enjoy an incredible afternoon with Chris, Randy Garza, and Brett Stallard...all CHOPS and great men. I had no business being on that course or probably any course for that matter, but it was an honor and privilege to play and visit with such a great group of guys...I had such an wonderful time. Meeting Steven Nagel and others at the event was just icing on the cake. Again, I can't thank you enough for such a thoughtful and generous gesture, Chris, and yes I do have your putting wedge....

We head to Massachusetts this week to visit my mother's side of the family and we are so excited that this trip is finally going to happen. Dani has never been to the New England Area and I know that she is especially excited.
So far I am doing pretty good...chemo is...well...Chemo, I don't know what else to say. I did enjoy sharing my story with the Rowlett Chamber of Commerce and then spoke with a small group for a breakfast about my story to support Relay for Life in Rowlett. It still amazes me that people continue to respond with such support and words of encouragement...
Its late and I have been probably rambling on as usual, but I wanted to leave you with a great lesson that we discussed in our Sunday School Class at Church Sunday led by Todd Shipley, who always has such insightful wisdom...

Does God accept good deeds as absolution from your sins or do you just ask God for forgiveness and is that enough?
I feel that it is a combination of both, but determining to what extent or sacrifice is the difficult part.

Stay Healthy and Enjoy God's Glory,

Sunday, August 16, 2009

End of Summer Update

Blogging doesn't seem to be as easy to keep up with as I thought it would be.  But that is no excuse for such a delayed update....
Summer has flown by, Dani is going back to work, the kids start school in a week, and I am doing better than anyone has expected including myself.  Life just keeps moving on and I am just happy to be a part of every day.  I hope everyone is doing well and had a chance to enjoy this summer in some way.  We enjoyed a relaxing trip to Alabama to visit my grandparents, cousins, and my Aunt Pam and Uncle Roy and of course, my Pops.  Always so good to visit a home that provided so much love for me as a child during the summers.  My grandma continues to amaze me with her stamina, love, and desire to enjoy life while taking care of my grandpa when he needs her most.  My dad, who has always been my biggest hero, still continues to amaze me with his work ethic, but I think he pushes himself too hard and he is too stubborn to realize that he usually over does it.  But that is what makes him such a great man and an even more wonderful father.
I was also so grateful that Danielle's mother and father were able to join us for our trip, visit with my family, and then enjoy some much needed time for themselves.  My Aunt Pam and Grandparents were such gracious hosts and they really enjoyed their time with The McDaniels. I really hope we are able to do it again next summer...
As far as my last appointment in Houston went, the chemo is still effective and keeping my tumor at bay, but they are keeping an eye on my liver and we will know more after my appointment in October whether there will be any real concern.  Until then I will enjoy each day with eager excitement and make the most of my rough days.
We continue to keep The Delgado Family in our prayers and hope that God will continue to provide comfort when necessary and slowly heal such a deep wound.  
My boy, my friend, my brother, Mike Salazar, finally made the move to Dallas and will be living with us until he finds a place of his own.  He has definitely added some humor to the household and I hope he makes the transition with ease.  Austin and Lexi are excited to have another "kid" to play with...lol.  
Austin amazed me with his first sparring match a couple weeks ago by handling himself against a green belt and he is looking forward to soccer season.
Lexi has continued to grow into an amazing young woman, but I am curious to see how this next year will go for her.

God Bless,

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy that life has kept me busy!!!

I really hate that I have not had a chance to update my blog since the end of May, but let me start by saying a lot has been going on...
First, I would like to recap an unbelievable kick-off event for The Alex Laynor Foundation on May 30th at Fuse.  Beyond the amazing support and time dedicated, even beyond the funds raised and the humble words of support, I was truly touched to see so many people participate and genuinely enjoy their time at the event.  The committee was truly incredible and the effort of everyone leaves me speechless.  From Mark and Krisleigh to initiate the idea, then Eric, Paige, and Michelle to truly drive the kick-off and dedicate so much time.  To Paul and Anne & Josh and Riley for attending even at a very uncomfortable period of the end of their pregnancy.  For my brother Mike for making the trip up and looking out for me.  I would also like to thank the incredible effort of Christi, Danielle's God sister, who was so amazing with all of the silent auction items that she had donated.  A special thanks to Winn, who as all of you know, is a friend and man who will always be there when you need him and his a man of his word.  There are no words to describe a man that is so generous and unselfish with his time and constant willingness to help.  The kick-off was another glorious evening full of sharing, catching up, being overwhelmed, but also a true blast.  Everyone really enjoyed catching up and I hope the event helped to re-connect a few old friends.
Unfortunately, a wonderful event was followed by the tragic death of Eric's brother Ted Delgado, who was an incredible father, husband, brother, son, and friend.  I can't help, but ask why to someone so young with a family that he took such pride in supporting.  I wish I words of comfort for Eric, his mother Rose, and Paige for their sadness, but to hear how they have taken this tragedy on with such bravery is such an inspiration.  Please pray for God to provide some comfort in all this pain and to provide some sense of understanding or acceptance to allow for some peace.  My heart truly aches for their loss and I can't help, but to realize how precious life and each day is whether you are sick or not.
I would like to end on a very proud comment about a 8ft. privacy fence that I just built with a lot of help from John, Bam Bam, Winn, Chris, Jeff, and my neighbor Mark.  It was an incredible effort, but extremely exhausting especially in this heat.  But I can't help but to sit back and enjoy my euphoric image of driving up to by backyard with such a work of art for a fence.  The dedication of Mark Ogle, Winn, and John with the help of Jeff for building an amazing gate was beyond generous, beyond kind, but more a gesture of true men willing to help out in a time of need.
My spirits are high, my body is still willing, but my emotions seem fickle...
I promise to update again soon, but know that all of you provide me with my inspiration for strength and each gesture or word of encouragement is well appreciated.

Happy Father's Day to those who know who you are and what it means...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mixed Emotions

Greetings friends, family, and faithful supporters:

Although, my sister's details of the events that unfolded in Houston were a very accurate description of the information that we received, I would like to share some additional sentiments.  The scans and appointments went very well considering the usual routine, but learning that the PET Scan leaves you Radioactive for a period of time was very disturbing.  Somehow, I missed that part with the first two.  But at least the news we received were about as hopeful as we could of expected given my situation.
Please understand that I don't mean to sound ungrateful or pessimistic about my roller coaster of emotions, but lately I have had a difficult time comprehending my feelings.  One moment I am thankful for all the support and love...and then I have feelings of guilt and bitterness for not feeling deserving of all the humble "gifts".  Then I have a moment of clarity that is a realization of how blessed I am to have inspired so many for their amazing words of encouragement and sacrifice.  I am a simple man that has complex emotions like everyone else...I love my family, friends, and God, but have a difficult time with organizing what should come first at any given moment.  I don't fear death the way I think I should and I am worried that this is a sign of content and will slowly eat away at my will to fight if continued to be challenged.  The pressure of such amazing support by so many gives me strength beyond belief, but also compresses the pressure for the obligation to live up to a life that should pave the way for someone with so much love and support.  I mean how can you fail if everyone around you gives you all they can offer in support of your battle.  What if I don't live up to the expectation?  Will there be those that said he could of done more?  That is why The Alex Laynor Foundation means so much to me and the possibility of what it could do for others.  I feel like this foundation can succeed where I might fail or at least breathe life into another family or families that will benefit from my battle with this disease.

Thank you for allowing me to share some very deep emotions and please understand that the love I have for each one of you and God is something that even I can't express.

See you on Saturday the 30th,