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,

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Good News - Different News

Oh where to begin. First off, this is Kari writing, so I'm not as eloquent as Alex, but I know others are wanting updates on the Houston trip and I'm not sure Alex has computer access to update himself, so you are stuck with me. And forgive me if I get details wrong. All this is second hand from Danielle and my mom. I was not there, but the key info should be correct. All in all the news is good, just a different course of action than they went down there hoping for. The tumor has shrunk!!!! Can't get better news than that, ok, so the tumor is gone would be better, but let's be realistic. I don't think any of us really believed the taxol would shrink the tumor, our hope was that the tumor wouldn't grow and prevent spreading while the doctors figured out what to do next. Well, good ol' taxol has shrunk the tumor, and has had minimal negative reactions on Alex. Alex, may scoff at me saying minimal reaction, but considering the first chemo he ever did nearly killed him; minor complaints of pain, neuropathy, and general malaise are a walk in the park. So now the doctors want to give taxol 2 more rounds to see what it continues to do. Then keep going for as long as necessary and as long as Alex can handle the chemo. Eventually the taxol will start to take a toll on his body and he will have to try something else if needed. The doctors also have another chemo in mind to try, so there are options. What happened to the transplant idea, it is still there, but an ultimate last result. Why??? Dr. Reardon is why, and after much thought he is right. Dr. Reardon has not been a fan of the transplant from the beginning, but the Dallas doctors thought it was the best option. We never understood why Dr. Reardon was not a fan, but he met with Alex Tuesday night and made his case. Partly, if you look at Alex right now, he looks pretty healthy, definitely not in heart failure, so he would have a hard time even getting on the transplant list. List aside, Dr. Reardon is a believer that you stick with the heart God gave you for as long as you can. Right now, though it has cancer, his heart is working and working quite well, so there is no imminent need for a new heart. Third, transplants are their own little world of nastiness, and to be avoided at all costs. Transplants often are rejected, to prevent rejection, patients take A LOT of medication that causes many negative side effects, one of which being allows cancer cells to flourish. So if Alex had any other cancer cells in his body, the antirejection drugs would not allow his immune system to fight the cells, and he could easily get cancer somewhere else. So, even though Alex may eventually need a heart transplant, now is not the time.

So, on to the questions I had when I heard the news and many of you may have the same questions.
What if the cancer spreads in the meantime, and then he can't get a heart transplant? Well, and this is just hopeful speculation, Dr. Reardon said these types of tumors either spread in a nasty way or tend to stay in the heart. Because Alex has been battling this for 8 years, and solely in his heart, he is thinking that Alex tends to have the kind that doesn't spread, at least when it is controlled, with chemo and resection surgeries. So, the hope is that his cancer won't spread.

What if Alex can't do chemo anymore? Dr. Reardon continues to not feel this location of the cancer is operable, he said you don't mess with the skeletal frame of the heart, and the cancer is along the septum. But...he said there are other options for surgery, such as artificial heart, so that may be the next option, before a human heart transplant.

How is Alex handling the news? Really well, Dr. Reardon offers Alex reassurance and comfort that no one else can. When Alex got the news this time, I really believe he thought he had months to live. Dr. Reardon assured Alex that right now he is fine, and if chemo continues to work, we don't even have to consider the more drastic options for a while. So he has time, and quite possibly lots of it.

What's the plan? That is perhaps the hardest part for me and admittedly, Danielle too. Every other time there was a clear cut plan, do X, Y, and Z, if it works, you are done. We'll see you at your routine follow-ups. This time, since they don't have the surgical option and chemo tools that they had before, they are trying out new things and seeing what works. No clear cut long term plan, just a we'll try this and see how it goes. If it works, stick with that, if it doesn't, new plan. So, Alex will be on chemo for 2 months. Then he will go back to Houston, see how things look. If the chemo is still working, then they will put in a pic line and keep going with the chemo. Alex requested they not do the pic line now, so he can enjoy his summer in the water. Not to mention, Alex is rough on pic lines. His are usually in his arm and they aren't intended for bulging muscles, so he pulls out the stitches all the time. Such a small thing, but so important to helping him feel a little more normal this summer.

Hope I thought of everything, feel free to post questions and I will try to answer them. Outside the obvious prayer request, pray for some spots found on Alex's liver. Not to alarm, the doctors have seen them before and are not overly concerned. The spots could be a lot of things and they really don't think the cancer has spread to his liver, but they are still watching the spots closely and will see if they respond to the chemo. The liver is the most likely first place the cancer would spread, so they have to be diligent. Just pray that it is not cancer, if the cancer spreads we are in a whole different ballpark.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Big Week

Since Alex has been really busy with Austin in the hospital, normal life and then getting ready for Houston, I thought I would post an entry for him. Austin, by the way, is doing great and back at school, missing the 24/7 pampering I'm sure. Today, Alex, Danielle, and my mom drove to Houston to begin the week of tests and results. Tonight they were meeting with Dr. Reardon, the surgeon who has done his previous surgeries. Dr. Reardon was scheduled to be out of town this week, so tonight was the only night he could meet with them. Yes, a doctor, surgeon at that, who makes house calls. Dr. Reardon is nothing short of extraordinary. So I am waiting to hear how that went. The conversation will be mostly hypothetical, since he will not have any of the recent test results, but he gives Alex and Danielle reassurance and peace of mind and they need that right now. The rest of the week will consist of tests to see what the chemo did to the tumor, if the cancer has spread and where he should go from here. So now we wait... and pray!!!! We will update once we know more.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Son...My Pride...My Courage

As I sit here at Children's Hospital in Plano(incredible facility by the way) with Danielle and Austin, I find myself relieved and frustrated with our current situation.  First of all, my "Little Hercules" of a son is going to have to spend his 7th birthday in the hospital.  Although I remain relieved that it wasn't anything more serious, an abscess in his neck that developed because of a previous staph infection is nothing to overlook.  He will have to get IV Antibiotics for 48 hours before they will release him.  At his age he amazes me with the strength and courage that he continues to showcase without effort.  We did not catch the abscess earlier because of his amazing tolerance for pain.  This could be because of the numerous laser surgeries he had on his Port Wine Stain as a small child or just his nature, but either way his toughness worked against him this past week.  I am also a little frustrated with the man upstairs because I thought we had a little deal...do want what you want to me, but leave my kids and wife alone.  I feel that I have taken more than enough for the team.  I know, I know God doesn't work that way, but then sometimes My Faith asks "How does it work?".  My first thought when going through this is...how incredibly difficult is was for Brenda and John to go through everything they did in losing Stephen.  They are my Heroes and have such a special place in my heart, along with Stephen, because I hate to admit, but I don't think I would have the strength to lose Lexi or Austin.  If God takes me from this Earth sooner than expected, it will be difficult for my family and friends.  But in losing one of my children, I would be lost forever and be afraid that I would not be able to find my way back.  
So Parents...for Brenda and John...as well as all those parents who have had to suffer the unbearable loss or difficult chronic illness of such an innocent gift from God, please hug and kiss your kids and love them like it is their last to honor all those who have had to sacrifice so much.
Don't forget that God blessed and allowed you the joy of raising HIS child...so don't take it for granted because you might not be able to forgive yourself.
My kids are my Greatest Source of Strength, but also my Biggest Weakness in how I react...

Proudest Father

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Although my last round of chemo went pretty smoothly, my counts have dropped significantly and I will need to be very cautious over the next week or so.
But I would like to express a special thanks to Ben and Michelle Nitsch because Michelle made a special trip all the way from Aledo (20 min. west of Ft. Worth) to our house east of Dallas, to drop off a great meal, sandwiches, snacks and a bottle of Cabernet for the weekend.  Ben, you have a pretty special wife and mother of two wonderful sons, but I am sure you already know that.  Salazar happened to also be in town for the Spurs game and Mark dropped by to visit as well...not bad for a day that started with a chemo cocktail.
We made it to the Spurs game only to be disappointed by a loss, but Khalil helped make it enjoyable by allowing us access to a couple suites which Mike and Eric seem to take full advantage of.  Also thanks to Winn, I was able to get a couple early Father's Day gifts for John and Brian to join us for the game and I know at least Brian had fun.  
To cap off the day we met up with some old high school soccer buddies and really enjoyed sharing stories and getting caught up.  Matt Martucci really added some excitement about the special tomorrow night on Fox 4 about my story that he has put so much effort into.  
We also had a surprise visit from Brad Massey, an old San Antonio friend that I had the distinct honor of playing at the college level at UNT with and he was my roommate our freshman year until he moved onto to SMU and excelled at an elite level.  His work ethic and discipline, that I have always admired, has made him into the successful man that he is today.  Thanks again for making the trip all the way from Atlanta.
I want to continue to extend my ultimate appreciation for the unbelievable support, love, and prayers that seem endless and with such genuine sacrifice.
Eric, Paige, Michelle, Mark, Krisleigh, Paul, Anne, Riley, Jenna, Tammy, Weida, Khalil, and of course Danielle...I cannot express what The Alex Laynor Foundation means to me and how important the success of this effort could mean for other families in a similar situation in the future.  Please know that all your hard work and effort has been extremely humbling and that I am very lucky to have such incredible friends who continue to give so much even with all of your hectic lifestyles.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

One More Round

Although this weekend was a little rough, the Spurs victory last night helped give me some much needed energy.  Thanks Eric and Paige for having me over...
I have my last round of chemo this Friday, for this current cycle, and then I will get a little break until I go down to MD Anderson for the big check up in May.  Work has slowed down, but I am hoping things pick up in time for Mother's Day.
Don't forget to do something special or show your mother how much she means to you this Mother's Day.  I can't imagine my world without the love of my mother.  Although I know my mother knows my love for her, I don't know if I can ever express my appreciation for how much she has sacrificed her entire life.  Even moving up to Dallas to be closer to the grandkids and to give us some extra support which has proved irreplaceable.  Moms seemed to be taken for granted because their love is always present, never in doubt, and their love is endless.  I know that Danielle feels the same about her mom, Weida, and all of the wonderful things she is always doing for us.  It is these types of blessings that give us strength during this time....

Stay Healthy and Keep the Faith,

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Triumphant Evening
Now that I have had over a week to try and process the events that unfolded on the evening of April 4th at the Speakeasy in Austin, I still find myself at a loss of words for the heartfelt emotion of such an awe-inspiring occasion.
I love Shannon's recap and expressions of thanks to everyone that was involved that evening. If you have not had the chance to visit the website for the Austin event, please take a moment to reflect on the tab "How the Event Went".
She gives a great depiction of the extra effort and recognizes a few others besides the obvious, that I would also like to reiterate. Although, I would literally like to sit here and thank each and every one of you, individually, by name for attending or donating and each business for sponsoring, I felt that if I expressed my emotion about that evening in this note, my intention would get across.
First of all, once the evening got started for me it never seemed to stop. It was so amazing seeing such old friends and the wave of memories that came with each expression of everyones face was such a warm and welcomed sight. I, literally, caught myself stopping, multiple times that evening, and thanking God for such an opportunity to visit with old friends and re-kindle some great relationships.
Although brief, most of my encounters were very heartfelt and I was so inspired to hear how well everyone was doing. It was so nice to meet those significant others that could attend the event and I would like to say "thanks" to the significant others who allowed their spouse to escape for the weekend.
The most surreal moment of the evening came when I had the opportunity to step on stage and look out across the sea of friends, family, and other support there for a common cause. I hope my words that evening offered just a glimpse of the love in my heart For All Of You!
Being able to share such a difficult journey with friends as opposed to complete strangers seemed to be very theraputic and the compassion in the room was overwhelmingly supportive. That was truly such a monumental moment in my life, aside from the gracious donations, aside from the friends and family who attended, and aside from all the kind thoughts and generous prayers...there was such an energy about the evening that left me craving to be blanketed by that type of love, the type of Love that only God is capable of providing for us.
Incredible to see how beautiful all the ladies in our Judson Rockets' lives have remained and how bald & pudgy all the men have become (present company included). I was so grateful for all of my immediate family and extended family for attending and for their amazing contributions (Big up to Tiff and Shane, plus Kari and Brian for making the trip from Washington). I know my parents and step-parents were happy to see some of their old friends and were equally as appreciative for their support and candor. Of course, thanks, to old friends who traveled from Indiana, Florida, and Georgia....what an effort!!! It was so great to see the old Judson Soccer crew who played with more heart than any team I have ever known. It was such a special gift to visit with each and every one of you, no matter how brief, and I will never forget what everyone of you did for my family and me.
One last special thanks to Rhonda, who has one of the kindest, most generous hearts of any woman I know.
To Brandon, Fatty Monk, and The Speakeasy for my first and definitely last live performance on stage.
To Tiffany A., although I know we are family, your contribution and effort moved me to tears and is a testimony to how you live your life.
To Rafik...boys for life, your award winning personality, sense of humor, and ability to "work a room" is such a gift.
And To Shannon for your tireless dedication, unbelievable zest and drive, and for being such a blessing because without you none of this would have been possible!
And to everyone else that has given, continues to give, or has graced us with a blessing of any kind...thank you, I love you, and God Bless You!!!
Hopefully, between Shannon's site www.alexlaynor.weebly.com and www.alexfight.blogspot.com, we will be able to keep everyone updated about my most current situation. I hope to also continue to share information about everyone as well, so please feel free to reach out to me through facebook, email, or by phone.
Til We Meet Again,
Alex :0)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Beginning

Ok, here goes. I am showing Alex how to do the blog. He has had his first round of chemo and so far so good. Mild side effects, but was able to have a full fun week. Next chemo is in 2 days.