Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Oh well, I am happy to report that the kiddos are all doing well. Ainsley will be home for the next couple of days. This is the first day of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and her preschool is closed for the holiday. Sydney and Graham, however, will be busily working their way through school at Southwest Christian.
I am off this morning as I am still too tired to think and I can see by the clock that it is time to get my act in gear.
I promise a more informative and clever entry tomorrow.
Regardless, my purpose rolls on.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Sure enough, however, about a month ago Lynley came home from one of her shopping excursions with a Wii. She was so proud of herself for finding one. I was still totally against the idea. After much cajoling we agreed to keep it until Christmas. We decided that we would either sell it when the time came or give it to the kids as a Christmas present. I carefully hid it in the back of my workroom. It was on the top shelf covered in plastic. I was not particularly worried that the kiddos would find it. Heck, they did not even know what a Wii was.
Boy, was I wrong.
On Saturday morning I was out in the backyard watching Graham and Ainsley when Sydney came tearing outside shouting "We have a Wii! We have a Wii!" At first, it caught me off guard. I was in disbelief that she even knew what she was talking about. Sure enough, though, she grabbed me by hand and dragged me back into the workroom. She pointed straight at it. There was significant kiddo screaming in happiness as I drug it down from it's resting place.
There was not much I could do now.
Lynley and I had a family meeting and decided that we would go ahead and give it to the kiddos. Afterall, the surprise was over. We told them, however, that they would have to remember this at Christmas. As a family we quickly unwrapped our Christmas present (Well, Hanukkah for Ainsley) and began plugging it all in. As we began playing he games I was happy to see the amount of exercise that it took to play many of the games. I am surprised at how far gaming technology has come. In fact, I found myself completely worn out after two rounds of boxing. The kids have had a blast. Graham has become a master boxer. I, of course, have taken a natural liking to Golf, and Sydney has exceeded all expectations by scoring over 230 in bowling.
In the end, I am still not excited about the idea of having video games in the household but I must admit that I am ecstatic with the one Lynley chose. It requires physical fitness and helps with the ever critical eye hand coordination.
Now, I just have to figure out what to get the kiddos for the holidays.
Just another day in the land of sneaky purpii.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Some days are just good for short stories. Today is one such day. Yesterday morning Graham came running into the bathroom crying. I was in the shower and Lynley was putting on her make up (not that she needs any to be beautiful - yes, sucking up for the weekend) Graham was truly distraught. Mom I am getting chicken pox. Lynley gave him a once over. "No buddy, you are fine. You don't have any chicken pox."
"But mommy I touched one of the chicken feathers in your pillow and Sydney said it will give me the chicken pox."
I laughed as quietly as I could in the shower. Chicken Pox from a down pillow. How ridiculous! Everyone knows you can't get chicken pox from a down pillow.
You get goose pox!
Yep, my purpii.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
You never know exactly how a fundraiser is going to turn out. Like "Lunch for Life" I certainly had my doubts. Would people come? Would they support the cause? Would it be a worthwhile event? All of these thoughts fluttered through my head. What I discovered is that much like "Lunch for Life" it turned out to be an incredible event. I had an absolute blast and, frankly, I can't remember a time when Lynley laughed harder. The other key part was that it was incredibly successful. The dollars are still being counted but I know at the very least we raised well over $6500. That is not too bad for a fun night out for comedy.
All of this, however, could not have been accomplished without the generous comedians who donated their time and effort to the event. Honor Shearer was the host of the show. She is a close friend to the Podeszwa's and she did an extradinary job putting this all together. Known as the "Soccer Mom" of comedy I found her to be hilarious but the key was her "mom-ness", dedication and warm heart which put this brainchild together. I am so thankful for all of her effort.
I would also be extremely remiss if I did not thank the comedians, all of which were tremendous and kept the audience in stitches. More information can be found on their websites and I encourage everyone to send them a short note of thanks. We could not have done this without them. It is people like this with no direct connection to childhood cancer that stand up for us that make all of the difference.
Headliner - Aaron Aryunpur - http://www.aaronaryanpur.com/
Featered - Peter Barrera - http://www.myspace.com/JokeyPeeBee
Special Guest - Justion Foster - http://www.myspace.com/justincomic
It was an incredible night of purpose!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
The other big item today will be Stand Up for Life which is happening at the Lakewood Theater in Dallas at 8:00 PM. It will be a few hours of great laughs and we hope to see you there.
Well, I had best be off. There is much to do today to get ready for the show.
It will be a seriously purposeful day.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
For Ainsley, I am hoping that today will bring much more improvement. I have hastened to mention that she was a bit under the weather. It is not that it is difficult to tell with her. I think it is really that I am in such disbelief that her symptom is actually such an accurate predictor. You see, the way that we tell if Ainsley is sick is this simple formula.
Did she cry?
It is that simple. If Ainsley is crying chances are that she is sick. It is just not her nature to be cry-y or whiny. She just doesn't do it. Furthermore you have to watch pretty closely because you just might get lucky enough to get even more than that. You will get a whine. The whine can be about anything. I don't want to eat my dinner. I don't want to get dressed. Yes, any myriad of whines that are atypical of her. But, that can also be followed by a very quick, quiet, and nonchalant statement such as "I have an ear infection." She usually then makes an immediate and full recovery and she is back to playing and laughing in a flash. That is it. That is all you get. And, although it is so incredibly accurate and universally true, I am always in utter disbelief. You have to be kidding me. She's sick? No way! She is back playing and having a great time with the gaggle. How can she be sick?
The thing is. The more you wait. The more often this behavior will come. We will eventually succumb to a trip to Dr. Debbie's based on these symptoms (or lack there of). Think about it. Think about your discussion with the pediatrician.
Dr.: "What is the matter with Ainsley?"
Me: "She cried."
Me: "Well, right before she went swinging on the swing set she said she had an ear infection."
Dr.: "She is 3 right?"
Me: "Yes, fix her please."
What would you be thinking if you were the doctor. It is okay, you can say it. You would think I am nuts - perhaps a taco short of a Mexican combination plate. That's all right. I can take it. The funny thing is that, in this situation, universally she will indeed have an ear infection. In fact, I can never remember a time when it has presented any differently. I am amazed by her every time and also by the diagnosis. Honestly, I am also a bit relieved. Dr. Debbie, however, I think just chalks it up to those quirky Dungans.
Ainsley, though, is a tough cookie.
She is like purpose. Don't underestimate this one.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sydney had a little difficulty adjusting to being back home. This always seems to be the case. When she first gets back she is always sad because she misses Jillian already. Yes, those first few minutes away after spending 24 hours with someone are fairly brutal, aren't they? Unfortunately, and for some reason that I can not put my finger directly on, she changes from sad to mean to everyone around her. It is especially evident around her brother and sister. That is the hardest to watch because they are just so thankful that their leader is back. After about 30 minutes of this, though, it seems to subside and return to normal. The next thing you know they are out cheering Graham on as he races around the pool and playing any one of a myriad of their make believe games.
Saturday morning for us was all about Lynley and her precious new car. Yes, Graham, Ainsley and I got to go with Lynley as she had new car lessons. Oh yes, how nice for her. Especially because she has her nice new car and I, who started this whole quest to save money for our family, am still driving my gas gulping, neanderthal Suburban. (By the way, Don't tell Lynley. I happen to love my old Suburban. I just hate the gas prices. None the less, I am continuing to milk it for all that it is worth.) Anyway, yes you heard me. She had lessons on her car. Talk about rubbing it in.
Sunday was relatively quiet. Well, quiet except for the usual squabblings of the twerplets scampering around. We did our usual chores. They washed Lynley's precious car (and apparently 1/3 of my Suburban) Most however, was spent running around the house and terrorizing the neighborhood.
All in all, it was a perfect weekend around the Dungan household.
It was a rejuvenation of purpose.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Good Morning! I just want to remind everyone about "Stand Up for Life." It will be taking place next Wednesday evening at the Lakewood Theater in Dallas. Please consider coming out to spend a night laughing with 4 great comedians. Tickets are $25 and proceeds will go to support neuroblastoma research and educational initiatives. Tickets are available:
- by calling 214-709-7199 or 214-821-7469
- by emailing me - firstname.lastname@example.org
- or at the door
Earlier in the week I promised a picture of the Dudester racing around the pool. Well, he has been nonstop ever since and I am thankful that he is still yet to fall in the pool. Can you tell he is having fun?
I see purpose in those eyes!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
The entire video of Dr. Granger's presentation was webcast and I have heard that it is available on iTunes. I will have to do some research but I will post more information here for those that are interested.
On the home forefront everything is going well. All of the kids seem to be doing well. Sydney is questionable. She has been complaining of stomach pain on and off for the last day or so. As you might imagine we are not big fans of this type of symptom. We are hoping that she is just full of Sh@#. That would be entirely appropriate. Lynley said it was probably genetic from my side.
I wonder what she means?
Well, I can worry about that later. I have several irons in the fire this morning.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Well I had best be off. Today clearly has purpose.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Later that afternoon Graham spent time at his new favorite hobby, racing around the pool on his big wheel. You would be utterly amazed by the speed this kiddo can achieve. Just so you know, there is no doubt in my mind that he will end up in the pool. With his speed, the smoothness of the payment, and the sharp curves we are fully prepared. It is just going to happen. That is part of being a boy though. He is so proud of himself. He knows he can go fast. He knows he is pushing the envelope. In my mind, there is probably no one that could do it better. He races around as fast as he can just shrieking and giggling all the way around. It is a complete and utter joy to see him in such a state. I will see if I can capture a video tonight.
It is moments like these that really drive home what purpose is all about.
Monday, September 15, 2008
The second thing that really hits home for me is the fact that I was supposed to be down in Houston on Thursday to meet with about 30 families of children with neuroblastoma. While I was not concerned about myself the reality of what they must be going through is just that much closer. I know of several who were inpatient in the hospital. I feel for them but know that they were in capable hands with some very dedicated and brave nurses and physicians that stayed behind. I have heard that the night of the storm they had to move all of the patients to the hallways. They did this to protect them from shattering glass and debris. I also feel for all of the families that are there at their homes (or what is left) and are living the surreal existence that we remember so vividly. We were lucky. At the time we did not have children. It was just Lynley and I. I can't even imagine what it would be like with children and especially children with cancer. Just think about the logistics. Even outpatient. How do the kiddos get their labs and blood products when they need them? How do they keep their refrigerated medications cool? For those that need dressing changes (most) how do they keep a sterile environment with out running water. It is extremely tough, life and death, for many of these families and it does not even begin to take into consideration whether or not they personally sustained any damage to their property or, worse yet, themselves.
My prayers are with them today and with the prospect of not having electricity for 2 to 3 weeks I want them to know that they have a place with us if they need one. Just get to Fort Worth and we will deliver on the comfort and shelter. It sounds funny to write that on the Internet which they don't have the electricity to see but some of these families subscribe to my blog via email and if they have email on their phones they just might get the message than they have options elsewhere.
We are sending hope and prayers your way.
We are here if you need anything.
We all share purpose.
Friday, September 12, 2008
I haven't received explicit permission to talk about this but I did see an email go out publicly so I am going to assume that it is now official news. Cook Children's has been named a NANT site. For those of your that don't remember, NANT stands for New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Therapy. It is a consortium of 15 of the top children's hospitals and research centers that specialize in neuroblastoma research and in providing phase 1 and 2 trials in neuroblastoma. It is an impressive accomplishment and a sign of the hard work that the oncology team at Cook's has put in to this disease. As it stands, they put many more kids on NANT trials than most other institutions and are committed to pushing forward towards a cure. This isn't a little step. This is a big leap and a sign of some incredible things that will be happening for neuroblastoma in Fort Worth. I am extremely proud of Cook's.
Now there are two other noteworthy items of interest going on in the next month. First, "Stand up for Life" is a new opportunity to help find a cure for neuroblastoma. On Wednesday night, September 24th, 2008 in Dallas Texas at the Lakewood Theater. Comedians Aaron Aryanpur, Peter Barrera, Justin Foster, and Honor Shearer have all graciously decided to donate their time to a night of comedy to raise funds for neuroblastoma. Tickets are $25 and certainly a value. Currently we have filled 100 seats but we are trying to fill 350. Please consider making this a date night and bring your friends. I can guaranty that it will be a night of fun and laughs. You can get tickets directly from me by emailing email@example.com. You can also get tickets by calling 214-709-7199. Please consider going. It will be a blast and, as you know, it is for a great cause.
Secondly, we have a golf tournament coming up on Friday, October 24th. The tournament will be on a Friday afternoon so there is absolutely no reason not to play hooky from work. I will post more details next week.
Now, finally, funny twerp stories. Tradition's are great things. You can count on them and they are always there. They are comforting, stable, and reliable. If you have well planned traditions they can even be used to keep the family closer together and in touch. Yes, those are all of the wonderful things that can happen with traditions. Unfortunately, they can also go very wrong, as they did for us last night. I am sure you remember that one of the favorite Dungan traditions happens at the dinner table. Every night we ask each person:
- What was the best thing that happened during the day?
- What was the worst thing that happened during the day?
Well, Graham didn't miss a beat. He excused himself from the table and raced to the potty. However, instead of letting someone talk about their day before him or waiting until he relieved himself he decided to bust into his day while on his way to the bathroom. The next thing I know we are sitting at the table, Graham is in the bathroom, the door is closed, and the boy is chattering away about his day. I looked at Lynley as if "you have got to be kidding me." Graham just continued in stride. A wipe, a flush, running water, and the door opened. Here came Graham still talking about his day - all the way back to the table. He sat down and he was finished. I was busting inside. I could not believe what I had just witnessed. It was hysterical.
The only true problem with this little scenario was that Ainsley was next. Sure enough, as we asked her about her day, she stood up and walked into the bathroom. From there she jabbered away. Eventually she came out and she was absolutely beaming. I don't think I have ever seen such a huge grin. She was very pleased with herself. Lynley and I could no longer contain our laughter.
Dungan family traditions - you may not want to follow our lead.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
On another note, I received some encouraging news regarding some neuroblastoma cell line testing that has been going on locally. Several months ago Lynley and I approached a researcher who was experiencing some success in lung and colon cancers. Knowing that neuroblastoma had a similar target we were hopeful that his work would show some effect in neuroblastoma. Well, he stopped by Lynley's office yesterday and let us know that neuroblastoma was adequately obliterated in the preclinical studies. Yes, you heard me. Obliterated.
So, I don't want to get everyone too excited. This stuff takes time. However, we selected this work months ago because of it's promise to dramatically impact the treatment of neuroblastoma. We were not envisioning a first base hit here. We were looking for a home run and these preclinical results seem to indicate that this may very well be something major. That is great news. But again, it will take time. This is a totally new way of killing cancer. It has to make it through human adult trials before we get it into kiddos. The good news is that we have identified a new way of doing it that appears to be extremely effective. I was very happy with the results. Now we just have to make sure that the drug does not have the dreaded side effect of terminating the patient that it is killing the cancer in.
I actually have two other big announcements related to neuroblastoma treatment but I don't know whether I am technically aloud to talk about them yet. So, for those we will probably have to wait a few days. In the meantime I can tell you that things are looking very good for Cook's. I expect to see them in the forefront of neuroblastoma research in the very near future.
On that note I have to run. I have a purposeful proposal to write.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Don't laugh. I have to play the cards I was dealt. Just for the record it is still not fair, not fair, not fair!
The kiddos have weathered the new car buying experience rather well. I think they are very happy about the decision. They traded in a car with out an entertainment system and upgraded to a DVD player. The neat thing for them is that cars usually only come with two headsets and when the salesman noticed our problem he gladly ran back into the showroom and came back out holding a shiny new third set of headphones. This small gift brought the kids extreme happiness and us extreme peace.
Life is going well with the kids. They have all transitioned nicely into their new classes, schools, and lives. Even Ainsley seems to be adjusting to her new surroundingd although I was totally grossed out when I picked her up today and learned that one of the kids in the day care had shown up with lice. Ick. None the less, we have been inspecting the kiddos by the minute and have washed everything that had been to the school.
Well, I had best be off. There is a mountain of purpose before me today.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Not fair, not fair, not fair.
Regardless, Lynley now has a new car (to her) which I will pick up from the dealership as soon as hers is back from the mechanic and deliverable.
Still not fair.
Well, I had best be off. There is a mountain to do today - including the online seminar of STS for curbing hearing loss at 12:00 PM CST. I am still looking for participants. Please sign up if you can.
I am off to purpose even if I am without wheels.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Now, onto the gallery opening. In all due honesty, I don't think I could have asked for more. The museum was jam packed with people. There were many times throughout the night when I could not navigate back down the hall. I have heard estimates from 200 to 500 people in attendance but the only real indication that I have is the fact that we went through 400 plates. (I didn't even use one!) Somehow, I was also denied a sandwich from any one of the seven trays that were provided by Jason's Deli. I was blown away - and hungry! Wine Styles was so moved by the event that the owner even decided to donate all of the wine for free. If you get a chance to stop by the Wine Styles in Montgomery Plaza please remember to thank her for me. I also received a personal surprise of my own. Rahr Beer donated all of the beer and I discovered that I had a new favorite. Who would have thought? Boy, was that good.
The night also brought several members of the press. That was a nice addition to our evening. The night had not even begun when several of us were already being miked up and interviewed. I knew of atleast one cable news channel that was in attendence and met with several print reporters. Although I am still yet to see much of the media on TV or in print I was happy to see them there. It could only help with the awareness.
The kiddos also had a blast. The autograph center went over wonderfully. The kids had so much fun being stars for the evening. Many of them had as many as 60 autographs to sign. My hands were getting tired just watching them. In the end, however, it was a great time. It was so good to see so many of them feeling so well.
For those of you who could not attend, the pictures are available on the Fort Worth Community Arts Center website at http://www.fwcac.com/.
It was a purposeful start to Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
The good news is that it takes far more than this to get me all in a tizzy. I have happy kiddos, a great job, and a loving wife. I can get through just about anything. A little busyness certainly won't scare me. Although, it probably will make me finish this entry a little earlier than usual.
This is what purpose is all about
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Ainsley was pretty straight forward. "Did you have fun?" - Yes. "Did you make some new friends?" - Yes. "Did you color?" - Yes. "Did you miss Daddy?" - Yes. "What are your new friends names?" - I don't know.
That was it. I don't want to leave you with the impression that she was anything less than happy. She seemed completely contented and quite pleased with her day. She just left me no details. Typical, everyone tries to keep Dads out of the loop.
Well, I had best be off. There is plenty on my plate this morning. I am in the midst of writing a neuroblastoma research proposal. Yes, me! Isn't that cool?
Today purpose will be behind pen and paper.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Today is a big day in the Dungan household. Today Ainsley starts her new school. It was not easy finding the perfect school for Ainsley. As you would probably expect, we looked at several different places. We chose this school based on the quality of the staff and the friendliness of the surroundings. All in all I think we made a fine choice. I have no worries about Ainsley in this environment. Ultimately, however, it will come down to what she likes. Lynley and I are hopeful that she will be happy here. We hold out high hopes.
As for the rest of the twerplets, well, I am happy to say that they seem to be doing exceedingly well at school. I am quite proud of both Sydney and Graham. From everything we have hear they are doing very, very well. Sydney has made many new friends in her new class and Graham even seems to be finding his niche. I guess it is Graham's age and the fact that he is surrounded by so many boys in his class but he is really making his move into boydom. Although he still loves to play with the girls, more and more often we can find him doing boy building spaceships and swords and playing boy games. I would not be honest if I did not say that I preferred this to the tea parties and ballet recitals with the girls. Grunt, grunt!
My purpii are growing up.