On January 24th, I was officially diagnosed with
Leukemia. We had our suspicions a few days earlier given the poor blood results.
The news, as you can imagine is still settling in. I have decided to keep this
journal to allow me to keep some focus on other things besides dwelling on the
Whys and Hows. Things have and continue to travel 100 mph.
So enjoy the read. Please register with the site. It is great to see all the folks keeping up with me and allows you to be notified when I put up new material. Also, by registering, you can leave comments on my postings which I enjoy reading.
IMPORTANT. If you want to read my journal since I was diagnosed, go to the archive section on the left, click on January and scroll down to the bottom and read by date.
Wed May 13, 2009
I suck as a dad. I've got the mom thing nailed, but it's coming to my attention that I just suck as a dad. I'm not supposed to be in charge of that stuff. I am JUST SO TIRED OF MISSING HIM.
Everyday, I think. "How would Gary have handled this? What would the children be like if he was still here?" Man, they really got a bad deal, too. And they will never realize what they have lost. But I know. I know what they've lost. It's still a lot to carry around some days.
His insights were always specatular. I need a fresh supply of insight.
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Thu Sep 25, 2008
Leukemia Cup Regatta 2008
Fall means Time to Sail! (Or more acurately, Time to Raise Money for the Leukemia Society!)
I will be serving as Campaign Chair again this year for the 4th Annual Baltimore Leukemia Cup Regatta. The race goes off on Saturday, October 25 around 11am with the boats finishing at Tide Point. As usual, we wil be entered as a "Phantom Boat" -- raising money for the campaign, but not putting a real boat in the water.
Here's the link to the donation website:
This December will mark the 5th anniversary of Gary's passing. Thanks to all of you out there who gave Gary so much support during his illness and to those who have been so kind in the years following. We have raised over $15,000 since we first started with this campaign in 2004. Just as Gary made a difference in all our lives, we continue to make a difference after his death -- the money raised has helped evelate cure rates to an all-time high.
The kids and are still making our way. We've been in our new house for over 2 years now, but it certainly feels like we were meant to be there. Libby is in 1st grade and is thriving. She represents the nutty side of Gary. Very outgoing, thinks out of the box. Patrick is in 2nd grade and is 7. He fully represents the project anayalst side of Gary. Methodical, straightforward, but makes me laugh as only his father could. I am truly blessed with healthy, smart, outgoing, and kind children (usually.)
I returned to the work force in January, talking a part-time consulting job back at PHH (where I was working before the children were born). It's flexible schedule-wise and allows me to stretch my brain in new directions. Not that laundry and packing lunches aren't stimulating activities...I'm just sayin'.
Check out the donation link above and thanks in advance to anyone that can contribute to the cause.
All our love,
Marcy, Patrick and Libby Galloway
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Fri Aug 17, 2007
What they are missing
Trips to Best Buys on Saturdays
Wrestling throw downs
Peronalized songs on demand
Mommy blissfully happy
Father's day presents
Whiffle ball as much as possible
mad computer skills
the other half to tuck them in at night
2x the "I love yous"
The other perspective
tag team patience
I still have to take them to see their father's grave.
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Wed Oct 05, 2005
Leukemia Cup 2005
Here's my (now) annual Leukemia Cup Regatta fundraising letter. This regatta is one of many sailing races held each year by the Leukemia Society to raise money for research. Unfortunately, I do not have everyone's physical address, so I will post the letter I sent out, so all of you blog members can be included. Feel free to send me your address, as I might actually send out Holiday cards this year and would love to include everyone in the mailing. My email is email@example.com
Here is the letter:
Dearest Family and Friends,
So, I know you’re all thinking, “It’s fall. Isn’t it time for the Leukemia Cup Regatta again?” Right you are.
As a quick recap from last year’s regatta: Although we had a boat committed to race under the Team Galloway colors (thanks to friends at Gary’s work), forces of nature conspired against us when Hurricane Ivan rolled in and the race was postponed to another weekend. When the new date arrived in early October, not enough of the privately held sailboats could then participate, so our section of the regatta was canceled. Confused? Me too. But the best part was that although Team Galloway did not physically sail, we were still the top individual fundraisers for the event, ringing in at just under $2500.
Spurred on by that great success (thanks to everyone’s unbelievable generosity and my desire to control the universe), I volunteered to be on the Regatta Committee for this year’s race. The Regatta is Saturday, October 22nd racing from the mouth of the Magothy River and finishing at Tide Point in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. We have many more boats entered this year and hope to make it an even bigger success then 2004.
Please consider helping out the Leukemia Society again this year. The money we are raising is going directly towards research to help find a cure for this disease that has now touched all of our lives through Gary’s heroic battle.
Some good news about the search for a cure: The relative five-year survival rate has more than tripled in the past 45 years for patients with leukemia. In 1960-63, when compared to a person without leukemia, a patient had a 14 percent chance of living five years. By 1970-73, the five year relative survival rate had jumped to 22 percent, and in 1995-2001 the overall relative survival rate was 48 percent.
Checks can be made payable to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and sent to my address above. I hope, with your help, Team Galloway will retain its title as the top fundraiser for this worthy event. (You know how competitive we get…) Also, there is an Post-Sail shindig on the promenade in front of the Rusty Scupper on that Saturday night if anyone would like to attend with me. Just give me a call or an email and I will give you all the details.
The kids are great. I am well. And we break ground on the new house this week. (11531 Franklinville Rd, Upper Falls, Maryland. Come visit us in about 8-10 months.)
All our love,
Marcy, Patrick, and Libby Galloway
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Tue May 17, 2005
What Falls Away
I was at choir rehearsal tonight... I find that most of my Gary thinking occurs when I am singing or am driving north on Charles Street late at night... anyway, an older lady I sit next to was telling me that her husband is in GBMC trying to recover from pneumonia. He's 82. And she looked tired. Really tired. And I told her I knew.
I told her about Gary and the leukemia and she asked me what kind it was. And I couldn't remember if it was AML or CML or ALL. And she was talking about her husband's cell counts and hematocrit and the medicines he was on and I couldn't remember. And this gave me some unexpected peace tonight. At one time, our lives were totally absorbed in numbers and doses and research and tough decisions. But now I realize that all of that noise has fallen away and when I think of Gary I rarely think about his sickness. As it should be. Much more to the man then some bad cells.
I get a little bit better each day, but I still have my "freak outs". Blessedly, they no longer last weeks or days, but now just a few hours or if I'm really lucky, 5 minutes. Today was a 5 minute day. And, driving home north on Charles Street tonight, I came upon another realization. There are eight steps I need to climb to get to my front door. This is a big pain in the butt, because in addition to the half-flight of steps, I am NEVER without something in my hands. For instance: 1st trip-- Patrick, 45 lbs and fast asleep. 2nd trip-- Libby, 35 pounds and snoring (and then up a second flight to her room). 3rd trip -- 8 bags of groceries (and apple juice ain't light), various diaper bags and my purse. 4th trip -- dammit, I left the cell phone in the car!. The struggle just to get into the house wears on me some days. Good news: the new house will be at ground level. I think this will improve my life greatly.
The permits for the new house are stalled at the county for the moment until my Special Hearing on June 14th. Hopefully we will meet all the building criteria and will be off and running soon. I will sell our current house on Rockaway Beach next spring by which time (hopefully) the new house will be completed. I will report more when I have more to report.
The kids are just fine except for the fact that every square inch of exposed skin is either scraped or bruised (or contains some sort of bug bite). When you're 2 and 4, apparently you fall down alot for no apparent reason. We're going through Band-Aids like water around here. But we're having fun. And try as she might, Libby has not landed in the ER yet. Yet.
I'm not sure any of this makes sense tonight -- just some babblings from deep within my brain. I find it difficult to put entries in this journal now, because it's becoming less and less about Gary. This was always his vehicle for information and often it is just too difficult to add entries because we're moving on and it makes me so sad.
Love to all--
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Mon Dec 13, 2004
Bracing for the Holidays
As 2004 draws to an end and Christmas and the anniversary of Gary's death looms on the horizon, I am busy setting up as many saftey nets as I think I will need. I had friends over this weekend to help me put up a Christmas tree and decorate the outside of the house. My goal was the put up enough lights so that the place could be seen from space (the Galloways' house and the Great Wall of China). We did a pretty good job and still managed to stay within the bounds of good taste.
I've asked my aunt to come over to my house early on Christmas morning, so I will have good company when the kids wake up and open their presents. I thought that would be much better than being here with the kids all alone. (Good placement of aforementioned "saftey net"). I plan to keep busy, until I don't need to keep busy anymore. Not sure when that will be. But it's good to have a plan, don't ya think? : )
Housing Upadate: I settled on our new/old house at the end of October and I have hired the services of an architect to help me design the new house. He should be back to me in another week or so with preliminary floor plans and then we will go from there. I hope to be finished the design phase by February/March and then we will break ground in the early spring. So hopefully by this time next year, we will be relocated in our new home and then I'll have to find a new massive project to keep me busy!
The kids are great and really exicted for Christmas . As Libby says, "I hear Santa!" and when asked what kind of presents she wants from Santa, she promptly replies, "Pink." Patrick has loftier ideas and is hoping for a excavator. I'm not sure there's an aisle for that at Toys R' Us (or as my neice and nephew used to say "Toys For Us").
Health and happiness to all our friends this holiday season and thanks to everyone who helped us get through 2004. It would have been infinitely harder without all my saftey nets.
Love to all--
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Mon Sep 20, 2004
Regatta Nada and New House Plans
Here's the update on the Leukemia Cup Regatta. Due to Hurricane Ivan the race and the post-party have been postponed until October 8th. The party will still be at Nick's Fish House from 6-10 on that Friday night. Tickets will be available at the door if anyone wants to come and join us. ($60/each or $100/couple) Unfortunately they did not get enough private boat entrants this year, so that part of the race will not go. So, no racing for Team Galloway. I was very disappointed and somewhat frustrated that more effort had not been put forward early on to secure enough private boats to make the race a go. Had it been left to me... but I plan to be a more active participant and organizer for next year's Regatta. (Contrary to my personal thoughts, I cannot control the universe)
The sencond bit of news going on for the Familla Galloway is that I have a contract on a property in Upper Falls, MD The property is 1.2574 miles from my parent's house, where I grew up. The public schools over there are great, and the proximity to family and friends will be greatly improved. The property currently has an 152 year-old farm house on it which I will take down (nobody freak out here--- it is not historically listed and is really BEYOND restoration. I think re-creation would be the best we could do for it, but I don't have the million to throw at it right now.) So, I had to get it properly surveyed, as it has not left the Shutz family in all of those 152 years, then Baltimore County has to approve the septic layout and placement of the new well, then we have to actually drill the new well and hope like crazy for a good return. If I get water, then I will settle on the property sometime in mid-October. So hopefully my next year-and-a-half will be consumed by building a custom home for me, Libby, Patrick, Guinness (dog), Sipowitz (fat cat), and Simone (fraidy cat). Any old-school NYPD Blue fans will get the significance of the cats' names. Gary was a big fan.
We will stay at Rockaway Beach while the new house is being built and then sell it right before we move in (I'm thankful to avoid the displaced/homeless issue with two small children!)
I am trying my hardest to just stay busy -- that seems like the best recovery method for me right now. Life is slowly getting less hard and more "normal", but I still just shake my head in disbelief when I think about they way things have gone for Gary and for me. I always knew I loved Gary, but now that he's gone the weight of that love seems even greater. And I miss the fact that I used to be able to just take advantage of his love for me and I for him. It is so true that you never REALLY understand what you have until it is gone.
My friend Nan is leaving next week for a vacation to Austraila for a month with her husband. Nan is the offical "keeper of Marcy" so we're both concerned about who will entertain me when she's gone. Don't be surprised if some of you get a call out there... I live for distraction.
Love to all and hold on a little longer when you hug someone today.
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Fri Aug 27, 2004
I've been quiet for a while ... wanted to wait until I felt the need to post an entry again. The kind folks at pMachine informed me that the blog still gets about 30 unique hits a day. This was empowering and moving information. Please read the following letter -- I sent this out to all the folks for which we had street addresses, but I wanted to share with the online crowd. I hope to start posting information about the Galloway family more often. There is a lot going on and most of it is good.
712 Rockaway Beach Ave
Baltimore, MD 21221
In an effort to put my superpowers to good use and to help others like Gary, I have chosen to participate in some fundraising activities for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. And I need your help.
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, through the pioneering spirit of the Eastport Yacht Club in Annapolis, established The Leukemia Cup Regatta in 1993 as a fundraising effort to support research for blood related cancers. The sailing race raised $30,000 in its inaugural year. In 2003, the sailing community raised more than $2.6 million at 45 Regattas, bringing the overall campaign results to more than $12 million. More than 17,000 participants took part in the series last year.
I was excited to learn a few months ago that Baltimore would be hosting its first Leukemia Cup Regatta this year on September 17th and I wanted to get involved. I kept thinking Gary would LOVE having a boat sailing the Chesapeake and raising funds for Leukemia! I could picture a spinnaker with a huge Halloween theme blazoned across it and maybe a fog machine strapped to the bow… but I had to come back to reality. I didn’t own a sailboat. Right.
So the story goes that I sent out an email to the president of RDA, Gary’s former employer, to see if he would be interested in helping to financially support a “phantom boat” in the race – we could compete in the fundraising side of the regatta, without physically entering a boat in the race. Don forwarded my email out to the entire company to see if anyone would want to get involved in this fundraising activity. Within 18 hours I had received three separate emails offering to secure us an ACTUAL boat to enter into the Regatta! Apparently several of the guys at RDA crew a racing boat housed in the Chesapeake, and they wanted to make this a reality in memory of Gary. So now the dust has settled and Team Galloway has a 33’ Viking ready to set sail on September 17th. The guys have been kind enough to let me help crew during the race and we have every intention of wiping up the Bay with the other entrants. Us Galloways are nothing if not competitive.
The race is just the by-product of this event. The actual goal here is to raise funds to continue to support the work of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Gleevec, a drug developed largely through funding from the Society, was an integral part of Gary’s therapy and helped keep his immune system suppressed while we waited for the bone marrow transplant to begin its work. The Society also helped us with direct financial support, to cover the travel and parking expenses for the months we spent at Hopkins, while Gary was under treatment.
So many of you have done so much already. I never fully realized how blessed we were until Gary and I underwent this unexpected journey. But if you wish to help again, any donation would be an important contribution to fighting the good fight. (Those sound like Gary words.)
If you want to attend the Celebration Party on Friday night, after the race, I have tickets for that event. The party will be at Nick’s Fish House in Baltimore from 6-10pm, featuring live music, food and an auction. Please feel free to give me a call or send me an email. More information can be found at www.leukemia.org
And I’ll see what I can do about the spinnaker and the fog machine…
Love to all,
Checks can be made payable to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and can be mailed to me at the above address. Your canceled check will be your receipt.
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Tue Mar 09, 2004
I sang with a chorus tonight for the first time since Gary became ill. I was contacted by some of my old friends from the now defunct Baltimore Symphony Chorus and was asked to sing with them and the Handel Choir of Baltimore in a combined concert. The music is lovely and exhausting and exiliarating. The route home from the rehearsal church on North Charles Street took me right past the gates of GBMC where Gary and I spent many an evening together. I really wanted to turn into the gates, park my car and walk into Unit #34 (the oncology unit) and see if I could find any familiar faces and then sit down and cry and cry and cry.
Singing tonight was unexpectedly bittersweet as it brought back many memories from the early days of our marriage. I remember being eight months pregnant with Patrick and standing in the back row (of course) of the choir risers and singing my heart out at the Myerhoff. I felt SO FULL OF LIFE! After Patrick was born, I went right back to singing a few weeks later as we had a spring concert series to prepare for. Gary would meet Patrick and me after work on Tuesdays to have dinner with us somewhere in Towson and he would take Patrick back home and I would go to rehearsal. He was such a proud dad and I loved the two of them SO much it hurt.
Patrick turns three tomorrow. I was thinking back to those lovely times back in the spring of 2001 on my drive home tonight. I feel like I've lived a thousand lifetimes since. It was the time when we were just beginning, before our most darling Libby came to us, before Gary got sick. I miss Gary and I miss what should have been, what we both thought was going to be.
I try to fill my days with the possibilities of what might be. And I hope this great gigantic hole in my heart will start to fill in one day. I wish I knew what he was doing right now.
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Thu Feb 12, 2004
There are good days and really bad days and blah days and hopeful days. More good than bad, so I guess I'm on my way to where I'm going. My main concern on this road of grief is that I want to do this grieving thing right the first time, because I don't want to have to do it again 5 years down the road because I screwed it up the first time. Good thinking, huh?
The kids and I are getting to know each other again, and man, can we really get on each other's nerves sometimes! Patrick says to me periodically, "Sometimes you get maaaad!" To which I counter, "Sometimes you get maaaaad, too!" Libby doesn't get mad, she gets even. Yesterday I found her on top of the piano, just checking things out.
Here's the "Wow" part of this entry. As some of you know, shortly after Gary died, the owner of his company Don Awalt, told me that RDA was planning on setting up college funds for our children. The generosity of this pledge was overwhelming at the time, but after receiving a check today for $43,000 I am now stunned to silence (almost). Human nature is always catching me by surprise and usually in a bad way. This amazing act of kindness by many people who never even met Gary or me is... well I can't seem to find the right word. After chatting with my financial advisor, he thinks with a fund as large as this to invest, Patrick and Libby's entire college education will be completely paid for. The only pressure on me is to raise two children who will take full advantage of this blessing that has been given to them. What a gift. We're starting SAT preparation classes tomorrow, and Patrick will be offered as an intern for RDA as soon as possible.
Here's another generous act from folks we hardly know: After Gary started this journal, he did some research and decided to host this "web log" with a company called pMaching Hosting. Gary reserved the domain name "dadswithcancer.org" through them and housed the journal on their servers. Here's an email I received the other day:
From : firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent : Friday, February 6, 2004 10:31 AM
To : email@example.com
Subject : Condolences from pMachine Hosting
When Gary signed up for this webhosting account, it caught our attention because of the domain name. Since then, we've gone periodically to read his entries and yours. We were saddened to discover that he had departed on December 30th and although we didn't know your family, we shared in your sadness. Although this was a very personal journey, we were touched by your strength to put these experiences into words and share them with friends, family, and strangers all over the world.
All of us at pMachine Hosting would like to extend our condolences to you and your family. And we would like to let you know that we will keep dadswithcancer.org up with all of the entries for as long as you would like for free along with the domain name. We hope to keep this site available for years to come so that when your children grow up, they will be able to read their father's entries.
All the best to you and your family.
- Julie and Nevin
- pMachine Hosting
Unbelivable, huh? So if anyone needs a web log hosting company (and I know you ALL do), you know to use pMachine Hosting.
The cards and emails from our friends continue to be very helpful to me, and I appreciate them very much.
I take the kids swimming on Fridays at the Maryland Athletic Club. My mom meets me there and it has been really fun. Patrick, clad in his Spongebob Squarepants bathing suit and his floatation vest sticks to me like glue. Over the course of the hour we're there, I work on trying to get him to swim on his own and take some risks. Conversely, Libby jumps into the pool from the edge, sinks like a stone and loves every minute of it. Are these kids really related?
I sincerely hope everyone out there is well, and we are doing our very best around here to be well, too.
Love to all--
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