Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Quiet Christmas

We are spending this entire Christmas break at home. For one thing, our kids prefer to be at their own home on Christmas morning in front of their own tree etc. I like making them wait on their own stairs the way my parents made me wait. The music gets put on, the Lionel train sounds coming from the family room. Most importantly, the coffee is brewing so mom and dad can make it through the morning. I chose the Nutcracker for this morning, as it is a great background track and does not take away but adds to the scene.
We start by opening the stockings. It has gotten less formal as the kids get older. Now I simply sit on the couch with them as they pull out the small gifts which are no longer wrapped. Lottery tickets, gum (for the white things in your head that bite), usually a dollar tucked in the toe (so they don't start the new year off broke). I guess the lottery tickets have replaced that at least for this year. For generations it was one stocking at a time with all this little banter from Dad describing the gifts. I saw pictures on Facebook this year of a friends adult grown sons sitting on their stairs and I loved it. Oh, I forgot to mention the one gift that gets opened on Christmas Eve, new pajamas which we all wear. Heidi does a great job of getting this all together.
Every one gets gifts in our house. The dogs, the cats, no one gets coal, except me. I got coal in my stocking this year. Chocolate coal. They all think that is pretty funny. It tastes good. So we sit here enjoying our green Christmas with temps in the high 30's and low 40's. Great for running but not for snow sports. Which is OK because Connor is swimming two times a day everyday but Christmas and New Years.
I think I like a quiet Christmas. No travel, no pet sitters, our own beds and quality family time.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Good News - Bad News - Christmas 2011

Coburn’s 2011
Good News Bad News : 16th Edition

Good News: Full return to “old school” photo card and letter this year.
Bad News: It took two photo shoots to get pics we all could agree were right for the card.
Good News: Michael and Connor again visited Fritz and his boys in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for four days of skiing in February.
Bad News: Last day in Jackson produced -41 without the wind chill, grounding our plane.
Good News: Isabelle continues to ride horses at Chagrin Valley Farms and has gotten pretty good and looks like a champ in her riding outfits.
Bad News: We are now hearing talk of leasing horses, buying a saddle…this is bad, expensive news. Is horse ownership in our future?
Good News: Annelise played both Field Hockey and Lacrosse in Middle school this year.
Bad News: She stopped swimming to accommodate these other sports.
Good News: Connor finally got his X-Box and all the first person shooter games you could want.
Bad News: He signed up for High School swim team as part of the negotiations.
Good News: The kids all swam for Hudson Park Estates neighborhood swim team again.
Bad News: Kids weren’t too excited about early morning practice on summer break.
Good News: Heidi walked in the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in San Diego in June with her friends Sonya and Karen.
Bad News: Heidi was not fully trained as she was still recovering from gallbladder surgery.
Good News: Our first summer vacation was to a dude ranch in Central California with Jackie and all of Heidi’s siblings and kids. Two rides a day, games and lots of fun.
Bad News: Square dancing. Something kinda weird about eating burgers surrounded by grazing cattle.
Good News: Our second summer vacation was a cruise to Mexico to celebrate Jack’s 80th birthday along with all of Heidi’s siblings and kids.
Bad News: Jack could not make it due to health issues for his wife Linda (she is fine now) but we all went anyway. Wore pre-planned t-shirts proclaiming “Celebrating Together”.
Good News: Our third summer vacation was with Michael’s side of the family, 17 of us in a house together for a week in Indiana leading up to a massive Murphy Family reunion with 70+. We are lucky to have such great families and opportunities to travel.
Bad News: Three family vacations in 2 months is a lot and our pets barely saw us this summer. Credit cards are still smoking. We missed the Pan-Mass Challenge.
Good News: We held another successful Tick-Tock Triathlon with 200 kids registered.
Bad News: Our kids can’t get out of this activity until they pass 18 years old.
Good News: Michael and Connor went with Steve Malerick and his boys to Ontario for a fly in fishing adventure on a 1948 DeHavilland Beaver plane.
Bad News: We went primitive with tents, no electric, no running water, latrines …
Good News: Heidi went to Atlanta for a girls’ weekend with her friends Dorothy and Sonya. They had lots of laughs and saw Duran Duran and Yacht Rock (google them).
Bad News: Where is the guy’s weekend? Heidi says, “what about Jackson Hole and fishing?”
Good News: Heidi, the girls and Kevin Malerick went to Harry Potter at Universal Studios in December. They had a fantastic time.
Bad News: Butter beer, 10 feet of churros and new wands add up to a lot.
Good News: We are spending Christmas at home this year as our own family around the tree.
Bad News: Connor will be swimming 2 X per day everyday but Christmas and New Years as it is hell week for the swim team.

Carcinoid Cancer google alert

One thing I found helpful is to create a google alert for Carcinoid Cancer and then whenever something new appears on the web, like this blog post, you will get an alert to it. Today I got a comment from someone on a post from a year ago. Her mom was just diagnosed and she found our story encouraging. That is great.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Like mother like daughter

Isabelle our 12 year old has been actively riding horses for 5 years now. Her progress is really coming along. She is now up to an 18" - 2' class and really looks confident and happy on the horse. Her mother, Heidi, as well as her grand mother and great grandmother on my side were all "horse women". There is some magic that takes place between a rider and horse and it is often girls of this age who just like to hang out at the barn and take care of the horses. Heidi puts a lot of time into making this happen and someday, Isabelle will really appreciate it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Swimming gets serious

Connor is a freshman at Hudson High School and has gone full force into swimming. As a kid who only swam for 6 weeks each summer on our neighborhood team (forced) and never goes to the pool for pleasure (he hates chlorine), he is doing great. I have already heard him say that he will likely swim all 4 years. This requires swimming 6-8 practices a week with each practice lasting 2-3 hours. He is really committed when you look at the tradition he just endured where all the boys bleach their hair and then shave it in February. Great job Connor.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

As if Carcinoid Cancer were not enough, it's Movember!

I have a friend who just got diagnosed with Prostate cancer. I was growing my moustache for fun and then it all changed. What was a convenient excuse to keep my corporate buddy's from razzing me too much became a real cause. Help me raise a few bucks for a cause to cure Prostate Cancer. I still will raise $10,000 for Carcinoid cancer during next years Pan Mass Challenge, but this one needs my and your help too.
Go to this link to donate: Even $1 helps the cause.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Benefits of Cancer Support Groups

A reader of the blog asked if I could post an article he wrote on the topic listed, here you go:

The Benefits of Cancer Support Groups

Cancer is one of the most common health problems that people face today. In fact, studies have shown that 30 percent of women and half of men will get cancer in their lifetime. There are groups that can help support you when dealing with this awful disease. Whether you receive a diagnosis of a common cancer like breast cancer or a very rare diagnosis like mesothelioma, there are groups that can help you gain the knowledge to help fight back.

People who receive a diagnosis of cancer will have their lives changed forever. Having cancer means that one will have to endure endless doctor visits, painful treatments and a reduced quality of life. People who have cancer often feel hurt and angry. They wonder why they had to be afflicted with such a devastating condition. It is not healthy for people to keep their feelings bottled up. Talking to other people and writing those feelings in a journal are two healthy outlets for expressing one's emotions.

A person may turn to his or her loved ones for support, but friends and family are not always helpful. It is very easy for someone who does not have cancer to say something like " I understand how you feel completely." However, the only people who truly understand the heartbreaking effects of cancer are those who have lived through it themselves.

Those who do have cancer do not know what it is like to undergo painful treatments. They do not know what it is like to lose all of one's hair. People without cancer also do not know what it is like to go to bed at night and wonder whether they are going to wake up in the morning.

It helps to have a group of people who are going through the same ordeal. The key to overcoming the painful and negative effects of cancer is to have support. The best support that a cancer patient can get comes from other cancer patients. Support groups also allow patients to discuss their feelings with other patients.

It is important to note that cancer can be overcome. There are millions of people who have survived cancer. Those who are undergoing treatments would also benefit from talking to people who have survived cancer. Sometimes, it is best for people to hear encouraging words from those who have been down the same road and made it out on the other side.

Words cannot describe the havoc that cancer wreaks on one's body. However, having a support group of cancer patients and survivors can help a person overcome the devastating effects of that ordeal.

By: David Haas

David Haas Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Guest Blogger - http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/ Personal Blog - http://haasblaag.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Family Vacation #3 Bass Lake Indiana


Mom and her 4 kids clockwise from left: Karen, Kevin, Cassie, Michael, MomAll the grandkids who were there.

Michael, Karen, Heidi and Mark (Karen's husband) after the 5 K. Mark took 5th overall.

Mom's sibs: back row Mike Murphy, Cathy Shea, Rick Murphy

front row: Trish Borla, Ronnie Rubino, Mary Anne Coburn

The Murphy family reunion took place in late July with nearly 80 of my mom's family on hand including her 5 siblings and most of the cousins and 2nd cousins. Bob and Trish Borla hosted at their lake house in Knox, IN. My mom rented a nice house in Culver about 9 miles away and we 17 spent the preceding week there in Culver and joined the events on the big weekend. Heidi and I brought bikes for the whole family and managed an 11 mile loop around Culver lake in the near dark but we made it. Then in the Bass Lake Days festival events, Heidi got 3rd in the 5K walking division and took 2nd overall female in the 8 mile bike loop of the lake winning a nice trophy. I managed 3rd in the bike race losing to a 68 and 64 year old in the sprint. The kids had a great time tubing and jet skiing while I used all of the 3 sailboats my Uncle has on hand there. We even got some fishing in with my son Connor and nephew Jason. Our summer of heavy vacations is done.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Buffett comes to Cleveland

It had been 8 years since Jimmy Buffett had been to Cleveland and more like 21 years since Heidi and I had seen a show. So last Tuesday we had an awesome time on the lawn at Blossom Music Center 8 miles from our house seeing him put on a rocking show. Check out his encore here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAf95h0rliU

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Family Vacation #2 - Mexican Cruise

Cozumel our ship on the left: Isabelle, Annelise, Lily, Holly, Grace, David, Heidi, ConnorThe kids at Progreso, Mexico: Lily, Grace, Annelise, Isabelle and Connor
At Sea on our balcony: Fields family
Coburn family
Coburn kids: Annelise, Isabelle and Connor in the Mississippi Delta

We have just returned from a great 5 day cruise from New Orleans to Mexico. Unfortunately, the reason for the cruise was to celebrate Heidi's dad, Jack's, 80th birthday. Linda, his wife, had to have surgery and they were unable to join us so we went with Holly, Heidi's sister, and their family. We had three staterooms connected by balconies which was so enjoyable. Our 6 p.m. dinner became a great deal of fun as Bruno and Eddy did magic for the kids each night and if dinner wasn't enough the kids took full advantage of the 24 hour icecream and Pizza. I bet they had 4 icecreams per day, but they did take the stairs each day instead of the elevators. I have included a few pictures including our port stops in Progreso and Cozumel.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Family Vacation #1 - Rankin Ranch

Riding the creek!
Heidi on Lightening at the lead position.
On Walker's Basin on our meadow ride.

We just completed a long weekend at the Rankin Ranch in Caliente, CA. We were there with Heidi's mom Jackie and Heidi's siblings John and Holly. We had our kids along and Holly and David had their girls Lilly and Grace as well. We stayed in cabins and rode horses 2 x per day. We also did our share of trout fishing which you can see the trophy caught by Connor by clicking here.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Big Gig in November

Well I am doing something sort of fun in November. I am a participant in a Secret Service Summit here in Cleveland. I will be talking about the 2 years of work my teams have been doing to deliver world class customer service.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Stay-Cation for Spring Break

We stayed home in Hudson for Spring Break. Since we have 3 vacations planned for this summer, we have to conserve. Heidi made a really nice bunch of outings for the kids and I joined them on Wed and Friday for various adventures. They saw the M.C. Escher exhibit in Akron, the Crawford Auto Museum, Great Lakes Science Center and even went to the FarmPark only to find it closed on Mondays. The weather was in the 30s or colder the whole week which was the main downside. We ate at Melt and had amazing grilled cheese sandwiches. We also took in the Westside Market on Friday morning with the Piels.
Westside Market Great Lakes Science Center Static exhibit. Japanese soda at Westside market
Fruit stalls, Westside Market
Annelise, Isabelle and Connor

(I don't think Isabell is taller than Annelise but this picture sure shows it that way.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gallbladder removal...check

Coburn Family: Michael, Annelise, Heidi, Connor & Isabelle (click on photo to enlarge)

Heidi successfully had her gallbladder removed on Friday to address a side effect of the LAR Sandostatin injections she has been receiving for over a year to battle the multitude of Carcinoid Cancer tumors in her liver. She developed gall-stones as a common side effect and Friday she had her Gallbladder removed laparoscopically by a highly competent Vice Chairman of Digestive Disease at the Cleveland Clinic. We battled a pretty nasty late winter snow storm to arrive for the long "outpatient" surgery at the Clinic. All went well and we were home by 7 p.m. with friends taking on the kids for the afternoon and some sleep overs. Thanks guys.

Heidi is resting and recovering well. She ranked this surgery between the hemi colectomey and the surgical hernia repair as far as pain and recovery. A steady stream of Oxycodone with Aceteminophin is helping move her through the weekend.

This has meant a 3 month break from Sando injections but they are likely to resume in the next 6 weeks. We have seen stabilization and even some shrinkage from the steady Sando treatments.

Heidi is positive and very tough when it comes to facing her cancer. It makes it that much more manageable for the rest of the family. Go girl!
Photo is from our trip a few weeks ago skiing at Peek n Peak, NY.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Jackson Hole, Wyoming 2011

View from Fritz's house
Our group in Rock Springs Bowl with Cody Peak (10,118 feet ) in background

This post will focus on our 7 day trip to Jackson Hole to see and ski with my childhood friend who I reunited with through facebook two years ago, Fritz Wieters and his boys. Connor and I went for the second year in a row. It was much more comfortable this year as we knew Fritz again and the routine. His boys were really looking forward to it as well as they don't get to spend 4 days with their dad that much let alone ski from 9 to 4 every day and miss two days of school. Connor missed 4 days of school but he earned it with nearly straight A's for two marking periods. One B and he made the high honor roll.

Connor and I had an amazing trip. We arrived on Thursday at noon and Fritz picked us and our 6 checked bags (free on Continental as were the tickets due to miles) in his crew cab pick up. Fritz and his goatee covered bottom lip looks the Jackson part. We went to lunch at the Snake River Brewing Company and then we dropped him at his office and we went and picked up the three boys from their respective schools. Otto (15), Cameron (11) and Quinn (6). It did not take long til we picked up back where we left off last year and did some shopping around the famous elk antlered arches of downtown Jackson.

Suffice to say that the skiing was great with temps from 22 to 31 degrees above zero (that will be important to remember later in the trip) but only a total of one new inch of snow fell on top of the 27 feet they have already received. We skiied everything but the expert chutes on the mountain and even went beyond the ski area boundary on one day for two runs through an adjacent valley where you leave through a gate at the top of the resort and ski back in at the bottom for an amazingly empty and peaceful trip thorugh Rock Springs Bowl. This is legal but you should carry an avalanche beacon, shovel and probe which our group did. The avalanche hazzard was rated low due to no recent snowfall and all went well.

Did that for four straight days and even caught the first tram on two days where you stuff 100 skiers in a big red box (our family rode the previous edition of this tram which held about 55-60 people) and zip to the top of the mountain in 9 minutes gaining 4,139 feet of vertical feet for the longest descent in the lower 48 states of skiing. It is all black and double black diamond skiing off the top but actually very managable even when Connor was on his snowboard (1 day out of 4).

That all went well and when it was time to go home, all that midwest weather just shut down any of our connecting flights if we had left Jackson and gotten to either Chicago or Denver. So we did not even go to the airport, I just rebooked us for the next day. Fritz gave us his truck and Connor and I drove up into Grand Teton National Park for a look around. The temps were in the -20 and it was blowing 30 at the summit of the ski area making for a -81 with the windchill. Saw Moose, Fox, Big Horn Sheep and Elk on the national refuge. On our departure day, we woke up to -31 and had to hope it would warm to -20 or better for the planes to run. By 1:39 p.m. when we departed it had warmed to -10 with full sunshine. There were windchill advisories for the ski area and I counted about 6 skiers on the hill with the spotting scope at Fritz' house. So all in all, we got lucky on the conditions considering what we could have faced. Even though we came home a day late, Connor did not miss any more school because Hudson had a snow day on Wed.

Thanks to my amazing wife, Heidi, who made this trip guilt free for us and suffered a gall bladder attack while we were gone and now has confirmed stones via ultra sound and will likely need surgery to remove her gall bladder shortly. This is a typical side affect of the chemo therapy Heidi has been undergoing which has delivered up to a 10% reduction in the tumors in her liver. But this has really sapped her energy this January so I guess it is nice to have answers. Heidi will suspend her Sandostatin injections until the gall bladder is addressed.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Heidi gets a really great Christmas present!

Today's doctors appointment confirmed the preliminary radiologist's report that the tumors in Heidi's liver have remained stable or shrunk by up to 10%. This is a great thing and can be attributed to the Sandostatin LAR injections Heidi has been getting monthly for at least 6 months now. This is really a fantastic piece of information and we are celebrating. Heidi does not have any major side effects of the injections and the tumors she does have present in her liver are not impacting her day to day life. Thank you to everyone who always asks...How is Heidi doing. Heidi is doing great today.

Mom, Cassie and Marianne Moore divin Bonaire

Pretty cool to see my mom diving with her granddaughter Marianne Moore in Bonaire. Mom spends 11 weeks down there and has logged over 1,000 dives.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mom and Cassie enjoy Bonaire

Well I got this great Facebook post from my sister today with this picture of my mom and her enjoying themselves in beautiful Bonaire. Thought it would be nice to share.

Michael & Heidi's Info

What is going on in our lives and occassional updates on Heidi's fight with Carcinoid Cancer.