Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Update from Vic...

Hi Too All!
Today is August 16. 30 years ago Heather and Hillary were born. It seems like a long time ago but it also seems like it was way to short. Hillary has been gone now for a little more than 6 months but today was particularly hard. How many times was she asked her Birthday? Every time in the hospital when it came time to make sure what meds were being given or for admission or for whatever She always would say 8-16-82.
Since then my mom has passed away. I think she was broken hearted that she outlived her grand-daughter. She was a remarkable woman that Hillary and all of us admired. When I was down my mom would always say the right things and then pray hard for me. Most often to ST Jude --Saint of the impossible. Positive attitude and many prayers got us a long way.
We also lost a good friend and neighbor in June. The day after Nancy's birthday. Tony Zutter had lung cancer. He only had it a short time and the lord took him quickly. He is buried just a short distance from Hillary.

Hillary's grave stone is now in. Jon had a chip embedded in the granite that you can scan and it brings you to Hillary's Blog. Jon had been after me for a while to write something so that the Blog would have some fresh material. This one hasn't started off so positive so I have to be much more upbeat.

Xander is ready to start 4th grade in just 10 days. The summer has gone by quickly. Camping, Soccer and Basketball camps, a trip to Yankee Stadium to watch the Red Sox beat the Yankees were all high lites. TJ an friend of Jon's has been a great help. He has been ill and can;t work right now so he has been staying with Jon and xander and keeping Xander very busy during the day while Jon tries to to go to work. Jon is hoping to finish his mechanical engineering degree now. He had put that on hold to spend time with Hillary.

Happy birthday Heather. Heather is Pregnant. She found out that is going to be another boy. She was hoping for a girl and would have Named her Hillary. Allen is currently in Switzerland as a project manager for Johnson and Johnson. He is only there for a few days. Heather has her last class this weekend for her masters degree in special education. She always told me I was special and now she can teach me!!

Patrick and Grace are in there new house. Looks great. Still lots of things to do to get it finished but I think I still need to do a lot after 23 years. All seems good as they are higher up on the hill behind our house and can look down on us.

Nancy has had a tough day today. We went to the movies to try to keep our minds off the day. Xander was with us. He wanted to see " Timothy Greene" I was good till the end when he said something about living just a short time. Not a dry tear in the house! This week Nancy found out she has to have a spot removed. It has the c--- word. Usually Skin Cancer is not a big worry but-- that C word scares us to death-- Bad line. She also found out why she is having so much back pain. The MRI shows an extra Vertebrae. Yes she is an X-man or X woman in this case. We always knew she had hidden power that you would never know. She Bear has a lot of backbone.

Me I am working a lot. Keeping very busy has kept my heart beating. Still staying very positive. Last year Hillary made 88 trips to Dartmouth plus many other places. I think I took her to about half of them. That gives me way too much time, so like Hillary I filled it with more stuff.

Now maybe I can sleep. Got lots of stuff off my chest and sent it on to you. Thank God we have had the best support from all our family and friends. With out you all I am not sure I would have been strong enough. I thank you all for being my care giver.

Vic Nancy, Patrick and Grace, Heather ,Allen, Pierce, Preston and ?, Jon and Xander and especially our heavenly Angel Hillary

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Happy Birthday!!

Happy Birthday to Hillary and her beautiful twin Heather!  In the words of Brian… “TWINS RULE!” 

As Jon has said in the previous post, it has been six months.  I still can't believe it has been six months.  Where does the time go?  I can still see her bright smile and her laugh.  There were a bunch of us that were together last week.  Baldies Blog was brought up.  People have been wondering how the family and friends have been doing.  Well….like always, there are good days and bad days. I can't speak for everyone else, but I can tell you that the 6th of each month is a difficult day all around for everyone.   The good days are coming more often, but a day does not go by where I don’t hope that my phone is going to go off with a text or cheery phone call from Hill is going to be there.  I still have my texts from February 4th, two days before she passed away, on my phone.  And there they will stay. 

A lot has gone on in the last six months.  However, if you asked me what happened from February to April (or early May) I couldn’t really tell you.  It was really a blur.  I honestly can’t remember much that happened.  I do know that with the help of the awesome support system that Hillary put into place along her journey guided me, and others, through the last 6 months.  We just kind of went through the motions to try and get some sense of normalcy.

Somewhere in there the White Tigers and White Tigers Too started our Relay for Life Journey.  By June we had 32 team members, earned about $7,000, earned Gold Team status, and even got Barry to wear a dress (he would do anything for Hillary!).  Our team won 2nd place for our Apples to Apple booth (the theme was board games).  But more importantly our team earned 1st place for cancer messaging for the work done with Patients as Partners.  That is the one I know Hill would be proud of.  That tells me right there that we are continuing her fight and making her voice louder!  At the same time…Relay was hard.  Hillary loved Relay for Life.  She loved making people aware of every aspect to fighting the “cancer meanie.”  It was hard to be there without her (even though I know she really was there)!

Along the Relay for Life journey we had MANY fundraisers that many of you helped to make successful.  We made bracelets, ordered bracelets (that are still available too!), had 2 Pizza Hut events, had a Black and White party, and sold some pretty awesome t-shirts.  I am probably missing some, but it’s late and I am tired. J  I have to say that all of that was fun, emotional, and rewarding.  To be honest this was the way I grieved the most.  I threw myself into spreading the word and fighting the fight.  I have to say…now that it is over I am finding other things to do.  It does leave more time to think.  Which is good….I keep telling myself. 

Along with Relay for Life, there is Patients as Partners.  Hillary’s amazing twin sister as completely ran with the much needed non-profit.  She has met with several doctors, hospitals, legislators, and the list goes on and on!  She headed up the first big fundraiser with Pink Pint Night in Claremont.  It was a HUGE success and I can’t wait for next year.  I also can’t wait to help Heather make Patients as Partners become a reality!  Here is the plug….check out the website! 

Along with all of these happenings has come a lot of reflection on life.  Hillary has helped me, and others, in more ways that she probably knew.  I know that many people feel the same way, and I have heard many people say this to me over the last 6 months.  “She was an amazing person” has been said to me more times than I can count.  I don’t want that to lose meaning because it has been said so much, but it is true.  I feel like it is a little bit of an understatement, but totally true.  I am just glad that I was able to tell her how much I appreciated her and how proud I am to be her friend.  I thank her everyday for what she has given me.  She has given me strength I didn’t know I had.  She has given me lifelong friends that I met through her.  We now share a special bond that nothing could replace.  She has taught me that life is short, and I should live it up.  She taught me that I need to use my voice and stand up for what I believe in.  She has given me a second family that I am truly blessed to be a part of.  She has given me two pea pods that I am not sure I would have gotten through this without.  I really feel that she has taken care of me and is continuing to take care of me. 

The other night Michelle and I went to have girl time with Hill.  I know she was there on her “bed” having girl time with us.  We always had girl time on her bed….man I miss that.  It was good to be there with her the other night.  Michelle and I said people would think we were weird to go hang out with Hill at the cemetery at 10:00 at night.  Well, if you knew Hill she would have done the same thing!  J  And I keep telling people that there is no rule book telling you how you HAVE to grieve.  There is no “right” way to deal with grief.  I think people should do what make them feel good (as long as it is healthy and safe).  So that is exactly what we were doing.  We needed to have girl time with Hill….so we did!!!! 

Today….to celebrate her 30th birthday we will go again.  We will celebrate her birthday with her.  We will be bringing her a tiara with 30 on it!  And I am pretty sure there will be cupcakes involved!  What birthday celebration doesn’t have cake!?!             
Until next time....

Monday, August 6, 2012

It's Been Six Months

Life has been crazy these last six months. So much has happened. Something important is finally in place. Here are the pictures of Hillary's headstone.

The backside of the stone. Notice it makes reference to Baldie's Blog. The QR barcode reader is under the angel. It links right to this site. Over a year ago I told Hillary these would be the future and she needed to write about these and how they will change things. I found a company that made one for me. All you have to do is download an app. on your phone or tablet, turn on the app. it works with your camera. If you have the right app. you will just need to place the bar in the center of the viewer and it will automagically bring you to Baldies Blog.

This is the frontside of the stone.

The stone represents everything about Hillary. If you know her, you will be able to pick up even the little details. It's also Xander approved. Hillary told me nothing too big for a headstone but I felt anything less would be wrong for a remarkable person. That's why it took me forever to pick the perfect stone. Hillary will forgive me for what I paid to make it perfect. She always loved the end results of everything I did even if she could not see it in the beginning. She always trusted me.