disney 2I must admit to more than once, entertaining the question, “why me?”
However, not for the reasons you might imagine. I’ve never once felt the urge to scream “why me!?!” at the heavens in anger over my bleak cancer diagnosis.

I do find myself asking “why me?” when a group of good-hearted friends who hardly know me pull together a Disney trip so that I can spend one healthy week with my girls and wife just enjoying each others’ company.

“Why me?”

Or when a group of former co-workers at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy mail me an incredible care-package of stuff that lifts my spirits. You guys really made my day.

“Why me?”

Or when I see the names of long-time friends and allies taking time to donate to our family fund campaign started by a good friend on our behalf.

“Why me?”

Or when I notice nearly 500 people have taken the time to subscribe to this blog in the matter of a few weeks.

“Why me?”
These are just a few examples. The help has been simply overwhelming. The human heart is cavernous. It is full of empty locked rooms. It makes it easy to believe we are alone. But sometimes grace finds a way to flood those dusty floors with a tidal wave of blessings. I simply have no time to feel sorry for myself. I’m far too busy witnessing miracles of friendship.


P.S. As you see in the blog, we’ve received a generous gift of a Disney trip. However, many of you have reached out to us and offered to help us out with our remaining travel expenses and out of pocket cost. The best way to do this is still just to give here to our family fund which we are using for our every day bills, groceries, medical expenses, travel expenses for my treatment, and now for the remaining expenses of this amazing chance to spend quality time with my family.

Thank you all again!

little jim

couch chillThe more we try to make things seem “normal,” the more slippery normalcy becomes. My wife and I have been working like archeologists trying to rebuild our lives here on the East Coast. We follow the old blueprints of lives we used to live. These lives came before the cancer diagnosis, before the doctor’s appointments, and before I had to put my career on indefinite hold to fight for my survival.

One day we may spend doing some shopping and going to a movie. It’s strange when you begin to think of your life in terms of months or a couple of years. You treat time differently. Time becomes like a handful of foreign currency. The bills seem adorned with strange languages and leaders’ faces you don’t know. Some of this odd currency flows out of my possession so quickly, while other exotic coins linger waiting to be spent.

How do I spend this time? The more important question is, what is a waste of the time I have left? Of course you can drive yourself crazy with this line of thinking. Is going out to a movie worthwhile? Writing my blog? What about other creative projects? What about watching football? Every program on TV feels like junk food these days. You end up boxing yourself up into a hall of mirrors where nothing seems worthy. Real potential exists to just freeze up and not do anything at all with my time.

So all this leaves me with the the conclusion that “normal” is impossible. I can recognize that while still accepting normal things back into my life, bit by bit. So I strive to enjoy the small things and singular moments and continue to hope for the best.
Other General Updates:
1. I had an appointment with my family doctor today to get all of my meds straightened out.

2. Amy and I will be meeting with the oncologist up at Penn State Hershey Medical Center on Wednesday. We are nervous and anxious to hear what he will say about the next steps in this journey.

3. I still remain in a good bit of discomfort and pain from all of my various procedures and surgeries. I was, however, able to kick the oxygen tanks to the curb before our flight home and my oxygen levels have been much better now that we have come down from the altitude.

4. One more thank you to my my brother-in-law Tom and sister Jen  for driving the moving truck back to PA for us.

5.  A thank you in advance to all of the unloaders we will be getting together tomorrow to move our things into storage!


And finally to end with a poem I wrote

Cradle the sparks

inside your night

Covet the the shadows of broad day light

trace the hymns

behind what you see

and pray the prize frog free



I didn’t jump right out of bed today. Instead, I huddled under my blankets and listened to the melodies produced by my family getting ready. Book bags, homework folders, and special projects all finding their proper places. At first listen, it’s chaos. But all processes when observed for long enough, will flower into song. The giggles and imaginary voices mix effortlessly with disagreements over who spilled the water on the table; all of the activity rich with texture and meaning.

Lifesadream_thumbToday I’m talking about a subtle clarity I’ve been gifted since my terminal cancer diagnosis. I am awash in stars. I notice so many more of these processes awaiting observation. Like the celestial torrent of blessings, prayers, and well-wishes that seem to fill my inbox. I read all of your messages. I pour over them before bed as I fortify my spirit for the long night ahead.

I also celebrate the tiny victories. Today I was taken off of oxygen completely, so my breathing is nearly back to normal. This will make flying home on Friday far less complicated. I’m getting stronger every day. I love to walk, and the itch to hike never goes away, but I’m not ready for that.

I have so much to celebrate. Today was my wife’s birthday. She spent her entire birthday packing our belongings for the move back east, taking care of our kids, running me to my Dr. appointment, filling my prescriptions, keeping track of my medication schedule, making important phone calls to coordinate our trip home, and then topped off her day by personally selling my old truck! What a rockstar!

I am surrounded by stars. Maybe things just needed to get a little darker for me to see it all.


P.S.  As an extra treat, I posted a video below. I made this video of my girls  a few years ago using an 8mm app.

If you have trouble getting the video to work (because you get my updates via e-mail)  trying going directly to this blog page for this post, the video will be at the bottom of the page and work fine




jim glasses small