On June 12, 2012, my mother passed away.

Mom engaged a brief, but brave and spirited war waged against cancer.  While it was ultimately the reason she’s no longer with us, it never succeeded in changing who she was, and it will never be able to strip us of our memories.

For weeks now, we’ve rallied behind her, and in response she’s shown us bravery, dedication, determination, and an eternal spirit.  I forever consider myself a better human being for being blessed to have Nan Hinds as my mother.  She was an incredible lady, and no words can do her  justice in explaining how important she was to so many of us.

We saw an incredible turnout at both the visiting hours and the funeral, and were touched by the outpouring of support for mom.  Scott and I were both privileged enough to be able to provide a eulogy for her, which I’m publishing below.

Here is Scott’s:

In April – the last time that mom was home – the four of us (mom and dad; Todd and me) sat down for a surreal but actually wonderful conversation about things most people never have to – or get a chance to – talk about. Mostly, it was about how she wanted to be remembered. None of us wanted to do it; it was uncomfortable and scary and painful. But it gave mom some closure, and a sense that she was taking some things off of our hands (which is the way she’d always wanted). And it also gave us a chance to hear what was important to her for once. But that day I also made her a promise that there was one family secret that I wouldn’t be able to keep after she was gone.

You see, I was told from the time I could talk that our family – which really meant she – hated country music. Todd and I brought home Eminem and Snoop Dogg and Metallica records and she was totally cool; she didn’t love it at all, but she trusted us to make our own mistakes. But I honestly don’t know if I would have been allowed back in the house with a Willie Nelson album (and I wasn’t going to try it). So here’s the truth – that I didn’t figure out until very recently: My mom LOVED country music. She loved Alabama, and the Oak Ridge Boys, and the Statler Brothers. Not long ago I even took her iPod and looked at the play counts, and it was all Zac Brown and Kenny Chesney at the top. And when I asked her about it, she still said she hated country music. And then she wouldn’t talk about it. And for the life of me I don’t understand why – because believe me, the stuff she admitted to liking was sooooo much worse than the stuff she denied.

And I have no idea what that means, or why she did it. And that story really has nothing to do with anything. But maybe what I love about it is that it’s one of the only quirks that I know my mom had that just didn’t make any sense. She was a beautifully uncomplicated woman – and I mean that in a wonderful way. She gave all of herself to the people in her life, and never once had an ulterior motive. She didn’t play politics (didn’t even want to listen to us talk politics); she didn’t play favorites; she didn’t play both sides; she didn’t play mind games. She wasn’t cynical or angry and genuinely looked for the good in everyone around her. She loved unconditionally, served those in need and never asked for or expected anything in return.

In some ways, my mom’s death was as uncomplicated and awful as her life was uncomplicated and beautiful. She got a terrible disease, and she died from it. It would be easier if there was someone or something to be angry at; to hate; to blame. But to hate “cancer” just feels empty, it’s not enough. My mom deserves more. What I’m clinging to is that there was one blessing in this tragedy. I really believe – and I think everyone here would agree with me – that mom had no idea what an amazing person she was. But the wonderful thing is that as the cards, and letters, and pictures, and “NSH” sticker sightings around the country poured in to her in Alabama over the last few months, I think maybe – just maybe – my humble mother finally saw how many lives she’d touched; how loved she was; how much more wonderful a place she left the world than what she found

I’m so glad that Emma and Becca and Patrick and Sam are old enough to remember her forever. That’s the least of what she deserves. Today is a very difficult day. But I’m doing my best to remember what a preschool teacher taught my kids: “you get what you get, and you don’t fuss a bit” Because I’ve got nothing to cry about today – I was blessed with almost 34 years with the greatest mother I could have ever had. To complain that I didn’t get more than that would just be greedy.  I’m so sad for her about the things she won’t get to see; I’m sad for my kids for the things that they aren’t going to get to share with her. But me? And Michelle? And Todd? And Jess? And Dad? For all the years we got with her, we’re the lucky ones. So thanks for being here, and thanks for loving my mom like we did.

– Scott Hinds, 06/19/2012


Before I get into most of my final thoughts, I’d like to tell everyone my favorite mom story of all time.

After years of having a very simple cell phone, mom was very excited when she got a free upgrade to a Droid Smart Phone.  For days she’d call talking about how excited she was to enter the 21st century, and that she was getting a “Droid Special Edition RD2D something or other phone.”  Unbeknownst to her, she had just purchased a Star Wars special edition phone, which was made to look like R2D2.

She had problems with the phone from the get go.  Every time we would talk, she’d spend the first 15 seconds trying to figure out if she was actually connected, and then the next 10 minutes complaining about the phone.  She never really knew if anyone was there, and constantly complained that she couldn’t hear people clearly, and that no one could seem to understand her.  Despite her constant issues with dropped calls, and failed text messages, she never wanted to do anything to fix the issue.

This went on for months.  She began referring to her phone as possessed and was getting increasingly angry with the random beeping noises it would make (these noises turned out to be the specially programmed R2D2 noises).

Finally, after months of my poor mother having to put up with this, dad and I hit a breaking point, and insisted that she buy an iPhone, with me selling her Droid on eBay.  When she sent me the phone to sell, I finally and instantly recognized the problem.

Her R2D2 special edition phone, which she couldn’t hear anyone on, couldn’t be heard from, and had major connectivity issues … was still entirely wrapped in the plastic permacell.  You know, the sticky plastic wrapping around new electronics to keep it safe during shipping.  The permacell was still wrapped around the microphone and the earpiece and there was even still one piece completely encasing the internal antenna, which actually had a blue pull tab that read “Remove before use” which mom clearly never removed.

After selling the phone on eBay, the buyer left feedback saying, “Thrilled with the phone.  Looks brand new and is even still wrapped in the permacell.”

I tell this story lovingly, but I think it is somewhat reflective of mom.  She never wanted to be a bother or an imposition.  She never wanted the spotlight cast upon her, and never wanted any special attention.

Most of you know mom was a teacher by trade… but her love of teaching extended far beyond the classroom.  I can safely say that she’s taught me many of the qualities I’m proudest of.

She taught me to be an adult.  She showed me the right ways and the wrong ways to behave.

She taught me about courage.  She showed true courage when she walked into the home of a mother grieving the loss of her son.  Mom barely knew the woman, but going in that day was the right thing to do and mom wanted to be there to lend an ear when it was needed most.

For weeks now, so many people have rallied behind her, and she taught us about loyalty.  She fought despite how hard it was and how bleak the prognosis was out of a continued sense of dedication to those cheering her on.

She taught me toughness.  Toughness far beyond what was possible in a gym, on a football field, or in a boxing ring.  She took incredibly rigorous bouts of chemo ad bounced back with a resiliency and a determination that I can honestly say I’ve never seen before, and wonder whether I’ll ever get the privilege of seeing again.

She taught me how to love and she taught me what undying devotion meant.  Her love for dad, for her kids, her grandchildren and all her family has made all of us better people for ever knowing it.

She taught me how to be a husband.

She’s taught me how to be a father.

She taught me how to live,… and in the last few weeks, when there’s been nothing left to teach, she still found a way, and she’s taught us all how to die.  She showed her unwavering grace and dignity until her final moments, and the most honorable way to leave without ever losing who you are.

I’ve gone back to a familiar refrain a few times now, and there is a quote from Jim Valvano which applies to mom:

“Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities, but it cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart and it cannot touch my soul, and those three things are going to carry on forever.”

Cancer never touched her heart.

Cancer never touched her mind.

Cancer never touched her soul.

And without hesitation, those three things are going to carry on forever.

Thank you.

– Todd Hinds 06/19/2012

For those interested, you can see her obituary here, on the Desmond’s Funeral Home website.

My mom fought for each and every one of us in the past 5 months.  She fought for every NSH sticker, every email, every card, every text message and every prayer.  The support we’ve seen from the community that knew and loved mom has helped everyone through this.  Thank you all for everything you did for us, and for her.

With genuine love and appreciation


My weekend with mom

I know updates have been few and far between of late.  I’ve said it before, and it still rings true today, that I simply have a hard time coming up with positive vibe in my posts when the reality is so far from that for me.  I guess that everlasting positivity is one trait that Nan never passed on to me.

Rather than paint a pretty, yet unrealistic picture, I decided to be honest with where Mom is at, both the positive and the negative.

Pancreatic cancer is a miserable bastard of a disease, and there’s no two ways around it.

A hospice nurse has started coming weekly.  She’s set mom up with a few different devices to help her out around the apartment,  and helped dad with the overwhelmingly complicated task of managing her meds. Their hospice nurse Kelly has been invaluable in this role to help coordinate next steps, keep dad appraised of the situation, and provide a momentary relief from the omnipresent reality in which he faces.  She’s been tremendous in making small observations of mom indicative of further signs of her conditions progression, while also tipping him off to what’s likely to be coming next.

You know, I haven’t written a whole lot about dad on here, but he deserves more credit for what he’s doing than anyone will ever know.  He is  there for her every request.  He has become the bill payer, the care taker, the scheduler, the newsgiver, the chef, the maid, the provider:  he has firmly entrenched himself into roles he never expected he’d have to take on this early.  He deserves so much credit, and a flimsy blog post seems borderline insulting as a way to commend what he’s done.

I saw a side of him this weekend that wasn’t surprising per se, but was also reflective of the evolution he’s made in the last few months.  After my wife Jess said goodbye to mom Sunday night for what may be the final face to face goodbye, he immediately sought her out to give her a hug, and whisper a brief few words to her.  He was comforting, he was calm, he was respectful, he was real.  I’m certainly not suggesting he’s never been capable of these things, but it was a display I don’t think anyone gets used to.  Every time mom gets me on the phone, she tells me how proud of dad she is, as though she’s trying to coax me into feeling the same thing.  Only problem there is that I already am proud of him.


Facing mortality has been a fascinating exploration into human beings.  Passing no judgement at all, some do not know what to say, and therefore choose to say little.  Some don’t know how to react and ignore it altogether.  Hell, I’ve reflected those traits myself, and most people tell me I never shut up.  There are also more incredible people than we can count.  We’ve seen more tremendous outpouring of love and support than frankly we knew existed in her and our social circles.  Mom has three of the most incredible friends who have worked out a schedule to stay with her round the clock Monday through Friday while dad still puts in his 40 hours a week (which is yet another tremendous feat I didn’t touch on above).  Mary Farabee, Jane Woolford, and Jackie Faulkingham  are three of moms friends from her short time down in Alabama, but have shown true commitment, and helped to remind us of the definition of true friendship in their spirit and assistance throughout all of this. As dad just said to me in a text message: “They are doing it because they want to, but to us they are true angels on earth.”

As for the namesake of the page you’re on:


It has been a month since I saw mom, and I was up early Saturday morning.  I wanted to knock out some work before anyone else was up, and so I sat at their kitchen table clacking away on my laptop.  I had a direct line of sight into their bathroom, and even before she had come out for the morning, I saw mom in the bathroom, brushing her hair, and her teeth and flossing.  There was something about continuing those simple routines that most of us find annoying (my hand is raised on that one), that mom is clinging to.  She’s keeping her sanity by maintaining her routine, and keeping her appearance and dignity. I may have picked on her a little bit for that, but I get it.

The cancer has physically advanced, though it will never, and can never win.  She broke my heart when she would cover her stomach all weekend, so embarrassed by the swelling brought upon by the hell being unleashed inside of her.  She talked about how she used to have a flat stomach, and “now she looks pregnant” (her words, to be clear,… not mine).  She’s still concerned with her appearance, not willing to take the free pass when one is more than readily available for her.

Mom spends a lot of time on the couch, and has set herself up for comfort.  She keeps pictures of dad, Scott and I on the table, while pictures of the kids are readily seen from any possible eyeline she could make from the couch.  She keeps some cards, a photo book, and a stack of thank you notes ready to write for whenever she can muster the energy.  She also has a hand-sewn Becca Hinds created “Unmotivated Kid,” there to remind her of the reason she continues to keep her spirits up.  She watches a lot of nonsense TV; TV that will keep her attention, but also doesn’t matter a whole lot if she slips in and out of a nap.  I tried introducing Dog The Bounty Hunter, but was met with patient (ok, maybe patronizing) “Oh, that’s interesting.”  Though if we’re revealing secrets,… mom has fallen in love with a show called “Monsters-In-Law.”  Everyone has their own trashy TV shows I guess.

Eating has become a challenge.  Her appetite is all but vanquished, and her tolerance for various flavors and textures is an ever changing concept.  That still doesn’t stop her from acting and raving like she’s eating at five star restaurant when Jess made a couple deviled eggs.  She has passed the cooking reins to dad, and the best cook I’ve ever known now swears up and down that dad has apparently been the better chef all along.  What she can eat, she eats sparsely, though she did ask for IHOP French Toast by name Sunday morning, and ate three whole (half) pieces.  So there was that…

Mom spent most of the weekend asking Jess how we were, and what is on our horizon.  We shared an incredible moment Sunday after dinner, one that’s going to stick with all of us forever.  A sad Patrick called Sunday not knowing how much longer he’d be playing hockey for, and Grammie spent a half hour trying to counsel her older grandson and let him know everything would be ok.  From my experience, I have no question he got off the phone feeling a little better than when he got on the phone.

Long story short:  Nothing is different, and nothing is the same.  I’m so incredibly and profoundly sad for what she’s going through, yet so incredibly and profoundly proud of how she’s doing this.

This is without question my favorite picture of mom.  This is a legitimately candid picture taken by Michelle when she came across this Kodak heartwarming scene.  If I’m remembering the story right, she was sweeping up in the kitchen when one of the quads came crawling up to her.  She went down to the floor with one, and before she knew it, three more were crawling over clamoring for Grammie’s attention.  There’s always been something about that picture that I’ve loved.  Maybe it’s the smirk on Emma’s face because she was the one that won the race to get a hug from Grammie…. maybe it’s Becca forcing her way onto the lap as well.  It could be Patrick climbing up her legs, or Sammy just chilling out…. or it could be Grammie.

That’s mom.  People come to her with good or bad, and she maintains everything about who she is.  When Patrick called Sunday night, he got the Grammie long before cancer ever came into the picture and she’d never let it happen any other way.

My weekend with mom ran the emotional spectrum.  I laughed because she’s kept her fantastic sense of humor and would still take a sarcastic shot at me when I deserved it.  I cried when I saw the physical toll this has taken, and the efforts that go into the mundane of every day.  I thought a lot, especially when having to ask if she will ever see Jess again.  And I smiled a lot when I saw my regular ol’ mom.  Physical changes aside, it’s still just mom with that constant decree of “Cancer doesn’t change who she is,” ringing more true than ever before.

I will be down to see her again, and I’m sure there will be more visible effects,…. but I can also guarantee you that it’ll still be the same mom,… and that’s frankly all anyone could ever want.


The Times Record

Interesting article in our hometown newspaper today, The Times Record:


Pretty cool for her to see this in the paper.

I’ll admit it’s been tough to find words lately to maintain the positive and inspiring spirit that I’ve witnessed out of my mother.  I guess I’m just not sure how we can describe her current position without turning the message much more dour than it’s previously been.

With that, I’m asking for your help.  I want to share stories about mom through the years.  Funny, touching, or just examples of who she is… it doesn’t matter.  I want to hear anything that makes you think of Nan Hinds that I can share with people on this site.

As always, we continue to be touched by the outpouring of support we’ve received through all of this.  I feel guilty for asking for anything else, but any stories we can share would help brighten her days….

Thank you all again,

– Todd

NSH Stickers Again


Been a few days since a post, so I figured we could take a look at some of the awesome Team NSH sticker submissions we’ve seen lately.

The first one comes in from one of mom’s longtime co-workers and friends, Dottie Timberlake:

Dear Todd,

Thanks so much for your honesty about your mom’s condition.  It brought tears but helps us friends in the process of understanding her illness.  You are doing a great job.

I have attached two photos with a sticker on our golf cart.  There is also one on the back window of our car that will be heading back to Maine soon.  Thank you for sending me the stickers.

The first photo is of our golf cart parked at the Square in The Villages.  Hundreds of carts park here throughout the day but especially in the evening when there is live entertainment.  Team NSH is at work in The Villages, Florida.

The second photo is of Dottie giving you a close up view of the NHS sticker on our golf cart.

Dottie Timberlake

Mom’s cousin Ann has brought Team NSH across the Pacific, and into Hawaii.

“TeamNSH has arrived in Maui today, and the same thoughts and prayers are coming from here! Will update pics as we travel in the next couple weeks! Love you and thinking of you and your entire family often!


A group of friends and I ran a Zombie Infested 5K obstacle course over the weekend. People were encouraged to dress up and make teams.  What better spirit to fight off the Zombie Apocalypse than with the motto of Team NSH, Fight Like Hell

Before the race:

And after the water soaked, mud covered course:

You’re damn right I finished alive.  Note the lone remaining red flag hanging from my belt.

We’ll wrap up with one from Dad:

“Here is a pic that we all in LA (Lower Alabama) got I kick out of. One Friday evening we went out for apps on an outside deck at a local restaurant, and Mom, true other spirit, had to try a raw oyster. Maybe it wasn’t her favorite southern delicacy but to her credit, she have it a try. We found it funny primarily because it shows mom as she really is.”

It doesn’t change who we are

This was a difficult weekend.

I’ve stayed determined to keep a positive tone throughout this blog, and as much as I’d love to sugarcoat this, it’s not fair to anyone, anything or the situation at hand to say anything differently.

There were moments of overwhelming sadness, coupled with truly special moments amongst family and close friends.  The disease has certainly progressed, and while things may look bleak to many from the outside, it has yet to change who mom is.  Dad has repeated a refrain which I’ve adopted and followed closely, when he says “Cancer doesn’t change who your mother is.”

Every time she started a phone call over the weekend, she’d begin by asking about one of her Uncle’s or beginning the day by asking me how the Sox did last night.  She would maintain her ladylike disposition and apologize profusely for a bout of hiccups brought upon by her medication, or when she’d apologize for rinsing her mouth out in the sink to try to alleviate some of the discomfort from the increase of canker sores.  Every text message Scott and I took from our wives was met with mom passing along her love.  Rather than let the crushing reality of her situation engulf her every thought, she’s managed to keep her focus where she wants it: her family, her friends, and maintaining a normalcy to her daily life.

That simple motto is something more than a simple motto.  There’s just something about that phrase that is so true and profound that it demands deeper thought and introspection.  On the surface, it’s totally accurate to suggest that aside from any physical changes, cancer doesn’t change who anyone is.  It has the potential to reveal who someone truly is, both the patient, and the loved ones.  It reveals, repeats and magnifies some of the things we already know about people while at the same time exposing some of what we don’t know.

Mom is the epitome of these revelations.  I’ve always known mom was stubborn, but never knew how damned tough she is.  I knew she was willing to fight for what she believed in, but I never saw what a passionate, tireless fighter this woman is.  She has taken the hand she’s been dealt and made her own adjustments.  There are moments of paralyzing pain, which she will handle with taking a deep breath in, pausing and continuing her sentence less than a full second later.

I knew that she loved her family, but no one knew the depths.

I knew that she was committed to her faith, but never expected to see this level of resolution when push came to shove.

I knew that she was positive, but never knew human beings were capable of being this positive.

I knew that she was a teacher at heart, but I thought that she was done teaching me life lessons on a daily basis.

I’ve learned more from her during this process than I ever would have imagined.  Mom would call that a silver lining, while the rest of the world would call it unfortunate to have to come in these circumstances.  In the spirit of my mother, I’m determined to take as many lessons from her while I can, because from what I’ve seen the last five days, I know she has plenty left to teach me.

Dad’s comment about mom is simple, yet deeply profound.   His words remind Jimmy V quote:

“Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities, but it cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart and it cannot touch my soul, and those three things are going to carry on forever.”

Mom’s heart, mind and soul will carry on forever in the memories we’ll all cherish and share, and more directly, inside all of us that she has ever touched.

Life’s too short

One of the cool things that’s come out of this whole ordeal is hearing from people drawing strength from Mom’s courageous fight.  I’ve gotten some cool email through this process, and one that really stuck out to me came from my cousin and Mom’s nephew, Keith Hinds.  I’m going to share the email below with everyone:

Hi Todd:
Since Dad’s illness and even more so since your mom’s, I’ve recommitted myself to getting back in shape and living a healthier lifestyle. Life’s too short to allow laziness to dominate quality of life.  As anyone who has fallen out of shape understands, getting back in shape is much harder than it was to become a couch potato.
Needless to say, Aunt Nan’s fight is far more difficult than anything I’m attempting.  On the days when the excuses to avoid the treadmill pop up, I think of her.  If she can fight every day, I sure as hell can run for thirty minutes.  The attached photo is the view from my treadmill (which coincidentally is a Livestrong brand).  When I hop on to run, I see the photo of my daughter, Addie, and my NSH sticker – my reason for getting healthy and my inspiration to do so.  Ironically, if my memory is correct, Addie and Aunt Nan share an April 19th birthday.
Todd, I wish there was more I could do or say to help all of you through this difficult journey.  We are all sending you strength, courage, and hope.  If there is ever anything any of us can do, please know we stand ready.
Take care,

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Happy Birthday, Mom!!!

Even though it’s her birthday, today is certainly going to be a reserved day without fanfare or celebration.  Frankly it’s not much different than any other birthday I can remember for her, yet another example is her efforts to remain out of the center spotlight and allow others to shine. As we’ve seen time and time again, she’d much rather allow others to take center stage while she waits without complaint on the side.

I’ve tried to come up with something to say about mom, but fear that there’s nothing that can be said about her that we don’t already know.  There are so many adjectives I can use to describe mom; tough, strong, brave, warm, loving, smart, funny, thoughtful, kind, compassionate, selfless, positive, charitable, inspiring, amazing, etc.  None of these words individually or collectively truly describe mom.  She’s an incredible woman with the will and determination to inspire so many people, all while she’d prefer to sit quietly by the side.

What more can we say about her?  She does so much good for others both directly and indirectly.  She helps me be a better son, brother, husband and athlete  by being the person she is, which is a debt that cannot be repaid.  Her toughness continues to inspire me, and I learn something new from her every day. She hates to hear it and always blows  me off when I say it, but I’m proud of her.

I love you, mom.  Happy birthday.


Updates and more stickers

Last week wrapped up the fourth round of chemo, and it was a doozy.

In retrospect, I suppose it’s not an entire shock considering it’d been a few weeks since the last round, and the fact that she exhausted herself in Disney the week before.  None of these reasons make it any easier, but it does help to explain somewhat.

Late Thursday and continuing into Friday, mom began to “really feel human again,” (her words) and has yet again rebounded nicely.  I spoke to her again last night and she sounded great.

In the least surprising news ever,… Nan Hinds’ resiliency wins out yet again.

More sticker pictures have come in, so I’m happy to hand the floor off to some other people showing their support to mom:

From Jane Woolford:

Have not gotten a sticker yet, so we decided to have our 2 week old Grandson Camden help us show Nan we are there for her. But he was not having any of it.


From mom’s cousin Sid Cooley:

We are so excited to share the team spirit right here in beautiful San Diego where we are pulling for you every day! “fight like hell!”

We love you,


NSH stickers also made a couple appearances at the Red Sox home opener  at Fenway Park yesterday:


We still have stickers, so if you need some, or want some more, shoot me an email at . I have a couple more great stories to pass along this week, so I’ll be posting more in the coming days.

Thank you all again for everything you’ve done for mom,… The amazing support helps her keep going.


Disney, Chemo & More

We are back.

Sorry for the lack of updates over the last week and a half, but everyone was a little bit consumed with the vacation mom had dreamed about for years.

The Disney trip was truly an amazing trip for all ten of us.

Jess and I flew down last Friday morning and met Scott, Michelle, Emma, Patrick, Becca, and Sam who drove from North Carolina as well as mom and dad who drove from Daphne.  While we didn’t hit the parks Friday evening, we went out to dinner, which was just an amazing chance for the 10 of us to be together and share a meal; sadly something we hadn’t done since Jess and I were married in September.

Saturday we spent the day at Magic Kingdom.  Scott and I walked away absolutely blown away by our own technical skills and ability to deftly navigate the park avoiding crowds and lines with our iPhone apps (all kidding aside, how the hell did anyone live pre-iPhone???).  Mom made it out for most of the morning before heading back to the hotel to rest up for a while in the afternoon.  True to her spirit, she bounced right back and was ready for dinner that evening.

Sunday we hit up Hollywood Studios, where we learned that Becca is the single most fearless 8 year old of all time.  Tower of Terror?  Boring.  Space Mountain?  Ho-hum.  Aerosmith Rock and Roller Coaster? Yawn.  NOTHING FAZED THAT GIRL.  She absolutely had fun on everything, but she never flinched at insane roller coasters, or spooky elevator plummets.  Mom and Dad spent a little while in the morning perusing the park with the rest of the kids.

We had an absolutely incredible dinner Sunday night with the 10 of us.  Jess and I were leaving the next morning, which led to some emotional goodbyes that night.  In traditional mom-fashion, she spent the goodbyes telling ME that everything was going to be ok, and not to worry about her.

The rest of the family stayed until Thursday allowing the quads to get an incredible week with Grammie and Grampa.

I was blown away by mom.  There were moments when you knew she was dealing with some pain, but she would never let on to any of us that anything was bothering her.  Every single permutation of the “How you feelin’, mom?” question was met with the same “Oh, I’m fine, and I’m having the greatest time with my whole family here,” response.  She would NEVER let on to anyone that there was any level of pain, fatigue, or general discomfort, even at times when I’m sure masking it took everything in her power to do.

Her resiliency continues to blow people away, especially us.  This trip was an incredible opportunity to put that on display, all while allowing mom to experience her dream of the 10 of us sharing an incredible week in Disney.


Mom went back this morning for chemo, and her labs looked good enough to do a round this morning.  She spent a good chunk of the day texting her family telling them how much she loved Disney, and how much she loves us.  Ironically, she seems to be more consumed in my sore elbow than the intense treatment she’s dealing with.

Dad and her both remarked that she’s doing as well tonight as she has after any all day chemo session; though we certainly know the havoc the infusion pump has created in the past.  We’re hoping that this round goes better, but even if it doesn’t we probably won’t find out from mom that it’s not going well.


More NSH stickers are available, so if you need any, please email in to and I’ll be sure to get them out.  Also, if you put any stickers up and have a photo to share, that’s the email address as well.

Thank you all for your continued support, and there will be more posts in the days to come.




Fight Like Hell Forever

I’ve wanted to do this post for a while, and I figured this was as good a time as any.

By now, most of us recognize that mom’s enduring spirit and interminable fight has inspired more than we can count…. not the least of which being her youngest son.

Her strength and resolve has made me do a lot of introspection, hoping and praying that I resemble some of those qualities.  While it’s safe to say that I’ll never match her undying positivity, I think that she has passed some of her traits along.  When things get tough, it’s a natural reaction to focus on the hardships and push aside the internal vow of solution.  Mom does the difficult and focuses on the solution long before the reality of the difficult situation catches up to her.  It’s something I aspire to, and it’s something that I need a constant reminder of.  I cannot ever forget where I come from and who has helped to mold and shape who I am.

And now I won’t ever forget it.

Meet my new friend Paco from Zaza Ink in West Boylston, MA.  Paco was a fantastic tattoo artist who worked diligently to make sure I encountered no side effects during the process.  Because of a minor blood disorder, they had to break up the tattoo job into a couple sessions.  The first one took place just about a month ago.

Session one we had to do the outline.  On the left hand side of the tattoo we included a yellow stripe (which is INCREDIBLY difficult to read) to match the livestrong theme from the shirts.  We called it a day after the outline, and I went back a couple weeks later after the skin had fully healed to get the coloring done.  I went with a black faded to a Carolina Blue on top.  Despite my allegiances to Duke and my intense dislike for UNC, I went with this color because mom’s grandchildren were born there and we all know how much that means to her  (plus it looks pretty cool).





I debated for a long time about where to put the tattoo.  I needed it subtle enough to be covered in any professional settings, but I also wanted it in a place where it would be seen from time to time.  Despite the prodding from my overly enthusiastic wife to get it in giant script letters from shoulder to shoulder stretching across the back, I ultimately chose the left shoulder.  I will give Jess credit for helping me decide to do this, when she reminded me it was a motto I’ve always aimed to live my life to, and with the meaning attached to mom, it is clearly a statement I’ll continue to live my life towards.  It was a co-worker who actually helped me make the final decision when she said, “If you put it there, your mom will always be close to your heart.”  Sappy for sure, but damn if it isn’t true.

We’re off to Disney this week for a once in a lifetime, unforgettable family vacation.  Mom’s been saving up her energy to take in as much as she possibly can, and I think she’s as ready for the trip as she possibly can be.  We’ll be sure to come back with plenty of pictures to share.

If I don’t post again before Disney, thank you all for everything.  Your support continues to inspire and give us strength through this.