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.


The Banner

I. Am. Speechless.

Dad’s going to take it away from here:

Today, Mom was feeling a little low, but when I got home there was a big shipping tube propped up against the door.  In it was the 8′ banner shown in this picture.  This picture was obviously taken in front of Bowdoinham school where Mom taught for so many years and had friends and colleagues holding the banner.  Many of the colleagues are now retired, so most of the people in the photo made a special trip to show their love and support – a fact that has not escaped Mom’s ever appreciative and watchful eye.  Needless to say, this has moved both of us beyond words, and now her day is much brighter.  Also included was the attached message which includes the list of people in the picture.  Mom and I both think a big shout out on the webpage (especially since the web page is called out on the banner) is warranted.  The timing was perfect.  True friends seem to know just the right thing to do and when to do it.  These people are truly some of the best friends Mom could have.


The amazing people who put this together also sent the following note:

Surprise !

Your Bowdoinham colleagues and friends gathered at school to show you that We are on your team. We support you and think of you everyday. Sending you tons of love!

Back row L to R: Russ Banton, Karen Black, Mel Banton, Judy Banionis, Steve Howe, Diana Marc-Aurele, Doreen Young, Lance Libby, Tricia Fletcher, Luann Hunton, Kathy Curtis, Jackie Dube, Susie Reinheimer, Luana Smith(pix), Diane Stahl, Paul Burns, Mary Ann McDonald, Gail Smith

Middle Row, L to R: Lesley McMillan, Caryl Giggey, Nancy Dorr, Jean Briggs, Patty Melander, Sheila Havey,

Front Row, L to R: Sandy Petteruti, Carla Parsons, Liz Bouchard


Pretty incredible, huh?  The entire family is blown away by this.

Thank you

Thank you

Thank you

The Guest Speaker

Occasionally, my job will bring in guest speakers for reasons that I’m still not entirely sure of.  Today happened to be one of those moments.

The speaker was certainly dynamic and enthusiastic about his topic, but he lost the room early when people arrived and we found out that one of the speakers that we’d come to see had not come, and would be replaced by this speaker.  Never the best way for anyone to have to begin a presentation.

In the name of fairness, I’ll tell you that I thought he did a fine job adressing his topic, but I know a lot of eyes glazed over when talking about IT Security and new business legislation requiring companies to protect sensitive data (legislation which we’d already sat through training on and obtained company issued certification on within the past month)

I tried my best to pay attention, but like the man-child I am with a limited attention span, I got distracted by a shiny pin on his suit lapel. I noticed shortly into his presentation that the guest speaker was wearing a Patriots MHK pin, which was the symbol that originally began the NSH sticker craze.  I really wanted to get a picture of it to post on the site, so I reached into my pocket to grab my cell phone to try to take a stealth picture.  For two reasons I’m glad I stopped myself.  First, I had the story of Scott trying to grab a stealth picture of someone but failing to turn off the flash, and blinding the subject thus removing any possibility of being stealth.  Considering I was late and wound up in the front row, I thought that might be obvious.

Secondly, he was talking about protecting yourself from online threats and identity thieves.  Pretty sure that wouldn’t have jived with his overall topic.  Considering these pretty solid individual reasons, when I added in the fact that he was ex-military, I just decided that taking a stealth picture was probably not in my best interest after all.

Of course, that’s now why we’re here.  We’re here for NSH pictures, and boy do I have some of those.  Let’s take a look at some intentionally taken, non invasive, non stealth pictures:

Mom’s cousin Ann sent in her sticker, saying:

“I placed Nan’s sticker proudly on my bulletin board at work where I can always see it. (right next to Dad’s picture who is also on the team!!).

– xx Ann”


Susie Reinheimer sent in a picture with the email subject saying,

NSH Sticker found on horse in Bowdoinham

Here’s a sticker pic for my dear Nan-give her a huge hug from me!!!
– Susie  xxoo

One of my closest friends, Craig (who is of significance for two reasons, 1. My mother could not pronounce his name – it’s Craig like Greg, and 2. He was the other half of the NSH sticker idea) put his in a place I never thought I’d see,… inside his brand new car.

In addition to a few other places around the house, I was inspired to put a sticker on my most prized possession.


Finally, Lesley McMillan sent in another picture, with another great story behind it:

I knew just where I wanted to put the first one and on Monday the driveway was clear enough for me to get out there. NSH is now located on the back window of my car above my Marine Corps sticker… entirely appropriate I think. An elite, highly trained force; who I might add have the best uniforms! 😉 … They are “first in the fight” which I would say sounds a lot like “fight like hell”… Marines never retreat, they just attack in a different direction!  Nicknamed “Teufelhunden” -“Devil Dogs”, by German soldiers, for their relentless fighting at the Battle of Belleau Wood in 1918… such tenacity and resolve also describes your Mom and my dearest friend Nan… we stand with you in this fight!! Oohrah!!!

Gotta say I had to really pay attention in the application of this sticker. I was afraid I’d accidentally put it on upside down, which would totally give the wrong message HSN… wouldn’t want anyone to think I was promoting the Home Shopping Network! 😉

Thinking of you all!!




Thank you all for your continued support.  She drinks it in, and continues to pull motivation from it.  Every picture is seen and she appreciates it more than I have words to describe.

Till next time,





Another fantastic picture

Just wow.

This picture came in from Bob Dundas, with the LCS 4 Engineering & Configuration Management group at BIW in Bath showing their support for mom.  The picture is also being displayed on a monitor in the office lobby to bring recognition to Team NSH.

There are still more pictures that I’ll post later this week, but thought this one deserved it’s own post.  The support shown for Mom and Dad across two campuses in Bath and Alabama has been incredible. Pictures like this are why we did the stickers, and we continue to be overwhelmed by the continued support.

Michelle flew down this weekend, which has yet again helped to lift her spirits.  Mom’s been feeling well the last couple days after what was an admittedly tough week.   I had to slow her down on the phone this morning because she was absolutely shot out of a cannon jumping from topic to topic quickly without ever hitting on an answer.  It’s nice to hear that energy and spirit on the phone, and I could genuinely tell there was nothing manufactured about it just to put on a good show.

Another week without chemo, and actually no chemo straight through Disney at the end of the month.  This is the time to build some physical strength, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed for this pattern to keep up.

Thank you all again for everything you do.



Quick Update

Wanted to put up a quick post tonight with an update and some thoughts on some of the email we’ve received.

First the update:

I fear through all the positive energy and posts remarking on mom’s toughness and resolve I may have overshadowed just what a miserable beast she’s fighting right now.  Unfortunately, this week is a reminder.

It’s been a tough couple of days following round 3 of chemo, though yet to change mom’s positive outlook or overall demeanor.  She’s sleeping a lot the last couple days and let’s all pray that this is just what her body needs to snap out of this funk from round 3.  After she’s free and clear from this, we have disney to look forward to, and no Chemo for almost 4 weeks.

Send all the positive thoughts and prayers you have moms way tonight.

I got a great email this weekend from one of mom’s cousins, Ann.  She has a blog at In Harmony Today where she expresses some thoughts on the power if positive thought how it related to mom specifically.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of thoughts, energy and prayers.  There is a lot that we don’t understand about the power of our energy fields.   We’ve all been around someone who is angry or combative.   Their energy is contagious and we usually try to move further away if possible.   There have been many experiments looking at electromagnetic energy put out by the human body with some indications of a force that we don’t see and therefore don’t understand or believe.

I believe….   Have you ever played a game where you smile at people and see what happens… will usually get it back!   It’s contagious.  So I’m counting on this now.  As my dear cousin and friend, Nan, begins a battle against  pancreatic cancer we continue to send her our thoughts, our positive wishes and our prayers.  You can see us here at one of our many sleepovers.

You can follow her journey with her “fight like hell” slogan at

Many have tried to explain the power of our energy scientifically.   You can read Jim Oschman’s account of the biomagnetic fields around the human body.   They can measure electromagnetic charges with a simple EKG so why not believe that our human cells carry real energy which can affect us and others.  You can read Lynne McTaggart’s, The Intention Experiment.   You might even go to the website and participate in the experiment that hypothesizes that our intentions can make an actual difference in outcomes.

Or.. we can just pray…  The power of prayer has also been studied scientifically.  Harold Pincus, National Director of the  Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program, when looking at a study on faith noted that the results  “have made clear that anyone involved in providing health care. . . cannot ignore . . . the important connections between spirituality, religion, and health.”   I am a believer.   I believe in the power of prayer and of the human spirit to heal.     The problem can lie in what we expect as an outcome of our prayers.   I don’t believe that God is going to influence the outcome of the Super bowl tonight.  The Pat’s or the Giants will prevail based on how they play the game.  I do believe that God (and we) can influence our paths and ultimately our outcomes.  “We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.”~ Oswald Chambers.   So I am going to keep on thinking and praying  for Nan….I pray that she stays strong,  that she knows she is loved,  that God will heal her…… Amen


I think Ann has a lot of good points in her post, and appreciate the sentiment.  It’s good thoughts like these that keep up going.

Till next time,


The toughest person I know

I’m a tough dude.

There’s no question about it:  I’m tough…. or so I thought.  Yes, I’m willing to give myself that title because of my athletic abilities and freakish (though concerning) ability to get hit in the face repeatedly and not be phased by it. But I think it’s time to re-evaluate what tough means exactly.  And lately, I think there’s only one tough guy in the Hinds family, and by God if I don’t know anyone nearly as  tough as all five-foot-nothin Nan Superstar Hinds (did you know that’s what the S stood for?).

Round 3 of chemo is underway.  Mom breezed through the hospital portion today, and came home with the worst parting gift of all time in that damned 48 hour infusion pump.  She spent the better part of the day emailing and texting people, yet again refusing to act like someone getting a 6 hour dose of chemo.  She says she feels, “a little tired tonight,” but I think we’re all home tonight feeling “a little tired.” 

She continues to impress everyone with her spirit and fight.  I’ve said it to her a few times lately and it’s just a sentiment that I’ve been feeling more and more.

I’m flat out proud of her.

She’s tougher than both of these guys…

I’ve always been impressed by who she is, but I’m just proud of her lately.  No matter how grim the prognosis, she refuses to accept it lying down.  She’s shown more grit and resolve in the last three months than I ever knew, though in retrospect should have always seen buried beneath that Liliputian shell.

Every day I find myself more in awe of not only what she’s doing, but what she’s doing without the hint of a complaint or fleeting moment of woe-is-me.  She’s going back to her career to teach me what it truly means to be tough.

It’s not about my mile time, it’s not about how much I bench, and it’s definitely not about whether I can knock out an opponent in the ring.

It’s about fighting for what’s worth fighting.  It’s about handling the assured adversity that we’ll all have at some point and in some form in our lives with a smile and without accepting the predetermined fate without doing everything in your fiber to change it.  It’s about remembering the people you love when the chips are down, and it’s about dusting yourself off, and standing up off the canvas all while staring down the monster in the other corner.  It’s about letting the world know that you’re coming no matter what, and you’re bringing hell with you.

My mother is tough… and she’s reminding me every day exactly what that means.



Chemo Round 3 Redux

Hi everyone:

On the eve of the rescheduled start of round 3 of chemo, I figured I’d get a post out.  Mom is having good days, though she’s admittedly having the occasional moment that brings a swift and painful reminder of just how nasty a disease she’s battling.  She sounds geared up and ready to take on  round 3 of chemo tomorrow, and is honestly hoping that her platelet count is high enough to get it over with.

She continues to amaze and inspire me with the way she carries herself.  Through various phone calls this weekend, she expressed so little concern, nervousness and anxiety that one could easily swap the feelings she relayed over the pending round of chemo for the feelings some of us may approach to things as insignificant as a morning run, a fantasy baseball draft or a weekly staff meeting (yes, three things that cause me daily consternation).  She’s undoubtedly effected by the rigorous treatment she’s going through, but in the words of Jimmy V,

“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.”

Don't worry mom. I got Jay Bruce like I promised!!

She continues to reflect those words on a daily basis.  On one of the few days Dad is able to spend at home with her all day, she insists on sending him to get his mind off it and play a quick round of golf.  On a day when she’s so physically exhausted that she can barely keep her eyes open, she asks me if I am happy with the fantasy baseball team she drafted last night (I am).  And when we talk about the incredible family trip to Disney coming up, she’s only concerned that she’s going to cast a pall over the week, never recognizing that her being there is in reality going to make our week.

She’s an incredible lady, sickness or not. She has so many incredible attributes that I pray one day I can begin to reflect a portion of them,… sickness or not.

Better news:  The next batch of stickers have arrived, and anyone who’s requested some up to this point will have them in the mail tomorrow (if you haven’t heard from me confirming this, please resend your email to … it’s very possible to have been lost in the shuffle).

The pictures have continued to come in, and I love some of the creativity and heartfelt sincerity that people are putting into where to reflect their NSH pride.  More pictures to come out this week.

There have also been a few neat shoutouts to mom in the last few days, which I’ll be sure to post on the site in time.  Words cannot truly express our gratitude for all the love and support we continue to receive, but please trust me when I tell you how much everything means to mom.  She draws strength from the love she sees daily.  We thank you all for that.

Till tomorrow,


The Jimmy V Speech

I’ve been thinking about the Jimmy V Speech a lot lately.  For those that don’t know, Jim Valvano was the head basketball coach at NC State who was awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the first annual ESPY awards.  The speech was delivered the summer after he was diagnosed with bone cancer and less than two months before he passed.  Though cancer had spread through his body, he still stood and delivered one of the most incredible speeches of all time where he focuses on the other people in his life, and some simple words to live by.

Even in the little time he had left, he still focused on helping others and fighting to get beyond this disease.  The speech is famously referenced by one of the closing lines of “don’t give up, don’t ever give up,” but I found two parts that I found more inspiring.

“To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”

“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.”

-Jimmy V

More Sticker Awesomeness

As promised earlier, I said I would put up more pictures as they came in.  Without further adieu.


From Rebecca Breton:

My NSH sticker has taken it’s place of honor on the water bottle I carry with me every day.  It’s placed right between my marathon and half marathon stickers….all three a constant reminder of the epitome of strength and determination.  The next time I am in the middle of a race and I’m up against it, I’ll think of my NSH sticker and keep going.  Fight like hell Aunt Nan <3

Uncle Dale put his up in a few locations each one reflecting the NSH logo we’ve all grown accustomed to:


Caryl Giggey put hers amongst family pictures too:

“My NSH sticker is on the refrigerator next to the pictures of my grandson!  I’m on your team for Round 3.”
Dad has one of his on his daily planner saying, “I put the sticker on my planner because it’s always with me, and she’s always with me.”
My wife was inspired by dad’s idea and affixed hers directly to her clipboard while she’s training.


I have seen first hand how much each of these pictures mean to her.  She’s genuinely overwhelmed when she sees so many people getting into this, and I’ve watched her emotion when each and every picture that comes in.

With that in mind, let’s keep them coming!  Every little bit of inspiration for her helps.  I continue to be blown away by everyone getting involved in this little experiment that’s blossomed into something more.

Thank you all for everything,


Chemo round 3 and other notes

Greetings from (finally) sunny and warm Alabama.

Today was supposed to begin another round f chemo, and mom and I went to the hospital fully prepared to tackle round #3.

Unfortunately, mom’s platelet count had other ideas.  In order to administer the chemo, her count had to be in excess of 100, but she came in a little too low, so they called chemo off.

Mom pressed the doctor if he had any idea for the reason behind the drop in platelet’s, to which he replied with a good natured chuckle.

“Yeah, I have a pretty good idea.  You’re on an incredibly intense dose of chemo, which can cause a couple of side effects.”

I was captivated while listening to Dr. Cameron explain different stats, readings, and medical jargon today.  He noted that he put mom on an incredibly vigorous round of chemo, one which he rarely uses on any patient.  He clearly saw the fight and the will inside of her and told us, “I decided to try this round of chemo on you, because you’re a marathoner* and I think you’ll be able to fight through it better than a lot.”

(*- OK, so Mom’s not quite a marathoner, but we’ve made an important family level decision to not try to correct the oncologist if he wants to comment on how tough he thinks mom is.  And let’s be honest,… even though she’s never run 26.2 miles, does anyone here think she couldn’t if she wanted to??)

With the low platelet’s throwing a wrench into the plans, we went home with mixed feelings.  Mom hates this chemo and was somewhat glad to avoid it today, but she had also geared herself up for the fight.  She was fully prepped for a battle which never came to fruition, and I think anyone can understand the sense of mixed blessings.

Mom and Dad got together tonight for their ritual with 8 new cards waiting in the mailbox to open and read together.  I took a stealth picture of the ritual tonight, and if a regular picture is worth a thousand words, this is worth the dictionary:


A couple notes before I sign off:

I know a lot of folks have emailed me with stickers, pictures or just generally supportive messages.  First of all, THANK YOU!  Secondly, I do apologize for not responding, but I’ve been spending as much time with mom this week as possible.  I will be getting to everything in the next few days.

We’ve blown through 150 stickers so far, so another order has been happily placed to make sure we get NSH out everywhere we can.  I’ll be sending out another batch when the order is in, so stay patient with me while we wait for another round.

Along those lines, there will be another post of pictures in cool places, so please don’t think they’re being ignored.

Thank you all again by the continued outpouring of support.  I’ve witnessed first hand how much an email, sticker or card means to her.  She continues to feed off the positive energy we see constantly, and we continue to need all the help we can get there.

Till tomorrow.