It’s been just over a week since the Wimp or Warrior ride for Joel, but the amazing experience still overwhelms me. I know Joel wrote a post about our gratefulness but I thought I’d keep sharing.

Over the last couple of months, I had been helping Karen and Mike organize the ride. I sure had no idea what I signed up for when Karen initially asked about doing a benefit ride. A huge thanks to them for everything they did – those two are incredible! As I helped, I tried to distance myself from the event for it being something for us. Otherwise, I would have been an emotional mess. But on that Saturday morning on the way to the park, I felt the tears starting to come. I told myself to pull it together – I wasn’t going to cry that day.

Once I got to the park, I started right in on helping do this and that. It was very well organized so there really wasn’t much to do. About an hour went by and a man I didn’t know came up to me and said, “Are you Joel’s wife?”

I said yes and he said I just wanted you to know that I was an inspiration and that his thoughts and prayers were with Joel and me. He said he could tell God was with us every day. Tears began to stream down his eyes. I was taken aback by this man’s emotions. He must know Joel as I knew there were many cyclists there that I didn’t know, but Joel did.

I asked, “Do you know Joel?”

He said, “No. I just read about your situation.”

Someone I didn’t know cared so much to come and ride for Joel and he shared our pain and suffering with the tears in his eyes? That did it. Tears started to stream down my face as I gave him a big hug and said thank you. It took me awhile to recover from that one.

Later, I learned this man named Raf, is a member of our church, Central Christian Church. I was also able to introduce him to Joel. Scandals, injustice, and abuse in the Christian church often make the headlines, but what this one man did is what it is truly about. That is the church being the church. Thank you, Lord, for Raf.




Wimp or Warrior

Today was the Wimp or Warrior Ride. This was a bike ride benefit that was conceived by two close friends of our family. One is a woman who has worked with and mentored Kayla for some years and the other is a friend and my former boss from Aspen Creek Cycling. They worked tirelessly with Kayla over the last six weeks to pull of something that would usually take months and months of planning and permitting from the city. Thank you, Karen and Mike, for pulling strings, using contacts, calling in favors and making a really great day for our benefit.

We had nearly 80 people come out and participate in a 20 ride or in the two-mile family ride. We had lots of volunteers from our small group, the bike shop, family members, Whole Foods Market and even the Honor’s Society from Foothills High School. That brought our total attendance to 100 or more people. We had a number of products and services that were donated for raffle and silent auction, and Karen’s husband came out to MC the event and give away the prizes. Some of those prizes included 2 bikes donated by Aspen Creek Cycling, spa and salon packages, gift baskets from the Two42 Cafe at Central, baskets from Whole Foods, sunglasses, bike tires and accessories, and there was even a martial arts demonstration and board breaking fund raiser from a nine-time ATA world champion. And we couldn’t have asked for a better day with temperatures near 60 degrees with a light breeze and sunny skies at the beginning of the ride.

In all the Wimp or Warrior Ride raised $7311 from registration, donations, raffles and the silent auctions. I am really humbled by the outpouring of support from our local community and especially those in the cycling community. I was amazing to see the way that the ride was promoted first via Facebook and email, then seeing it pop up on other websites, social media blasts and even at my hairdresser’s salon. I had a chance to catch up with old racing buddies, customers from my working days at Aspen Creek and time to meet others that really had no idea who I was or why they were signed up to ride for some guy’s charity. This was just one more way that we would never have imagined that God had planned to bless us and provide for us. With the money that was raised today, we will be able to pay off the remainder of the bill owed to Mayo Clinic. It will allow us to move forward without the worry of that debt hanging over our heads and focus on seeking more clearly defined answers to what has been making me sick.

Thank you to all of you who came out for the ride today, donated, bought raffle tickets, bid in the silent auction or said prayers that today would go well. Today was a true blessing to us.

Surgery Tomorrow

We finally made it to surgery day! Feels like it’s taken forever. Two people have probably never been more excited for surgery than us. We are praying it helps and provides some answers. Here is the latest info:

1. Surgery is tomorrow at noon and it is supposed to take about three hours. It’s not a risky surgery by any means, but we do know it will take longer for Joel to recover and the risk of infection is high based on his past medical history. They are pumping him full of steroids (he just loves these) and anti-biotics to avoid infection. But we do ask that you pray for the infection to go away and stay there. He’s been on anti-biotics for about three weeks and the infection is still there right now.

2. They will be running biopsies of everything and we are praying for an answer, good or bad. Without an answer, we have no treatment plan and that is what we really need. We’re okay even with bad news, because we know our God is bigger than any doctor or disease. Joel’s rheumatologist thought no matter how the biopsies go, we would try chemo next.

3.  Joel’s mom arrived yesterday and is here until next Tuesday. We’re super thankful for her help! My stress level went down several notches once she arrived. And the boys are so excited to play with her. The adults couldn’t even hardly talk over the boys saying, “Grandma, look at this… Grandma, can we play… Grandma, let’s read…. Grandma, I want to tell you…”

4. Joel’s benefit ride is this Saturday, November 17 and we have 55 riders registered! How cool is that! He will make an appearance on Saturday, but he won’t ride (although he already asked if he could of course). We are so thankful for Karen Englert and Mike Hair who are organizing the event.

5. Joel is encouraged about his new lifestyle plan. He’s lost 18 pounds in three weeks. The steroids made him gain about 50 so he’s happy to be off those! For those of you who have asked about the program, you can check it out at http://www.drmcdougall.com. Very good stuff there!

6. Our long term disability insurance was denied. After doing some research and consulting with a lawyer, I believe you all should know that long term disability insurance is a SCAM and you should not buy into it! Short term is okay, but not long term. I could go on and on here about why not to buy it, but I don’t have the time. I’ll write a blog soon on why nobody should ever buy it. But for now, trust me. If you’re coming up on your end of year information/decision making at work, then I urge you to look into it in depth yourself. I can tell you, we will never pay for it again. Along with this topic, we do have an appointment with social security on November 20. We had to create a list of doctors we’ve seen since Joel got sick and it is 25 doctors in 17 months. Crazy, huh? Joel wasn’t too keen on applying, thinking he should go back to work after surgery, but I don’t think that’s a good idea if he’s going to start chemo.

Anyway, I think that’s about it. I’ll keep you all posted on how tomorrow goes. Thank you for all your prayers and support!