Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Cancer

Boom.

On Friday, 5/30/14, I found out I had a Stage 4 lung cancer. People in my condition have about a year to live on average, and treatment is now limited to making the next year more bearable. There are other options that may be discussed later, including experimental treatments, and I'm staying optimistic, but frankly, I think I know where I stand.

4 years ago, in the summer of 2010, we were at Bethany Beach, and everyone was having a great time. Our family and some friends were building sand castles, going in and out of the water, and just relaxing in general--everyone except anxious old me. I had hundreds of unread emails and dozens of ideas for blog posts I didn't have time to write, and I was surrounded by too much sand and not enough coffee. I tried to pretend I was having a good time, but people could see I was out of my comfort zone, and worse, that I didn't want to be there.

It was only on the drive back home that I had the epiphany. It was only on the drive back that I realized what I had been missing out on. It was only on the drive back that I realized I had been experiencing the biggest tragedy of human existence: I was having the time of my life, and I didn't even know it.

That was a good day, since once you make that decision, man... You're in Heaven every single second of your life. And it went on and on, and things only got better, because I made a conscious decision one summer day, on the drive home from Bethany Beach, and was able to repeat that decision subconsciously from that moment on. It made the difference between a living Hell, where I was always behind, always unhappy, and always unfulfilled--always a step behind on my writing, my relationship with my wife, with my friends, and with my kids, and a living Heaven, where even if I had wanted more out of life, I also knew I had it all.

I believe in Heaven on Earth, and I believe it's found anywhere you seek it. Here's where I found it:

I found Heaven on long car rides with the kids. I could have felt bad about having to drive my kids back and forth to school for hours every day, but instead, I used those car trips to chat with my kids about their worlds and about mine, to introduce them to music, and to make up music with them, to talk about values as well as about nonsense.

And I found Heaven on the dirty floor of a basketball court. My then 2-year-old daughter used to finish the JCC preschool at 12, so we were stuck for hours, waiting for her brother to finish school before we could head back home. And those days of waiting with my girl will be remembered forever by me and hopefully by her. For 4 hours, we sat around and we shared lunch, and we went to a playroom at the JCC, where she made me plastic sandwiches and tea, and we raced to the basketball court and played basketball, which meant she was leading the parade of two by only stepping on the black line, and I was behind her, dribbling. She made up that game, calling it "Going to the birthday party." Then we would sit down on the floor in front of each other, spread our legs, and roll the ball to each other. Then she wanted to hug, so we hugged on the floor of the basketball court while people played around us.

Even Heaven on Earth includes some caveats. We moved to a new house in March. It's a beautiful house. It's a dream house. It's the house where my kids will grow up, and it breaks my heart. I don't care about myself, I really don't. I've had the most amazing life anyone could ever wish to have, but there's one thing... There's one thing I would give anything for: watching my kids grow up.

I've raised happy kids. Sure, they sometimes whine, but in general, they're happy. They're my masterpiece: two loving, smart, intelligent, funny, happy kids. And I can't let that end. I can't allow them to grow up sad. I can't allow them to grow up with a hole in their hearts in the shape of the dad they barely remember. I want them to be happy. I want to be around to make them happy.

And I want my wife to be happy. She deserves to be happy. I wish I could make her happy right now.

So acceptance, and sadness--well, I believe they can coexist. Sadness is inevitable--I'm only human, and trying too hard to rise above it only hurts more. But I do accept. I accept that life is finite, and I accept that my time will come soon. I accept that my life had been and still is a gift, and I accept the likely possibility that I won't see my kids grow older.

Should I complain, though? Should I cry out to the empty sky and say, "Why me?" Or should I feel that now, even now, especially now, a little confused, a little tired, and a little sad, I'm having the time of my life?

Whatever happens to my body in the next few months is still relatively unknown. Here's what we do know, though:

We know I'm the luckiest sonofabitch who's ever walked this earth, and we know I will be loved until my last moment by people it has been my utmost privilege to know: by a wife I adore and two kids I'm in awe of every single moment.

Just let me make this request of you.

My girl--she's a shy one. You'll see her play by herself sometimes, and you'll be tempted to step back and say, "She plays so nicely by herself!" Go to her. Play with her. She needs you.

My boy--he's so freakin' sensitive. Everything you say will be remembered by him and analyzed for months in that genius head of his. Don't joke with him just to make yourself smile--you'll ruin him. Answer every question he has, or at least direct him to a place with answers. He likes to play and he likes to fool around, but you need to treat him like a grown up. He's smarter than I am, and he's probably smarter than you are.

And my wife--just give her a break. Please, allow her to take a break. She's a type-A personality at work, but at home she's always just wanted to relax and have fun. Help her have fun. She'll want to take all the responsibilities over everything herself--don't let her. Tell her to relax. Tell her to take it easy. Help her enjoy life. And don't label her or limit her in any way. Don't use the W- word with her. She's not that word. She's not an easy simplification. You know who she is? She's the daughter any parent could wish for, and the mother any kid would long to have. Although I've stayed home and took a great share of the credit for raising these amazing kids, nothing could have been done without her. And she'll continue to raise them, and they will continue to grow and be even more amazing teens and adults because of their mother.

And she's the woman of my dreams.





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317 comments:

  1. Take care Oren. We're thinking of you and I have two little girls who are always on the lookout for friends to play with. You're an inspiration man and I'm glad I know you.

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  2. This was the most beautiful, thoughtful thing I've read in a long, long time -- a masterpiece. Sending you my very best and wishing you many, many days in your perfect heaven on earth. Big hugs at you.

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  3. Boom is right. This image crystalizes what you're urging, what now means. Such sweet liberation to embrace now. Thanks, Oren.

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  4. Why didn't image load? I try again

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  5. Alissa | CleverCompass.comJune 3, 2014 at 10:15 AM

    Thinking of you and your family at this tough time. Your wife and children are so lucky to have you in their lives for all the time you have to share with them.

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  6. Owen, I wish I lived down the street from you. I wish I could give you a hug and let our kids play together. I think they're about the same age. Thank you for all you've done for the dad blogging world.

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  7. Thank you for this. Thank you for you.

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  8. Oren - once again, you have shown all of us the path. Here's to every bit of Heaven we all chose to embrace right here on Earth. Yours, mine, all of ours.

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  9. Oren, since I met you virtually severaly years ago I've wondered what the title of your blog, A Blogger and a Father, really meant. This explains it beyond perfectly. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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  10. This is beautifully written and my heart is with you and your family.

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  11. Beautiful words, and beyond them thank you for bringing so many of us together to share our stories of fatherhood. I'll have you and your family in my thoughts. Here's to the heaven you have and the heaven you'll know.

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  12. Brave and beautiful Oren. Whatever the journey holds for you with a spirit like this you'll march through with strength and love, all the while reminding us to pay attention to our own little slices of heaven.

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  13. You handle adversity with an aplomb and grace that few people can muster in times of good. You, sir, are now, and will always be an inspiration and a driving force in all things 'good dad' related. Thank you for the reminder that, no matter where we are, no matter what's going on, Heaven is all around us, but it's up to us to reach out and grab it. Thank you for that.

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  14. Sending you and yours lots of love, Oren.

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  15. Oren this brought tears to my eyes. I hope whatever time you have left is heaven on earth for you. If there is anything I can do. Or we can do as a community please ask.

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  16. Wishing you the best. Stay as strong as possible. Know that your words will forever fill their hearts by the inspirational work you've done here. You are an inspiration to all dads my friend.

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  17. Oren, you are a thoughtful guy and I appreciate that. If I am not mistaken, Hebrew is your first language so I am always impressed with how well you write in English because you do a fine job of expressing yourself and touching the nuances of the language.

    Time is fleeting and whatever we get is finite but I can promise you that whatever path you are on you are not walking it alone because you are a mensch and you touched lives.

    Not everyone can say that, it is worth a lot. רפואה שלמה

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  18. Much love to you and the family. Thank you for this.

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  19. Oren - Remember me? Larry's wife, Caite's mom? It's hard, even 12 years later. I think about Larry every day. But I'm okay and my kids are too. You obviously have so many people who love you sharing the journey.

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  20. So amazing and thank you for the reminder that things don't have to be a spectacle to be extraordinary. We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

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  21. ihopeiwinatoasterJune 3, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    You are so beloved, Oren. The words men write are windows into their very souls and the brightness that shines from your window is blinding and everlasting. May God's love rain down on you.

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  22. Oren, I know there are no right words to say here. There is nothing I can say that will make anything any better or change any of the facts surrounding this. Our stories differ quite a bit when it comes to cancer. I cannot say I relate, though I can say I understand the fear and the defining moment when one must accept the finite reality of life.


    I cannot put into words what this post has done for me this morning. What emotions and thoughts ran through my mind as tears flowed down my face. I can say that I could only aspire to be a fraction of the man you are, and if I achieved that, I would be exponentially a better person than I am at this moment.


    I've never stood in your presence. I've never shaken your hand, given you a bro hug, or bought you a drink. But Oren, none of that matters when I look at the impact you have had in my life, and the lives of so many others who have never stood in your presence. You are loved because you are. You are treasured because you are. And we are because you are.

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  23. I'm bawling in the coffee stand drive through as I write this. It is a profound thing to realize what you did before the news, because far too many don't get it until it's too late. Here's to savoring every moment you have left. Let us know if we can help in any way.

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  24. My dad died of lung cancer when I was a freshman in high school. Your children and wife are so lucky that you had your epiphany not only when you did but that you are making a conscious effort not to be selfish now. It will mean the world to them later.

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  25. Oh, Oren, I don't even know what to say, but I am so glad you had that moment on the ride home. Your family is so blessed to have you.

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  26. I am absolutely impressed with your acceptance of a nightmarish situation, I'm even more impressed with your optimism. People make mincemeat of these predictions often and I feel that you are great a candidate for such a triumph. I'm happy to know you, I'm privileged to have met you and I just know it won't be the only time. I will say this: No matter what happens, I am your friend. I will be any kind of friend that you need. Any kind of friend that your family needs and I hope you know that you have one supreme council of dads who care about you all. Live life, write when you can without pressure but with the understanding that the words we put to paper can go on forever. Thank you for moving and refocusing me this morning as you have on occasions before. You make us all want to be better men, better husbands, better fathers. Power and peace to you, Oren.

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  27. Thanks Oren for helping us all to see not just what is important now but into the future. Your children will one day face their end, young or old, and they will have the memory and the oral story telling of how their father was when it appeared he might be at his end. But more importantly they will see and hear about your epiphany in living as well. They will follow your lead in their time of living into the future, when they are adults, as well. Your work and your love will last a long, long time.

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  28. Beautiful words. Thinking of you, man. All my love and thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

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  29. I'm amazed but completely not surprised at the grace with which you're dealing with this nightmare, Oren. And I know throughout this ordeal you'll somehow manage to be there for your family and somehow put an unspeakable tragedy into beautiful words for the rest of us. And that, my friend, is the sign of a masterpiece in and of itself.

    Your family is lucky to have you and I'm lucky to know you and count you as a friend. I understand the future looks grim, but it's a future you won't face alone. And that's got to count for something.

    We love you Oren.

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  30. I don't know what to say. I just don't. Usually I can add something witty or turn your post back around to me and talk about how I can relate. I feel like anything I say right now will sound trite or even worse, make you feel bad. I guess I just can't even get my head around this and I'm so sorry for what is to come - sorry for your wife and kids and more importantly, sorry for you. You have a selfless love that makes it even more difficult to think about leaving. No matter how pointless it may seem, I'm still going to pray for a miracle for you, in whatever form it chooses to take shape.

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  31. Oren, this is beautiful - simple, true, and moving us all to think about our own heavens on earth. Thank you for opening up my heart on this Tuesday morning.

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  32. I wish I had words to make it better. I will never understand this cancer thing. The world is a better place with you in it. Sending positive vibes and good luck from Potatoland.

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  33. I love you, man. You have taken a scattered group of dads and given them a place to grow into even more amazing fathers. Your contributions to this community are beyond words.

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  34. Oren, thank you for sharing these beautiful words and know that all of us are behind you. I echo Chris' sentiments saying thank you for bringing together a rag tag group of dads into a thriving community. Know that you are in my family and my thoughts and prayers

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  35. Oren, These words are beautiful and please know that you have been in my every waking thought for the last week. I want to Thank You for this post. For helping me have the epiphany. For helping recognize what is important. Love and hugs, Raquel

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  36. Amazing courage. Powerful piece of writing.

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  37. Thanks for this post, Oren. I wish you all manner of inner gladiator over the next few months as you take on this battle. You deserve better than this.

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  38. Amazingly beautiful post Oren, given the circumstances. We've all been privileged to have you as part of our lives and I will be holding out hope for you. in the meantime, I will continue to learn from your grace, dignity, and love for your family. And perhaps I won't be as worried about the unread emails either.

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  39. So glad to hear from you again...just wish the underlying news you're communicating were happier. I love your perspective and gratitude; I'm not sure I could be that mature were I in your shoes right now.

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  40. Thank you for sharing this. Thank you.

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  41. I am new to this blog, and I am sorry to hear about the Cancer. Please stay strong, and happy. Everything always works out in the end. Thank you for your words, and for making other dads think.

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  42. Beautiful post. Much love to you and your family, Oren.

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  43. I love you for your words, actions, and character. Thank you for sharing. You got many things right, but probably the biggest is that you will be loved very moment of your life. Sending you thoughts, prayers, and love, brother.

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  44. Martin FitzgeraldJune 3, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    I really don't know what to say. I've been reading you in various guises for 6, maybe 7 years. I'm sorry, I'm in awe, I'm grateful, and god only knows what else.


    I've typed and backspaced a dozen times now so I'll leave it at that.

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  45. I'm thinking of you and your family. Thank you for sharing.

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  46. Heartfelt. Powerful. Unbelievably moving.
    Stay strong and as positive as you can given what you are going through.
    You are a tough, strong (yet gentle) man.
    xo

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  47. I have read this many times with anguish and tears. I wish I had some words of wisdom but alas I do not. I can't add to what has already been said. Just know your words have touched my heart and I will try being inthe moment with my family and friends. You and your beautiful family will be in my thoughts often even though we are far away. My hope for you Oren is this that you find peace and comfort with your loved ones. Your Philly family is on your side

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  48. Katherine WilliamsonJune 3, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    I came here through Kevin McKeever and I just want to wish you and your family the best. I will keep you guys in my thoughts.

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  49. So truly beautiful. Your wife, your small people.... they are incredibly lucky to have a husband and father with such perspective, such strength and wisdom. I wish I had words that could make ANY of this an ounce easier, but you and your family will be in my thoughts. I will be wishing you continue to have the time of your life.

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  50. Christopher J. TuckerJune 3, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    Man. Oren, I hardly know what to say. I was staying hopeful that your prognosis would be a bit better. I'm genuinely crestfallen. I appreciate you and your outlook on life more than I know how to say.


    This is a wonderful post, and I will be following your journey. Your family is just as blessed to have you as you are to have them.


    With sincere gratitude, respect, and adoration,


    Chris

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  51. Christopher J. TuckerJune 3, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    F*ck, yeah, John. ^^^this^^^

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  52. There IS hope and help for people diagnosed with lung cancer. Visit www.lungevity.org to learn more. You can also request a support mentor to connect with a stage 4 long term survivor for support. There is also a Survivor Resource Center that helps navigate people from the moment of diagnosis to life after treatment. Best Hopes, Katie Brown, Director of Support and Advocacy

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  53. Oren, I've never met you in person and only know you through various Facebook groups. But, I just wanted you to know how much this post meant to me. As a fellow SAHD, I'm guilty of sweating the small things at times. Your post really helped me put into perspective what's really important in life. Needless to say I hugged my daughter just a little tighter when I just put her to sleep. I want you to know myself and all the other Philly Dads will be pulling for you! Love to you and your family!

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  54. I am so sorry for your diagnosis. You sound a lot like my husband, though. He is a type 1 diabetic on dialysis with heart disease. His heart has stopped several times. I thought we were going to lose him in 2010 and again in 2012. I'm frankly surprised almost every day that he's still with us. He thinks a lot about dying and he too hates the idea of leaving our kids. I tell him I will love them enough for the both of us, but while he's still here, he tries to live just like you are. God bless you.

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  55. Oren, figuring out how to find good in the midst of the bad is probably the most important thing anyone can do. I'm not so great at it myself; but if there's one thing I'd want to instill in my daughter, it'd be that ability. You're a good man, Oren, and I think your kids are going to see that quality in you, and they're gonna be able to make the world a better place because of it. You're not at the end of your road, yet, though, dude. Keep on truckin'. And keep on finding those good moments.

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  56. Every good thought and hopeful prayer I have is going straight to you and your family, Oren.

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  57. Ryan E. HamiltonJune 3, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    Well done, Oren Miller. Continue having the time of your life, inspiring us all, and making the world a better place. I often take stock of what you have done in this world, and it is massive, momentous, meaningful. You are a true inspiration. The lasting effects of your works are immortal. We love you, man.

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  58. I find this both a difficult and an inspiring post. You are lucky in that you have such a loving family and has your epiphany, finding peace with my kids is challenging but you have inspired me to make more of an effort to enjoy the preset with them in what ever time we have.

    You and your family are in my prayers, and i hope you find peace and comfort.

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  59. Oren, beautiful post. Sending positive thoughts your way...

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  60. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this with us, a total group of strangers. I know you have a lot going on right now, and you're probably very rightly focusing inward and on your family. But you took the time to broadcast something very personal, in the hopes that it would help a stranger. I wanted to let you know that it has. You hit me very deep in my heart, and I won't quickly forget what you're trying to teach me, if I ever do. Just now, even while I was typing this, my older son said, "Hey dad". He's home sick on his birthday, opening presents and playing with them while coughing. I think if I hadn't read this, I would have said, "Hold on a minute," to finish typing a comment on a random blog. But, this time, choking back some tears, I said, "What's up, buddy?" and helped him find a random doohickey for his new Ninja Turtles toy. And I gave my wife a hug while I was up. It's only been a couple of minutes since I read this, but you've already inspired me to focus on the mundane moments, which are also the sublime moments. You've already changed my life, and the life of my son in a small, huge way. Thank you. I don't know you, but I love you, and will be thinking of you.

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  61. We should all display such grace in the moment of truth. Humbling to read this Oren.

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  62. SantosandcharlieJune 3, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    Hi, you don't know me I hope you won't mind if I stop by and say a few words . MY husband is also a stage 4 lung cancer survivor. He was told he had 3 months 6.5 years ago. Don't believe everything you read. Clinical trials are working better , chemo treatments are less harsh. Look into organizations strictly for LC . There are plenty . I wish you well. God Bless you and your Family!

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  63. Oren - please know that all of us at National Fatherhood Initiative are thinking about you and praying for you and your family. Thanks for this very moving post. God bless you and yours.

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  64. My heart was pounding as I read that post. I'm finding it hard to type a response that is worthy. I'm feeling it. The grace, dignity, love - it's beautiful. Overwhelming. I pray for you and your family.

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  65. Ryan Sanders June 3, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    Thank you for reminding me how great, and simple life should be. God's best to you brother.

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  66. That's about as brave and graceful a way as possible to contemplate oblivion. The group you've brought together will be with you on this fight as much as we can.

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  67. Oren, you're one amazing dude! I'm so glad to have had the pleasure of meeting and knowing you. You've raised two incredible kids and have one awesome wife. I pray your family and you will receive the loving support you all deserve through this challenging ordeal. Please keep us posted and Keep On Daddying!

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  68. Oren, thanks for reminding me to cherish every moment, even the tough ones, with my kids and wife. Fight the good fight. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers.

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  69. lisasmissingkidneyJune 3, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    You're about 2 months behind me in your diagnosis. It's huge news to digest, and I wish you the best - the best days of your life, the best love you can give and get, and the best luck with the prognosis and progression of the disease.

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  70. Oren, I have never met you or read your .com before, great work by the way and I got here via Hogan on Facebook.
    Dude, I got misty reading your words. I too am at stay at home dad and have overcome a significant life challenge of my own. I have learned some things over the time and there are 2 that I will share.
    1. Accept it and it looks like it have. I on the other hand are still coming to terms with myself.
    2. The Dr. is a smart man but don't take his word as the final word because he has never met you or knows you outside his practice, and you've done big things before and just might do it again.
    Good luck my friend and I am here if you ever need support.
    Mike
    Project Engineer at Domestic-Engineering.com/ will divulge what my challenge was/is.
    I did not
    post it in this reply on purpose, don't need the pity, and have no time.

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  71. This is such a beautiful piece Oren. You and your family have been in my thoughts since I found out you were in the hospital. If there is anything I can do to help your family so that you can focus on your time together, please do not hesitate to ask.

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  72. I'm so sorry. I can't imagine that diagnosis as a father with children still at home. My mother-in-law was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer on March 7 and passed away on May 8. It was such a wild ride for our family. I wrote a lot about our journey through those two months, but I thought I'd share a post I wrote towards the end, which actually shares some of the same sentiments as yours. I can't imagine what this is like for you as the one going through it, but it might help to see how this process can be experienced by your loved ones as more than just tragic. All the best to you and your family as you navigate these strange, painful, beautiful waters. http://www.motherhoodandmore.com/2014/04/the-beauty-in-tragedy.html

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  73. I have no words - but keep on keeping on. Or something like that. Keep kicking ass and being you. Sorry I don't have something more eloquent to say.

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  74. Continue to be yourself, Oren, because you are amazing.

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  75. Some people hope when they go they reach Heaven. I've always hoped that I achieve immortality. Immortality is not living forever inside this earthly body of ours with its faults and ability to let us down, immortality is being someone who touched the lives of many they did not even meet and having that person remember them as long as they live.

    Hendrix achieved it. Lennon achieved it. Da Vinci, Edison, Einstein achieved it. Even Kurt Cobain, dirty, smelly, scruffy haired, and all; he achieved it.

    So you found YOUR Heaven on Earth. You've also achieved MY immortality and you're still with us.

    Now more than ever I must head to the States in February so that I can buy you that beer, or soy mocha latte Americana, whatever you prefer.

    In the meantime, much love to you and your family. Hold them tight, and I bet they'll hold you tighter.

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  76. Can it really have only been 16 months since Houston? Remember the Four Seasons lobby? We stood around telling anyone who'd listen about this Facebook group you'd just started a couple of months earlier, how it was a place for dads who write to virtually congregate, socialize, aggravate and empathize. At the time, there were about 70 people in the new group. You came to Dad 2.0 Summit *hoping* to boost membership into triple digits. Hoping. Today, there are 761 members. Every continent is represented. Many faiths, many ethnic groups, many political persuasions, many generations. But we share these things: We are bloggers, and we are fathers. We love to create, and we love our children. We love a good discussion, even a good argument, even a bad argument. We love jokes and reading and reading jokes. We love meeting each other "in real life" when we can, and we love shooting the breeze -- sometimes for hours, like kids at a slumber party -- on shared live video feeds. We love. The community, the extended, worldwide family you built and nurtured has wildly exceeded the hopes you expressed - cautiously - that first time we met so many of one another face-to-face in Houston. All this love? That's you. You did that. You made a family out of a group of men who live all over the world. You fashioned a social haven for us out of pixels and radio waves. The interaction might be virtual, but the love: That's real.

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  77. Beautiful post, Oren. So sorry to hear the details and here's hoping you can buck the trend. Thank you for sharing and reminding me how very special family is and always should be.

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  78. Oren,

    I'm one of the new guys on the block, having only recently been welcomed into the tightly-knit community of caring dads that you helped create. Here's what I wish for your kids and wife: that they enjoy you with all their energy over the months to come AND that you capture your life with them on video.

    My Dad died just over two years ago and oh how I wish I had been on my crusade before he left. I think God created us with the ability to forget things so that the pain we feel won't be as strong tomorrow as it is today. But with that comes the loss of what a dad sounded like, how tightly he squeezed me when he hugged me, and how great his laugh was. Oh, sure: we have photos and we talk about him, but I have almost no video with him in it.

    It's one of the reasons I started LessonsFromMyGrandson.com - so my grandson would always remember what I looked like, sounded like, and how much I love him. And that's my crusade - to get all of us INTO the videos with our kids so we all can remember they joys of life even if we aren't here to enjoy them any longer.

    So find those little moments in life and record them with your family. Not the big moments, necessarily... the ordinary, little moments. They will cherish them forever and remember the joy you brought to them.


    Bless you for sharing so much with all of us. Thinking about you.


    Charlie Seymour Jr

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  79. I think this is one of the most beautiful and bravest things I've ever read. My mom died of lung cancer three years ago, and the thing I remember most is her laughter, even at the end. Thank you for sharing your grace and courage in the face of an indescribable situation. Sending thoughts and love, even though we don't know each other.

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  80. Oren, your words are going to be with me forever. I am sure I'm not alone in saying this.

    Keep fighting. You are remarkable.

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  81. I've read this post several times today, as it keeps getting shared by friends and loved ones. I keep coming back to read it and really let it sink in.

    We vacation in that area pretty regularly (and I grew up going to Bethany) so I can literally visualize you in those moments. I've literally been there trading beach time for a conference call or a blog post.

    What I can't do no matter how hard I try is imagine being in your shoes right now and writing such a beautiful tribute to your life and legacy. You've given everyone that reads this a gift of looking at their world with new eyes and more importantly it's clear you've given the best gift you could to your children and wife-the very best of yourself.

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  82. Oren, my brothers and sisters recently lost their mother (we share the same father) to lung cancer. She fought until the end and made each day with her children and grandchildren count. I am new the blogger scene, but your site is one of the few that inspired me to take this leap. So many of us, whether we've met you or not, are moved by your posts and your current situation. Know that we're all thinking of you and your family. #dads4oren

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  83. Oren, I can only imagine how difficultly it was to write this post. What yo are going through would be my worst nightmare, as far as having to leave my family behind. My prayers go out to your whole family. Big Hug!

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  84. Oren, thank you for sharing your life story with us. May 30th was only a few days ago. This proves how quickly our lives can change. I am sorry for your sickness. I admire your courage and strength during your illness, and your desire to love and enjoy time with your dear family. I feel encouraged to do the same with my family from reading your kind words. I will be in prayer for you and your family.

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  85. Atlanta's Frugal MomJune 4, 2014 at 1:30 AM

    A dear sweet friend of my family also recently was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer this winter. While the entire idea still chokes me up, I am nothing but touched by her optimism and her spirit. Her peace with the journey that lies ahead.

    And yet, I have no idea what the journey is like. I won't even pretend to know.

    However, I will hold you and your beautiful family in my prayers, and pray that His warm strength and loving arms are felt by you all at this time. May God bless you and your family.

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  86. Oren, selfishly, I hope to get to know you better very soon. You amaze me and your words resonate with me, and with many of us. I'm sad of the future things that are being taken away from you, and your family. Because of you, I will not waste my days. I will not miss the best moments of my life. Because of you I'll make sure to live better, and in the moment. I will not forget you, Oren Miller.

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  87. Please keep fighting, and don't lose hope. My father lost his battle with cancer when I was 5 years old. Your blog posts will be a gift to your children, please consider writing notes for them to read as they get older. Hopefully, you will be here to read them together.

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  88. I just fell in love with your entire family...I don't know how you did that in so few words, but what an amazing little crew of supporters you have. They are so lucky to have these words.

    Medicine makes huge strides everyday. I have every ounce of faith in the world, you will beat this and your family will be stronger having weathered the storm together.

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  89. This is amazing writing. Sending good energy, thoughts and hope your way.

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  90. Maya Angelou said, "people don't remember what you do, they remember how you made them feel". This post made me feel. I will remember that. It will have a lasting impact on me. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  91. I don't know how many years I've been reading your blog. It's always been there in my feed, and I have no idea how much help and support you've been for me as a dad. But your words have been an integral part of my journey over the years. So, here's another dad blogger who just wants to say thank you, and to let you know you're in my thoughts at this time. Stay strong and be positive, and don't hesitate to ask anything of your fellow dads. There are a lot of us out here. Some are just a little quieter than others.

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  92. Damn the finite life. Just, damn. My wish for you would be peace, but it seems like you've already found it and leave it to you to make us all more aware of the beauty we take for granted. Thank you. For so much.

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  93. Tanis Miller: Redneck MommyJune 4, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    Keep fighting Oren. May joy fill you and your loved ones lives. Thank you for sharing and know that I, along with so many others, are sending energy, love and hope your way.

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  94. I really got speechless as I read your posting. All the best for you and your family from Munich, Germany.

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  95. Oren, you don't know me. I'm a friend of your cousin Ilene. Here's what I say: Fight. Fight, fight, fight. Tell cancer to suck it, and fight. Stay optimistic, stay positive, stay focused on the true happiness you've found. Bask in its glow, fill yourself with the light of love that surrounds you from family and friends and keep putting one foot, literally or figuratively, in front of the other. Don't accept defeat. You know you won't have the years that a cancer-free man does, but that man might get hit by a bus tomorrow, know what I mean? Knowing your time will end sooner than you want it to give you freedom to be expressive with your emotions on a level that American men never attain. Hell, tell the grocery store check out lady you love her, if that's what you are feeling at the moment. Run with it. Be the entire YOU that you are, and your wife and kids will glory in it. Let your love of life and all that is in it be your legacy. Don't accept the timeframe given to you by doctors. One of my besties had a mother diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer and given 6 months to live. She told cancer to eff off, and had 5 more great years. Sending you light & love, Kay.

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  96. Wishing love and strength for you, your family and everyone who cares about you.

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  97. No words and yet I am writing them but nothing I say could be fitting. Beautifully written post, you are an inspiration (even though I wish you were not in this situation to be one). Keep believing you can get through this.

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  98. Homeopathic Remedies? Talk to someone in charge at your nearest Organic Health food store. Maybe this is a long shot, but in your condition, it's worth trying, even if the results only give you a few extra weeks to be with your family. Also, If your doctor hasn't already, insist to be seen by a dietitian as well.

    Don't go into that dark Valley gracefully- Fight it.

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  99. Please know that I will be keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

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  100. Wow, Oren, wow. I have no words. Your words, however, are beautiful. This just gave me a kind of Frank Capra, It's A Wonderful Life moment. Two minutes ago, I was "too tired" to go play with my son and was annoyed with my wife for something infinitely unimportant. Thanks for the wake-up call. You and your family have my thoughts and prayers.

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  101. Kimberly BolañosJune 8, 2014 at 8:55 PM

    Prayng.

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  102. Bonnie MacFarlane-CombsJune 8, 2014 at 9:10 PM

    TWO TIME CANCER SURVIVOR HERE! First, I will not say I'm sorry you're going through this because there is a bigger meaning behind why you have cancer than you think.

    Since its been about a week for you I think we can say you've gone through the 5 stages of grief and you are now at acceptance. What you have been given is a gift, I know it sounds crazy, but you have what us cancer family like to call is the gift of "choosing happiness" and "choosing life"!

    You are a smart man with a readership far and wide, so you know now the only difference between YOU, and the people you see on a daily basis or communicate with is that you MIGHT have your "time coming" a little sooner than you thought, most people don't get that gift. They carelessly forget that life is a gift, and miss the MOMENTS, just like you said. When I leave this earth, it won't matter about my job status, money, or if I grabbed gas....LOVE AND FAMILY is it. CHOOSE HAPPINESS AND LIFE EVERYDAY, and you will already have survived but most will never. Until a final breath comes, "live like you're dying and don't die while you're living"!!

    Sincerely,
    Bonnie
    SAYVILLE NY

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  103. I wanted to let you know your kids will remember you. I lost my Dad to lung cancer when I was young. Like you he stayed home with us and I remember riding in his car, singing songs at the top of our lungs and talking about the most important nonsense in the world. I remember him teaching me to play chess. I remember him hugging me and knowing I was completely safe. My older brother and my Mom told me stories of other times, and of course there are pictures, and cheesey 1980s movies of holidays, but those memories are mine. You will not be a bare memory, you will be their Dad, and they will know that they were the loves of your life. Your daughter will grow up and find a man that loves her the way she remembers you loved her mother, and your son will grow up striving to be a man you would be proud of.
    I hope you beat this, I hope you dance at your granddaughter's wedding and laugh, but in the event you don't, don't ever worry that your babies will not remember you, they will never forget.

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  104. I read your post and felt compelled to tell you that there is hope. My dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer last fall. It had spread quite far - his bones - including the spine, lymph nodes, liver - pretty much everywhere. He has adopted a totally vegan diet and spends a lot of time in meditation along with chemo. Here we are almost a year later and the cancer is gone with the exception of a few small spots of activity too small to show up on the CT scan. He feels great. It has been hard for sure but there is hope. He recommends the book Radical Remission and swears that his mindset and faith have largely led him through this. Don't give up!

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  105. Oren, I am so sorry to hear of your diagnosis. You certainly have everything in the world to live for. I hope you don't mind me saying this but I just watched a 6 night presentation on Cancer and alternative treatments. I have been chronically ill for 20 years with Lyme disease and I just thought perhaps watching this series about cancer would help me find something I can apply to my own health. I just got an email from the series and I see they are offering a free replay marathon, it will probably be 6-10 hours long on Sat. June 14th. I found it very informative and it has inspired me in many ways regarding my own health. Here is the link: http://thetruthaboutcancer.com/ I also would look into B-17 (apricot seeds). I have never used them personally nor do I know anyone who has, but there are many testimonials on Amazon. I wish you all the healing in the world, so that you can be there for your kids and wife for a long time. Happy Father's Day.

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  106. I just came across your blog via Heather Spohr's blog. My Dad last his battle to stage for cancer which had metastisized to his lungs in December. All four of his kids are grown, but reading this I felt like it was something he would have written if he were a writer. Clinical trials bought us time with my dad. Precious cherished time. I wish the same and more for your family. One thing I know, your love will always be with them. I'm so sorry you all have to walk this road.

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  107. Keep finding heaven on Earth, and you may be amazed at the extension that the universe may give you! You will also leave a legacy in your writing. Encourage your kids and wife to do the same. Sharing is the best way to formulate.
    If people could only remember the intricate details of everyday smiles and forget the big worries that we can do so little about---the world would be a lot more moments of Heaven. Thanks for reminding us! Cheers to you and your bold steps ahead. Thanks for putting it out there for us...Thanks for taking the noble route.

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  108. Oh, Oren. Please let me know if there is any way I can help. I love your attitude. Doesn't stop me from weeping all over the freaking place. You've always fascinated me with the way you care from your children. I always knew a selfless Dad was possible, but had little experience seeing one in action! I didn't get one and neither did my husband! It's been a wonder for me to see a man do just as well as a woman being the one home raising young children. I always picture you holding your sleeping girl in your arms effortlessly. I wondered if I would look so calm and natural with Sage when she finally came. For what it is worth, you and your family as in my prayers.

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  109. Praying for you and your family! Your kids are gorgeous! I will be looking back for the post titled, "It's a Miracle!"

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  110. I want to say something, yet have nothing to say. Nothing that feels right after that beautiful, eloquent, honest post. Except thank you. Thank you for the reminder. And thank you for seeing your children; knowing them so - that you can capture exactly what they need in a line or two. Thank you for loving your family with all of your heart and for the courage to keep doing so despite the fear and uncertainty. Thank your for your courage - to share this with all of us. You are loved, prayed for and supported - by those who know you and those who wish they did.

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  111. Thank you for sharing your epiphany-it is one I needed to hear today.
    I will be holding you and your family in prayers. May you continue to "have the time of your life" for many, many more days to come.

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  112. Thank you for sharing your story. I'm saying a prayer for you and your family, and I hope the rest of your journey is filled with much more love and peace. My daughter is sensitive like your son, and needs to be treated like an adult! Ill share with you a funny little story that happened today, and maybe it will brighten your day like it did mine. My daughter Layla is 3 and she had her cousin, Jinan, over today. This is what went down. Jinan: Aunty, can we put nailpolish on? Me: Nope, not today. Layla: its ok Jinan I can speak mom. She comes up to me and starts carressing my face and says ok mama here's the deal. Were gonna put nailpolish on and then were gonna go to summer camp ok. You better believe they got to put nailpolish on haha. God bless you and your family. With love, Renad.

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  113. There is a clinical trial going on right now for lung cancer at Johns Hopkins.
    Please contact them to see if you might qualify.

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  114. Martha-Gail MooreJune 9, 2014 at 9:08 PM

    Oren, We don't know each other, but you have a relative whom I do know. So, if I could, I wanted to encourage you to explore other options than what the peeps in white coats have to offer. My friend told me about this website. The man who created the website cured himself of stage 4 colon cancer. Hence, the name of the site: http://www.chrisbeatcancer.com/
    But that said, researchers have made incredible advances in cancer therapy.
    This post is a beautiful testament to what a loving person you are, and I hope with all my heart that are are cured. Hugs, mgm

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  115. Thank you! And continued good luck to your husband!

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  116. Thanks, Man. I don't think I'm worthy of all or of any of that, but I sure appreciate it.

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  117. Thanks! I'm proud to be a member of the council.

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  118. Thank you! I will definitely look into that.

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  119. Thanks. So far, I'm taking it one step at a time. There was a huge blood clot in the heart, and we took care of it. Then this week we start taking care of the brain tumors, and then we just take the fight to the lungs. Not losing hope here.

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  120. You struck me as a survivor, cause we all need more people like you around. Thank you for a wonderful reminder post on what is important in life. Best of luck. Pfft cancer - you can beat it.

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  121. Thank you. And really, don't worry about what to say. I don't have the experience of people who've been sick for a while, but judging by this past week+, 0% of people know how to react and what to say. I appreciate your thoughts and your prayers!

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  122. Thank you! And thanks for the republishing. It's nice to see the comments on your site too.

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  123. Thank you! I remember being a terrible salesman for the group... My "It's really cool!" didn't go far. In the end, word-of-mouth did everything right, because people can recognize something real. You know I take 1/761 of the credit, though.

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  124. Ha, I remember that moment. I was tired, and it was really hot, but when a little kid climbs on you, you can't complain.

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  125. Thank you, and same to you!

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  126. Thank you! Although I don't feel too remarkable... But thank you!

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  127. Thanks. I think I'm more tired than I hoped I'd be, but I'm still trying to find moments, even if the moments are just watching Care Bears with my girl.

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  128. Ha, I don't know if I'm mature--it's just things that make sense to me. It's like the cancer-surviving cousin who came up to me yesterday and said, "Fuck, fuck, fuck! That was all I could think while I had cancer!" And frankly, although that's a valid way of thinking about cancer--it's just not my way.

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  129. Thanks! Although Hebrew is my first language, I've been in London/US since '95, so I picked up the language eventually... And thanks about the mensch thing. It's important for me to be one (and for my son to be one as well).

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  130. Thank you! And thanks again for including me in the book!

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  131. Thanks! And thanks for all the work you do!

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  132. Thank you! I think comfort may be the harder part, but I hope for the best on that front too...

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  133. That's great. Good luck to both of you!

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  134. I made my wife read it as well as I've mentioned your situation to her. She was also very moved.

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  135. Thank you, Chris. The whole prognosis stage, which actually lasted a few days, seemed to have been happening to someone else, frankly, but once I realized there was no one else around, all I could do was accept it as my own.

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  136. Thanks, Beth! We will see you soon!

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  137. Thanks, Martin. I've written more and less personal stuff or even genuine stuff over these years, and it's good to know I can still have a place for "true" writing. I hope you come back to writing soon too!

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  138. You're welcome. But it is Al and I who should thank you and the rest of the dads. Keep the faith and get well. My best to the you and your family.

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  139. Thank you! I appreciate that!

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  140. Thank you! And it was great to meet you in NOLA!

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  141. Thank you! I don't quite get it either, to be honest...

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  142. Thanks, man. And you know, if you're ever in Baltimore, give us a call!

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  143. Thank you! I hope that's true.

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  144. I just have to add this link about Beta Glucan.
    http://www.betaglucan.org/A-C.htm

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  145. When I was in high school, I assisted on the set of a production of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town." I've never consciously thought about it since, but after reading your story, the end of one quote kept repeating in my head: "live it - every, every minute." I had to look up the rest, which I've copied below. It could have been written for/by you. I wish you all the happiness in the world. And I thank you for sharing this perspective. It is invaluable.


    "Goodbye to clocks ticking — and my butternut tree! And Mama's sunflowers — and food and coffee — and new-ironed dresses and hot baths — and sleeping and waking up! Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anyone to realize you! Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it — every, every minute?"

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  146. Thanks! Not sure I'm worthy of all that, but thanks.

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  147. These are generous and beautiful words, Oren. It's a privilege to be able to read them.

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  148. Hey, any time you're in the neighborhood!

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  149. That was great. Thank you!

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  150. My husband died from brain cancer. 15 months and poof. Never saw his son learn to speak in sentences or use Legos to build houses or ride a tricycle. Relish every moment. I sure we'd done that.

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  151. I said this on Facebook, and I'll say it again here-- you are handling this with so much grace. I've cried both times I've read this post-- partially for you and for your family, and thinking about my inevitable end and my family. When it is my turn to get this news, I hope I can be as graceful and as eloquent.

    Keep strong, keep your grace, and I hope to see you at next year's Dad 2.0 Summit (and you can rest assured, you won't have to buy a single drink!)

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  152. Thank you! I don't rule out anything yet!

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  153. Thanks, Mary. I'm actually at Johns Hopkins, so hopefully all good options will be available to me.

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  154. Hi Oren - I'm Aaron's dad (incase the name didn't give it away). Just felt the need to tell you our whole family wishes you well and our hearts are with you and your kids and wife. Must be strange to get stuff like this from clowns like me who don't even know you, but somehow it just felt right. Keep fighting the good fight. Bill.

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  155. Thank you! This comment is much better than any advice.

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  156. Thank you, Bill! And thank you for all your support!

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  157. Thank you! The kids--they are so more than these two lines, though... They're a whole world I can never do justice to. But at least I got those two lines out. The more urgent stuff.

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  158. Oren, I know we've never met, but I grew up with Beth and just wanted to stop by and say what an inspiration you are! My heart breaks for you all. I'm sending prayers and wishing a miracle comes your way! Sadly yours....

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  159. Hi Oren, thank you for writing such a touching, authentic and honest post. I'm not even sure those are the right words to describe your post or that they even do it justice, but I am truly inspired after reading it. Thank you for the reminder to stop and enjoy every moment and to not get caught up in the things that seem pressing or "serious" at the time, but later are trivial distractions from what matters most. It robs us of the precious moments you remind us are finite, and of the happiness available to us at any time. I wish you and your family well.

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  160. Martha-Gail MooreJune 13, 2014 at 4:22 PM

    Way to go, Oren! With high hopes, mgm

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  161. Of course they are. It's what those two lines say about you, as their father, that I was struck by. It says, "I know these two incredible beings on the deepest level possible." To be known like that, especially by a father...what an amazing and rare gift. I know people with 90 year-old dads who haven't experienced that. We may not be able to control the length of our lives, but we can control the depth.

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  162. So many new advances in Lung Cancer Treatment my Dad was 65 and diagnosed Stage 4 Lung Cancer he was given 3 months he almost made it 5 years and his death was not from the cancer. Stay strong!!

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  163. Simply inspiring. I will keep you and your family in my positive thoughts and prayers.

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  164. Thank you!!! I find it a little hard to write now, but maybe soon, even if it's not published.

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