This blog is for Jim Marventano's family and friends to review his status and updates while he goes through treatment for Stage IV Colon Cancer. We can beat it together!

Friday, May 28, 2010


Wow. I would have teased him and told him he's old.

I miss him every day. My life isn't the same. Even the happiest of moments are marred by the fact that he's not here to share them.

Lambchop, I love you and I miss you. The kids miss you. Your family misses you. My family misses you. Your friends miss you.

I sincerely wish you could come home and celebrate with us.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Two corrections from yesterday's blog. I know I don't often make corrections but I did think this warrented commentary:

1. A shout out to Jen from Custer, SD, who actually donated all 100 of the brats we cooked up for the kegger. And for loving on Eric, who didn't know many people. Katie M., you also get props for that one!

2. In the paragraph where I mentioned friends that helped, I wrote: thanks to Susan and Ken, Amy, Lisa and John. How I should have written that was: thanks to Susan and Ken, John K., Amy and Lisa.

Since Jim died one of the biggest things I've worked on in fixing my own personality is not to judge. But please indulge me for a moment when I say that Lisa's ex-husband would not have helped set up. Or attended the party. He needs help. ;-)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Beer Revelations

This past weekend I had my kegger. Yep. A real keg party. Not quite as classless as college, but a real kegger nonetheless. I sent out paper invites with a picture of a keg on it. I had the yard all decorated, 100 brats, beer pong, quarters and flip cup. I had 2 kegs, 8 cases of beer, 2 gallons of kamikaze, and 75 jello shots. Not to mention the rest of the food and drink. It was nuts. 100 people came. And had fun!

We also did a benefit walk and brat fry Saturday morning for Tara - the little girl who has cancer. ( for donations!) It was seriously amazing. During the walk, Eric and I did a bit of the hike with my friend Amy. I questioned aloud how it was possible that I was having a kegger at 37 years old. And she gave me a wonderful compliment by saying that it was a party lots of people would like to have, but are just too scared. (I pointed out that there's a thin line between scared and stupid!) When I really thought about it, I decided that when Jim was alive, he was my on/off switch. If I wanted to have a really big party, Jim would have let me. He would have kept me calm (or at least tried). He would have helped me set up and he would have been a wonderful host. But more often than not, when I came up with a hairbrained scheme like having a kegger, Jim would let me run through the possible scenarios and then either shoot the idea down, or wait it out until I saw something shiny, went in another direction, and forgot about my idea. But Jim died, and now I'm dating Eric. And when I said to Eric "maybe I should have a kegger...", Eric said "GREAT IDEA!" And then I actually followed through. short...I blame Eric. :)

I was so nervous before the party that I basically let it ruin my day. I was sick to my stomach. Eric tried to calm me down. My friends Tom and Deitmar came and help me set up. Eric did a ton of work to help me get everything ready. Then more of my friends showed up to help me prepare and place food, set out cups, etc. I was so terrified that for the first half of the party I didn't speak to anyone for more than around three minutes. I was just too scared and I wanted to make sure I got to greet everyone. Halfway through the party I calmed down. I looked around. I realized that the party was a success. And then I relaxed and enjoyed the party. I spoke to people for ever so slightly more than three minutes. I drank some beer. And I had fun.

It's fun to rehash the evening with everyone. It was good to cut loose and have fun, and see so many other people having fun. It's good to hear the stories and share my own. It was a once in a lifetime party that I truly had fun throwing. I was delighted to see so many friends. It meant a lot to me.

Thanks to so many people who made my party work. Eric, first and foremost. Amy and Todd, for the beer. Liz and Tom and Deitmar and Cassandra for all the hard work - setting up, offering tables and chairs, and clean up. Susan and Ken, Amy, Lisa and John for setting up, making me laugh, and all the prep. Rob and Ann for the late night beer run. Thanks to all my friends who brought food. Thanks to those who showed up although they knew very few people. And thanks to those who came to party, drink beer, and have fun with me. You have no idea what it meant to me. It may have seemed like just a keg party, but it was an awesome night that I did "on my own" - my first big huge party without Jim. It was an accomplishment.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Cancer is invasive in so many ways

Today I went to the doctor to discuss some issues I've been dealing with for over a year. Honestly, by the time I got there today I was completely torqued up and absolutely convinced I had cancer. I was completely exhausted yesterday, but sleeping last night wasn't much of an option until I'd stayed up so late that I was positively ill.

Jim died over two years ago, but to me, the cancer is still so invasive in my life. If I have an internal pang, gurgle or lump, I FREAK. Now, to be fair - I was a bit of a hypochondriac to begin with. I have recognized most of my illnesses over the last two years to be largely psychosomatic. I finally called the doctor last week when I realized that what I'm dealing with is in fact not psychosomatic. Never before Jim would cancer have entered into my mind.

My friend Reid stayed up and chatted with me last night because I was freaking so badly. Reid has a great sense of humor - he can always get me to laugh. He told me not to listen to my brain - it's nuts. Which we all know to be true. This morning he tried to tell me that again and get me to laugh, but I was so uptight that I got angry and told him that my brain isn't nuts - it's experienced. Logic tells me that anything going on in my body is not related to cancer. But my brain takes that word and twists it.
Logic: You don't have cancer. That's a swollen lymph node.

Logic: That could mean anything. It's probably swollen from you poking at it.
Brain: Or, it could be just the tip of the iceberg. That's probably the only part you can feel of a tumor that has spread. You know they call colon cancer the silent killer.

Logic: The odds are really against you having cancer of any sort. You don't have a family history and you're only 37.
Brain: Um, DUH, Jim didn't have a family history and he was only 37!

Logic: You just got checked two months ago and they didn't find anything unusual.
Brain: You won't be able to handle chemo. Your kids will be without any parents. You can't do it. Come to think of it, you haven't gone to the bathroom in a couple of days. Is that a sign of a blockage?

...Logic never wins these internal arguments. Ever. And these arguments go on all day long, every day I think I have a health scare.

And I claim that I was crazy when I lived in Charlotte? It's not Kohler that's making me crazy, it's cancer. Today the doctor put my mind at ease. She offered me an ultrasound, not because I need it medically but because she knew it might be the only thing that quiets my brain. She told me that if I'm losing sleep over it, I should call her and we'll do the ultrasound. ~ Trust me ~ I'm losing sleep over it. But I decided not to get the ultrasound for now. I might call and beg her for it next week. But today I decided that cancer is getting the best of me if I let it dictate my every thought and action. If I let cancer dictate when I should worry or when I get a medical test, I'm letting cancer continue to ruin my life. Cancer took away what was most important to me. At the time I was so angry and I screamed at cancer and told it that it would never beat us. I still don't want cancer to beat us. I don't think it will.

I reclaim my brain from the thoughts that infect it, even if I have to do it moment to moment. Cancer - now hear this: you don't get to control my thoughts. I do. I won't have the ultrasound just because you try and scare me. I will listen to the professionals, try and take care of myself, and know that the odds are against you, cancer. It's only a matter of time before we'll all be inoculated against you. Until then, keep your invasive, noxious thoughts to yourself.