MATTIE MIRACLE VIRTUAL WALK WAS AN $110,000 SUCCESS!

Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation Promotional Video

Thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive!

Dear Mattie Blog Readers,

It means a great deal to us that you take the time to write to us and to share your thoughts, feelings, and reflections on Mattie's battle and death. Your messages are very meaningful to us and help support us through very challenging times. To you we are forever grateful. As my readers know, I promised to write the blog for a year after Mattie's death, which would mean that I could technically stop writing on September 9, 2010. However, at the moment, I feel like our journey with grief still needs to be processed and fortunately I have a willing support network still committed to reading. Therefore, the blog continues on. If I should find the need to stop writing, I assure you I will give you advanced notice. In the mean time, thank you for reading, thank you for having the courage to share this journey with us, and most importantly thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive.


As Mattie would say, Ooga Booga (meaning, I LOVE YOU)! Vicki and Peter



The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation celebrates its 7th anniversary!

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation was created in the honor of Mattie.

We are a 501(c)(3) Public Charity. We are dedicated to increasing childhood cancer awareness, education, advocacy, research and psychosocial support services to children, their families and medical personnel. Children and their families will be supported throughout the cancer treatment journey, to ensure access to quality psychosocial and mental health care, and to enable children to cope with cancer so they can lead happy and productive lives. Please visit the website at: www.mattiemiracle.com and take some time to explore the site.

We have only gotten this far because of people like yourself, who have supported us through thick and thin. So thank you for your continued support and caring, and remember:

.... Let's Make the Miracle Happen and Stomp Out Childhood Cancer!

A Remembrance Video of Mattie

January 5, 2013

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2008. Mattie was home recovering in a hospital bed in our living room. As you can see Mattie had company with him, Patches! For the first couple of months while Mattie was battling cancer, Patches remained in our home. However, as Mattie's battle got more intense and we were rarely home, we had to make some decisions about Patches. No one wanted to take her in, and given her thyroid condition, we had to make sure she was in good and capable hands. So we boarded Patched for over one year at the vet. That may sound inhumane, but on the contrary it was the safest alternative. We kept her alive and in a place where we knew they understood and loved her. Patches is very demanding for a cat and this is most likely while her first owner abandoned her on the streets of DC. Patches is VERY vocal at all hours of the day and NIGHT! She has a 3am screaming ritual which takes a lot of love to deal with and get used to. But she has been with us for 17 years, so you learn to absorb such idiosyncrasies. Not unlike the adjustments we make for the people we care about in our lives. When we brought Mattie home to recover for a couple of weeks, Patches appreciated our presence and stayed close to Mattie. Patches understood Mattie's significance in our lives and therefore NEVER tried acting out or to scratch or harm Mattie in any way. Patches is a loyal and constant companion, who has been with us through the length of our marriage as well as through Mattie's battle and death. Patches is my "nurse Patches." Whenever I am ill, she seems to know, and comes to lie down with me. Which is a remarkable quality for a cat!


Quote of the day: In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn. ~ Phil Collins


Before I went to Los Angeles, I noticed that Patches right eye was tearing. In addition, it appeared that she had a small bump on the right side of her face. However, with age, sometimes Patches bumps into things. So I figured perhaps that is what happened and in time it would heal. I pointed my observations out to Peter, but both of us tried not to get alarmed by the symptoms. When I saw Patches upon my return from LA, I was NOT pleased with her swollen face. I noticed her eating was non-existent, which for a cat with hyper thyroidism is HIGHLY unusual. So Peter and I decided that she needed to go to the vet immediately. Of course when I see such a swollen area, I think cancer. The problem is I now know TOO much!

This afternoon, Peter and I were scheduled to see White Christmas, the musical, at the Kennedy Center. We both love the movie and Irving Berlin's music, so I was looking forward to this. However, when I called the vet, the only time she could see us was during the time of the play. Since Patches' health supersedes the play, I did not give it much thought. As the morning wore on, I was emailing Karen and my parents back and forth. Karen encouraged me to try to exchange the tickets for another time. If Karen hadn't said this to me, it wouldn't have crossed my mind. The Kennedy Center has a 48 hour exchange policy, so I figured they could care less about my situation. Before heading to the vet, I walked to the Kennedy Center and explained to the box office person that I had a sick family member and couldn't attend the matinee and asked if she could consider exchanging the tickets for the evening performance. She spoke with her manager, and thanks to Karen, I am seeing the play at 7:30pm today! Peter and I could use the diversion ASAP! Now you may say that Patches is not a person, or a family member, but on the contrary she is a vital part of our family.

After the exchange of tickets, Peter picked me up at the Kennedy Center with Patches in the car. Together we went to the vet. The vet is located in a part of DC where parking is IMPOSSIBLE. So I jumped out of the car and brought the cat in while Peter circled around for parking. Patches' vet and I haven't been on the same page about a lot of things. The most recent being that she wanted Patches to see a cardiologist to check our a heart murmur. The reason for this was to see if Patches' heart was strong enough to tolerate sedation for teeth cleaning and an extraction. Peter and I elected to spare Patches all of this since she seemed to be comfortable and eating. The cardiologist and dental extraction would have cost over $5000 in total, and though that was daunting in cost, the main reason we did not do this was because I wanted to avoid anymore stress in Patches' life. When I met with the vet today, I was very direct. I told her that something had to be done about Patches' pain and condition. That if she needs surgery she is going to have it without the approval of a cardiologist. Because the issue now is a matter of quality of life. The vet got me immediately. Remember this whole office knows that we lost Mattie to cancer.

The doctor took one look at Patches and said that she feels the swollen face is a tumor, and not an infected tooth. We will know more answers on Monday when she gets x-rayed. The doctor did give Patches a shot of antibiotics, so if it is an infection, we should see a change no later than Monday. But she also sent us home with pain meds, which to me is very humane. The pain meds are helping already and Patches seems happier and actually eating.

Peter and I are attached to Patches in different ways. Patches is VERY close to Peter and if you talk to Peter about Patches, you will see immediate tears in his eyes. I get it! As I said to Peter, this is cancer round two. So it hasn't been the best of days for us, but we are taking it one step at a time.

January 4, 2013

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday, January 4, 2013

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2008. Our blog system is currently experiencing uploading issues, so I could only post a picture that was recently uploaded to the blog. This photo was taken days after Mattie's major limb salvaging surgeries. It was almost incredible to me that he could smile given his circumstances. He couldn't move, had surgery drains in his arm and leg, and he was in a lot of pain. Yet to me this photo captures Mattie's resilience.

Quote of the day: It is our choices..... that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. ~ JK Rowling


It was a bright and sunny day today in Washington, DC which greatly helped with the transition back home. I couldn't get up this morning and I was still on Los Angeles time. Yet I accomplished a great deal of Foundation work that was piling up on my table.

This evening Peter and I went out to dinner at our usual Friday hang out. At the restaurant, everyone greeted me and said they missed me, but more importantly they told me that Peter was lost without me. So it was a lovely greeting back, one I must admit I wasn't expecting.

The one I do worry about is Patches. She is almost 17 years old and she isn't looking right and not eating well. Considering she is a cat with a hyper thyroid issue who is always eating, I know something is up when she doesn't touch her food. People get attached to their pets, but Patches symbolizes our married life together. She basically walked into our lives and came right onto our deck and adopted us. She was one year old when she found us and was very sick, not to mention that she was shot and had a BB bullet in her leg. Patches also was a trooper through the birth of Mattie and through his cat tail pulling year! Patches was a buddy to Mattie, as she is a buddy to Peter. I am just the help, but we have our own understanding. Soon after Mattie died our vet told us that Patches was ill and probably only had a few more years left. So far we have kept her going for three years, but when I see her like this, I worry. She is still alert, responsive, and active for an old cat, but I continue to keep on eye on her. I do not like to think of Patches dying, because she is a significant part of our family then and even more so NOW!

 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Tonight's picture was taken on Christmas Day of 2008. This was a VERY challenging day for us, couped up at home. Mattie was dealing with a great deal of pain and what I later diagnosed, medical traumatic stress. Mattie's preschool friends dropped off these hats and noses for Mattie. Peter encouraged Mattie to put them on and Peter tried very hard to change the mood in our home. I snapped a picture of their momentary fun and I would say this was the brightest moment of our Christmas day.




Quote of the day: In the middle of this journey, we lose a bit of ourselves. We do not know where we are or where we’re headed. We look for directions, seek for guidance, and if we’re lucky, we find it without too much time lost. And if we’re truly lucky, we gain our whole selves back, with an ounce of wisdom on top. ~ Joanne Crisner


It was a LONG but safe travel day today. It is now 12:30am East Coast time, and I am wide awake working on all sorts of things. I had two chatterboxes sitting next to me on the airplane. Both of whom wanted the window shade closed throughout the flight. It is psychological, but I need to see outside and see land while I am flying. So the fact that they were non-stop talking and also closed the shade bothered me to no end. The two sitting next to me were a father-daughter pair. The daughter just turned 21 and they were flying to Dublin, via Washington Dulles. The father was a pilot for another airline and was regaling the flight attendants with his flight stories. NONE of which I wanted to hear. Remember I don't like flying! But the story that was truly troubling was that he was bringing his daughter to Ireland so she could celebrate her 21st birthday in style and get DRUNK! It was at that point he absolutely lost me!

Peter greeted me at the airport and I could tell he was thrilled to have company back into his life. I have a way of keeping him hopping and on his toes. I am told that is contagious and when I am not present I can be missed apparently! We waited for an hour for my luggage and when it was all said and done we did not get back home until after 10:30pm. Despite it being almost 30 degrees colder here in DC compared to Los Angeles, Peter surprised me with roses. These roses have a beautiful fragrance, so in a way it felt like spring time inside.
 

January 2, 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2008. My friend and colleague, Susan, designed and created this quilt just for Mattie. Mattie loved it and I still use the quilt even today. Mattie was indeed our "Super Mattie!"












Quote of the day: She is nine, beloved, as open-faced as the sky and as self-contained. I have watched her grow. As recently as three or four years ago, she had a young child's perfectly shallow receptiveness; she fitted into the world of time, it fitted into her, as thoughtlessly as sky fits its edges, or a river its banks. But as she has grown, her smile has widened with a touch of fear and her glance has taken on depth. Now she is aware of some of the losses you incur by being here--the extortionary rent you have to pay as long as you stay. ~ Annie Dillard


It was a glorious weather day in Southern California today. The high was close to 70 degrees and the sun was shining brightly against the most beautiful blue sky. It is ironic that in 24 hours I will be back in Washington, DC and experiencing a completely different climate.

Unlike Mattie, I hate air travel! I find it harrowing and I dislike being in a confined space with a lot of people. But mostly the movement of the plane makes me feel sick. I can safely say that my fear of air travel increased significantly since Mattie's death. There are a lot of things now which affect my comfort zone, and airplanes are at the top of the list.

My mom and I did our usual walk today. This is something that I will miss, because I am NOT inspired to walk when it is cold outside. I went out to lunch with my parents and we talked about a miniseries that I introduced them to entitled, Titanic Blood and Steel. As my faithful readers know, I am fascinated by the Titanic and this 12 episode miniseries was just fantastic. I think a part of me understood the cultural and religious tensions the series portrayed in Belfast because I visited this city in August. But even without knowing a thing about Belfast, this series brings you up to speed quickly!

If my readers get the Encore channel, I HIGHLY recommend the miniseries. It gives you a fictionalize account of the challenges of building the Titanic, but it does it in a compelling way. You completely get absorbed into the lives of each of the characters and it helps you understand the devastation families must have suffered when their loved ones died on the Titanic. Remember most of the working class passengers on the Ship were pioneers. They had the courage to leave their home countries to establish a life of FREEDOM for themselves in America. Any case, if you want to read more about this breathtakingly done series, follow this link: http://www.starz.com/originals/titanicbloodandsteel

I am signing off for today, with the hopes of returning to DC safely tomorrow. My next posting will be from home. 

January 1, 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

 
Tuesday, January 1, 2013 -- Mattie died 173 weeks ago today.


Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2008. Mattie was home recovering from his limb salvaging surgeries. We had a hospital bed in our living room and as you can see Mattie had a hand crafted wreath around his head. Mattie's art teacher, Debbie, had all his friends at school help create this gift for him. Mattie loved the messages on each of the green papered leaves. This wreath remains on the back of our front door even today.





Quote of the day: The house is eerily quiet. All this time I thought silence would be a welcome reprieve, but it's less comforting than I imagined. The house feels so much bigger and colder than it ever has. ~ Hannah Harrington


My mom and I went for a four mile walk today. We try to do this each day while I am here. Though the temperature was cold by California standards, for me in comparison to Washington, DC it was lovely. The sun was shining and the sky was that perfect sort of blue. The ironic part is when I get talking and walking I have no concept for time, laps, or distance. I can just keep on walking. Walking was one of those things I found early to be therapeutic for me after Mattie died.

While I was walking on this coast, Peter was walking on Roosevelt Island. However when I saw his photos from the Island, I could see the greyness of DC that I hate so much at this time of year. We had a quiet New Year's day together and to some extent I would say since Mattie's death I am somewhat disoriented to time and events. The only reason I know it is January is because of Foundation activities and deadlines upon me. The funny part is typically the fall season is a slower time for the Foundation, but this year that was not the case. We had a very productive fall, and as we roll into January, I have to hit the ground running on our two main events..... a Psychosocial Think Tank in California in February and our Annual Awareness Walk in May.

Wednesday is my last full day in California, since I fly home on Thursday afternoon. We want to wish all of our readers a very happy and healthy 2013. Thank you for supporting us and for checking in with us through the blog. This means a lot to us. Happy New Year!
 

Monday, December 31, 2012

Monday, December 31, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2008. This was our last Christmas season with Mattie. That was a rough holiday, however, in comparison to now, it was much easier. Which is saying a lot, since in 2008 we were dealing with living in a hospital, no privacy, constant stress, fear, and instability. Several of Mattie's support team members gave him Christmas gifts, and as you can see he attached Santa to his wheelchair and put the Christmas stockings on his feet rather than hanging them up! Also featured was a 'Dunkin Donuts' Donut in Mattie's hand. That was one of his foods of choice while undergoing chemotherapy. Some of my faithful blog readers may recall our motto.... one donut a day and everything will be okay!


Quote of the day: My life is now divided into two periods: With June and After June. I can't wrap my mind around the idea of it. ~ Hannah Harrington


I spent the day helping my mom in various ways from putting away Christmas decorations to going with her to buy plants and mulch and then adding flowers to her garden. Such a thing would be IMPOSSIBLE to do in Washington, DC. It is too cold to plant anything. But this isn't true in Southern California. It is hard to believe while we are struggling with 30 degree weather and snow, there are parts of this country which are green and sunny. It is quite a reality check! Any case, on December 31, I was outside sitting on the grass and planting. I head back to the cold on Thursday and soon this warmer climate will be just a memory.

We went out to dinner tonight and on our way home we decided to drive through the town to check out Christmas lights. One of my parent's friends told us about an incredible display. WOW were they correct! I tried to capture this sight on camera, but it just doesn't do it justice. When you drive up to this house, there is a sign out front which tells you to tune into 88.7FM on your car radio. The lights are timed to the music. The show is three minutes long and it is absolutely fantastic. I never saw anything like it!


This is another picture of the timed light show. When I tell you that every part of this house lights up, I am NOT kidding. The lawn, the roof, the trees, the house, and the walkway. It is amazing and so beautifully timed to Christmas music.

The last song in the show is Auld Lang Syne. It was a beautiful white light display to ring in the new year. To all our blog readers, thank you for checking in on us throughout 2012. You made the year more bearable for us. We wish you the best of health and happiness in 2013, and we thank you for continuing on our journey with us. I end tonight's posting with an article about Auld Lang Syne. We certainly hear these words EVERY year, but how many of us really know the translation of this Scottish tune?
 
 
'Auld Lang Syne’: What Does it Mean Again? from ABC News

Here it is. The answer to a perennial question of what on earth does “Auld Lang Syne” mean? The confusion over the song is arguably almost as much of a tradition as the song itself. As revelers stumble and mumble through the verses–singing the “auld lang syne” part much louder than the rest of the song because it’s really the only part people know–someone always asks what the words mean. The title of the Scottish tune translates to “times gone by” and is about remembering friends from the past and not letting them be forgotten.

Despite its strong association with New Year’s Eve, “Auld Lang Syne,” written by Robert Burns in the 1700s, was never intended to be a holiday song. Guy Lombardo is credited with popularizing the song when his band used it as a segue between two radio programs during a live performance at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York in 1929. By coincidence, they played “Auld Lang Syne” just after the clock hit midnight, and a New Year’s tradition was born.

The song, and the confusion that comes with it, has been immortalized in countless movies and TV shows. In “When Harry Met Sally,” Billy Crystal’s baffled Harry wonders, What does this song mean? My whole life, I don’t know what this song means. I mean, ‘Should old acquaintance be forgot?’ Does that mean that we should forget old acquaintances. Or does it mean that if we happened to forget them, we should remember them, which is not possible because we already forgot them?” “Well, maybe it just means that we should remember that we forgot them or something,” Sally reasons. “Anyway, it’s about old friends.”

So as you surround yourself with friends old and new tonight, sing on.
And if you really want to impress people, here are the lyrics to the English translated version of the song you’ll probably hear:

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,

and auld lang syne?

CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup
and surely I’ll buy mine!

And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.


CHORUS
We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine ;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.


CHORUS
We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.


CHORUS
And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give us a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

 
 
 

December 30, 2012

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2007. This photo was featured on the cover of our Christmas cards that year. Two things became a tradition in our holiday photo. The first was Mattie always wore a cute holiday sweater and the second was Mattie's Christmas train was always featured prominently under our tree.


Quote of the day: It's being without him that I'll never get used to. ~  Christopher Buecheler


We went to see a play today entitled, Sherlock's Last Case. In many ways this play is a spoofy comedy, in which Sherlock Holmes is the victim of a crime. Holmes has to put his own deductive reasoning and skills to the test to save his own life.
 
This play picks up from where the famous Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories ended. It centers on a death threat against Sherlock Holmes by the supposed son of his late nemesis, Professor Moriarty. Oddly enough, however, Holmes is warned of the plot by Moriarty’s daughter, to whom Holmes is strongly attracted. The plot then twists and turns until Holmes finds himself imprisoned in a dank cellar, trapped not by young Moriarty but, to his shocked surprise, by the good Dr. Watson—who, it turns out, has long been bitterly resentful of his second class status as Holmes’ lackey. After Holmes’ supposed demise Watson comes into his own, or seems to, until a number of imposters turn up claiming to be the real Sherlock Holmes.

There were many issues I had with this play. Putting the lack luster performances aside, the writing of the play was simply sloppy. Holmes has a brilliant mind and can quickly size up information and people in order to see the big picture. However, so many aspects within this play made no sense. Holmes was given clues that weren't accurate and he did not even question or challenge them, which is completely out of character given his personality type. So all logic went out the window in this story line. But my biggest issue with the play was the content. Holmes and Watson historically have been partners and friends, they go together as well as peanut butter and jelly. It is a given! Yet in this play we see a different side of Watson. The side which resents Holmes. Watson despises the fact that Holmes gets all the glory and he is seen as only his side kick. Therefore, what does this well respected doctor decide to do? Well murder Holmes of course! Again totally out of character, but if that wasn't bad enough, after the failed attempt on Holmes' life, these two seem to brush this mishap aside to continue working and living together under the same roof. Watson did apologize, said he made a mistake, and that he loves Holmes as a friend but really............ what kind of friend and colleague was this if he felt the need to murder Holmes? Needless to say I did not see the comedy in any of this!

 
As we were driving in my parent's neighborhood today, the LA Cappuccinos were out in full force. They were on the grasses and on the road. The deer have no problem walking up to a house and eating flowers in the garden and leaves right off the trees.

The deer rule in the Burbank Hills. They have the right away in the roads and people just seem to understand this! These deer have beautifully long ears black tails, and at this time of year almost woolly coats!