Dave's Cancer Fund

Thursday, February 18, 2010

For Dave...

For Dave...

...traveling to the U.S for treatment was always spoken about, and finally knowing he was going was exciting but on the same token sad because of course I was going to miss him dearly. So I easily decided to make the journey across the Pacific to be with him for extra support and smiles.

Flying into the “milder” US winter has been nothing short of beautiful. Just like Ashley, I didn’t know what to expect and to walk into his arms in Tulsa made me tear with excitement. Seeing the physical change in Dave over the last couple of months has been inspiring. And while his day to day energy is there, he does get tired and exhausted. His second round of DMSO treatments were exhausting and now the low-dose radiotherapy treatments are even more so. Restless sleeps weren't helping either. However, as I look at him and into his eyes I still see the calm and loving Dave determined to get through this - and that makes me smile.

There are no words that describe the Montoya brother’s relationship. Being at the hip with them the last month has been amazing. Some highlights include sharing some amazing vegan food, and taste testing Dan's culinary creations. His administration, organising, coordinating, researching, comforting and smiling just blows me away. Oh my God! And they work so well together; at tackling this difficult part of their lives, it's just amazing! WOW! It actually brings a tear to my eye.

The energy needed to do this full time is not easy and I have honestly felt a little lost on what I should be doing. But I guess chilling, talking, laughing and being silly with Dave is maybe what I am here for.

From now I only have a few days left here and I can tell you tears have already started. It will be hard leaving, but knowing why Dave is here makes me smile and cool with this. Being apart from each other has and will be tough as we both feed so much energy off each other. Simply being here when times have been heavy has made them feel easier, so I am not sure what to expect when I leave.

On that note here is a quote by Edward Abbey which Dave has given me on numerous occasions, it has lifted me up and put me back on track:

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds”.

Dave, I am with you through this.

Naomi E.

Ma timila maya garchu

Just one of our memories together: hanging out on the corner by the clinic, observing the world go by. And being able to enjoy moments like this one was very special to Dave and myself. Thanks Naomi for sharing this with us and for contributing to the blog. Yesterday we saw a guy on a tandem bike with two dogs on the back seat in a basket.. classic.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

-L.A Amiga-

After hanging out with our loving friend Ashley (pictured in the center background) during our L.A stay, and after a few 'deep and meaning-fulls' she agreed and offered to give a new perspective to this situation. Just giving a little more insight into what has been Dave's journey so far. Thankyou Ashley

As an “amiga of Dave” I’m taking it upon myself to update from the perspective of an outsider, the thought being that you could get a glimpse of the situation as you might see it if you were here with him. I’m incredibly fortunate to have spent the week with the Montoya brothers, as well as Dave’s girlfriend, Naomi.

When reading the blog updates for the past few months, I found myself wondering more about the day-to-day and the personal stuff. I get confused reading medical terms and still felt in the dark about the reality of things. I wasn’t sure if I was the only one who felt that way, so I talked to Dan about how I might help and this is what we came up with—unbeknownst to me as Dan’s original intent—to have friends of Dave’s updating, posting, encouraging and even expressing concerns or asking questions. Hence, “amigosofdave.”

We’re all concerned, as Dave’s friends and family, and for good reason. Here is this amazing man--funny, positive, kind—struggling through something I personally can’t fathom…nor did I imagine I’d ever have to fathom on such a personal level. I’ll be the first (second, third?) to assure you that Dave hasn’t lost those qualities that make him who he is. Naomi and I think he’s getting funnier every day (which he accredits to the radioactivity from his treatments). As one can expect, there are good days, but among those are bad ones…discouraging days and days where you just don’t want to get out of bed.

Before I made it to LA, I had thought the worst to be honest. I didn’t really have any idea what to expect Dave’s physical state to be. As easy as it is to be pleasantly surprised when you’re expecting the worst, I’ll firmly say that I would have been pleasantly surprised even if I had expected the best I could have imagined a week ago. Except for the struggles with walking, and a really bad-ass scar, you’d never see anything but a healthy and happy Dave.

I’m unfortunately not the most educated person about cancer of any form, or the treatments that one must go through, but the doctors in LA believe that Dave is on the path to a full recovery. It’s so good. The length of time is unknown, but irrelevant. Again, it’s so good.

Dave and Dan currently live in Culver City in an apartment that is sublet-ted to them by the clinic. They share the 3-bedroom place with two other couples who are patients as well. It’s an interesting dynamic, but is good for the time. It’s very close to the clinic and is spacious and welcoming enough for the boys to live their lives comfortably for a while. Of course they are influencing their housemates who watch them prepare their raw vegan meals and get to smell the aromas coming from Dan’s creations. Just the other night, as we sat in the kitchen, a housemate was pleased to announce that he was on his way to the store to buy fresh fruit and goji berries for smoothies…this coming from someone who seems addicted to microwave popcorn. Needless to say, the Montoyas are influencing Americans left and right and are quickly making friends with everyone around. They’re already on a first-name basis with the employees of the local coffee shop, the local vegan restaurant and everyone at the clinic. Their magnetism has not faltered.

Dave’s currently focused on walking and maintaining energy. It’s beautiful to see that he is not bound to his wheelchair and walks and climbs stairs as often as possible. His physical state is improving each day and he’s doing better than the doctors expected. The dreaded nausea from the current treatment seems to have passed Dave by for the most part and the symptoms only pause the day for a moment instead of dragging him down. It goes without saying that both Dave and Dan’s heads are in the right place and they’re determined to fight this together. They’re very lucky to have each other and it is fun to see them working together and supporting each other.

The boys do have some needs and bumps in the road, but with our positive thoughts and words things will be easier for the both of them. Continue to keep them in mind and heart and feel free to ask questions and express concerns you might have. It helps everyone if no one is in the dark about things. Dave’s cancer is a reality we can’t imagine, but a reality nonetheless. I feel so blessed to have spent such quality time with the Montoyas and plan to have as much more of it as I can in the following months. I’ll be in constant contact and close proximity to them, so if I can be of help to anyone I will do whatever I can.

I hope this helps someone at least. Your turn…..