Thank You Friends

Dear Friends & Family,

Alone in the ocean,
It's depth unknown,
Getting so tired of
Keeping my head above water.
Almost ready to give up,
Just let the disaster consume...
When I see off in the distance,
Followed by another and another,
And still they keep coming.

Little lifesavers to the rescue,
All on a mission to help,
Each launched by a heart
That truly cares.
I grab on, hold tight and say,
"Thank you"
Over and over and over again
Until the tide turns,
As it always does,
And I can be on my feet again,
Stronger because in the end

I will have survived the
Greatest storm of my life
But not without the help
Of the angels, secretly
Disguised as my friends.

~Patti Williams

We are thankful for our friends. We are thankful for your thoughts and prayers.

The Ziemke Family

Family Pool Time!

Train Your Mind

 Dear Friends & Family,

"Train your mind," my boot camp instructor says over and over. He tells us our bodies are strong and powerful we just have to train our minds to think the same way. Lately we have been running a lot in boot camp and "training my mind" to run the distance has been a challenge. I sometimes get discouraged that everything in life seems so hard right now.

For three years now, I have been "training my mind" to think about the present. Every time a thought of Curt dying crosses my mind, I sweep it out. I work hard to concentrate on the moment, on his smile, on our children and what is right in front of me. Lately it has been so hard. Right in front of me, I see a sick man, a skinny man, a man who is losing his smile. He gags and chokes constantly; on soup, on water and on his own saliva. He gasps for air as he is choking. His eyelids are heavy and his body is weak, he slouches in his wheelchair. He prefers to be in bed most of the time. His appetite is low along with his energy level. Deciphering his mumbled words is frustrating for him and us. Knowing his needs comes a bit easier but when he speaks his needs we struggle to understand him.

My stomach is in constant turmoil and the feeling of dread weighs me down. Even as I continue to "train my mind," I lose focus and begin to think about how life will be without him. Quickly I pull my head back into the present only to hear him choke and see him struggle. Life has never sucked as much as it does now. We (Curt & I) feel trapped with nowhere to go and no plans ahead. We are truly living moment to moment.

Please pray for Curt's comfort and for peace for our family.

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

Happy Birthday Larry!
Corbin arranged tickets to a Dodger game for him and Larry!

Curt always has fun visiting with Steve-O and George!
Cayden spent 48 hours on his friend's dad's commercial fishing boat.
They fished, snorkeled and swam around San Clemente Island.  
Clarissa had a busy "rush week" with her Delta Zeta Sorority Sisters.

Happy Birthday Barbara, Mom, Nana!
We love you and appreciate all you do for Curt and taking care of him daily.


Our Own Paradise

Dear Friends & Family,

The ups and downs of  living with this disease are fast and furious. One minute we are happy and the next we are falling apart in tears. Although we are blessed in many ways, the sad truth is Curt is fading away day by day. Ten months ago our friends began planning our third annual Palm Springs trip for this September. I asked them not to talk about it in front of Curt as I knew he would not be alive at this time. Thankfully I was wrong and we spent last weekend together with our friends in Rancho Mirage at an awesome rental home feeling like we were in Paradise.

As I was packing for the trip and talking to my mom on the phone she said "I wonder how many people pack up their hospital beds and go away as often as you guys do." We are fortunate to have friends who are willing to disassemble, load, haul and reassemble the bed, help me carry bags of medications, wheelchair parts, chargers, linens, pillows, blender, drinks, special foods and even his toilet. These days we definitely do not travel light.

It is awesome to have friends that help get Curt in and out of bed, in and out of the pool, help me shower him, feed him and prepare his drinks and meals. Curt had a wonderful time this weekend relaxing in the pool and laughing with everyone. Curt asked me to thank you guys for a great weekend and for all you did for him. Thanks to my girlfriends for being there for me; what better place to have a breakdown than in Palm Springs, sitting by the pool, under the moon, surrounded by friends. Thanks for snapping me out of it too. We love you all!

We never imagined our lives would be so full at this point in the disease. It seems with the help of those around us we can keep on going and making the most of every moment.

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

Our 4,000 square foot pool and 9 hole putting green!
This is truly Paradise!

Friends Forever!
Thanks for a great weekend!

Love this man...and his smile!

Our house for the weekend was awesome!

The kids had fun at home without us!
Thanks Schultze Family for having Corbin for the weekend!

No One Else

Dear Curt,

From walking on the beach holding hands at 16 to sleeping in separate beds at 46, there is no one else I would want beside me. You inspire me day by day, hour by hour to be the best that I can be. You are the perfect partner to raise children with. You are strong physically, mentally and emotionally. I have always admired your common sense and your ability to help educate people with ordinary problems.

No one else smiles like you do. I have always known without a doubt you love me through and through. I can feel your admiration and respect and therefore I have never needed gifts or tokens of your love. It has always been apparent.  You have continuously made me feel important, intelligent and all times! You have stood beside me through health issues, friend predicaments, work problems and parenting decisions.

Together we have raised wonderful children. They are considerate, courteous, full of common sense and fun! They have your beauty both inside and out. I will see you through them for the rest of my life. Thank you for the most wonderful gift of all....our children.

Words cannot express the deepness of the love I have for you. You are a part of my soul. You are a part of me. You are my world. 

Corbin has always looked forward to his end of summer Birthday Bash.  Year after year we have had parties with water toys, swimming, slides, Chick-Fil-A, and kids galore. The party begins around noon and ends late in the evening with older kids and our friends joining in on the festivities. This year, Corbin said he didn’t want to have a birthday party. He said he thought Daddy was going to die on his birthday and he didn’t want to have to pretend to be happy at his party. We convinced him that everything would work out and to go ahead with the party. On the morning of his birthday, Corbin woke Curt with a big hug and said, “Yay Daddy, you made it to my birthday.” That night I thanked Curt for hanging in there through the chaotic birthday weekend and for helping me raise 3 wonderful teenagers!
Happy 13th Birthday Corbin!

Corbin's Birthday Dinner at The Cheesecake Factory