Challenge or Test?

Dear Friends & Family,

Newly married, lying in bed in our cozy camper, in Northern California, with heavy rain pouring on the aluminum roof, Curt and I talked about our future. We talked about not wanting to get old and stuffy and lose our sense of fun. We agreed even when we get old, we want to be fun and spontaneous people. We talked about the importance of having lots of friends and always living life to the fullest. Right then we decided to hop out of bed, go outside and run around the camper three times in the rain, just to prove our spontaneity. Laughing the entire time, we did it!

Since then we have continued to have fun and be spontaneous. Even though life does not pause when someone is sick, we have to find ways to make the most of our days. We still have to go to work, school, deal with flat tires, traffic, bills, medical decisions, all while being sleep deprived, and somehow, we can still find reasons to laugh.

Sometimes I think I am being tested. Can I get it all done and keep a good attitude? Other times I look at it as a challenge. “I CAN do this,” I repeat over and over. Either way, my faith, patience, dedication and will are tested each moment.

I have heard people say, “If anyone can do this, you can.” Truth is, I could never do it alone. Without God, Curt’s support, our children, friends and family, I would not be able to make it through the day. As they say, “It takes a village.” More than anything, it takes a good attitude. I can’t imagine taking care of Curt with a bitter heart. Curt and I can honestly say, we have made the most out of our lives together, we have passed the test and risen to the challenge with winning attitudes, keeping it fun as much as we possibly can. In a sense, we are still playing in the rain.

Please continue to pray for Curt’s comfort. He is struggling so much with swallowing, choking and now bed sores. This journey is really wearing on the kids, they are very emotional and tired. Thank you for continuing to pray for our family.

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

Curt and The Dunnigan Sisters grew up as next door neighbors. 
Kellee, Jacki, Debbie, Sharon & Vicki came over to pray The Rosary with Curt.

Cayden and Mackenzie off to a Halloween Party!

Corbin with the Schultzes; Kelsey, Landon and Delaney at the pumpkin patch!

Clarissa and Chelsea ready for Halloween!

Steve from Oregon, Mom & Dad, and the Kudo Family visiting on Sunday.

No Words

Dear Friends & Family,

Sometimes there are just no words. What more can I say about Curt's battle with ALS? What more can I say about what it is doing to our family? How can I describe how many people have been affected by Curt's strength?

All I can say is, we are doing our best to make the most of each day and support Curt and his needs while trying to maintain somewhat of a normal family life. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

My cousin Alyson, Jeanno, Dominic & Ethan came for a visit!

Curt's brother Bill's coworkers dedicated their MS Ride to Curt. They rode 150 miles in his honor!

Paul and his family supporting Curt!

Paige, Zach, Clarissa and Danielle on their way to see Brad Paisley!
Did I mention Clarissa saw Taylor Swift perform at the Ellen show taping two days ago?
So lucky!

Sunday Funday in honor of Kelli's Birthday!

Hanging out with Daddy!

Happily Ever After

Dear Friends & Family,

There’s nothing like reading a book you can’t put down or watching a movie you don’t want to end, but as they say, “All good things must come to an end.” It’s the timing of the end that never seems right. We always want a few more chapters in the book or a few more minutes or even a sequel to the movie. Sadly, we are not in control of when the ending happens. Whether in books, movies or life, we are at the mercy of circumstances beyond our control.

Our “and they lived happily ever after” is coming to an end. This chapter of our life is over. It is out of our control and must be accepted. There will be no sequels, only memories. The lessons Curt has taught us, the example he has been and the kindness he has shown to others will live on in our hearts and in our actions. We will never forget what an amazing man he has been or his brave battle over the last three years. He is a hero to many and an example to all. Our love for him has never wavered. The story is coming to an end and the credits are about to roll, meanwhile, we will celebrate each day, each breath and each little smile as we live out our happily ever after.

Please continue to pray for Curt’s comfort. He is sleeping a lot, hallucinating a little, losing muscle and weight but continues to “check in” to life, laugh a little and smile as always!

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

Fall is here!

Corbin and Larry at the Carnival!

Clarissa enjoyed the rodeo with Chad and her Delta Zeta Sorority!

Happy Birthday Julie & Lisa! 

Fun with Mark, Kelli, Mike and panorama photos!

My hero!

Mind Over Matter

Dear Friends & Family,

I can’t remember where we were, Curt and I, but I was freezing cold, shivering to the core, teeth chattering and body shaking like a leaf. Curt told me to forget about the cold and stop shivering, “Mind over matter,” he said. He went on to tell me to control my body, don’t let it know it is cold, be stronger than the cold, mind over matter, he kept repeating. I followed his instructions and soon I stopped shivering, I was able to get over the coldness and enjoy our surroundings.

Time after time, I have seen Curt use the “mind over matter” strategy. In fact, that is pretty much how he has lived his life. Whether is was cold weather, an injury, a long line at the grocery store, or some kind of car or work trouble, he would look beyond the moment and focus on how to best get through the situation without pain or frustration.

A few days ago, I watched as Curt realized he can no longer practice “mind over matter.” The disease has taken its ugly toll on him to the point that he is now subject to heavy medications to keep him resting comfortably. After a nice weekend at The Popp’s House (photo below), we returned home to begin a new week. By Tuesday his chest and throat were heavily congested to the point that he was choking and gasping for air. Increased medications are making him more comfortable but also causing him to be very sleepy, have no appetite and spend almost all of his time in bed. My heart is breaking as I watch him slipping away. 

Thank you for your prayers for Curt, the kids, and me.

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

Tender Moments

Dear Friends & Family,

There is a bright side to everything and even through this horrible disease, our family tries to focus on the good it has brought us. Our family shares many tender moments and it seems like there are more now that Curt can barely speak. There are more hugs, little smirks, winks, blinks and butterfly kisses. Corbin loves to hold Curt's head and give him a long hug, Cayden scratches Curt's head which brings a smile to Curt's face and Clarissa and Curt still share their private jokes, now, through looks and giggles. Curt and I have always been good at reading each other's expressions and now more than ever, that's our main form of communication. The world seems to stand still when each of us are interacting with Curt. We are imprinting these tender moments in our hearts forever.

We are truly blessed by our friends! It's the simple things like someone offering to run to the store for us, bringing us a meal, a home repair, a family who drops everything to spend the afternoon with us when we are feeling down. Some send cards, books, cds, emails, and texts. You will never know how isolated we feel and how much it comforts us to have the support of each of you. This has been a long hard journey and people have come and gone from our lives during this time. I truly believe that God sends us who and what we need as we need it. Meanwhile, we will cherish each moment we have left together.

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

Sometimes parties just happen! We love spontaneous gatherings!

Clarissa loves country concerts!
Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan at GoFest!

7th Grade Science Camp at Catalina Island has been the highlight of each of our kids' school experiences. Curt LOVED going to Catalina with Clarissa and Cayden.
Who better to go with Corbin and show him the wonders of it all than Larry, one of our dearest friends and Corbin's bud! 

Katrina Kirtz is a great friend and support to our family (as well as each of our kids' middle school science teacher). Thanks for all your love, attention and prayers for our family.
 Thank you for taking such good care of Corbie!

Corbin had a blast with Larry! We are so thankful for all the love and care Larry has for Corbin.

Bill and Lauryn
Bill was great to share stories and traditions he had experienced with Curt
in previous years with Larry.

Nothing like a Dodger Game, Dodger Dog and Larry!

Sunday Funday at Larry & Debbie's w/ Jessica, Mark & Kelli!