The Workout

Hannah says she sometimes thinks of Loren’s brain cancer and our family’s emotional response, as a hard workout. Just when you think you can’t spin another minute, you do and you become stronger.
Wow, this is what I needed to hear this evening. Especially since I believe I’ve conquered the mental strategies of a non-professional athlete.
This week brought strenuous challenges, this workout became much harder. Loren’s higher dosage of steroids seemed to affect him in a powerful way. He had/has moments of loud declarations such as “I AM THE BOSS, I AM IN CHARGE.” This is a new soap box. He left the house for a night to be returned home by the kids.
Other times he seems young, innocent and has BIG BIG BIG plans for the Nancarrows. So much fun to see this passion and excitement and yet unnerving; to walk into the house after being away  for an hour, to find the shower upstairs running with no one inside, melted bees wax all over the kitchen counters and floors from his candle making projects and Loren happy as ever, assuring me it will all be better than before. I’ve always believed him.
He’s happy, he’s brave, he’s confident and plans to ‘beat this thing’ as he says, living each day to the fullest, creating these gorgeous Tellandsia (Airplanes) creations, using the sea shells we’ve collected for 30 years and other special pieces; all memories and ever changing.
He’s made all of the candles in the house, reorganized and organized the kitchen (mostly at 2:00 and 3:00 am. ). Always hopping over here, lots of banging, crashing, breaking, spills. Loren said one way to describe how he’s feeling is if you think about going from ages 40 to 80 years old overnight. The world continues to whoosh by; fast cars, texts, calls, noise, conversation and one finds it just impossible to keep up the pace.
Right now we’re listening to Neil Young’s ‘Don’t Let It Bring You down‘ as we both cry. He wants to make a difference, help others and hands me a stone with “DREAM” written on it. I am dreaming.
This intense, unrelenting workout requires emotional adjustments while engaging with Loren, the medical field, police, our children.
It’s unpredictable, breathtaking, funny, tearful, loud, sad and full of unknowns.
Hannah clued me in again today when she said ‘you have to recalibrate your brain after spending a long time with Dad.’ She’s right, I find myself talking nervously and stuttering for the first hour “outside.”
So, this week I wasn’t sure if I could spin another second. The brain cancer workout requires constant recalibration, compassionate listening.
He’s the happiest he’s been in a long time, making us laugh, smile, pause.
I’m learning how to live with this “new” Loren. Wanting to protect and defend him from unkind, unaware people — and yet trying not to be his mother.
Thursday he’s receiving the Journalist of the Year award, a huge award and so deserved. He’s been preparing his speech for the banquet. His life long friends and many newer life long friends are coming in from out of town. It’s a sold out crowd. He’s so so so excited. I’m nervous and okay. This is Loren, this is brain cancer, this is real life. He most likely will pull it off like the pro he’s always been. It could be disastrous, it could be sad, it could be newsworthy.  YEP… leaning in and climbing this mountain.
We’re getting our workouts in, sometimes with angels of energy spreading our wings, tuning into our spirits, our resiliency. Realizing we’re each here to help others, to lift one another when we’ve fatigued, smile because it opens us to happiness and lean into the discomfort so when we’re through it, we’re stronger.
This support gifted by all of you, health experts, Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, Susan Taylor, Dr. Tom Chippendale, Dr. Ilana Schraibman, our family, Dr Fred Spiegler, friends Sunnie and Bill Toone and Judy and Chuck Wheatley, Neighbors, acquaintances and even amazing conversations with strangers at the most appropriate times will forever be remembered.
Thank you. I’m sorry this is too long.
This is where we have to be. I have faith.
Much love and gratitude to you from the Nancarrow Family.
What a Workout,

Real Estate Broker, Owner of NRG, Inc. (Nancarrow Realty Group) we are a boutique Residential Real Estate Group. Focusing on personal relationships, technology and business trends in the real estate market. Most important to me is family, music, work, yoga, fitness, playing guitar. We've recently had our personal world turned upside down with the recent diagnosis of my husband having a malignant brain tumor. Coming from a family of writers, especially him... he's inspired me to write.

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85 comments on “The Workout
  1. Darlene says:

    Thank you so much for the update. I was getting worried after not seeing one for a while. You are a beautiful writer. Our thoughts are with you.

  2. margaret romero says:

    Beautiful well said congrats on your award you so ever deserve it thoughts are with you Loren and family stay strong.

  3. Always such a display of strength and inspiration- you all have such a gift of writing!! As always, prayers, love and hugs being sent to you.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thank y’all for opening your hearts to us…your family is truly inspiring.

  5. KR says:

    “He’s confident and plans to ‘beat this thing’ as he says”…He already has.

  6. Jody says:

    Your family is in my prayers, thank you for giving us an update on Loren, God Bless you all.

  7. Joan W says:

    Your writing is beautiful and touching. Such a close family, .. bravo. Sharing the wonderful … and the not so wonderful events in a family’s life magnify the joy and make the sad bearable … thank God for having a good family! I know I do for mine.I send you prayers for strength and comfort .

  8. What a wonderful update and it must be difficult. I could relate to Loren on steroids, i was on them and one time I thought I could fly off the coronado bridge. Hang in there, love him

  9. busytvi says:

    Thank you for sharing. It helps me to understand what some of my parents have gone through working with their child to go through the process, whether it is a cancer of some type or major health diagnosis that turns the world upside down for us all. What I see at school is such a small picture. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  10. Patricia Mitchell says:

    Susie , thank you so much for your post. I have been so concerned since it has been awhile without a “Nancarrow”post. Your words express so vividly your world as it is today….so amazing how quickly it has turned upside down. I remember being so impressed with you and Loren when I met you both during Graham’s parent conference in pre-school. The wonderful parenting skills I observed back then are even more evident today as I witness how your family is coping with this horrible health issue. God bless you all. You are certainly in my prayers . Your blogs have helped more people than you imagine. Much love.

  11. Nani Donnell says:

    Susie, you are such a shining star. Rest when you can and know Loren’s right, its all gonna be okay.

  12. Anne says:

    Thank you for posting, Susie. Sending all of you positive wishes. Keep pushing! We’re all here for you and Loren and the rest of your family.

  13. Doug Mayhew says:

    I barely remember Loren from Trumbull High days. I have followed all your posts of the past year. I am beautifully amazed at the resilience you (plural) show us. Congrats to Loren on you Achievement Award Thank you for showing your Badge of Courage and bravery as you battle on. Always in my prayers
    Doug Mayhew

  14. Jill says:

    Words cannot express the heartfelt understanding of seeing a loved one go from one extreme to another. I have lived through that when my late husband had two kidney transplants. Prednisone is not your friend. I love how your family realizes that you have to recalibrate to Loren’s moods. It makes everything much easier when you realize that it isn’t him, it is the treatment. It is still hard road but your attitude and love will get you through. My thoughts and prayers are with you all during this wild and wacky adventure! I am so proud that he is getting this award for all of the work that he has done in our community. It is like ya’ll (sorry just returned from TN) are a part of our family. We are all here for you, Hannah, and Loren.

  15. Anita Lawrence says:

    Having been through this (brain cancer) with my husband, I absolutely understand what you’re saying. In the long run, I am extremely grateful for the time I did have with my husband, crazy as it was some days. My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to you and your family, who are all “pros” in my book.

  16. Dawn says:

    What memories you invoke of time with a special sister in law in the 80’s, as you write about your workout/journey. Sharing makes each of us who know any and all of your family, realize that no matter the journey, we are not on it alone. Hugs and more of the same. Dawn

  17. Kirsten Bates says:

    Not too long. I was just wondering how things were going, and why we hadn’t heard from Loren in awhile. You guys are in my daily prayers. Please let us know how Thursday goes. God bless you all!! xoxo

  18. Adrienne says:

    Very nice message. Including you all in my daily prayers !

  19. lpietroforte says:

    The comments are as lovely as the blog post. You and your family take a sad song and make it better. Thank you for sharing your honest moments. Yours is a family full of love. Much to celebrate in that.

  20. Jan Cook says:

    My husband and I met Loren many years ago at a book signing for Dead Snails Leave No Trails and found him delightful and knowledgeable. I have followed his career from station to station and weatherman to news anchor and was saddened at the news of his cancer. My husband passed away 11 years ago so I can appreciate what you are going through, but no one, no matter how similar the circumstances, can understand your unique journey. I applaud your grace and the courage it takes to share it with the world at large.

  21. Andy Casillas Hein says:

    I’m so glad you had the courage to write all this Susie. It’s important for you to release it, and for us to know what caregivers go through trying to make the world right for their loved ones. Behavior I couldn’t believe Loren capable of, yet meds and this battle makes it so. I want to wrap you in hugs and help you breathe again. All of us send love your way.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful blog post, Susie. And I can’t tell you how excited all of us with the Society of Professional Journalists are about presenting Loren with this coveted award. He’s so deserving.

  23. Shana says:

    What an honest, loving post about your journey with Loren and your family as he battles his brain cancer. Helping a loved one through a sickness or injury really brings out our true character. It defines the true meaning of “unconditional love” and shows us the inner strength we might not have known we possessed. This is the time to remember to also take care of yourself and to treat yourself with kindness as well. Don’t dwell on what you could have or should have done, focus on what you have done and ARE doing to stay positive and to stay focused. Keep on blogging! You and Hannah are so good at it! Enjoy your family and God Bless you.

  24. Barbara Mackland says:

    This is such a beautiful entry of how life is for you at this time. Watching Loren on the news over the years has been such a great joy and we learned so many things from him that were a great help to us. We will keep Loren and you all in our prayers for healing. Blessings To All.

  25. george milne says:

    My father lived two and a half years after his surgery for a massive brain tumor back in the late 50s. He had been “sick” with epilepsy since 1947, following his participation in Operation Crossroads A-bomb tests at Bikini and Enewetok. He had not worked a regular job since then. After his operation to remove the tumor, which had metastasized, he found a job and worked until he had one final grand mal seizure and went into a coma and died in a few days. I was 18 and had fallen into the rut of feeling like I had been handed a shitty deal and effectively lost my dad. Losing my dad was a fact, but my making it a shit deal lasted well into my 30s. In therapy at that time (the hippy-dippy 60s, where everything was challenged) I discovered a really important technique that has helped me ever since. In a gestalt therapy group the leader asked me to state as succinctly as possible my complaints in life. I mentioned my dad. I do not remember what I said, but it included what I have come to understand as a “Big But.” For example, I might say “People say Bill Toone is kind of crazy, (one of my students at the time) BUT I find him very, very interesting, even though he keeps snakes in cages.” I learned to first of all be alert for the big But and change it to AND…so I would say “People say Bill Toone is kind of crazy, AND I find him very, very interesting.” So the two seemingly countervailing values come together as a kind of unity, kind of complementary to each other.
    You might say “I want to get into the kitchen and make bread, but Loren is making candles and has made another mess.” Instead you would stop yourself and say to yourself “I want to get into the kitchen and make bread AND Loren is making candles.” You see the difference? A very simple new take on the situation, one in which it is predetermined that you will find a way to proceed and not be stopped by a BIG BUT. Just a suggestion that works for me. Say hi to Bill. Someday I will tell you about his little speech in my class about how to catch a snake…….

  26. NSS says:

    Oh, this is most beautiful. You have a fantastic way of expressing your feelings, and for those of us reading, we can jump right in your heart. I can so appreciate your journey, as I traveled a very similar path in 1990. Looking back, I know I could have done much better if I had released my feelings instead of trying to remain always calm. You must know that besides your close family and personal friends, you, Loren, and your family have a host of unknown, invisible friends who are also traveling with you and holding your hands. Peace and love.

  27. Jamie says:

    Thank you so very much for the updates. As others have said, tho we may not know you personally, we have watched Loren for so many years, we feel like family. For me personally , with my husband battling cancer as well, it is comforting to have a sister bond. This is certainly not a club you and I ever wanted to belong to, but we do. So, we put on our big girl panties every day and spin around and we do the best we can. My thoughts are with you daily. xoxoxxoxoxo

  28. CeCe says:

    Never, ever apologize for writing what you are feeling…long or short. Every word is heartfelt and gives us a glimpse into all you and Loren and family are experiencing. My eyes are filled with tears…my heart is full of love and prayers of healing for Loren. God bless you all!

  29. Anonymous says:

    Well Susie, I’ve known you since we were in high school but have never had the privilege of meeting Loren but feel like I know him from watching him on the news for so many years. Positive attitude and thinking has self-cured many diseases and if anyone is that way and can beat this ailment it would be your wonderful husband Loren………………sending you my positives thoughts and energy!………………………Mike Marshall

  30. My eyes are filled with tears and love as I write. I’m holding the entire Nancarrow family in love and prayer. What a journey, so beautifully and honestly expressed by Loren, Susie, and Hannah. Your entire family should be celebrated. You are such an inspiration.

  31. Kelli Galloway says:

    That is beautiful Susie. Heart wrenching and sweet. My blessings and prayers to Lauren and you and your family. This blog will be forever a blessing to your family. You all are strong.

  32. katgal3 says:

    Wow, incredible post Susie. My heart goes out to you, having a sister and mother both with Alzheimer’s, I understand the difficulty involved in adjusting to the change. Keep marching on strong Loren!

  33. maggiebieker says:

    Thank you so much for your honesty and feelings! After seeing Loren for years on tv, you feel as if he’s part of your family and care! You, Hannah, and the rest of the family have helped many of us deal with our issues just by being you! and I feel blessed and also pray for you all! Keep up the strength and hugs to you and Loren!

  34. Phyllis Ramage says:

    Dear Susie,
    How precious you are to show your expressions of love to all of us. I pray for God to continue blessing you with strength to go through this journey and that the Lord will shine His radiant healing light on all the darkest corners of Lorens body that he might be healed, body, soul and spirit. In every ordinary day there are thousands of miracles and I pray that the living God would see to it that Loren’s healing is one of them. May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon and give you the peace that passes all understanding.
    Aunt Phyllis

  35. Cat says:

    Reading this brought back memories of the “steroid” trip our family and friends experienced with our sister. It can be so scary and you have to go with the flow and keep your wits about you. It sounds like you and your family are doing a magnificent job and I will keep all of you in my thoughts. Loren is so very lucky to have his travel buddies while he is on this road on this trip.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Susie, I am so touched by your writing. I pray for you, your family & Loren as you go through this journey, hoping for some precious memories & sweet moments.

  37. Lois says:

    Susie, I think about Loren and his family quite often, sending positive vibes your way, and have missed Loren’s weekly updates so I was so grateful to get an update on how he is doing. I am so pleased that he is receiving this well-deserved award. Keep in mind that no matter how the evening goes, you know that you will all be surrounded by folks who love you and support you so i’d relax and enjoy the moment. You are a strong woman and Loren is so fortunate to have you and his family supporting him every step of the way. Please give him a hug and kiss from me. He was one of the greatest pleasures of going to work at KGTV when we both worked there.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Well once again I am in awe of you. Such a loving and brave woman~ Did I mention an excellent author of words, as well? I wish for you and your family sunshine, health and peace. I am with my sister trying to help her along with her chemo to give her a little more time with us. She has stage 4 small cell lung cancer. It is indeed hard on all of those involved. Loren has been gifted with an amazing family to support him. Thank you for sharing your eloquent words with us~

  39. jenniescott says:

    Susie, thank you for posting this. As someone who has been through cancer treatments herself, I totally get where it’s coming from. As I battled the last year and a half going through combined 10 mo of chemo 1 1/2 months of radiation + surgeries and so many tests I’ve lost count… I know how hard going through all of that was not just for me but even harder for my family to watch me go through it and just assume that I was putting up a brave face and thinking I was completely falling apart. It is so much harder on those watching from the outside than I think it even is the patient. Stay strong. Love each other and know that this process will make you stronger and bring you closer together than you even realized. Every day is a gift. xoxo

  40. Kris says:

    Susie – Your words are beautiful, just like your spirit. And by sharing what you and Loren and the kids are going through with such honesty, you are helping a lot of people understand what it means to be loving and supportive when someone they know is going through a similar “workout.” Prayers aloft for you, dear friend!

  41. Rob Bird says:

    What a great expression and attitude, Susie! Thanks for sharing. You are all quite gifted writers, so please never hold back, but rather bring us along with you as much as you can.

  42. James Justeson says:

    What you write is not at all too long. Heartfelt and honest words are always just the right length. He is so blessed and fortunate to have you in his life, I think. Your words have touched me. I thank you and I thank Loren for the degree of courage he is able to maintain. This man takes in your shared experience through words as an entry into important learning.
    Bless you all. May the spirits of Mother Earth, Father Sky, Water and Mother Forest be with you all.

  43. Ruth Wolf says:

    God Bless u Susie and Loren and ur family. I pray God will see u thru this “Workout”
    We’re all out here praying for u all and sending lots of love and hugs too

  44. frans vanleeuwen says:

    Love your writing…praying for you and your best friend and husband who may at times be there and not there all at the same moment, unceasingly…loving your family

  45. JJ says:

    Susie, your honesty about how this journey really is will leave lessons for those who need to know. It’s brave of you and a very giving thing to do. You and Loren keep up the good fight, each in your own way. There are more people than you know pulling for you.

  46. Stephanie says:

    I was just telling a friend about the psychic energy and exhaustion that comes with embracing a loved one afflicted with brain cancer. And when you love someone SO much, it is a terrible wonderful time. We’ve definitely been worked out. Wrung out. Spread out. And also opened up and focused on and delved into. And at the end, peace.

    With much love, respect, and admiration for you and your family, Loren especially,

    Remembering my mother today… Sue Reighley 11/27/41 – 7/8/13

  47. Linda Gloria says:

    God bless you Susie. You are amazing & loving. You are the greatest gift God ever gave Loren. Just know that we are all here for you when ever you need to talk or vent. Hang in there. Much love to all of you.
    Linda Gloria

  48. Thank you for your oh so honest commentary on the struggles and the joys of your current journey. I think that, no matter what path each of us is on, it helps to see that there is a shared human experience that can be looked at through eyes of reality, compassion and even some joy. I cherish reading about this experience through both your and Hannah’s eyes. I pray for your family every day that you will continue to be able to experience the pieces of happiness in the midst of such a hard time.

  49. Liz Youngflesh says:

    beautiful posting….wishing all of you the best each day offers

    • Anonymous says:

      Your post has given a brand new meaning to the phrase often used during a ” workout” ” Feel the burn” is how I visualize the intense fire you all are going through right now….wish we could just call the cute paramedics and make it all better. Praying as always, for you.

      • Jacque Glick says:

        I’m so glad you posted…I’ve been worried not hearing for quite a while…I know what steroids can do…my husband went “crazy” with them…his medical record now posts “no steroids, cause visual hallucinations”….My former (deceased) husband had difficulties after a serious stroke and I ended up being his companion and “mother”….hang in there Susie…you are handling a very serious situation with grace and humor…we love both of you, so proud of his award tomorrow night…will be watching the news for pictures 🙂

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