Coaches Manual. The rest of the Story...

After I finished "There's Nothing in The Coaches Manual", I was really prepared to move forward, maybe do a few more "Guest Blogger" spots and write something positive about what we've been through.  It was time.  Our team has been surrounded by sadness for far to long.  Ellen and I talked about how we needed to find positive forces and images to help all of us back onto the court.
One of the ideas we came up with was a "celebration song" kind of like "Sweet Caroline" after the third quarter at Pitt games.  We felt like, win or lose, this coming season we needed to recognize the one important lesson we came away with was everyday is a gift that deserves celebration!  
The next thing to do was...

Find a song.
I had a few in mind.  Much of the new music I have been listening to has a kind of pepped up, folksy, Irish rock sort of feel.  The kind of song you might learn the chorus too.  The song that makes you at least tap your foot, and at most stomp your feet.  Lots of songs fit this, many were considered, then ONE stood out.

The Goo Goo Dolls new song, "Rebel Beat"
The song has that catchy beat, but what really struck us we're the lyrics.
Like the Goo Goo's knew what we needed to hear.
We keep heading in the same direction
You become my own reflection
Is that your soul that you’re trying to protect
I always hoped that we would intersect, yeah

Give me time to cope and time to heal
Time to cry if it’s what you feel
Oh, life can hope, when it gets too real
I can hold you up when it’s hard to feel

Alive, alive
Alive is all I wanna feel
Tonight, tonight
I need to be where you are
I need to be where you are

Hey you, look around
Can you hear that noise, it’s a rebel sound
We got nowhere else to go

And when the sun goes down and we fill the streets
You’re gonna dance till the morning to the rebels beat
You can take everything from me
‘Cause this is all I need

You know that life is like a ticking clock
Nobody knows when it’s gonna stop, yeah
Before I’m gone I need to touch someone
With a word, with a kiss, with a decent song yeah
And it gets lonely when you live out loud
When the truth that you seek isn’t in this crowd
You better find your voice, better make it loud
We’re gonna burn that fire, or we’ll just burn out

We had our song, it had a happy beat, and words that resounded the story we found ourselves in.  This would be how we would close our home matches, win or lose.
Celebration!  We would dance our way back...

On Friday, February 15th Ellen had a routine endoscopy scheduled.  The kind of test we have become used to, to the point where we kidded each other about the "quality nap" that it provided.  After the test, Ellen's gastric doctor delivered the same report as usual.  Nothing worrisome on the camera, just took a few samples to biopsy.  We left the hospital feeling good. After three years of these tests, they have become easier to do, and the worry that had been present after the first few was finally gone. 

I have on many occasions described cancer as a murderer you never feared because he wasn't after you.  Once he enters your life, he won't stop stalking you.  You fear him.  He waits, in the darkness, maybe around the next corner.  We let our guard down.  He sneaked back in...

On February 23rd, two days before Ellen's 52nd Birthday, we got a troubling voicemail at home.
Hello Ellen,
This is the doctors office calling.
The doctor needs to speak to you. 
His cell number is...

The murderer is back.
In a lot of ways this is harder this time.  Maybe it's because we now know how hard it was the first time.  Maybe it's the enormousness of what we had been through in the last seven months.  My wife is this incredible human.  She is readying to go at this hard again.  On most days she is the one holding me up.  I am weary of the events of the past four years.  I hurt for her.  I want her well and whole.  I can't understand how so much has gone so wrong.  I worry for our kids.  I worry for our players.  I worry for me.

On the day of her latest procedure, a laproscopic look at her abdominal region to see if the cancer had spread there, Ellen had me laughing.  That's what she does.  She isn't the classic "bad ass", but she is more of one than I'll ever be.  My wife, Ellen Jane Toy, is in fact, a card carrying 'Bad Ass".

The test of her abdomen came back with no cancer activity, and so it is thought that the disease is confined to her stomach.  There will be surgery, likely soon, to remove most or all of what remains of it.
We are ready to except the challenges to come.  We know that with the prayers and support of our families, teams, and community God will see us through this too.

I really, really wanted to write about something positive, so I'll close with this.

Ellen's players, students, and friends have started an unlikely drive to have our story told.  They have chosen to take to Twitter, using the hashtag #EllenonEllen and the account @EllenonEllen to get the attention of The Ellen Show.  The effect has been incredible!  This blog saw a spike(volleyball jargon) is viewership of 600%!  I don't know if we have got Ellen DeGeneres's attention, but our story has been seen by nearly 3,000 people, literally around the world, in the past two days!  If you do twitter, support this effort.

Also, check out the Ellen on Ellen Blog at
Gracie McDermott has done a terrific job telling this story from a players perspective.  We are emboldened by these efforts, and can't wait to tell our story to the world.

Please keep us all in your prayers.