#TeamDeLuca Update: My Superman

by Renee on July 17, 2015

JiveIt has been more than a month since my last blog post, and 8 weeks now since our journey down this path to restore Paul’s health began. In that time, Paul had a second brain biopsy, when much of one of his tumors was removed–giving us a complete diagnosis: he has CNS (Central Nervous System) non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Since then, he’s undergone the first round of chemotherapy, and just this week we received some good news: the remaining tumors have been reduced! We start the second round of chemo next week, and we look forward to further steps in the right direction.

In the intervening weeks we have crossed many things off our collective summer calendar, including work travel; a 4th of July trip to Washington D.C. to see the Foo Fighters; the Beer Bloggers Conference going on right now in Asheville, NC; a family reunion. Our son Matt had his high school graduation party. All these things have passed Paul by–but his job right now is to recover from this brutal illness, and all my attention goes to supporting him in this battle.

I cannot thank #TeamDeLuca enough for the messages on social media, the cards, texts, favors, companionship, visits, lunches, dinners, small kindnesses and strong shoulders. Several of our friends are doing cancer research fundraising with contributions being made in Paul’s name. If you are moved to donate, we are very appreciative. They include:

JohnJohn Anderson, WKYC morning news anchor and fellow Team in Training-rider, who is participating in VeloSano, the Cleveland Clinic fundraiser for cancer research;

Greg Noble, a friend and regular at Chardon BrewWorks, is raising money by running in the Kentucky Bourbon Trail for LLS;

Charley Bowman, another friend and TNTer, who is riding in the Tour de Ohio II for LLS;

and Meaghan Diffenderfer, lifelong friend of our daughter Ali, who is participating in the Light the Night Walk for LLS this fall.

I am including a picture here of my Superman–it may be shocking to see, but believe Supermanme when I say that Paul looks much-improved in this photo over what he looked like a few short weeks ago. The bruising on his face and neck is from the surgery. He’s working hard, getting stronger every day, doing physical and occupational therapy to combat the effects of this terrible disease. Because this is in his brain, many other systems are compromised. His memory is still affected as well.

The doctors, nurses, and all the staff at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center have been phenomenal in their caring for Paul–I feel so fortunate that we have this resource in Northeast Ohio. Many who are here on these floors come from much farther away than we live, and the hardships their family face to be here and spend time with their loved ones are huge.

While we have missed much in the wake of this diagnosis–what we have gained is the knowledge that we are supported and loved by SO MANY around us, near and far, and I cannot tell you how much that means to Paul and me. Thank you, a thousand times over, thank you. As Five for Fighting says: Even heroes have the right to bleed. 

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Your Life is Now

by Renee on June 10, 2015

PaulFriends, the past couple of weeks have been yet another reminder that life turns on a dime. Ten years ago Paul and I experienced this phenomenon when our son Matt was initially diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 8. It turned out to be wrong–thankfully–and he’s since been able to cope with a disease that is not life-threatening. But there were quite a few weeks of uncertainty, and when we knew we had been spared what many are not, Paul and I decided that we needed to give back. That’s when we joined Team in Training to benefit the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society. Paul completed three funding campaigns and 100-mile bike rides at Lake Tahoe (2006, 2007 & 2008)–I joined him for all three campaigns and one ride.

More recently, Paul had been experiencing serious, constant headaches, and then short-term memory loss. It came to a climax when he was traveling for business and woke up in#TeamDeLuca another city not knowing where he was–you can imagine how scared I was for him when he called to ask me for help. Somehow my daughter Ali and I got him home safely on a wing and many prayers…and then immediately to the Emergency Department at University Hospitals of Cleveland. It was there we learned that he was dealing with several masses in his brain. Since then, doctors have been working on a diagnosis. The physicians at the Seidman Cancer Center are fairly certain we’re looking at a lymphoma, though there are a couple of tests left to give us a final determination. However, we’re headed back to Seidman today, and treatment is likely to start on Friday. (I would love another reprieve like we got with Matt, but that may be too much to ask for…however, I know miracles do happen.) If there’s anyone who has good karma coming his way, it’s Paul.

To life!Meanwhile, some friends started a #TeamDeLuca meme wave on Facebook, and the photos have been lifting us up! If you feel moved to create some of your own, we’d be forever grateful. Remember that your life can change in the blink of an eye, and it’s too short to drink bad beer. To quote John Mellencamp, your life is now. So lift a glass and offer a hearty “Cheers,”–to Paul…his strength, determination to fight this, no matter what it turns out to be…and to all the friends and loved ones who are seeing us through another challenge in our life together. We couldn’t do it without you.

UPDATE: Paul ended up having a second biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and remove much of one of the tumors. He starts chemo the weekend of June 27th, after a period of some healing. We appreciate your continued thoughts and prayers. It’s a long road ahead but #TeamDeLuca is holding us up. Thank you!

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acbw15_fbbadge_1May has rolled around, and once again American Craft Beer Week is here! As I noted in my blog post at this time last year, it’s also the birthday of the father of craft beer, my father, Jack McAuliffe! Jack turns 70 on May 11th, and I’m looking forward to having a toast with him at a big summer shindig at his place in July! I’m pretty sure I’ll be road tripping it so I can bring a keg of New Albion Ale with me…what party of Jack’s would be complete without it!?

Meanwhile, the Brewer’s Association has this to say about celebrating craft beer this week: “The United States is now home to more than 3,400 small and independent craft brewers and Americans’ interest and excitement for craft beer is at historic levels.” We’ve come quite a long way from the founding of New Albion Brewing Company in Sonoma in 1976!

To celebrate, there are sure to be events going on in your area–here in Cleveland, the localjack/shaun Girls Pint Out group is having a Dogfish outing on Friday. But really the best way to celebrate is to lift a glass of your favorite craft beer, as Jack is doing here–drinking New Albion Ale with Platform Beer’s head brewer Shaun Yasaki. We mashed in the latest 10 bbl batch last week, and you can expect to find New Albion Ale on tap again at the end of this month! (At Platform, some Heinen’s stores, Flip Side, and several other venues…stay tuned to social media for updates!) Cheers to many more years of growth for American-owned, hand crafted brews!

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Beer Bloggers Conference 2015–Asheville, NC

April 9, 2015

Hello dear reader. Sorry I’ve been remiss in updating this blog–but it has been quite a whirlwind as New Albion Ale has been selling like crazy since we re-released it in early 2015. I made a number of appearances pouring and promoting, including a stop at my local Heinen’s stores and a Girls Pint Out […]

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