Walk the Walk

Team Vandervort ZERO Prostate Cancer Walk Blue Sky Ecological Reserve Poway
“Team Vandervort” at Blue Sky Ecological Reserve in Poway for the 2021 ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk

The Prostate Cancer Run/Walk didn’t quite go as planned. Due to COVID, the organizer, ZERO, deemed that it would be too risky for a large group of people, including those undergoing treatment for cancer, to meet. As such the event was made virtual. Instead of a walk around De Anza Cove, ZERO welcomed participants to walk on their own at whatever venue they wanted and to log their mileage online.

Disappointed, but still very much wanting to walk, I emailed all of my friends and family that had signed up and invited them to join Jodie, Ashley, Kaylee and I at Blue Sky Preserve in Poway. In the email I wrote :

I am almost two years into this cancer thing and I’m doing good. Good enough to walk the walk even if there’s no fanfare, music, or finish line. Because all the pomp and circumstance doesn’t really matter. All that does matter is kicking cancer’s ass, preferably in the company of the friends and family who have supported me along the way.  Please let me know if you’d still like to join us.

44 people showed up.

It was awesome.

In all honesty I didn’t walk the entire 5k. I led from the rear with my mom and aunt. We decided to turn back as the others on our team reached the halfway point and met us on their return trip. Although we could have gone the distance it didn’t seem as important as it had been just an hour earlier. The walk was a success. We raised $4134 making us the second biggest fundraiser in San Diego. We were also the second biggest team. Even better, we brought attention to a nasty disease, and honesty, selfishly, gave me the best day I’ve had in a long time.


( Later that night )

“Did you like my rousing speech today?”, I asked Jodie. 

We had just finished dinner and she was washing dishes in the sink. I stood next to her drying them with a dish rag.

“What speech?!?”, she exclaimed, diverting her attention from the soapy water to me.

“The speech!”, I insisted. “…right before we started walking. The motivational one!”

“All you did was blubber and cry behind your sunglasses!”, she laughed, raising an eyebrow.

“Yeah!”, I smiled, “That one.”


Thank you for your support. I hope to see you all next year!
-Scott

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My PSA ( ng/mL ) as of 09/10/2021
Prostate Cancer PSA

#prostatecancer #cancer #prostatitis #psa #prostate #urology #oncology #radiationtherapy #radiation #ebrt #proton #radicalprostatectomy #chemotherapy #hormonetherapy #surgery #lupron #leuprolide #drawnandcoded #iwillbeatthis #prostatecancerzero #prostatecancerwalk #prostatecancer #theenedofprostatecancer #teamvandervort

Character Sketches

Here are some character sketches for the book that my friend, Kevin, and I have been working on. Some characters turned out to be very different than Kevin had initially written in his earlier drafts. Tholoman, for example, was supposed to be a grizzled old human male. Now he’s a “young” elf. We thought by making him younger we could have fun with the chemistry between him and the young girl protagonists. 

We’ve also been involving our daughters’, too. Kevin runs all his revisions by his daughter, Clara. As for me, when I was sketching the Bokziks, a group of sometimes-half-animal antagonists, I didn’t realize my oldest daughter, Ashley, was peering over my shoulder.

“Dad, you should make her a half-squirrel.”, she said matter-of-factly. “It’d be cool.”

“Yeah?”, I looked up, startled.

So, I erased the crude “were-dog” that I had been working on and in its its place quickly scribbled out a bushy tail, squat hips, and tiny legs and feet.

“Like that?”, I asked, unsure.

“Yeah!”, she smiled back.

So, yeah, collaboration is fun. Sometimes it might even take you somewhere you never expected to be.

Take care. Stay healthy. Live life.

-Scott

Previous : A Map


#Maps #MapLover #Atlas #DadsWritingBooks #DadsBookClub #BeCreative #Illustration #KidsBooks #KidsFantasyBooks #MythicalCreatures #BookLover #ILoveBooks #DrawnAndCoded

A Bake Sale

Today my family and I held a bake sale to benefit Prostate Cancer Research and Awareness. My wife, Jodie, and daughters Ashley and Kaylee baked and decorated sugar cookies and cupcakes. They were a hit and brought in over $360 in donations! During the bake sale we even recruited a few new members for our team, “Team Vandervort”, which will be participating in the Prostate ZERO Run/Walk in San Diego on September 18th.

For more information on the Prostate ZERO Walk/Run and how to support “Team Vandervort” click here.

Thank you for your support.

Take care. Stay healthy. Live life.
-Scott

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Next : Osteoporosis

My PSA ( ng/mL ) as of 08/14/2021
Prostate Cancer PSA

#prostatecancer #cancer #prostatitis #psa #prostate #urology #oncology #radiationtherapy #radiation #ebrt #proton #radicalprostatectomy #chemotherapy #hormonetherapy #surgery #lupron #leuprolide #drawnandcoded #iwillbeatthis #prostatecancerzero #prostatecancerwalk #prostatecancer #theenedofprostatecancer #bakesale

A Map

Map Atlas Jalapena Book DadsWriting CreativeDads
I’ve always liked maps. They tell you where you’ve been – or better yet, where you might go. Here’s a map for a book that my friend Kevin and I are working on.

I’ve always liked maps. They tell you where you’ve been – or better yet, where you might go.

Before there was MapQuest or Google Maps there was the Thomas Guide, a hefty, seemingly indecipherable, yet indispensable tome of colorful road maps. Mine was gifted to me by my parents on my 16th birthday along with my first car, a 1972 Volkswagen Bug. Weighing in at three pounds and measuring over an inch thick mine only covered San Diego County, but in an era before cell phones it saved my rear more times than I like to admit. My Thomas Guide rode under the driver’s seat of that Bug and several others before it met its ultimate demise. I kept it far longer than it was useful. MapQuest’s printable turn-by-turn instructions knocked the books’ usefulness to its knees, Google Maps and the Apple iPhone severed its head altogether.

Although the Thomas Guide was practical I always preferred those with, well, a little more imagination. As a kid that meant the park maps handed out at Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, or Wild Rivers. I enjoyed plotting my adventures along the colorful pathways and trying to figure out what attractions changed since my last “adventure”.

During our last meeting, Kevin, the author I have been collaborating with, and I decided that our book needed a map. After sketching out a ( very ) rough draft with him I returned home and pondered what such a map should look like. I decided it needed to be practical, like a Thomas Brother’s Guide, but also fun like the park maps handed to me at amusement parks. This is what I came up with. If it makes you smile, I succeeded. If not, well, at least I tried!

Oh! Any my daughter, Ashley, helped me with the design and color for this one. I’ll make an artist out of her yet!

Take care. Stay healthy. Live life …

-Scott

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Next : Character Sketches


#Maps #MapLover #Atlas #DadsWritingBooks #DadsBookClub #BeCreative #Illustration #KidsBooks #KidsFantasyBooks #MythicalCreatures #BookLover #ILoveBooks #DrawnAndCoded

Spiders!

My second illustration for a project that my friend Kevin and I are working on. This scene is called “Spiders!”.

I am in awe by how much work goes into the writing of a book. There’s the book itself – and then there’s all of the world building that takes place behind the scenes. World building is the history, characters backstories, creatures, cities – basically everything that goes into creating a believable world, or “atmosphere” in which the story takes place. It’s “frustratingly fun” to conjure up – frustrating in that much of the generated content may be omitted entirely in the actual book, but incredibly fun to dream up. My friend, Kevin, the author, and I are having a great time.

Here’s an excerpt from the book for which the above illustration was created. I hope you like it.


There was a loud crack of thunder and lightning beamed down from the sky brightening everything in the trees around them. Jalapeña and Raven looked at one another with wide eyes, realizing for the first time that they weren’t alone.

“Are those spiders,” asked Jalapeña?

“ Um yeah, Uh I think so? What should we do?”

“Just keep walking and hope we can see better when the lighting strikes again.” Jalapeña couldn’t believe what she had seen and Raven didn’t seem too sure about the spiders either. The sky suddenly lit up brightly and thunder shook through the treetops. They could both see clearly now, hundreds of bright red eyes glowed in the light. The spiders were getting closer and it was clear they were as big as the two girls, maybe bigger.

Jalapeña screamed, first a loud screech and the “RUUUUUNNNN!” Raven was already running ahead of her. Jalapeña started to run but was quickly pulled upward by something and swung forward through the trees.

At the next crack of lightning, she could see that she was swinging above where Raven was running and she continued moving forward as if on a pendulum. “Raven!” she screamed. She didn’t think Raven had heard her, the rain was now coming even harder and in large drops, the size of golf balls, splashing off of everything and causing small rivers and waterfalls to form all around them. The next lightning bolt Jalapeña saw Raven continuing to run along the muddy trail, not too far below her. What she saw ahead of her was even more terrifying than the spiders; a giant wall of water was rushing down the trail, pushing trees down ahead of it. It was headed right for Raven but there was nothing Jalapeña could do but yell futilely as the noise was now far too loud to hear or be heard…

( To be continued )


Take care. Stay healthy. Live life …

-Scott

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Next : A Map


#DadsWritingBooks #DadsBookClub #BeCreative #Illustration #KidsBooks #KidsFantasyBooks #MythicalCreatures #BookLover #ILoveBooks #DrawnAndCoded

Walk with me

Prostate Cancer ZERO Run/Walk Team Vandervort

“What should I call my team?”, I asked without looking up from my laptop, “‘Team Vandervort’?”

“I don’t want to sound conceited, but I really don’t know what else to name it.”, I continued.

“’Team Vandervort’ is good”, Jodie replied. She was scrubbing a cake pan in the kitchen sink. It was one of many left over from my oldest daughters’ latest baking frenzy.

I looked up from my laptop and over to her.

“I’m thinking about a slogan, too….”, I ventured.

“Oh?” ( scrub, scrub, scrub )

“How about ‘Help me nip cancer in the groin’?”, I asked with a hint of a smirk.

The scrubbing stopped.

I consciously refocused my eyes on my laptop and the registration form displayed on its screen, but I could feel her “are you ^#$@%# nuts” glare burning into my temple.

Silence.

“…. weeeeeeeell, maybe not. Just ‘Team Vandervort’ will work I guess”, I answered quickly.

The scrubbing resumed.

And that’s the problem with Prostate Cancer. While Breast Cancer has captivated the public with humorous yet risque catch phrases like “Save the Boobies”, Prostate Cancer is quick to refrain from such things less people be offended. Admittedly, the prostate just isn’t as much of a crowd pleaser. I totally get it. I wouldn’t want to see one strolling down the street, either.

Regardless, the 2021 Prostate Cancer Walk is important to me. When I was first diagnosed in late 2019 I had missed it by a month. I promised my daughters that we’d walk next year – only to be denied again by COVID restrictions. This year, however, Prostate ZERO has pulled out all of the stops. It’s happening,

Unlike most cancers, Prostate Cancer can be cured if caught early enough. I walk to bring attention to the disease so that other men will be aware of this. So that they will get tested. So that they can “nip cancer in the groin” before it’s too late. I walk to support people afflicted with the disease so that they can afford the treatments and care that will make them better. I walk because I don’t want anyone else to have to go through what I have.

Rest assured that I am doing well. 

It’s been well over a year since my prostatectomy, seven months since my last radiation treatment, and my hormone therapy will be winding down later this year. My PSA, an indicator of prostate inflammation – or in my case ( since I am lacking a prostate ) – cancer, has stayed undetectable. I credit my incredible medical team at UCSD Moores Cancer Society, my loving and supportive family and friends, and some pretty extreme lifestyle changes. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of so many people. 


If you’d like to join me and “Team Vandervort” in the 2021 Prostate Cancer ZERO Walk please click here for my team page. On my team page there are two buttons: “Donate to Team Vandervort” and “Join Team Vandervort”. The second button, “Join Team Vandervort”, will register you to participate in the walk and prompt you to select a team. The first button, “Donate to Team Vandervort” will allow you to make a donation but not participate in the walk.

There is a 5k run/walk as well as a 1k walk. My family and I will be participating in the 5k walk.

Time:

Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 8:00 AM

Location:

De Anza Cove Park
3000 N Mission Bay Dr.
San Diego, CA 92109

For more information on the event click here. Please let me know if you have any questions. I hope to see you there!

Take care. Live life. Walk with me.

-Scott

Previous : The Road Ahead

Next : A Bake Sale

My PSA ( ng/mL ) as of 06/10/2021
Prostate Cancer PSA

#prostatecancer #cancer #prostatitis #psa #prostate #urology #oncology #radiationtherapy #radiation #ebrt #proton #radicalprostatectomy #chemotherapy #hormonetherapy #surgery #lupron #leuprolide #drawnandcoded #iwillbeatthis #prostatecancerzero #prostatecancerwalk #prostatecancer #theenedofprostatecancer

Jalapeña

Jalapena Book Dads Writing Books Dads Book Club Be Creative Illustration Kids Books Kids Fantasy Books Mythical Creatures Book Lover I Love Books Drawn And Coded
My first illustration for a project that my friend Kevin and I are working on. This scene is called “Jalapeña and Raven meet the Royals”.

A few months ago my friend, Kevin, asked if I would help him illustrate a book he had been working on. The book is based on a collection of stories he had told to his daughter, Clara, at bedtime and over long plane flights to keep her preoccupied. The stories tell the story of “Jalapeña”, an 8-year-old red-headed troll and her human friend, “Raven”, as they go on a series of adventures. Kevin shared his manuscript with me and, although I really enjoyed the story, I was hesitant to illustrate it. His story was epic. It contained a huge cast of characters and creatures and traversed a wide variety of places over different time periods.

“You know”, I told Kevin, “I’ve never done this before!”

“…I’ve just drawn comics…”, I continued, before he could interrupt. “… and, it’s almost a given that my artwork will improve as the book progresses. The illustrations might be inconsistent!”

“That’s okay!”, he replied, calmly.

In that instant I realized that Kevin and I were in the same boat. He wasn’t a professional writer any more than I was a professional artist. It’d be a learning process for both of us.

And then I smiled.

“Okay then.”, I said.

“Let’s do it.”

The experience so far has been nothing short of awesome…

Take care. Stay healthy. Live life …

-Scott

Next : Spiders!


#JalapenaBook #DadsWritingBooks #DadsBookClub #BeCreative #Illustration #KidsBooks #KidsFantasyBooks #MythicalCreatures #BookLover #ILoveBooks #DrawnAndCoded

Happy Birthday

happy birthday hippo purple birthday card comic art
Who likes the color purple and hippos? My friend, Kaliope, does. Due to Coronavirus restrictions, instead of a 9th birthday party Kaliope’s mom elicited all of her friends to draw her pictures and mail them to her. Happy Birthday, Kaliope …

#happybirthday #hippo #purple #birthdaycard #ilovehippos #ilovepurple #sketchbook #drawnandcoded

Goodbye, Radiation …

For the last month and a half I have been driving to UCSD 5 days a week with 30+ ounces of water sloshing around in my bladder and an empty colon to get everything south of my belly button irradiated. Fortunately,  my team at UCSD has been fantastic, and to thank them, I handed out bags of See’s Candy to everyone. As I was rolled into what I have affectionately dubbed the “glory hole” for the last time, I requested that they blast Oingo Boingo’s “Goodbye” during my final treatment. Patients are not not supposed to move while getting treated, but that didn’t keep me from drumming my fingers and humming along anyway.

“You guys have all been great and all, but …. I hope I never have to see any of you ever again.”, I teased my crew as they helped me out of the machine. After some awkward, socially distanced high-fives and elbow bumps I quickly made my way to the lobby.

For radiation therapy, at least at UCSD, there’s a huge brass bell in the lobby that patients are encouraged to ring on completion of their therapy.  I was so excited to be done and to head home that I completely forgot to “ring the bell” and made a beeline for my car.  My crew, busily eating their chocolates, forgot to remind me as well.

As I pulled up onto our street I saw Jodie chasing a blue balloon across our driveway. I stifled a chuckle and pulled into the driveway. Jodie quickly waved me back onto the street where I parked along the curb. After exiting the car and walking up to the driveway I saw why. She had our friends all write encouraging and uplifting phrases, with chalk, all over the driveway. 

prostate cancer last day of radiation family friends
I arrived home from my last treatment to Jodie chasing balloons across the driveway, inspirational quotes from friends scrawled with chalk, and hugs from two of my biggest supporters.

“I had planned to tape balloons to the garage door, too, but they kept popping.”, she smiled.

On the garage door she had hung letters that read “We are so proud of you”. After a couple of quick pictures against the sign Ashley and Kaylee ushered me inside.

“Open your gifts dad!”, they said in unison after plopping our new puppy, Maddie, in my lap.

In the first bag were several things, but it was a handmade stuffed orange tiger which I was immediately drawn to. If you don’t know why, I encourage you to read “Calvin and Hobbes”, a popular comic strip of the 80’s and 90’s which I grew up with. Earlier in the week I had hung a Calvin and Hobbes picture over the couch in my home office / fortress of solitude. My mom, unbeknownst to me, sewed me up my own “Hobbes” to accompany the picture. “Hobbes” primed the tears for my next gift. 

Prostate Cancer Last Day of Radiation Celebration Family and Friends
A handmade orange tiger might be a great gift for a 6-year-old boy, but it’s an awesome one for a 44-year-old man who grew up reading Calvin and Hobbes. Thank you, Mom.

“Can you read what it says?”, Jodie asked me after I unwrapped it.

“….”

It took a box of Kleenex and what seemed like forever before I could get my mouth to cooperate, and what finally came out wasn’t much.

“….I …. I …. really don’t know what to say.”

Jodie and my friends had created a collage. Each picture was a family member or friend holding a word. Together, the words read :

“One step closer to cancer-free! Keep kicking cancer’s butt! We love you and are proud of the strength and humor you have brought to this fight!”

Hours later and I’m still at a loss for words. 

Prostate Cancer Last Day of Radiation Friends Family
Unwrapping this collage choked me up for longer than I’d like to admit. I’m still at a loss for words other than, “Thank you.”

Take care. Stay healthy. Live life…. and surround yourself with people that love you.

-Scott

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Next : The Road Ahead

Prostate Cancer PSA
My PSA ( ng/mL ) as of 10/09/2020

#prostatecancer #cancer #prostatitis #psa #prostate #urology #oncology #radiationtherapy #radiation #ebrt #proton #radicalprostatectomy #chemotherapy #hormonetherapy #surgery #lupron #leuprolide #oingoboingo #goodbye #drawnandcoded #iwillbeatthis

Homonyms

kitten cat lover snow flake the fluffy white cat pet lover cone of shame spay nuder
My friend, Aymie, asked me to draw her kitten, “Snowflake”, a recent victim of the scalpel. For more Snowflake you can visit her Instagram page at snowflakethefluffywhitecat. Yes, the kitten has a Instagram page, too – and arguably more fans than me!

#kitten #cat #catlover #snowflakethefluffywhitecat #pets #petlover #coneofshame #sockofshame #spay #nuder