Sunday, July 3, 2016

6 Days & Counting!

The time is near. On Saturday, July 9th, we will celebrate Wendy May's life. When we began the planning for this event, we estimated the attendance at 300. We may have underestimated. I hope so! Wendy deserves it.

The schedule for the day is as follows:

2:00 - 3 PM - I will officially welcome the celebrants and offer some brief comments about my life with Wendy, before introducing her dad, Bob Matheison. Following Bob, Pastor Tom Welch will lead us through the ceremony and prayer. Several designees will share their memories and thoughts of Wendy. Tom will again lead us in prayer prior to the main event - Dinner!
3:00 - 5 PM - Dinner with a menu including beef tenderloin, chicken, pulled pork, and shrimp along with sides of beans, slaw, a vegetable medley, pasta salad and much more. Toward the end of dinner the family will take the stage for a salute to Wendy and a life well lived.
5:00 - 7 PM - Social Hour (Anyone staying past 7 will be assigned cleanup duties)

Gates to The Pines will open at 8:00 AM. I suggest arriving after 12 noon. Please remember - We are planning for an upbeat, informal event. This is a celebration not a dirge. Please don't make me cry. Dress casually in cool comfortable clothes. Accuweather is predicting temps near 100. So ... "suck it up, cupcake!"

Parking - Please follow "Disney Parking Protocols". All parking is on the grass around the ball field. We will have a couple of untrained parking attendants to assist. The Pines at Windermere - 3409 Maguire Rd

Looking forward to seeing everyone. God Bless, Michael

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Running for Wendy

Wendy and I were fortunate to have many great friends. Two of those are our "Round the World Sailors" Alison & Randall Stocker. They are presently on a hiatus from their sailing adventures and touring The States in their Prius. Alison is in secret a great writer. Those of us who read her blog share their adventures. Recently Alison posted a tribute to Wendy and with her permission I am posting it to the blog.

The Photo shows Our late, dear friend Wendy and Alison passing the Washington State Capitol in Olympia as she finishes a half-marathon run wearing Wendy's “suck it up, cupcake!” tee-shirt.

This blog entry is in memory of our dear friend Wendy who died from breast cancer on June 8th, 2016. Wendy and Michael have appeared many times in this blog so even if you did not know them directly, you have seen their pictures here. I brazenly stole this photograph of Wendy from the excellent obituary on her own blog because it so perfectly captures her beauty. Many lovely things have been written on her blog, both in the text and in the comments. If you did know her and would like to join the celebration of her life in Windermere (near Orlando) on July 9th (which I plan to attend), the blog would be the place to find the relevant details.

I will not write much about Wendy here because there is so much good information and heartfelt emotion captured on her blog's recent pages. However, Randall and I consider ourselves truly fortunate to have been able to see or stay with Wendy and Michael on several occasions since our return to Florida in January. We had both known Wendy through professional meetings since the late 1980s and in addition to being a wonderfully warm and loyal friend, she had treated us both to amazing experiences at Disney World (the highlights perhaps being diving in the Epcot Center's Living Seas for me and a guided-tour of the Animal Kingdom for Randall and two grieving friends).

She was initially treated for breast cancer around the time we set sail in 2008 and it looked as though she had made a full recovery until tumors were found in her bones in December 2012. Heroic medical efforts and the most incredibly positive attitudes from Wendy and Michael carried her through another three and a half years of productive and joyful life but, sadly, the disease was ultimately relentless. She will be greatly missed by us all but most especially by her devoted, beloved husband Michael and her close and supportive family.

Now, you may wonder why I have combined our modest blog-memorial to Wendy with a picture of me running. Well, since I realized in January that our stay on land was going to be extended, I have resumed running as a form of exercise. Pounding along every street in the neighborhoods around where we stayed in Gainesville and San Jose, I was gradually increasing the lengths of my runs until it occurred to me that I needed a more significant goal.

So this Sunday morning (Happy Father's Day), with Randall kindly driving the "support-Prius", I ran my first half-marathon distance, along the measured course of the official Olympia Marathon and Half-Marathon (held in May). It was a beautiful day so conditions were perfect and I completed the 13.1 miles or 21.1 km (length of the shortest possible route on the course so I probably actually covered a bit more) in 2 hours 10 minutes 50 seconds. Compared to the 2016 results in Olympia, I would have placed 18 out of 50 in the 50 - 54 year-old class for women. Not bad for a first time and with no competitors.

How is this relevant to Wendy, you may ask. Well, during the period of recovery from her initial cancer treatments, Wendy became a keen triathlete, completing more than 20 events. So while I obviously have much work to do on my swimming and cycling to begin to match her athletic accomplishments, I did decide to dedicate this novice half-marathon effort to Wendy and Michael. There may not have been any competitors, official timers, or audience with which to share my memorial gesture, but I was wearing a shirt that Wendy and Michael gave me when I visited them in early 2013. It was one of a limited-set of tee-shirts made by her family, proudly displaying the catch-phrase that Wendy used when she had to steel herself to cope with another dose of radiation or chemotherapy. Pounding along a nearly deserted, neighborhood-road at 9 am on a sunny Sunday morning bears no comparison to what Wendy tolerated, but during miles 12 and 13 it felt really good to imagine hearing her say loud and clear,"Suck It Up,Cupcake!".

Alison and Randall's sailboat, Tregoning, is currently in Whangarei Town Basin Marina, Whangarei, New Zealand but they are in Olympia, WA. Visit her excellent blog at

Love you, Michael

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Planning for Wendy's July 9th Celebration of Life

We are continuing to move forward with the planning for Wendy's Celebration.
The Pines at Windermere, 3409 Maguire Rd, is a great venue.
We can dodge the weather and enjoy a great barbeque meal in the 7.840 square foot air conditioned building. There is also a sand volleyball court, beach with swimming area, and a horseshoe pit. The program will run from 2pm until 7pm with the structured part of the event running from 2 til 5. At this time the tentative schedule includes: A welcome by Wendy's dad and myself, a period of prayer and "memories sharing" by friends and family, and of course that great barbeque meal, including beef tenderloin, chicken, pulled pork, and shrimp along with sides of beans, slaw, a vegetable medley, pasta salad and much more (No worries I'm not cooking). We are also working to have "tasting tables" featuring treats from Africa and Asia as part of remembering Wendy's friends and adventures in distant lands. Throughout it all we will have looping slideshows and videos of Wendy celebrating life.
Please dress casually! It is summer in Florida. It may be necessary to "Baptize" anyone wearing a coat/tie or dress appearing to be too formal. More to come. God Bless! Michael

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Wendy's Obituary

Wendy's Obituary as it appeared in the Orlando Sentinel, West Orange Times, and Woodlawn Memorial website.
"Wendy May Andrew passed away on June 8, 2016, from breast cancer. She was 54. Born in Anaheim, CA, she moved as a child to Central Florida where she grew to love its natural beauty and habitat. A 1980 graduate of West Orange HS, Wendy went on to the University of Florida where she earned a BS in Forest Resources and Conservation and an MS in Agronomy. She began her professional life in 1985, as a Staff Assistant on the Environment to Senator Lawton Chiles. In 1986, she became one of the first women employed as an Aquatic Plant Manager for the Southwest Florida Water Management District. She launched a 24 year career with Walt Disney World in 1992. As Horticulture Manager for Disney’s Animal Kingdom since 2000, Wendy lived her professional dream. Along the way she met the love of her life, Michael Andrew, while engaged as a diver at EPCOT’s Living Seas Pavilion. She took her passion for the natural world beyond her professional duties by consulting on environmental projects within Florida and around the world, including Uganda, South Africa, Tanzania, Mexico, Cambodia, and Thailand. She served on the Florida Department of Agriculture Endangered Species Task Force, as a Director and Treasurer of the Association of Zoological Horticulture, and President of the Florida Aquatic Plant Management Society. Florida Audubon recognized Wendy as Volunteer of the Year in 2012. Wendy cared as deeply about people as she did about the environment. She loved the Southwest Community Church. In 2006, she melded her faith, her concern for the environment, and her compassion for people in her service work with ECHO, a faith-based organization dedicated to solving global hunger through sustainable farming. Acting as an ECHO Board Member from 2013 to present became a richly rewarding experience for her. She was an accomplished amateur photographer, a prolific reader, and a great and generous cook. She enjoyed swimming, fishing, kayaking, and volleyball. Wendy completed over 20 triathlons – all since her initial cancer diagnosis in 2008. She was inherently curious and instinctively kind. Wendy loved her family and she lived her faith. She was the beloved daughter of Kathy Matheison who predeceased her in 2004. She is survived by her husband of 27 years Michael Andrew, her father Robert K. Matheison and his wife Arra Mae, her aunt Linda Palmer Garberson, her siblings Cindy, Molly, and Robert, and her nine adoring nephews and one niece. Wendy encouraged us all to never fear our challenges, to live life to the fullest, and to love God by loving each other. A celebration of her life is planned for July 9, at The Pines, Windermere FL. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to" Michael

Sunday, June 12, 2016

More Thoughts of Wendy

One of our closest friends sent a very thoughtful email of her memories of Wendy. I trust she won't mind my sharing a portion of it. "Dear Michael, I can't begin to imagine all that you have been through the past few months or what you are feeling now but I wanted to send you a note. Wendy was an amazing lady who had a huge impact on my life. The word that comes to my mind when I think of her is strength. She was strong physically- She ran, she swam, she kayaked, she bicycled, she walked, she did marathons. When we kayaked together I always had to paddle my arms off just so I wouldn't get too far behind, unless we were going on one of our special relaxing kayak ventures which I treasured. She was strong in knowledge- She knew her plants and she was a great teacher. She always impressed me with how much she knew and also with her desire to continually be learning new things. She didn't just know how to grow plants but also how to use plants. She could make all sorts of tasty things and she seemed to have fun creating food for people to enjoy. I have memories of her in kitchens from Groveland to Pineland to Carolina. She was strong in relationships- she was a friend that I knew I could trust with anything and one that I could talk to about anything. She truly cared about others and she had a special way of making people feel loved and cared for. I always appreciated how she took time for the ECHO interns and I was always impressed with her trips to various places around the world and how she cared about people and was intentional about developing meaningful relationships. She was strong emotionally- she seemed to know herself well and that gave her the freedom to be herself. No matter what she was going through she always seemed to be thinking about others and was always concerned about others. She was strong spiritually- she had an amazing, unshakable faith in God that she lived out fearlessly. It wasn't just a theoretical thing, it was something that impacted her daily and something that was evident in all of her actions and attitudes. She was strong in joy- she laughed a lot. As I have been thinking back on all the memories, I've tried to fix her voice in my mind so I can always remember what her voice sounded like and when I remember her voice, I always hear it laughing. She enjoyed life and she drew everyone into her circle of joy. When I hear your voice Michael, it's usually saying something about your Wendy, so I can't imagine what you are feeling but I want you to know you are deeply loved and you remain in our constant thoughts and prayers. I am so thankful for the chance to get to know Wendy and have adventures together and be impacted by her strengths." Michael

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Never Give Up! Never Surrender!

After Wendy's cancer diagnosis she "Never Gave Up! Never Surrendered!". She continued to live her life as if cancer was just an inconvenience. Triathlons became a part of that. On Saturday, July 9, we will celebrate her life with family and friends at The Pines at Windermere. Details will follow so stay tuned. Additionally, we are working with David Erickson, CEO of ECHO, to establish what we are tentatively calling "The Wendy Andrew Memorial Fund for ECHO". Stay tuned for more on that also. Love ya, Michael

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Searching for the Words ......

Today you have a guest Blogger. The post will more poignant and certainly not as entertaining and witty as those in the past. How could it be? On Wednesday, June 8 at about 6:30AM, Wendy concluded her battle with cancer and succumbed to acute renal and liver failure. I have the pleasure of knowing many of Wendy's friends and blog followers. To those I have not yet contacted personally I apologize. There are sooooooooooooo many. I will keep trying. Please post your comments or questions to the blog. I will try to review them daily. At this time plans for a memorial celebration of her life have not been set. I will post information as it becomes available. The family and I ask, that in lieu of flowers or remembrance, donations be made to ECHO in her name. ECHO's work meant a lot to Wendy and as you know she is currently on their board. For those not familiar with ECHO you can learn more at the following: ECHO 17391 Durrance Road North Fort Myers, FL 33917 tel 239.543.3246 Wendy was always in God's hands and in her way did God's work. We can all be assured she is still safely in His hands. Love you, Michael and Wendy

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

And there went another!

You would think I could be better at keeping this blog up to date! But with going into Orlando for treatment nearly every day by the time we get home I am just ready for a nap! So some of the treatments are actual chemo and others are supportive like platelet or blood transfusions. That is what is scheduled tomorrow. Today we have a break and Michael is mowing and will make a grocery run, both of which we need. I am taking it easy but will work on walking the porch and drinking lots of water. And still working from home. So not really anything fun or interesting to share but I wanted to let you all know where we stand. Love, peace and blessings to you all. Wendy

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Oops a whole week slipped by!

Hi there, So getting the fluids worked fine but caused swelling in my legs and abdomen so since mid week I have been getting treatments to reduce fluids. Just the next set of hurdles! This means my work schedule is going to need to be flexible this week. I also get the next installment of Gemzar on Thursday. Pray for the swelling in my legs to reduce significantly. My neighbor is out of the hospital and in rehab for her hip so please pray for Beverly's healing, and it sounds like Jolynn is doing much better so let's keep lifting her in prayer also. Just wanted to get you all up to date. Love, Wendy

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Quiet weekend

Hi all, Well I have been a slug this weekend. Just hanging around the house, walking and pushing fluids. Hopefully energizing for a little work tomorrow. Please pray for my neighbor Beverly who fell this morning and may have injured her hip, also pray for Jolynn in Orang City who has been hospitalized with meningitis, and a friend of mine at ECHO who has had a reoccurrence of brain tumors and is working through the process of treatment plans. The Lord gives us plenty to take to Him! Hope all is well with each of you! Wendy

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I was a quart low apparently!

Hi there, Michael and I are back at ORMC for outpatient fluids today and Thursday and Friday. Today the labs are better and that is great. Dr. Moroose and her team are pumping me up to start chemo again next week. Those treatments will be the 19th and 26th and then there are two weeks of radiation to clean up the last bit in my head. Following that treatments should then settle down to the chemotherapy that I was on prior to the trial drugs. I am walking without a walker or cane, slowly and cautiously but still without help mostly, though Michael holds my hand a lot! You gotta love that 😊 I will start back to work from home and some office time next week, that will feel good too. Just wanted to keep you all in the loop. Thanks for the comments here and messages on my phone. Love to all, Wendy

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Wednesday morning

Wow we had quite a serious line of storms come through this morning! Nearly 2 inches of rain for which I am thankful. It has been so dry. I hope we got a good drenching at work too. Yesterday I,saw the neurosurgeon and got the staples removed from my scalp. 😀 He was pleased with my healing and progress. The next round of doctor visits are scheduled for Monday the 9th. In the meantime I am working on leg strength and coordination. Michael keeps a close eye on me and has been of course a great support. He does challenge me too as I need it! Wendy

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Saturday update

Hi everybody. Figured it was time to give you another update. It's a beautiful Saturday afternoon nice quiet day and I've been out walking the porch for exercise. My leg gets a little bit stronger every day. And all seems to be going the right direction. This coming Tuesday I get my staples out and then I don't see doctors until the ninth of May. I'll be out on medical leave until the 14th and then we'll see. This has been an interesting experience as I learn more patients and appreciation of everything we have been given by God daily. Love to you all Wendy. Please forgive the misspellings. 😂

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Home sweet home

So we got back home last night and it's just so great to be back in your house. I'm doing well have seen home healthcare and Michael is of course doing a great job taking care of me. The dogs are still amazed that I'm home I think they were very confused yesterday. So just settling into the new routine at the house and will keep you guys informed but so far so good. Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers and hope that this finds you all happy and healthy love Wendy.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Post sugery

The surgery went great on Friday. Dr Wehman was pleased. Subsequent scans look good so now just hanging out for another weekend. Amazing no real headache. It just reminds me of when I had long hair and my ponytail was pulled too tight. LOL! Thank you for all the well wishes and prayers they obviously help. I love you all and will keep you informed have a great Sunday Love Wendy

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Next step is surgery tomorrow

So keeping everyone in the loop, first and foremost I am still doing very well. There is a lesion in my brain that the doctors will be removing tomorrow, Friday. I have had a great team working out the plan and all is ready. There is just one discrete spot so surgery is definitely the best answer. The procedure will start at 11 am and take a few hours. If possible Michael will update the blog afterward, if not be patient and we will catch up as quickly as we can. I have great peace that the Lord is guiding this whole process so I hope that you can share that peace with me. I just wanted to let you all know where we stand. I am actually going into this very fit and the prognosis is excellent. Love to all of you, Wendy

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

One week later and things are different 🙂

So the situation changed on Thursday the 16th when I had spasms and numbness in my right leg that sent us to the hospital. Started some meds to treat and had additional scans. Then Saturday I had a more extensive series of spasms on my right side. This was then followed by another CT scan and it was determined that I have a neurological issue generated by my cancer so I moved from the cancer floor at ORMC over to Neurological Step Down and started new meds that will control the spasms better. That is definitely working as there have been none for two days now. The doctors have case discussions on Thursdays so my treatment plan will be determined after that and I will let you know. In the meantime I am doing physical therapy to strengthen my right leg and answering work email. I have a great team of doctors here and of course the Great Physician Jesus at my side. Great peace and no anxiety is where I rest. Just wanted to let you know the latest. Love to you all. Wendy

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

New treatment update

Hi gang! So I started the first cycle of my new treatment last Thursday the was an infusion that day and immediately after I started the oral med Ibrutinib, which I take every day. Both of these drugs are what the doctor calls biological. I still need to understand that definition a little better. But because of that status my body can respond either with some mild rejection or with an allergic type reaction. So far it has been the second with some breathing difficulty. So I am on some allergy meds and a couple of different inhalers. Today I am feeling better although still coughing some. I stayed home from work the last two day but will be back in the saddle tomorrow. My next infusion and set of lab draws is scheduled for Wednesday the 20th. Okay enough about me, my Dad has also been in hospital for the last few days. Initially he had a very slight pneumonia that had to be cleared up, but that was a blessing as he also had a slow heart rate that needed to be corrected. He had a procedure today to install a pacemaker and so far everything looks very good. He hopefully maybe able to go home tomorrow. God is so great! That's all fo now folks. Love to you, Wendy

Saturday, April 2, 2016

April Fool's wasn't very funny for us!

Hi gang! Yesterday was a bit of a challenge, I was scheduled for a liver biopsy and then we also had a medical emergency with Ridley. Thank goodness for my sister Cindy who came to the hospital to hang out with me so Michael could take Ridley into the veterinarian. It turned out that he had swallowed a sewing needle (both Michael and I are baffled as to where he got it) and they had to do surgery to remove it from his stomach. Thankfully the needle didn't do nearly as much damage as it could have and he is recovering so well from his surgery that he can come home today! My procedure went well also and I feel pretty good, much better than the last time I had a liver biopsy, for which I am very grateful. This week I also had a CT scan on Monday and a series of labs and tests on Wednesday to prepare for the new immunological trial that I will be participating in. Everything went well and my first treatment is scheduled for next Thursday, April 7. Also a number of the tests this week showed improvement in my cancer status, my liver enzymes in the blood work continue to normalize, the cancer tumor markers dropped 47 points (about 25%) and the CT scan showed that the mets that were previously in lymph nodes in my chest have resolved. It almost makes it hard to stop the current treatment to go into the trial but on we go. If things don't go well in the trial we can certainly go back to the Gemzar and herceptin treatment. So that is the state of things in our house. Now if we can figure out how to prevent a 16 week old puppy from running and playing for the next two weeks while he heals from the surgery all will be well. That maybe quite a challenge as he was playing hard with Maggie yesterday before he went to the animal hospital! Love, Blessings and Peace to all of you. Wendy

Friday, March 18, 2016

Treatment Updates

Hi there folks, This week I finished a second round of Gemzar treatment on Wednesday. My white counts were pretty low even before I got treatment so Thursday I got a Neulasta injection to help build my white cells back up. It will be a quiet weekend as I rest and try to also improve my energy. Next week I have no treatments but also on Wednesday I signed the consent for the new drug trial. The week of the 28th I will have scans and tests to prepare for that study. Hopefully I qualify and we can start the study drugs shortly afterwards. One of the tests will be a liver biopsy which was no fun the last time I had one so please pray for healing and protection during and after that procedure. I am very much hopeful that this new trial will be very beneficial to my treatment. I will keep you advised as we go along. Hope you are all doing well. Wendy

Friday, March 11, 2016

A Very Special Date

Hi Gang, I just wanted to say that 27 years ago I was blessed to marry my best friend Michael. It seems both like we have been together forever and it was just yesterday! Here we are on our honeymoon hiking the volcano on Saba in the Lesser Antilles. Wendy

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A much better week!

Well I just wanted to let everyone know that this is a whole different week than the last two! I was back at work on Monday and can report now from Thursday that I feel so much better! Energy level is nearly normal and I am sleeping fine. Glad to be back at work and yet I so appreciate my team for having covered all the bases recently. Just wanted to let you all know how things are going. :0) Love and Blessings to you all. Wendy

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Home yesterday!

Just keeping everyone in the loop. They let me out of hospital yesterday and I was so glad to get home and play with the dogs and sleep in my own bed! I swear Ridley grew 4 inches in height, he s gangly and looks like a clumsy, coltish teen. Today I went back for regular cancer treatment and that went fine too. Michael and Tom Welch (my pastor) were both there to encourage me and make sure I was behaving. Honestly they spent most of the time discussing Michael's drone hobby. Boys! Anyway I wanted to let you all know that I am doing much better 🤗 Love you all. Wendy

Sunday, February 21, 2016


Okay when we left our story last..... I was getting fluids and waiting to have scans, the scans were done Monday and did show some increase in my cancer. Because of that this past Wednesday my treatment changed to yet another drug combo. I had Herceptin along with Gemzar (btw naming drugs is quite a business, isn't it?). Anyway I was still dehydrated and was having some difficulty breathing, so on Friday after more fluids Dr. Moroose's office decided to do a different CT scan along with a chest x-ray which showed pneumonia. That got me admitted to the hospital on Friday afternoon and here I sit. Definitely feeling better today I am glad to report. Don't know how long I will be here but I am practicing patience. Great doctors and nurses taking care of me. The only problem is they won't let Michael bring Ridley to visit and I am certainly suffering from PDDO (puppy deficit disorder). Just wanted to let you all know what's going on. Love and Peace be with you this week. Wendy

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Staying hydrated!

Hi there, I failed to do a good job of hydrating last week. On Friday I spiked a fever that sent me to the hospital for labs to check what was going on. Basically it was dehydration so they gave me fluids Friday, Saturday and Sunday (actually I am hooked up now). This interfered with our fishing plans and made for a lot of trips to Orlando but I definitely feel better! 🙄 I know better and will need to focus on drinking more. Who would have thought I would have a drinking problem! I have bone and CT scans tomorrow and will update you again soon. I the mean time have a Happy Valentines Day! All my love, Wendy

Monday, February 1, 2016

Hair today, gone tomorrow (or soon)

Welcome to February everyone! Sorry about no posts in January. First off the puppy is doing well, growing like a weed of course and keeping us all on our toes! Sometimes to stay out of the pee puddles. But he is sweet and seems to be pretty smart... I know all parents say that about their kids, right? Maggie is so patient with him and it is sweet to watch her. Cletus is still working through the disturbance in his world. He is less tolerant and warns Ridley more often but he also wants to know everything the puppy is doing, and to steal all of his toys! Stay tuned but I am confident it will all work out. So to the post title, the new treatments I have been on seem to be working at least in the impact on my cute hair do. Thankfully we have already determined that my bald head is not too unseemly and I have great scarves! Let's hope that the drugs are working on the cancer cells in my system just as well. I am halfway through the second cycle and will have scans before the next cycle so we will know more about the impacts. IF the Herceptin/Halaven are not doing the trick Dr. Moroose has other tools in the tool box. Love to you all in every corner of the world. WENDY