Monday, August 31, 2009

No clever title here ....

A few days before we were to leave on our cruise, Blaine called me at home to tell me there was a job fair that day on the base, and to ask what I thought of him attending ....

"Why would you need to go to a job fair? You're not looking for a job." I replied.

"I know, I just thought it might be interesting to see what's out there, see who's hiring, what kind of jobs I might qualify for, that sort of thing," Blaine said.

"That's silly. You don't plan to retire for another two and a half years. So go next year, or even the year after that. But for now, I think it would be a big waste of your time," Again, I gave my opinion.

"Yeah, you're probably right," Blaine said.

The next day, Blaine called me again.

"The results of my medical review board just came in. Looks like I should have gone to that job fair."


And with that, the final nail went into the coffin of Blaine's career. Stupid cancer.

While I sincerely appreciate the kind words and encouraging sentiment that was left in the comment section, and sent in private e-mails after my last journal entry (and Blaine does as well ..... he rarely goes near my blog but this time I assure you that he read every single comment ....) I do feel that I need to make something clear.

The military in no way "screwed" Blaine .... the decision to medically retire him was not a vindictive one, or made without careful thought. In fact, his case went before a thorough medical review board who took months to decide. Blaine received his due process and the reason he was let go is valid.

We also feel its illogical and hurtful, and could have been avoided, but its valid.


"What do you mean they've decided to retire you?" I asked.

"Just what it says ... they're making me retire for medical reasons." Blaine responded.

"But you don't want to retire," I said. "Don't they understand that you love your job and you want to keep doing it? Can't you just explain to them, and tell them you don't want to retire, and ask to stay?"

"No, the choice is no longer mine."

"You mean you're not going to be in the Air Force anymore? Whether you like it or not? Whether you agree or not? Is that what you mean? Retire-retire? As in, you won't have a job anymore? Can they DO that????"

"Yes, Kristie, that's exactly what they mean ....."

"But, but, but ......"

I was like a dim-witted child, who couldn't quite grasp what he was saying .....


To say we were stunned is an understatement. This was not new territory to us. In fact, this was the third time Blaine's case had gone before a medical review board. But both times previously, he was deemed fit for work. We thought the review board would come to the same decision again ..... why wouldn't they?

Ironically, both times previously when he was reviewed, he had missed MONTHS of work for surgeries, reconstructions, and the first six-week session of radiation in Seattle that liked to have killed him. Those times, he was allowed to keep his job. When he had his first major reconstructive surgery in Washington and resigned his squadron command position because he knew he couldn't do the job during such an extensive recovery, he was still allowed to remain active duty. When he contracted a MRSA infection, and almost lost his leg, and spent six weeks with a picc line on home health high-dose antibiotics (that made him so sick that he confesses now he thought dying *would* have been easier) he got to keep his job. Now, when he was actually back working a full-time schedule, doing the best work he's done in the past six years, he was being let go?

How was that even logical?


"OK, that's just retarded. It doesn't even make sense. You are working more now than ever. Your boss loves you and wrote you a glowing letter of recommendation to stay active duty. So why this time? What was different this time?"

"Bottom line is I can't deploy as long as I have cancer, and they say they have determined at this point that I'm never going to get better, so they're letting me go."

"But you were non-deployable the other times as well, and they made an exception. Why won't they make an exception this time?"

"I guess they don't think I'm worth it anymore."


To address the comment left earlier about the military needing to be battle-ready at all times, and non-deployable members like Blaine are perhaps a liability, let me say ......... we completely understand. I think it would be *more* understandable if Blaine had a day-to-day job that required physical exertion (think firefighter, pilot, paratrooper, infantry, etc.) and he was unable to perform. Then, he would be unable to do his JOB.

But Blaine's job is contracting. He deals with defense firms, and sits behind a desk, doing research, making presentations, haggling contract negotiations. There are people in his career field who never deploy ..... we have friends who haven't deployed a single time.

Yes, Blaine is unable to deploy. They were willing to accommodate that disability previously .... they are no longer willing. That's the bottom line.

And while I think it sucks, and it was about as crushing a blow to Blaine's ego as there ever was, it's not like we can stamp our feet and cry, "It's not fair!"

Because it is. It's their decision to make and they've made it. We just wish they would have made a different one, and decided he was worth keeping around, even if "only" stateside.


"Look on the bright side. They've classified me as 100% disabled. So now, I'm a disabled veteran. That's got to count for something, right?"

"100% disabled? One-hundred percent??? Are you freaking kidding me??? One hundred percent disabled is someone with no arms and no legs. On a ventilator. IN A COMA. And even THEN, they could be a test subject for bed sore cream! You are working full time, are a deputy commander for a squadron, have a large team of people working under you, and are doing a damn good job at all of it ..... how is that disabled???"

"I don't know. That's just what they said."


I have never seen Blaine so defeated. Cancer treatment is discouraging, but it's not personal. You can always hope things are going to get better, and that the end is in sight.

This *feels* personal, but it's not. And the end is clearly in sight, but it's not a decision we made for ourselves.

Just like cancer has done so many times, this forced a decision upon us that we didn't get to make. Our lives are being dictated by events that are out of our control, and are not our fault. Blaine didn't do anything WRONG. He didn't deserve this. Once again, it is something that has happened TO us. And once again, there is no one we can point a finger at to blame. No one we can be specifically angry with. Because we **do** understand.

But man, it totally blows.


To our friends Kim, Kenny, Laura and Dave --- we owe you an apology. We found out this news about 48 hours before we left for the cruise.

We were reeling.

I stood out on our balcony, visions of mortgage foreclosure, and HUD housing dancing in my head. How would we pay our bills? What would happen to Blaine and Kendrie's medical care? Oh, dear Lord, would we have to eat beans the rest of our lives I don't even LIKE beans and I hear the government cheese is really gross.

We were not good company on the cruise. I know that. I'm sorry.


I'm really angry with myself that I allowed this to cast a pall on our summer vacation. A vacation that we had waited for, and saved for, for two years.

And then we went, and my nerves were frazzled.

Then my mom broke her foot.

Attention everyone in the world --- don't ever plan to take a vacation with us. We suck.


"My boss called me in and said I could appeal the decision, but that it would only slow the process down by two weeks, max."

"So 90 days, that's it? You've got to decide what to do, finish up everything at your job, and find a new job, in 90 days?"


"Do they realize they are cutting you loose only a few months shy of the 22 year mark? And that you're losing five percent retirement pay that way?"

"I don't think it was on purpose."

"But I don't think they care."

"Me neither."


To answer those questions, yes, he does get full retirement benefits, including medical insurance. Let me make this clear --- This is not a consolation prize. He earned that by serving twenty years, as does anyone leaving the military honorably after twenty years. And don't get me wrong, we are grateful for the benefits. But no one threw him a bone. He worked for those benefits. In fact, I'd venture to say he worked harder than the average person for those benefits because he worked six of those years while fighting cancer at the same time.

So there, cancer. You can't take that away from him.


"Do you want to stay home? Really, if that's what you think you need to do to get better, I will get a job."

"No offense, but you wouldn't earn enough money to pay our bills, even with my retirement. We'd lose the house."

"I know. But I'd do it. I've mooched off you for twenty two years; it's only fair that I get a job now if it would help."

"No. I want to work. I need to work. I don't mean to sound like a machismo asshole MAN, but it's about my pride .... I need to work."

"But how do you say to a prospective employer ..... 'Hey, the Air Force says I'm not physically fit to hold down a job ... will YOU hire me?' ???"

"I don't know .... that's what I'm trying to figure out myself."


Here's some irony for you. Blaine is now a disabled veteran. That means he gets preferential job treatment for any job out there. He is currently being considered (oh, sweet baby Jesus, please don't let me have jinxed it by typing about it on this blog and actually mentioning it out loud ......) for a civil service job on base.

Which means the government, the very entity which stated he was not capable of holding down a job, is now going to give him first dibs on a government job, doing exactly what he was doing for the military.

Go figure.


"So what did they say when it was your last day? Did anyone even say anything to you?"

"Nope, not a word."

"Seriously. Not one single person in that office came up and gave you so much as a good luck pat on the shoulder?"

"No acknowledgement whatsoever."

"You're kidding me ... I still can't believe you're not kidding me. It's not a bunch of clueless jerks in that office ..... you've got fellow Air Force officers in there! They KNOW you're supposed to have a retirement ceremony, and nothing? Not even a stupid good-luck card passed from cubicle to cubicle? Not even a comment when you were cleaning out your office? What the hell is wrong with those people? Did you do something really offensive to them, or are they just assholes????"

"Remember when I had my last two sessions of radiation and no-one from the office even bothered to call or send an e-mail the entire time to see how I was doing?"

"You're right. A bunch of assholes."


For now, we are facing the unknown. Not sure when or where he will work. Odds are we will land on our feet ...............

He planned to retire in a few years, anyway. Truly, this is not the end of the world. But it is hurtful. It is frustrating to have a major life decision made FOR you.

It is disappointing to go out with a whimper.


Things I am grateful for:

*That God's plan is sovereign and we can trust that. Right now, there is a window opening .... (I just hope it's a nice, big, beautiful bay window somewhere, with tempered glass and a glorious view ....)

*Twenty one years, seven months, of a wonderful active-duty military life. Getting to move all over the country, and meet all kinds of people, and have all kinds of experiences, that we would never have had otherwise. In time, I know the hurt from this situation will fade and we will have (hopefully) nothing but fabulous memories.

*That the first two medical review boards let him stay, so he *could* reach twenty years and retire with full benefits.

*That this happened AFTER we had already settled in Oklahoma, the place we intended to retire regardless. I simply cannot imagine trying to add the challenge of selling a house, buying a house, finding a job in another state, new schools for the kids, and moving half way across the country to the situation.

*Friends and strangers alike who are compassionate enough to care and let us know that. Thank you for your comments and e-mails.

*That I am married to a man who understands (and who has CLEARLY demonstrated, numerous times, over the past six years ....) the concept of pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps and getting on with it. This decision was devastating to him, but he immediately went into survivor mode and started looking at the decisions that had to be made, and taking a proactive stance towards what needed to be done. He has handled this with way more grace than I have. He's really a keeper, you know?

*That no one in my family was diagnosed with cancer this month. Hey, we've gone through it three times in the past six months .... a deep breath and an eye on the bigger picture can help put things in perspective.

*That I can be as obnoxious as I want in the commissary, because guess what? I'm now officially one of those "retirees" who shops there and drives everyone crazy. Always a silver lining, right?


Anonymous said...

As a fellow retiree wife, I recommend you stop your cart smack in the middle of every aisle and look around with a vacant stare. And then giggle to yourself as you walk away! On a serious note, while I'm shaking my head as to why the Air Force came to their decision at this time, I'm steaming mad at Blaine's coworkers. Why didn't his commander step up and at least do a commander's call and shake his hand in front of the squadron and tell him good luck? Would it have been to hard for someone to go and get a freaking cake? How about having you and the kids come in and giving you that worthless spouse certificate that we always seem to get when we leave a base? Would any of that been too hard? I'm excited to hear about what the next chapter in your life looks like.

debbie said...

My family has also faced times when I envisioned complete, total and utter financial ruin. A few years out, and I can now say something I never thought possible: We are OK and doing fine. My hubby also had a huge crush on his ego, I had to go back to work, but we worked it out and I daresay things are better now than they would have been if we had continued on our previous, safe path. I look forward to good news on Blaine's job search. I will say that during our darkest times, I dreaded even walking out the door, feeling like yet another shoe would drop on my head. I still have concerns, after all hubby is self-employed and I am in the airline industry, but we keep going.
Debbie E.

Laura said...

You are both awesome....something great will work out for you!

Anonymous said...

For the life of me, I cannot understand how the U.S. Military can force retirement, or even deny enlistment......Anyone who wants to serve their country and can do so effectively -- somewhere -- should be allowed to enlist or remain on active duty. There is a definite need for those enlisted to be ready to serve in battle, but not EVERYONE will leave their desks to fight. Why can't Blaine be one of those who's job would be to stay at the desk during times of battle?

Both of my children have type 1 diabetes and I too was devastated to learn that they would never be able to even consider enlistment in any branch of the military? Why? Because they could not carry a firearm. I have several family members who's lives were forever enhanced by serving in the Navy and the Army, but my children can never even consider this career. UNFAIR, Uncle Sam......UNFAIR!

God bless you, Blaine, and THANK YOU for your service to our country. Because of you, I have the freedom to write, "SHAME ON YOU, UNCLE SAM!"

Jeanette in GA said...

I am sure Blaine is a shoo-in (or is it "shoe-in"?) for a civilian government job. Men need to work-like you said, it's essential to their well being.

Tell Blaine that, even though he works with assholes right now, there are folks here at Robins who still ask how you all are doing and keep his former employees informed.

I have no doubt that the Escoes will weather this storm and come out stronger.

Stacey said...

Just caught up on your news and I'm a bit speechless. The Air Force has "been" Blaine for the nearly two decades we've known you. But just like all of the shared experiences our families have endured and celebrated over all of those years, there will be something wonderful in the future, maybe a week, maybe a month - who knows - but it's out there! Another great lesson in patience seems to have been laid at your feet - and you will be great.

Daisy, Just Daisy said...

I mentioned before my dad retired after 21 years in the Air Force. And I'm really, really reeling with the fact that his office didn't do anything. I just can't wrap my brain around that. The Air Force, for all its faults, is a freaking community that throws baby showers, retirement parties, pin-on ceremonies, finny-flight parties & the like with reckless abandon. I'm so disappointed they didn't do anything. If you'd been in any of my Dad's squadron's you would have had a great going away/retirement & dinner patrol during radiation sessions. I'm really sorry that it ended on such a sour note.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristie,

Sorry to read your news about Blaine's job. I was dumped by my employer last March, without cause, after giving them 19 years of my working life. I received no pension money or severance as they are in bankruptcy protection.

I'm not bitter (except maybe about the pension $) though because it forced me in a new career direction. I love my new job - I hope in few months you and Blaine can look back on this in the same way.


Anonymous said...

You are far more gracious than I would be...I'd be pissed there was no cake!!! Give me a break. You can't find an afternoon to wish the guy well.
Maybe they were embarrassed and didn't know what to do or say, so they did and said nothing??
I am sure that silver lining will reveal itself soon enough.
Milford, CT

Anonymous said...

Blaine is going to get the job - things are going to be better than ever -

Tell Blaine to email me


Jacqueline said...

Again, I am so sorry that this had to happen. I get it...but it still blows big time.

While I was reading, before I got down to it, I was wondering if Blaine had thought of applying for civilian jobs on base...I should have known that would be his first move. I know it isn't the same as being in the Air Force and active duty, but if he got a civi job, I think it would help make things not suck as much.

I am so glad that Blaine isn't letting this get the best of him. You guys will make it through this just like you make it through everything.

Thoughts and prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

After being offline last week, I'm just reading your updates. I don't even know what to say except that I'm sorry and will keep your family in my prayers. God does have a way of taking care of us so I can only believe that his reason for this is to open a new door.

I hope at least one of his former coworkers reads your blog so that they understand how hurtful they were. Wish I lived closer, I would throw a party (?); celebration (?) well, a dinner anyway all by myself! And there would be cake. Lots of cake.

judi mitchell, franklin ma

Anonymous said...

Sending cyber hugs and lots of prayers your way. As someone else said - you both ARE amazing people and things WILL work out but not without the crappy stress that goes along with it. I am extremely disappointed in Blaine's coworkers....I just can't imagine that! Hang in there, keep on keeping on like you have had to do sooo many times before and know that we are praying for you!


Sally said...

I am glad you are finding the silver always seems to be there but sometimes it faint!!

I will say my prayers for the new opportunity...I know what you mean by being afraid to jinx it by writing about it.

Monica H said...

I'm hoping for a big bay window with a glorious view for you too. I'm sorry this decision was made for him and your family. It's really not fair but apparently that's how the cookie crumbles.

Blaine I would have baked you a cake. A really big one!

Congratulations and thank you for your 22 years of dedication and service.

jean said...

With all of the experience that Blaine has, I'm sure that he will have no problem getting another job, civil service or even with a contractor. Heck, the contractors may line up to hire him since he's been on the other side of the table with all of those contracts.

You know, WPAFB is going to be hiring all kinds of people b/c of the BRAC - are you SURE you want to stay in OK?! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Blaine- thank you for serving 22 years of yourself to our country. Things will look up, I know it.
Take care!

Anonymous said...

Nothing upsets me more than unjust actions by people who should have known better so this just makes me very, very.....sad!

You married one fine, honorable man, but I guess you already know that!

If we could have a cyber retirement party, I'll send chocolate, jelly bellys, and whatever Blaine like!


Anonymous said...

I am terribly disappointed in the actions of the co-workers and am baffled by the reasons! Wouldn't it make sense to have a person who is intelligent and loyal but not deployable fill a job that is not performed overseas rather than using a person who is deployable?

I do believe that Blaine will land on his feet and do a great job on the civilian side of the fence.
It will even be better I am thinking! The worst has to be the bad taste left after years of loyalty.

Thanks Blaine for all you have done for our do rock for your service and inspiration!


Anonymous said...

Hopefully things pan out and Blaine has a great new job soon.

We're thinking about you all!


Shannon said...

With tears in my eyes, I sit here and pray for you. Honestly, you have been through hell in the last six years and I want nothing more than peace and happiness for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Kristie, I know it looks bleak now, but there is life after retirement. My husband was dealt a huge ego blow by the Army many, many years ago that he thought was the end of the world. It was also a situation out of his control. If that hadn't happened he wouldn't have retired 5 years ago (at 20 years) and he wouldn't now have the government job that he loves! It's a hard thing to say goodbye to something that has been your whole life for so many years. It's really scary for everyone involved. But, it will work out.

What I find totally inexcusable, though, is the treatment by his co-workers and his boss that loved him. What on earth were they thinking? We've never known anyone to retire, forced or not, that did not get some recognition for their years in service, whether they wanted any recognition or not. That is just a total slap in the face. I'm totally flabbergasted!

Gayle in AL

Jane Copes (Professor Sepoc) said...

Good as a new job will be, don't neglect some time to grieve this loss. As a somewhat "ambiguous loss," it's harder to understand and process than "simple death" or worse things! Take care of yourselves, for sure. I hope you will scream and yell and draw pictures and write letters and do whatever you need to do to keep going.

But don't bury the hurt too fast with getting on with life. Grief comes back to haunt you over and over if you don't give it some time and energy. Thinking of you all! Keep ON! Jane

Hennifer said...

I love how gracious and yet truthful you can be in one entry, yet another reason why I keep reading.

That said I shed many a tear while reading this entry because while it may be how it, or understandable, or that we are adults and fair or not it is life, etc it stinks!

And the total absence of recognition by anyone in the military is very hard for me to overcome.

I am hoping your large bay window is beautiful and thank you for your list of gratefulness.

All the best to your family and a belated thanks to Blaine for all he has done for our country.

Marge said...

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. And you and Blaine are the toughest of the tough! I'm sorry this happened to you guys, but I'm sure that in the end, it will be a blessing. The sad thing is that the folks that he worked with are total jerks, to put it nicely.

I am also a retired AF wife, and so thankful for the health care benefits and base privileges. It's a blessing that they can't take away. Can they?

All things work together for good to them that Love God. It will be okay.

Blessings to you and Blaine.

Mom2Toribug said...

You expressed it here very well and I am so glad to hear you finding the silver lining and say what you are grateful for. There is something good that will come of all this. In the end, I bet you will be a much stronger team than you were already.

Pam D said...

Lord have mercy. I practically throw a party for every stupid lizard, bug, and turtle that my son catches when it's time to release them (woo hoo.. free at last! Run away....). So I can't quite grasp how Blaine's coworkers couldn't even muster up the guts to say "good bye" and "good luck". Hopefully some day, one of them will clue him in. And, hopefully, the civil service job that he WILL get will give him some sort of decision-making power over something that affects them. Not so that he can screw them over, but simply so that he can SHOW them what it's like to be a gentleman. Because that's just how he rolls.
Rock on, Escoes...

unrulyangel said...


My heart bleeds for you and Blaine. My ex was military and during his career I did a stint or two working in Military Personnel (I can still read a 201 file without a translator).

I do not mean to cause you more pain, but I recommend that you get a copy of the entire MMRB file. If he passed 2 Military Medical Review Boards, it was because they believed that he would be cured. Since he did not pass this last one, I will bet money that one of the doctors somewhere put it on paper that the prognosis is bleak or some such language. While I do not agree with that person, it is the only reason they could have for 'granting' a medical retirement.

If I were you, I would want to know who the traitor is. As a cancer survivor, I refused to be treated by anyone that did not believe that I would recover. Blaine should not either. If your doctor is not convinced, it will rub off.

I love your blog. Have been reading for years. Just thought I would de-lurk long enough to add my $.02. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm very afraid that I'm not.


Sue G said...


As someone who has battled five different primary cancers in the last five and a half years, I can only add one thing: If there were a choice as to whether the military would retire Blaine or the cancer would "retire" him (permanently), I know you would pick the military. He is blessed beyond measure to have survived so much...and with such quality and grace to his life. In that perspective, I am confident that you are praising God for His goodness.

As for the military and what they did, well, God can work in any circumstance. He turned water into wine. He can turn retirement into prosperity of finances and spirit. And I believe that is what awaits Blaine and your family because all things are possible with God.

Blaine, I don't think this is a measure of how the military values you as a person. You say they don't think you're "worth it." But I suspect you are very wrong. I believe this is one of those decisions that doesn't take the person into account at all...just what they deem the facts. Unfortunate, but not a testament to your worth as a military man or a man in general.

You are commended by all of us for your dedication and commitment to this nation and to us. Your service is appreciated by us, the people you protected and the country you stood tall for for so many years. Your ability to contribute to this nation, to the people, to your family and friends does not end because your tenure in the service does. You have the honor of now choosing what you want to do, where you want to do it, and when. Those gifts were never your call, at least not for the past 22 years. And now they are.

Sometimes God gives us opportunities to value ourselves without the help of others or the accolades or rewards of those around us. I think it's because he knows that when we truly value our gifts and our talents and our life, no one--not even the military or a boss or anyone else--can take it away.

So, please value all that you are, Blaine, without external validation. Because all that you are is more than enough, more than a conqueror, and just perfect for being all you can be and are.

You are Blaine, father, husband, son, brother, friend, cancer conqueror, contributing member of this family of man.

And a damn good one at that.

lizinsumner said...

I'm so sorry for all of this. And you're right - it totally blows. I wish I had some wonderful solution....but, I don't. I do, however, have you all in my prayers. And I know you're happily settled in OK and don't want to go anywhere....but, can I just say?? Defense contractors....and I'll plug Boeing here cuz I've got almost 32 years there myself....Boeing would LOVE Blaine. So would Seattle (or St. Louis, or Houston, or Huntsville, or whatever the heck that city in Pennsylvania is that Boeing has offices in)......economy's crappy right now and even jobs at Boeing are relatively scarce - but, I bet they'd jump at the chance to hire - you can post a resume....and you could all move up here and I could be your new BFF and, well, sorry.....this isn't about me. It's about you guys. Blaine - thank you so much for all of your years of faithful service to our country - I'm grateful. You are 100% able in MY book!

Stephanie from Portland said...

Blaine's courage and positive outlook are the epitome of what the military is all about. I sincerely hope that the troops serving overseas are lucky enough to have such a dedicated, selfless, compassionate comrade in the fight with them. Hold your head up high, Blaine! YOU ARE A HERO IN MY BOOK!!!

alayna said...


Thank you for serving your country and my family for the past 21 years. Thank you will never be enough for the freedom & privelege we enjoy to raise our kids in a safe place. I know whatever path God leads you down, you will excel at it. I'll be praying that the path is made clear soon, and for you & your family as well.

Melissa said...

Yikes...this whole situation sucks. Maybe the review board passed him through previously so that he could go ahead and reach his 20 years and benefits? Then again, you'd think they'd pass him through again for another measly couple years till he actually planned to retire. This makes no sense to me. Sorry you're having to deal with this, and we all really appreciate Blaine's service,and the fact that he would gladly still be serving if he had his way.

Marie said...

No retirement ceremony? Nothing? Nada? Insane. And unexcusable. I mean, go to COSTCO and lay down what, $18 and get a cake at the very least.

I love the irony that he is 100% disabled and therefore, gets points toward the civil service job.

I hope he gets that job or another job he really, really loves.


Anonymous said...


It's obvious to me. I think it's time.

Time for you to write that kick ass novella!! The one where you do something totally new and incorporate your photography.

I started reading Kendrie's caringbridge site in 2003. My daughter was two years old at the time and going through treatment for ALL at St. Jude. She finished her treatment in March of 2005, but I still kept following your updates. Why? Because I didn't feel like I was alone. Funny thing, I got diagnosed with parotid gland cancer (2006) and my doc at UAB was initially going to send me to Seattle to have the same type of radiation that Blaine had received. Again, reading your blog was like a road map for me.

You've been in every position- A mother, a wife, a daughter, and a sister of a cancer patient. (I want to add my WTF? here because that's all mind boggling no matter how many times you say it.) If you had a book with pictures of the freakin' face mask that they put on your face when they bolt your head down with or ideas of bringing music CDs to play during your rad treatment, it would have been much easier for me. I don't doubt that you have a plethora of ideas to get through to the other side. If you had a picture of crushed 6MP and how to mix that with syrup or a recipe for some casseroles to freeze, I'd been the first to buy that book. You already have the title, Not Quite What I Had Planned.

I don't even know if you have any idea how much that I've taken from reading your blog. You've taught me that life goes on. Also, I drink about a liter of Diet Dr. Pepper a week. Thanks for that! ;-) You've taught me what cancer can do, but most importantly, what it cannot do.

There are times when I'm so terrorized by the "what ifs". I worry about my daughter's health. I worry about if my cancer comes back and not being there for my kids. Then I read your blog, someone who is dealing with cancer to the nth degree, and you are going to soccer games and high school reunions. You're out there living and that encourages me to do the same.

You have a gift with your writing. You may be to humble to realize it, but I think you do. I'm positive that there are others out there that could second that notion. Maybe that's the new door for you. I'd be first in line for a book signing here in Alabama.

Sorry I got so long winded here. Just wanted you to know. : )


Anonymous said...

I thought all those crap sandwiches were gone! (Isn't that what you use to call them?)

Every time I think I've heard it all, something else shows its ugly face. It is beyond my comprehension that his superiors and coworkers (or whatever you call them in the military) did not even tell him goodbye, much less a party in his honor. Also, to learn these same people did not even call to see how he was doing during his treatment? Totally incomprehensible!

Anonymous said...

Oops! I hit publish before I was finished.

I know you and your family will land on your feet. Keep the faith.

Take care,

Chris M. said...

Kristie - you are so much more gracious than I am. This is a situation where my passive-agressive side would be having a field day! I'd be calling co-workers and innocently asking, "Blaine must have missed the card you got him. It wasn't in his box of stuff. Would you like me to come and pick it up? Because I sure wouldn't want him to feel like after being forced out, that you and the office did NOTHING for him, so I am guessing it fell off a desk and got left behind." Or some similar situation where I would have the opportunity to not only make them feel like asses for not doing anything, but I would also be making them admit it, OUT LOUD.

But, that's just me and lord knows, I can be pissy that way. Mwa-ha-ha. (hmmm, wonder why my family doesn't invite me over as often as the used to?...)

Anonymous said...

Have your own damned retirement party and invite who you want...that's how I throw parties...and that way you can do what you want....and invite whom you'd like...and screw the rest of 'em I say!!! We know who the real hero is those bastards!! Kristie, drive your damned grocery cart against the arrows in the commisary and cash in your expired coupons there :) Make 'em pay!! You've earned it!


Cindy from Walla Walla said...


Thank you for serving our beloved country with pride, high moral ethics, and genuine integrity. We all are better and stronger for your service.

My husband gives and gives and gives to his career and in so many ways, has earned a pride in his current work. But you want to know what makes him proud? Really shine? Make his chest swell? When he speaks of becoming an Eagle Scout (back when it meant something -- ahem) and his service to his country during his Army days.

I know a job well done is it's own reward. But please know, I (we) are grateful for your service. I am grateful that the military is filled with people of integrity like yourself. And I am grateful for the years you gave us, me and my family.

Thank you Blaine.

Thank you.

You are a treasure.


Sharon C said...

What assholes in his office Kristi! Total assholes! How is it possible that they can say they have honor and behave like that toward a fellow officer with 22 years under his belt!?! That's just disgraceful. Unimaginable. All men? Surely there wasn't a woman there? She would have had to know how much that killed Blaine to walk out of that office? Not even a freakin' handshake? that kills me Kristi. Just kills me. I'm so so sorry Blaine.

Thank you Blaine, thank you Kristi, thank you Escoe kiddos, for your sacrifice, your loyalty and your service to our country(insert huge hug from me and tears in eyes here)

If I could grow wings and fly, I'd be there in a jiffy to throw Blaine the best dang service retirement party ever. Cause that's what he deserves...and so, so much more.

I've been following your blogs for years Kristi. Praying, laughing, crying. The Escoe family has had to yank itself up by the bootstraps so many times...Keeping you all in my prayers and looking forward to what's next on the horizon. I know your love of God, and family, and friends will carry you through the road ahead.

Sucky road though..with lots of potholes, no doubt! We'll keep you covered in prayer...maybe those potholes will get paved before they get too deep! Hugs!!


Anonymous said...

The whole situation stinks! Sorry to hear that things didn't pan out as planned. I'm sad with our retirement and we're going more on our own terms so I can only imagine how difficult it is for you.

Now, with that said, Danny's ceremony was planned and paid for by us. We made the decision to have our ceremony in ND where we have our family. We picked those military folks who had been our favorites to participate in the ceremony. We did have a support system to help with some logistics but Danny did all the legwork, script writing, award writing etc. He was an office of one so there wasn't help there. We had the ceremony we wanted because we did it. You guys can have whatever you want, whenever you want if you are willing to do it. We had the ceremony July 17 but the official date is October 1.

I encourage you guys to take the ball and run...have the celebration you want and invite all those you want to party with.

I do agree that the office Blaine was working in should have had a cake his last day of work. Danny's office mates took him out to lunch at least.

Follow your heart and do what you want!


Brenda said...

I'm far more stunned about the complete ignorance by his office. I agree completely that this is not a celebration, but not so much as a, "Hey, thanks for everything, we'll miss you and best wishes." ?????

I bet any one of those people would be completely offended and hurt if everyone ignored their retirement. Forced or not! I've been to enough military retirement ceremonies, goings-away, etc, to know this!

Blaine, again, THANK YOU for your service to our country.

Andee said...

I'm so sorry... I'll be praying for you and Blaine and your family.

And you're right - his co-workers are assholes. Let me know if we need to go and toilet paper their houses/let the air out of the tires. :-)

Gina from Bartlesville said...

100% disabled veterans don't have to pay sales tax on anything in Oklahoma. I own a liquor store and even that is exempt. I think also if you buy a car you don't have to pay taxes on that or is it tags or maybe both whatever. Also I'm not sure about everywhere but I know in the county I live in 100% disabled veterans don't have to pay property taxes I don't know if that is just on primary residences or if rentals count too.

Amy said...

I'm sorry to hear about this, but with civilian acquisitions officers retiring left and right and government spending only projected to rise, someone with Blaine's background should be in high demand, whether with the government or a contractor. In addition, I think if he takes a government civilian job and is there for 10 more years, he'll hit the civil service 30 year retirement requirement, which means an additional government pension. He and your family would also be eligible for the civil service health insurance plans, which may be preferable. My father-in-law is retired Army, and even though they live in the DC area with military medical options galore (relatively), they use my mother-in-law's health insurance through her civil service job (in acquisitions, actually).

Katie said...

Oh Kristie... I'm just catching up... I'm so sorry things worked out this way. After all that you guys have been through the least you should have gotten is some recognition, some respect. This makes me so mad!! Blaine deserves better. You all do.

It might be a fair decision but they SUCK for the way it went down.