Saturday, July 31, 2010


For some reason, it's been a rough couple of weeks. I need a Melissa fix. I need to hear her laugh. I need to hear her voice. When that happens, I read the blog, or I go to saved emails from her. I found a letter that she sent to me to read over before she sent it to the doctor. She did post about this on the blog, but called the doctor, DR.X.
When she got the job at UC, they didn't know she had cancer. She didn't WANT them to know...she was GOING to get better. So she decided to switch doctors, so she could take her lunch hour for doctor appointments. That was all well and good, except she HAD a doctor that knew her...for FIVE years. KNEW that she KNEW her own body...and LISTENED to her body. The "new" doctor didn't know her. When she started getting pain in her hips, she called the new doc, who basically brushed her off.
It was two years ago this month that she left that doctor and went back to Dr. Romer.
Before I go on, here's the letter: (I chose to post the Dr.'s name because I would not recommend this doctor to anyone I loved. Maybe she was overworked, I don't know. But my daughter did not get the care that she should have from this doctor, and I need to get this off my chest...)

(letter from Fort)
Mary Ann,

I am writing to let you know that I will going back to see Dr. Romer on a permanent basis starting next week. I apologize for all the work you've done to get me going with Dr. Lower, but in light of my recent PET scan results, I am left wondering what would have happened if I would have just sat back and dealt with the pain while Dr. Lower attributed it to the Lupron side effects.

I know that Dr. Lower is a wonderful physician, but this practice is so far out of my comfort zone, I just can't deal with the added stress of all the extra rigamoroll to get simple things done.

While I was with Romer, there was a five year relationship there, and had I contacted him a month ago, as I did you, to request a simple 27.29 Tumor Marker just to make sure things were on the up and up, I would have been able to come to their in-house lab the very next day and have it done. I would not have been told that it wasnt needed, or that my last PET scan was so good, or that my pains were side effects of the Lupron, and I certianly wouldn't have had to wait to actually see the physician in order to have the test done. I realize the tumor marker test isnt the end-all-be-all for patients, but for me, after five years, we have found it to be very reliable. Everytime the 27.29 is up, the PET shows progression. I did explain this to you and Dr. Lower, but it seemed to have fallen on deaf ears. I dont feel it should have required the effort it did to have the test done.

Additionally, my tumor marker was taken on June 30th. It has been almost THREE WEEKS, and no one ever contacted me to tell me what the results were. I had to meet with Dr. Lower the day after I had the blood test done, and those results were really all I cared to know about, and her response to me was, "The results aren't in, but Im sure they've gone up...." What is that supposed to mean?

As we now have the most recent PET scan results, I guess its not even necessary to know what the tumor marker results were since we now know that my pain was in fact, what I thought it was, but I am curious to know if it just went up slightly, or if it took a huge jump. I certianly hope the 27.29 was not in the high 100's or over 200 and I was not contacted or no action was taken. Maybe I will never know.

I just cant take the risk of staying with a doctor, who, when I truly felt something was wrong, all but assured me my pains were side effects of the Lupron injections. Had I not called Kettering Hospital ON MY OWN, to find out when they had openings and all but insisted your office call in the order for the test, how long would I have been pacified with pain killers and been told to ride the wave of that last great PET scan I had, despite the bone pain, aches, and most recently, weight loss? Im not in a position health-wise to wait weeks or months for action when Im certain something is wrong.

I do realize that you are operating out of a much larger office and must have more rigid protocol to make your practice run smoothly, but when I need to see my oncologist, Im not used to having to call the Nurse, wait at least 24 hours in order for the nurse to speak to the physician, then the nurse calls me back to let me know if the physician even wants to see me....if she does, I then get transferred to the scheduling person, then, if Im getting treatment, I need to call the IV Therapy people to schedule that.

Another thing that bothers me is having to get the bloodwork done the day before, or the morning of the treatment. Im used to having it done minutes before I get my treatment. I have never once, in five years, been denied treatment due to bad blood cell counts. Its definitely a chore to come out the day before, or twice in one day, and Im just across the street! I can't imagine the efforts for those people who have to drive long distances for one simple test.

And while I know you did your best to accomodate my schedule and give me appointments later in the afternoon, I had, I belive three appointments where I had to wait a full hour to be seen by the doctor. It's difficult to believe that there isnt a practice in place that doesnt give the patients some sort of heads up that they wont be seen for a full hour after their scheduled appointment. Patients, including myself, take great pains to show up to their appointments on time in respect for the practice and the doctors schedule, but it doesn't seem like the same respect is given to those patients. I have seen a great number of specialists of all kinds in my dealings with cancer, and have never experienced such long waits with such frequency.

At the end of the day, I am just an old dog who doesn't want to learn new tricks, especially when it comes to my health. Historically, I have never considered myself a pro-active or very assertive person, but as I get older, and I learn more about how my body works and the signs I need to look for when something is wrong, I feel like I need to have a doctor who believes me and trusts my opinion. I shouldn't have to put this much effort into having action taken when I feel like something is wrong.

Both you and Dr. Lower have been very kind to me and I do appreciate the efforts you have taken to work me into those late appointments, and I do really feel that you both showed empathy towards my situation, especially in regards to my upcoming oopherectomy, which I will be having. I thank Dr. Lower for putting the pressure on me to have this done, as I have been putting it off for so long and it has put my health at risk.

I think that a huge component to the progress I make has to do with the comfort I feel with my caretakers, and its hard to replicate a five-year relationship. NO practice could do that! I miss my nurses, they were like sisters, and Dr. Romer has been there with me every step. I think I just underestimated how difficult it would be to part with what has become family to me, especially in light of these new developments.

Again, I thank you for the time you have taken with me, and will be here if you need to contact me for any reason at all.

*(just a note...she DID get a response from the doctor. The doctor's response? "I would not have changed the regimen. I felt I was doing the right thing."
That was pretty unbelievable to BOTH of us. ANOTHER reason I would not recommend this doctor! Doctor Romer got her in the following Monday, had her PET Scan and had a new chemo treatment ready to go. That's ALL she wanted.)
Ok, you're probably wondering why the heading is FABLE. A fable is a story that has a moral. The moral to THIS story? Be proactive. Not just with your OWN health, but with your loved ones too.
Melissa WAS proactive. She tried several times to get through to this doctor that things were getting worse. But the doctor didn't listen. Because the doctor didn't KNOW Melissa. Dr. Romer did. The other moral is, if you have a doctor that you TRUST, stay with that doctor.
I know in my heart that even if she had been with Dr. Romer, her time was short. BUT I would have taken a few more months...even a few more days.
I also think it is interesting how POSITIVE her letter was in light of the seriousness of what was going on.

I miss her EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Sometimes I just need to share her wisdom. And she was full of it....she lived it every day of her life.
Some family news - Aunt Helen, who got Melissa into the Scrapbook Weekends (with Stacy and Jami) was just diagnosed with breast cancer. Invasive ductal carcinoma, just like Melissa. She had a double mastecomy on Thursday, no lymph node involvement, Stage 1.
Very good news.

Donny is coaching at Fairmont with Melissa's good friend, Andy (Coach Rock). They had a seven on seven tournament at UC this week. We both know Melissa would have been there watching - probably would have taken the day off to spend with her dad...Miss those things too....
And of course can't end a post without updating on Fort's nephews...she would for sure!

I went into the living room and Drew climbed up onto the recliner (where I sit and read the paper), picked up my reading glasses, grabbed the newspaper and started READING...see how important MODELING is????

I have the kids on Wednesdays...they LOVE to help Pamma around the house!

Messy Max...

Cute Max....

Cute Drew....

This picture of Drew reminds me SO MUCH of Melissa...we have very few pictures of Melissa either alone OR not making a face. Drew looks a lot like Fort did when she was that age...Max looks more like Nick did when he was little (and of course they look like they're mom too!)

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Interesting story from Shannon on her walk....but before I tell you HER story, I need to tell you something else the medium told me. Melissa is surrounded by butterflies. Told me last year when I saw him "she's sending you rainbows and butterflies". This year it was "her aura is engulfed with butterflies". SO. Actually a couple of butterfly stories to share...

Shannon texted me before the walk, and when she got to pitstops. I responded to her text at lunchtime with "she's with you every step of the way. watch for butterflies!"

She called me a couple of hours later. When they stopped for lunch, she took her shirt off (I'm guessing is was just as hot in Boston as it is here!) and laid it on the grass with the back up. The back of the shirt has a pink ribbon and I'M WALKING FOR FORT (and a couple other names). she was reading the text, looked over, and there was a BUTTERFLY on the shirt!
He (the medium) also mentioned "THE BOAT" in the session. He asked if I was going to "THE BOAT". I kind of chuckled and said NOT TODAY...he said "NO. Are you planning on going to the boat...because SHE'S GOING WITH YOU." (very emphatic). Then he said "she's talking about cherries...and, she's showing me a slot maching. So I guess you're supposed to put a couple of dollars in a slot machine..."
WELL. Melissa KNEW I LOVED to go to "the boat". So after lunch the next Monday, I talked my friend and her mom into going with me. Of course I was headed straight for the Wild Cherry slot machines, but as we were walking in, my friend said "mom always wins on the butterfly machines". I didn't even KNOW there were butterfly machines...
SO. Her mom found one, sat down, and in five minutes won $150. I found one, sat down, won $180. My friend found one, won $100.

You can call these coincidences...but I call them FORT.

Also, it's pretty common to see monarch butterflies in our area, but don't see a lot of other types usually. The other day, I came home and the most beautiful butterfly landed on my blackeyed susans, spread its wings, and let me take pictures. I'm guess THAT was from Melissa too.
Made my day.
Thanks Fort.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Melissa's OU friend who we participated in the Altanta walk with in 2007 is doing the 3 day walk in Boston - this weekend! Send positive thoughts her way! If you are reading from Boston...check out the archives down the right side of this page and read what FORT wrote - her posts are all before January 2009. She will make you laugh and inspire all you walkers - you are doing a GREAT service to the BREAST CANCER cause! THANK YOU!


Monday, July 19, 2010

a note from Erica...

In recent post, I talked about a former rugby friend of Melissa's who visited while she was in town a few weeks ago. She stopped by to give me a rugby jersey from her Seattle team. I tried to write down everything she was telling me about her team so I could share it, but my note taking skills aren't as good as they used to I asked Erica if she would share something about Fort....

From Erica...

Today I was honored to give Momma FORT a Seattle Breakers Rugby Jersey, the character of the jersey reminded me of FORT at first sight... The collar was torn off, the patch carrying the number 4 was tattered and sewn on, the jersey was worn by great women of rugby through the years..., the kind of women who work hard for 80 minutes and then drink up and bask in the joys of the game. I researched a bit about my teams history and when this jersey was in it's prime, we were a top team, at nationals multiple times... I know FORT would have worn it proudly! The honor was to have Pam wear it proudly in FORT's place, to take a picture with her and smile knowing that FORT was near was powerful! I love the spirit that Pam carries with her and the passion she pours out... FORT lives in us everyday, Pam she is always near! I feel empowered to share FORT's story with my team, and friends, everyone wants to hear about the underdog, the lil' engine that could..., everyone wants to FEEL the power of hope in their life! That is what FORT offers us everyday we choose to smile, to share, to remember that we still have another day to believe and encourage others to go after their passions and never stop believing. That is the Melissa Fortener I remember with joy, honor, and a smirk of mischieviousness... ;) I am so blessed to lead an amazing life, thanks for all your encouragement and love FORT. It's true, fortscancersux.... but her heart lives on.... i wear my pink FORT armband proudly and it starts many conversations where i get to share about my friend and teammate who taught me so much....
I'm with you, close, in support...

6-23-10 journal entry
Today I visited with Pam Fortener! Memories and tears filled out time and mostly my eyes.. Thoughts and stories of Melissa poured out... what an inspiring woman, teammate, and friend. Now years have passed since she bid farewell, to at least her body's shell. Her life lives on and shows us still, how we ought to be. STRONG, FRIENDLY, POURING OUT LOVE & JOY, ALWAYS A SMILE TO GIVE... Now her story, her life and legacy lives on each day we are bold enough to say it, "FORT", yes "FORT"... She fought and led the way. Go back and read her trials and the heart with which she paid. 100% belief and strength in beating the odds, no doubt her mind was made. I love her passion and energy, her bounce, the light of her array. Some say it's an aura or spirit, they try so hard to gage. What we know through it all is how real she is, with us smiling each and everyday. So if you find lifes' weight has you down, take a deep breath and say, whatever the challenge, no matter the size, i'll do it the FORTENER way!
e - I just need to say that EVERYTHING you said about Fort reflects back on YOU and all of her friends. I LOVE sitting in a room with her's like being with HER.
She made an impact on all of us, but you made an impact on HER too. I see it every time I see her friends. Thank ALL of you.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

OH Savannah...

Ok, first of all, if you are reading the blog for the first time, PLEASE go to the archives (down the right side of this page) and pull up something from before January 2009. That would be Fort's (Melissa's) posts. You WANT to read what she wrote.
I have posted a few times in the last year and a half, and I TRY to post what I think Fort might.
In this post, you will suffer through vacation pictures. Don't have to be stuck in someone's HOUSE any more and forced to watch home movies...we can do it on a BLOG now!!!! I think Fort would be ok with this one though - because I can tie it to a funny story about HER.

A few years back (before John, I believe), Melissa and some rugby friends visited Savannah. They were all out of college (I think), and I'm pretty sure it was a weekend. WELL...about 2 a.m. on the first night, I get a phone call. "MOM? I'm lost in Savannah. I can't find my friends!" "Melissa. You are in Savannah. I am in Kettering. What do you want me to do?" I'm pretty sure just talking to me made her feel safer...for some strange reason. I guess they were in a bar (imagine that - in Savannah!) and they just got lost from each other. Needless to say after we hung up, I couldn't sleep the rest of the night. She called the next day - she was fine. I told her the best thing she could do was GET BACK TO HER HOTEL. Somehow she did that. Not a very good feeling for parents. See what you all have to look forward to someday?

Since that visit, Melissa & John went to Savannah a couple of times, including their "honeymoon". It was an "impromptu" honeymoon I guess you could say. They had decided to get married the WEEK BEFORE, and got married on the Friday before the St. Patrick's Day celebration in Savannah. It also happens to be a big rugby weekend in Savannah. After they got married (in Blue Ash), Fort's friend Casey J. was waiting at the apartment...she was their driver to Savannah. We heard LOTS of great stories about Savannah (ok, mostly about the bars), but have been very interested in the history of Savannah and Charleston. So we took a couple days last week and visited.

I actually posted the pictures in the wrong order - we went to Savannah first, then Charleston...but oh well. It was a quick week, but good for both of us. Not really relaxing, but good to get away together.
If you're not into "family" vacation pictures, skip to the end of the post - interesting story about Poogan's Porch and my visit from Melissa.

Thanks too for continuing to check the blog. It's been good therapy for me.


We had lunch at Poogan's Porch after our walking tour in Charleston. Interesting place...says they are the THIRD MOST HAUNTED place in America! I have an interesting story about this place at the end of the blog....

These houses in Charleston are PRE Revoluntionary War. I thought they were so beautiful...for as old as they are. It fascinates me. (Never been to Europe...that would REALLY amaze me!)


If you knew Fort, you knew that she took some pretty amazing "self portraits"...I've been practicing, and getting better.....

Our favorite restaurant in Savannah! It said "tshirts sold inside" of course we went in to buy out the tshirts...and they had ONE left. An XL in pink. So we bought it...and it fit Nick perfectly. I think we're going to call to see if they can order some for us!

This is a grave in an OLD cemetery in Savannah. Does this grave look like a bed to you? It does to me. Could it be why we say "our final resting place?" No one there to ask!

This way to the beach...we went to Tybee Island after touring Savannah. Got to the public parking area, drove around for about 10 minutes and someone stopped us and said "we're leaving, do you want our spot? And we have an hour left on our parking, you can have that too." Then we got to the beach, put our towels down, and the young couple in front of us got up and said "we're leaving. do you want our chairs and umbrella? we have another hour and a half left?" We met the NICEST people in Georgia!

The Crab Shack at Tybee Island

We met Reds Helmey (author of The Lemon Dance) the day we were leaving Savannah.
Donny met him while I was shopping - he is the only person to ever hijack an airline and get acquitted. He hijacked a United Airlines plane to Cuba to assasinate Fidel Castro.
Donny is reading the book first - sounds pretty interesting....

We had a very low key fourth...Nick, Drew & Max and my sister Sue came over for a cookout (Mere had to work), and my dad, Donny's mom and some of his family came over to watch the fireworks from our front yard.

Drew patiently(?) waits at Pamma's for he thinks EVERY time he comes to Pamma's there will be fireworks when it gets dark!

Max relaxing in the backyard on the Drew's new picnic table!

Kat (rugby teammate of Melissa's) and Chris...THANK YOU for stopping by!

Not sure why, but feeling a little down lately. Maybe it's knowing that summer is half over...only a few more weeks before school starts (don't get any sympathy here at home about THAT)...might be the thought of going into a "new" building, getting to know 400 new kids and a new staff...or getting to know a new library. Or what I'm thinking is I'm missing Melissa terribly. Every day. I love love love visits and calls from her friends (thanks Kat & Chris!) and occasional lunches with old friends (thanks Cole!)who have no choice but to sit and listen to stories about Melissa. Sometimes I need to talk about her and sometimes I need to cry. That was today - and Cole was very patient and listened and laughed and cried with me.

I wasn't sure if I would share this on the blog...but it's something I NEEDED to do, and it was really helpful for me.

A friend of Melissa's called me last year and told me about a psychic/medium in the Cincinnati area that she had seen. So I went. It was amazing. I didn't tell Donny that I was going, but when he got home, we listened to the tape together and it was very emotional for both of us. It's been a year, and I was ready to talk to him again.

I'm not going to share EVERYTHING that he said, just a few things that I thought were pretty interesting.

First of all, I haven't had many dreams about Melissa - actually none where we have actually talked. Last week when we were in Charleston, a friend recommended a little restaurant in the historic district called Poogan's Porch. We found out it is one of the top 3 most haunted houses in the U.S. Two sisters lived in the house and died in the house - they were "spinsters"...were never married. Supposedly they now haunt the house. Tables were set up in the living room and dining room areas of the house. We had a table in the living room and were seated alone in there for a short I made a little request of the sisters...I asked that they get Melissa and bring her to me. That night, I had my first "real" dream about her. I was driving and wanted to call her about something, and realized that I couldn't call her. I started crying..and the next thing I remember about the dream - Melissa and I were sitting at a table talking, I think we were having lunch and I think we were at Poogan's Porch. I can't remember what we were talking about, but I think it was about her treatments. of the things he said was "the dream you had about Melissa a couple of nights ago? She wants you to know it was her."

I could have walked out right then and had my money's worth.

Another thing he said is "she is very loud on the other side. she makes a LOT of NOISE
around your house."

We have a puzzle for the kids that is farm animals. It is activated by removing the puzzle piece, and it makes the sound of the animal when you remove the piece. The animal sounds go off ALL THE TIME. We are nowhere near it, and it goes off. Just now,
I told Donny that I was pretty sure that Melissa and I were at Poogan's Porch having lunch and the puzzle went off. Donny said she was agreeing with me.
He also said "she colored her hair, didn't she? She says she is STILL coloring her hair"
(and THAT reminded of one of the times she colored her hair - when it was coming back after she lost it from treatments. She was working at Commonwealth at the time. She emailed me from work and said "I colored my hair last night - and nobody's said anything must look terrible!"....then I got another email and she said (I can't remember her co-workers name) and so said "WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO TO YOUR HAIR?????" I guess it was REALLY she colored it again. Every time she lost her hair and it came back, she would say "I need to color my hair back to it's NATURAL color (blonde)"...evidently the color it grew back IN was NOT her natural color...
Mere told me the other day she dreamt about Melissa and she had BLACK hair.

He also said "she's thanking you for doing the walk for her. and she says there's another one in the planning stages?" (I NEVER mentioned this - EVER. I did the walk last October, and participated in the opening and closing ceremonies).

He said (chuckling) she wants to have a drink with you...she didn't drink, did she? I LAUGHED and said "YES." then he said "she's talking about sushi...I have NEVER had sushi come up in a reading...NEVER. Who likes sushi?" She does, John does, Nick does...I DON'T.

He also asked "what friend are you helping that has cancer?" (one of my best friends/coworkers was diagnosed in October and has been going through chemo and radiation SINCE October) He said "Melissa says you need to be strong for her mom. Everything will be ok. She's sending her angels, and she's sending you strength."

There were a few more things, but I think that's enough to share...I KNOW a lot of people are skeptical...Donny is THE biggest skeptic, and I was skeptical too. But boy it sure was nice to hear some of those things - I DO believe she is visiting us in our dreams - I have to believe that to get through some days.

And it's not hurting anyone.
So skeptical or not, I did it and got through another day.

I'm pretty sure Melissa was ok with it too.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


"Life is partly what we make it, and partly what is made by the friends we choose"-Tehyi Hsieh

Saturday, July 3, 2010. One year, six months. Eighteen months.
Yes. I am still counting. It is STILL hard for me to believe that she is gone. ESPECIALLY when I go through pictures and she looks so healthy. And when I read the blog (I do that daily-I LOVE to hear her "voice" in the blog). And when I read saved emails we sent back and forth.

I realize when I read her writing how blessed we are to have the blog..and the emails...and the thank you's...I STILL find things that she's written. I love it.

Another thing that I have realized in the last eighteen months is how blessed we are - how blessed SHE was - to have such WONDERFUL, caring friends. Do you remember when it was a year and I said "you know you did a good job raising your children by the friends they choose?"...I have to say it again. She had WONDERFUL friends.

Usually I am laying wide awake in bed in the middle of the night when something pops into my head to write on the blog. I grab my journal and start writing. Sometimes I even get up in the middle of the night and post.

What prompted me to write this time was an unexpected visitor last week. The morning did not start out very well. I really didn't want to get out of bed. Once I got up, had a cup of coffee and read the paper, I decided if NOTHING else, I would take a short bike ride. That was it. Then I got home, did a little "decluttering", then took a 4 mile walk. Ok. Now I'm motivated. I was getting ready to pay bills (the old fashioned way - I still write checks)...when there was a tap on the door...and what a GREAT surprise was awaiting me! Erica B (no last names - Fort's rules), a former rugby teammate of Melissa's was in town from Seattle, visiting family. She now plays for the Seattle Breakers, and her team came in 4th in the Nation this year. At the end of the season, they sold their old "Classic" jerseys. I guess one just JUMPED out at her and had FORT written all over was FALLING apart. Imagine that. The collar is torn off, the number on the back (#4) is almost ripped off. Sound like Fort? I have some of her other jerseys and that old OU green jacket that she tried to sew herself. It's her. Erica bought it for ME. I was SO touched by her thoughtfulness. It was a very emotional visit. And I loved EVERY minute of it. (I think I almost made her miss her flight - Sorry Erica!)

I guess what I'm trying to say here - to ALL of her friends, is you all mean so much to us (me, Donny, Nick, Mere, Drew, Max and I KNOW John too). You keep her alive for us. Sharing stories, keeping in touch, including us in events. Our lives will never be the same without her. But we are SO blessed that SHE CHOSE THE FRIENDS that she did. I KNOW I did a good job raising her BY THE FRIENDS SHE CHOSE. I can't say that enough.

I have to say too, to my friends, that I haven't been much of a friend lately. I'm sorry for that. I still don't have a desire to "party", unless it's about Melissa...
or her friends. It's just where I am at right now. I get up EVERY day, I do as much as I can - I even laugh now and then - especially when I have Drew & Max. But my life is different. There is a HUGE part of my life missing. And it will NEVER change.
Thank you for understanding that. At eighteen months, I STILL am not good at returning phone calls. I AM good at replying to emails. I am very content to stay at home and enjoy my bike rides and walks. I don't make plans in advance for pretty much anything -(other than softball games). I enjoy meeting one or two friends for lunch. I LOVE watching my grandsons. I love it when someone stops by...especially one of Melissa's friends. I still don't cook - (Donny's supposed to be doing that now anyway...I cooked for the first 25 years - he's supposed to cook for the 2nd 25!) I have started going to the grocery again - didn't do that for over a year. And yes, I still cry EVERY day. There is something EVERY day that reminds me of Melissa. But that is ok too. I think about her EVERY day, but I am getting up and living one day at a time.

OK. Every post is about Fort. Enough about me....
This post is mostly pictures - of Fort and of her friends. I hope you enjoy the pictures. Some have been posted before, but they are some of my favorites.

Me & Erica (self portrait - with Fort's camera. Fort would have DEFINITELY posted a picture of a visit from a friend who came ALL THE WAY FROM SEATTLE to visit!)

Angie & Fort (I hope you don't mind I "borrowed" this photo from FB Ang). Ang is in touch with me on a REGULAR basis.

Julie, Shannon, Fort, Pam
This our POST 3 day, 60 mile walk photo! Shannon is doing the walk AGAIN in Boston in a couple of weeks for herself this time. She said was trying to get motivated to register for the walk - went to a Red Sox game and heard a song that she and Fort loved (or hated) when they were at OU. ANOTHER sign from Fort - she went home and registered that night!

Fort and her Cincinnati Kelts teammates...GREAT friends!

Me, Jen, Donny & Fort (Jen was Melissa, Erica, Kyra & Stacy's rugby coach after OU. I think it's called 23's???? Somebody help me here...)
Jen is running the Donna Breast Cancer Marathon in Jacksonville AGAIN in February. I don't plan anything that far in advance, but I'm pretty sure I'll be WALKING the 1/2 Marathon with a couple other B POSITIVE team members. If you're interested, let me know. I know Jen would welcome anyone who wants to join us - you can run the full or half, or walk the half like ME!

Fort and her best friends from OU & "Scrapbook Mountain" (Jami & Stacy)

I was just browsing through pictures (again) and thought I'd post some of my favorites...only a few actually. Some have already been posted on the blog, but I hope you enjoy them anyway...........

One of our wig shopping excursions...(this is what I looked like in high school!)

One of my favorites...her 30th birthday...

Melissa having a serious conversation with the Franz's...I would LOVE to know what she's talking about here...POLITICS maybe??? (did't see that face too often!)

Melissa and her high school buddies...

a typical photo...we have very FEW pictures of Melissa where she is NOT making a face. I love it....

This was October 2008...she looks GREAT. We were having SO much fun...ALWAYS. Me & Fort and the Naked Cowboy!

one of my favorites of Drew with his Aunt Fort...he LOVES to be outside still....

Of course a Fort update isn't complete without the adorable pics of her nephews...Max poolside sipping a cool one....

Drew at his first church festival...he was so excited to take a ticket home with him! (picked one of the "losers" off the ground..he was SO excited!)