Monday, September 10, 2012

Peter's Journey to Survival

This weekend was filled with fun! First of all I got to help plan my little sister’s 14th birthday party, which is just so hard to believe. She has the most amazing little group of girlfriends that support her and love her and it was so great to see that. 

Secondly, I surprised Pete with a party for completing radiation. And it was a real SURPRISE! This is a big deal considering I haven’t had much luck keeping secrets from him over the course of our relationship, and Izzy knew about it. She was actually with me when I ordered the cupcakes and she continually said, “And I’m not going to tell dada.” And she didn’t! Way to go Izzy and thank you to everyone that attended (or wanted to!) and those near and far who sent him messages to lift his spirits and to spur him on during this next phase. It was such a blessing to see the joy overflowing from his spirit on Saturday night. So, thank you again for your support and love.

The party really was a fun event and left us feeling so loved by all our friends and family. The fact is, that with the move to Red Bluff the attitude around here has not been that great. In fact, I’m ashamed to say it’s been really poor. Pete and I have had a tough time coming to terms with the change, yet at the time the decision was made, it was necessary. However, now we’re here and settled and there is no choice but to come to terms with it.

My father-in-law was kind enough to come up this weekend to celebrate with us. Over the course of this journey he has been keeping a journal. As an engineer, he is not manufactured to create anything but thorough documentation of anything! And that’s exactly what he’s done. The document is filled with almost 200 pages documenting Pete’s journey; everything from doctor’s appointments, medications, CT scans, blogs, Facebook posts, texts, messages, and pictures. This is a complex document and I am so thankful for his dedication and perseverance to continue its compilation despite his hectic work schedule and travels. So, thank you Charlie!

But, when he handed it to me for review, something caught my eye, the title page. It was entitled, Peter’s Journey to Survival. When I first read that I immediately thought, “Is he getting something I’m not,” or,  “Am I missing something?” Last I heard we were running out of options. Every night I go to bed listening to Pete’s labored breathing and awake every morning to Pete grimacing in pain. It’s not a pretty picture and it pretty much makes it impossible to maintain as much hope as I once had of his eventual survival.

I remember one of my first Facebook posts back in December 2011, which read, “Please pray for our family but specifically for Pete. They discovered a tumor in his colon this morning and are pretty sure it's cancerous. He'll have a CT scan tomorrow and we'll know the results of the biopsy on Friday. The good news is that it's one of the better cancers to have as it is very curable. This is a very tough time for us so any prayers would be appreciated.”

I keep rethinking those last words, “…it is one of the better cancers to have as it is very curable.” Wow, if we only knew back then what we know now. Would we have fought harder? Would we have made more of an effort to live our lives to the fullest? Spread joy? Do more for others? The truth is, I have no idea. But I do know that we are where we are today, for a reason. 

The truth is that we have to keep hope alive and that means something different to everyone involved. Last night I finished a book by comedian Robert Schimmel who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is now cancer free. At the end of the book, he shares a list of lessons he learned over the course of his treatment. One of them that stood out to me was, “Create a purpose, a focus, and never take your eyes off it.” This is true of anything, not just cancer. It reminds me of the story of the woman that was determined to win the lottery. She meditated on winning the lottery everyday and guess what, she won! So maybe my father-in-law has the right idea; believing that Pete will survive despite having all the cards stacked against him. And, although my faith waivers day-by-day, today I’m back to believing survival is possible. So, as always, keep the prayers coming. 

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