Austen my high schooler is the first one out the door. Quite early too at 6:50. This morning when he came down stairs for breakfast which for him usually consist of a glass of OJ and a quick cereal bar or a cookie whatever is closer, he had a smile for ear to ear. He has always had the biggest and brightest smile. I high fived him and greeted him with some stupid thing like, you will leave a freshman and come home a sophomore. He laughed and I reached out and gave him my careful hug. He is so much bigger then me now so our hugs consist of me wrapping my arms around his waist and he putting his chin on the top of my head. I told him how happy I was to be here and he shook his head yes and quitely said, "not as happy as I am mom". Almost quite enough that he did want me to hear it but he did want me to hear it. He started to walk to the door and I followed him. I jokingly told him I was going to watch him walk across the street like I use to when he was in first grade. As he walked to my neighbors to get his friend I kept yelling bye and he kept waving. Just like when he was little. Just so he knew I was watching him and he was not alone. I know I was annoying but I just wanted to remember today. Finally he got to the end of the yard and I remember I forgot to tell him the thing I tell my boys everyday. I then yelled, "Make good choices and do your best and.....". He finished it with "and then do one more". I then closed the door to get the others two ready.
The other two were not so eventful. They were a bit crabby and did not enjoy my happy mood. But it did not change my spirit. I can not even began to explain how thrilled I am to be here. Every milestone my children have I think about the time the doctor told me six months. I have to say today seems like an even bigger event because theis year was a very rough year for me physically. Its obvious by looking at me that my cancer is progressing. I am way under 100 lbs. and no matter how much I eat I cannot put any weight on. Doc says that my body is fighting so hard it burns so much its like running a half marathon a day. I am in constant pain and so tired all the time. My last set of scans where not as promising as we wanted. The cancer is growing quickly and invading more and more. We had several chemo emobolizations, some experimental chemos and the PRRT treatment in Switzerland. Not to mention several unexpected trips to the hospital. Its been a rough school year for me but the boys have gotten through it. The boys have done great through all the challenges we have had with my cancer. For that I am so happy. Days like today make all the suffering and pain worth it. I am here. I got to kiss and hug each one of the boys today as the closed the door on one year and open the door to another. Especially for Logan who will be starting High School in August.
This summer I am determined, despite what the scans and doctors say, to make the best of my time with each one of the boys, Mark, my family and my friends. I am really going to try hard to fight through the pain and fatigue so that I don't have any regrets when they go back to school in Sept. My doctor recently said that we need to focus on getting through the summer. He wants me to concentrate on quality of life now. Well in some ways that is what I am going to do with hopes that will help me with quantity too. I am not however quitting the treatmens yet. Hospice is not ready for me yet. Mark and I are realizing that things don't look as promising as they did when the boys left for their first day of school in Sept of this past school year. But we believe in miracles because the past four years we have seen so many. Those true miracles are what has enable me to say goodbye to them today and see them come home tonight.
It is unfortunate that because of the progression of this cancer I cannot do the things I use to be able to do, but its fortunate that I am here to do the things I can. Looking back at that day I was told the cancer is back I NEVER thought I would see any of the boys go to High School. I know I was pretending to be tough and that I was going to bet all odds. I got angry at the doctors for writing me off but I now can admit that deep down I thought I would be gone by now. I have tried everything there is and every new treatment that pops up. At times they work temporarily and then the beast starts taking over again. In fact I am planning on starting a new chemo cocktail next week after I get back for Vanderbilt see Dr. Liu, a carcinoid specialist. I believe that God has put those treatments in front of me to keep me here. I feel so blessed He has taken care of me through this whole journey. Writing this reminds me of a quote I read recently that is so appropriate for the last day of school. It as follows:
"When you are going through difficulty and wonder where GOD is remember the teacher is always quiet during the test."
There has been many tears this year but many smiles too. The tears and fears are so real when you or your loved one is fighting a terminal illness. But the smiles are more then most too. Little things like the last day of school, being able to attend your sons basketball game, watching your son rock the choirs concert or being able to sit in the car and park close enough in the cold to see your other son's soccer game brings smiles that at one time I may have taken for granted. Every year, even before I was diagnosed, the last day of school was exciting for me because I loved spending the summers with my crazy wild blue eyes boys. But since my relapse and my terminal prognosis making it to see the finish of one more school year is amazing. I am so glad I learned to stop and smell the roses. I would say each year the smell is sweeter and sweeter.
THE GOOD IN CANCER!!!
CAN I CARRY YOU
Can I Carry You?
one more time before you grow.
And tell you that I love you
so that you will always know.
Please let me tie your shoe again.
One day you'll tie your own.
And when you think back to this time
I hope it's love I've shown.
Can I help you put your coat on?
Can I please cut up your meat?
Can I pull you in the wagon?
Can I pick you out a treat?
One day you might just care for me,
so let me care for you.
I want to be a part
of every little thing you do.
Tonight could I please wash your hair?
Can I put toys in the bath?
Can I help you count your small ten toes
before I teach you math?
Before you join a baseball team
can I pitch you one more ball?
And one more time can I stand near
to make sure you don't fall?
Let's take another space-ship ride
Up to the Planet Zoor.
Before our Cardboard Rocket
doesn't fit us anymore.
Please let me help you up the hill.
while you're still too small to climb.
And let me read you stories
while you're young and have the time.
I know the day will come
when you will do these things alone.
Will you recall the shoulder rides
and all the balls we've thrown?
I want you to grow stronger
than your Dad could ever be.
And when you find success
there will be no soul more proud than me.
So will you let me carry you?
One day you'll walk alone.
I cannot bear to miss one day
from now until you've grown.