Wednesday, April 26, 2017

It's that time again . . .

Spring Break Boys at Myrtle Beach
Many days . . . most days it is easy to live a blissfully ignorant life, free of cancer and chemo and all things that have anything to do with osteosarcoma.  I'm happy to say that all of us have gotten very good at it over the last three months. The mundane, daily rituals of family have been glorious.  Boys play, joke, fight, and laugh just like they always have and the noise that comes as part of the package when you host brothers in your home is a sweet reminder to Mike and I that our family is still here . . . working out our new roles and goals, but doing it together!

Mac is back refereeing soccer! 

The busy routines of homework, friends, school, concerts, church, soccer games and all of those things that make our life so delightfully out of control most days, also creates a world where it is easy to forget  . . . And then the three month mark is up and it's back to DeVos . . . back for scans that will tell us the fate of whether we get to continue to bask in the normalcy of our boring, small-town life or whether we will be back in fight mode against the beast.  Back for scans!

On a list of things I despise most in the world, scan day is probably right up there.  It's only redeeming quality it has is that while it can weld a harrowing blow of disappointment, it is also able to deliver the news that gives us a vacation from cancer for three months.  My relationship with scans is definitely a love-hate one.   MacKale doesn't care!  He is delighted to have a day off school.  He wants a thick strawberry shake for lunch and would like to stop by and see his nurses from the 9th floor.  Scans seemly never phase him.

He is an anomaly to me.

I would gladly go to school everyday if it meant we would never have to face the reality of cancer in any way, shape or form.  I would gladly hide away from scans and the hospital and everything uncomfortable that comes with facing a day of scans.

It's the difference in our make up.  It's the difference between his ever optimistic outlook and my 'mother gene.'  Regardless of how I might feel, however, we can't hide from this.  This is the reality we face tomorrow, and it's why I will come to you all again and again, without shame or guilt, to beg for prayers  . . . prayers for peace and wisdom but mostly for scans that show N.E.D (No Evidence of Disease).

Osteosarcoma absolutely stole so much time from us last year, but in many ways, we have been blessed with a clearer vision of what is important and a great appreciation for precious time together.
Laughter and fun are priceless commodities these days. We take greater advantage of long drawn out dinners, we don't always rush that snuggle time before bed, we say 'I love you,' we hug our family and friends, we take the long way home, we don't work quite as hard as we used to . . .  and our nightly prayers take a bit longer than before, because, quite honestly, our blessings are many, and it takes a LONG time to be thankful for everything given to us.  We are genuinely so incredibly blessed. We are together, we are happy, our boys are in school, we have a home and work and everything we desire  . . . everything we could ever hope for, dream of, or wish!  We have it all!  But, despite all of it, of course, we are not perfect . . . and we get scared.  We are afraid! And, quite honestly, that fear robs us.

Because here's the thing . . . unfortunately for too many children with cancer . . . too many of our friends from the 9th floor . . . too many children we care deeply for . . . relapse is a brutal reality.  It is so unfair and horrible and agonizing.  And we desperately pray for our friends who are facing that reality.  We pray that the cancer will leave their young bodies and leave MacKale's and never . . . not ever return.  That's a prayer we can't let go of . . . not ever.

As for me, tomorrow I'm going to make a special effort to take the advice of my friend, John, who promised me he would light a candle for Mackale at the Sant' Agata Cathedrale in Catania, Italy this week.  John knows our journey and walked this same road with his son many years ago.  He told me, "fear is such a terrible thing, the opposite of love, and you want to go with love, in everything. Let that take your anxiety away." '

So this time for scans, I'm going try to be like Mac.  This time around,  I'm going to order the extra thick strawberry shake and love every calorie.   I'm going to 'go with love, in everything.'   I'm going to try . . . really hard.  But I may need a little help . . . so pray for me.

Love you all . . .

Spring Break Myrtle Beach