Happy NED day to me. Happy NED day to me! Happy No-Evidence-Of-Disease day to me. Happy NED day to me!!!!
Wow how time does fly. We’re already back to the end of October and I am celebrating yet another NED day. This is only my third one, but I always seem to be in a contemplative mood on my NED day. Perhaps it’s because, I know what could have been if Joe had been deployed when my tumor reared its’ ugly head. I still go back and read my previous blogs/posts. It’s amusing to me to see what I wrote about - what seemed or was important.
It’s funny too that I still remember writing those comments, emails, and blogs, curled up in bed, bandaged, sore and nauseated. I had to type with only one hand in the beginning as my left arm was in a sling. Dr. C didn’t want me using it for a few days after surgery due to the incisions and the swelling in my underarm and arm from where he had to take out my lymph nodes. I remember that incision and area hurting a lot more than the actual mastectomy incisions. It’s probably because he had to dig around in my armpit to get the lymph nodes out, whereas with my mastectomies, he just cleared the breast tissue off of the chest muscles. I know that it was probably a lot more involved than that, but you get the gist.
Three years. Wow. I look at all three kids and I’m amazed at how they’ve grown and changed. Josie isn’t a baby anymore; she is still so curious, but has more mature thought processes. Jamie has gotten taller and I can now see the bone structure of his face changing as he enters adolescence. He is still reflective and quiet, but has so much going on in his head. Michelle is almost as tall as me and wears the same size clothes as me now. She has learned some hard lessons in middle school, but there are days when I can see light at the end of the tunnel. They all have inherited our sense of humor and enjoyment of discourse and debate. Dinner conversations have gotten more and more lively and sophisticated with each passing year.
Three cherished pets have gone across the Rainbow Bridge and two more have joined the family in the past three years. Even though it’s been two years since my beloved Sneakers died, I still sometimes look up, expecting him to come padding toward me making his little chirpy meows. We, as a family, put Tessa to sleep this February. It was a conscious decision to help her along before she was in horrible pain like Sneakers was. Although I know it was just days before that day would have happened, I’m still so incredibly sad. We were all with her and the kids handled it so well. I miss her sweet little presence daily. I look to the end of our bed expecting to see her sleeping there and I get a little catch in my throat when I realize that she won’t be there ever again.
Murphy was Michelle’s cat who, since we moved to Georgia, had been getting progressively meaner and naughtier. We tried to give her as happy a life as we could, but unfortunately, it made little difference. Michelle made the very brave and adult decision to put Murphy to sleep earlier this month. Joe and I were with Michelle and Murphy in the end. I know that Michelle wrestled with her decision, but as we told her over and over, she and we had done all that we could to help Murphy, but to no avail. Words and hugs don’t mend a broken heart so easily, but we did our best. It was one of those parenting moments that sucks; letting your child experience pain and hurt, but not doing anything to stop it from happening.
I’m so thankful we have our furry boys to ease the loss of both Tessa and Murphy this year. I can’t even imagine a home of mine without animals in it. Three years ago at this time, Beau was probably a roly-poly, fat, fuzzy, little ball of energy, gamboling around with his siblings. Louie wasn’t even on the horizon; his mom was probably just a kitten herself. Providence brought both boys to us and with us is where they’re staying. And, as our house always seems to have not just three kids, but three pets, one more will most likely find its’ way to us sooner or later.
Joe and I have soldiered on, appreciative for each anniversary, but busy parenting the kids and keeping the household running, as well as ourselves, literally. We’ve had our ups and downs, but who doesn’t? We don’t talk much about our little cancer adventure or its’ effects, but my Becky quietly pointed out to me when we were there for Ironman Wisconsin last month, that while Joe may seem a bit crusty on the outside, he is all soft and gooey about me on the inside. Let’s hope that he has lots and lots more years of being gooey for me!
I went for my regular check-up earlier this month and, to be honest, it was a rather boring appointment. Boring is good. All of my blood work came back fine and my tumor marker is holding steady at 12 (anything under 40 is okay). After my February appointment, I graduate again to only seeing my oncologist every six months. Whoo hoo!!!!
In the words of the Steve Miller Band, “Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'
Into the future.” And that, my friends, is a very good thing.