The Next Step

After my last clear scan results, I was overcome with joy and celebrated with a trip to Croatia with my good friends Matt and Nancy Leslie. The trip was both a celebration and appreciation of everything in my life.   I went to Dubrovnik, which is a beautiful and picturesque city. We had a blast exploring islands off the coast and the many beaches. After Croatia, we went back to Medjugorje for a spiritual tune-up and to give thanks for all of my blessings.

Upon returning home, the ecstatic joy I was feeling from my clear scans began to change. It became confusion and guilt. I’m confused because I wasn’t expecting this news. I had reached a point where I had accepted death as an outcome and this news had extended my life. (I still feel like I’m living on borrowed time since last October when I was informed by one of my doctors that there wasn’t anything else she could do for me). Adding to my confusion is the fear of cancer returning. I started thinking again of my future. I avoid thinking about it to ease the pain, i.e. imagining my children in high school. I don’t like thinking of the future because it’s painful. It’s painful because I don’t like thinking about what I may miss out on in my life. I was doing a great job living in the moment and appreciating every minute of the day and I feel like I’ve lost that perspective.

The guilt I’m experiencing comes from my confusion. I don’t understand why I had this good news while many of my friends have died from this same disease. I feel lost and out of sync. Since being diagnosed with cancer, it has been a large part of my identity, more so than I would like to admit. I don’t let it define who I am, but not a day goes by that I don’t think about having cancer. For example, taking my chemo pills daily and the pain in my feet and hands is a cancer reminder.

I’ve been told God has a plan for me and I believe it’s true. I just don’t know what the plan is, so I’m confused/guilty/humbled and lost. God has answered my prayers and I am grateful but I also believe I don’t deserve this because there are so many people in need and more deserving of their prayers being answered. As a result, I pray for peace and understanding/openness to God’s will. In the meantime I’m going to continue to fight on, not just for me, but for Nick, Leah, Karen, Deborah, and Teresa who didn’t hear the words “no evidence of disease” and for all my friends who are fighting for their lives. I want to try to help as many people affected by this disease as I can. Please pray for me to be cancer-free for a year so that hospitals will be able to refer patients to me for therapy.

I’ve also included pictures of my extraordinary summer.

The Leslies and the Weins after our oyster boat cruise

The Leslies and the Weins after our oyster boat cruise in Croatia.

Looking down on Dubrovnik

Looking down on Dubrovnik

Wall around Dubrovnik

View of this city from the city's wall

View of this city from the city’s wall

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On top of Cross Mountain in Medjugorje

At the US Open tennis tournament with Justin Castello and Joe Young.

At the US Open tennis tournament with Justin Castello and Joe Young.

On the blue carpet sporting our American pride. Ran into John McEnroe who told us,

On the blue carpet sporting our American pride. We ran into John McEnroe who told us, “Nice shorts fellas, might want to rethink that decision”.  We had fun time bumbling around the tournament and NYC.

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