Remission

My scan was clear of any masses and I’m in remission. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of your support.  God bless.

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Climb

This week my daughter Katie and I attended a meeting at my local hospital called CLIMB (Children’s Lives Include Moments of Bravery).  The program is designed for children who have a parent or family member with cancer.  The program focuses on emotional support for the child by utilizing a group format.

Prior to my last scan, Janie and I noticed Katie’s behaviors changing surrounding the scan date.  We didn’t realize the change in behaviors were related to my scan.  Once we were able to connect the dots, we were shocked and worried.  We try to act “normal”, but Katie is very observant and can pick up on our stress.  Anabel is four years old and my sickness is all she knows and she’s unaware of the importance of scans.  Anabel believes everyone’s daddy goes to the doctor weekly and takes medicine.  She often tells me, “You put on lotion because of your boo-boos”.   She is aware I have boo-boos but can’t comprehend the severity of cancer.  However, Katie knows.

I am excited about Katie participating in this group, but I also feel guilty and sad.  As a parent, I want to protect her and Anabel from physical and emotional pain.  Seeing her emotionally hurt because she worries about me, crushes me.  I struggle with being the source of the problem.  I want to put them in a protective bubble.  The reality is, Katie and Anabel will have to learn to cope with my diagnosis and Katie is now riding the cancer roller coaster with Janie and me. Trying to look at this situation positively, I know personal growth comes from struggles and my children will learn to deal with adversity at a young age.

In the CLIMB group, I’m the “veteran” cancer patient.  Most of the participants are newly diagnosed and struggling with the reality of having cancer and raising kids.  My children were too young to participate when I was first diagnosed.  Katie, even though she’s the youngest in the group, is a “veteran” herself.  She’s seen me through colon surgery, brain surgery, five lung surgeries, multiple radiation treatments and chemo over the past four years.  Katie was telling me after the group, “most of the parents had only one surgery or none” and when it was her turn she told them about all my surgeries.  It’s funny because she was not acting as a victim, but was proud of all my treatments.  I explained to her that less is better in this circumstance, but honestly, I’m ok with her pride.  We talked about how through her own experiences, she can help others in the group.  So I believe the CLIMB program will be a great match for both of us.

Another example of the beauty of cancer was this past weekend.  My college roommate invited me to go to Dallas for the FCS National Championship football game in which James Madison University was playing.  After graduating from college, my college roommate and I drifted apart while we grew into our families and jobs.  Following my cancer diagnosis, we got back in touch.  The weekend and the game were awesome.  It was fun reliving our college days and talking about our current stage-of-life issues (i.e. having daughters and what are we going to do when they are teenagers?).  I was smiling and/or laughing the entire trip.  Thank you Yann Phung for helping me go on this trip.  I couldn’t have done it without you.  Thank you to Claiborne Johnston for organizing the suite and orchestrating an awesome day.

This weekend is the four-year anniversary of my diagnosis.  I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without God, all of your prayers, support, and your acts of kindness.  Keep them coming because on Monday the 23rd I have my body scan and get the results on Tuesday the 24th.

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Yann, me and Craig enjoying the JMU victory

 

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Me with the only five time Super Bowl Champion and JMU alum, Charles Haley

 

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Celebrating the JMU victory

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