I Just Want to Celebrate

Shannon and I just got the best news in the history of good news. We won the lottery. Well, her most recent PET scan came back 100% clean, so it’s like winning the lottery, but so much better. It’s her third PET scan this year (pre-radiation baseline, post-radiation check, and 6 month follow up) and each and every one she has passed with flying colors. But most importantly, this scan shows absolutely no metastasis whatsoever.

I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year (December 28) when Shannon had her last chemotherapy treatment. She finished radiation treatment in March 2011, and I have been blogging very sporadically since then. There are many reasons why I haven’t been blogging regularly, but the fact that I haven’t had to post daily updates about Shannon’s progress has been a huge gift and relief. It hasn’t all been sunshine and puppy dogs in the last year. Our emotions are still riding a roller coaster. We almost lost Shannon’s mom in February, and she had to abandon her radiation treatments for almost a week to fly to Seattle to be with her. She had a dramatic recovery, and was in Bismarck this past June to celebrate the end of Shannon’s treatment with all of our family and friends.

Even I have had my ups and downs. Cancer really does affect all of those around the patient, and spouses and partners are even more susceptible. We never know what’s around the corner, always fearing in the back of our minds that next doctor’s appointment, but we have to maintain a strong demeanor for the patient. At times, my efforts to be positive have fallen flat on their face and come off as harsh, unfeeling, or down right mean-spirited. I can’t apologize to Shannon enough for my behavior, but she has a forgiving soul even when I don’t think I deserve forgiveness. I am slowly coming to realize that her cancer took more out of me than I originally cared to admit, and that by trying to suppress my fears of losing her in order to keep her spirits up were neither helpful nor healthy. We visited with a marriage counselor this summer, and I believe that our relationship has only gotten stronger. We are still tested every single day, but it is a test we will pass.

The last few months have added to our stress. Shannon is currently being treated for some radiation-caused pneumonitis (lung inflammation), and has been on steroids. (And, yes, they really are just as fun as they sound.) To top it off, we have a very busy, precocious three-year-old who knows exactly which buttons to push, when, and how often. God, fate, karma, all seem focused on making our lives as interesting as possible. But if life weren’t interesting it wouldn’t be worth living.

So, we’re going to live our life. Next week we fly to Seattle to spend Christmas with Shannon’s mom and her “roommate” Brian. We are looking forward to time to recover and decompress. It is a million times better than the place we were last year at this time.

Lot’s of love and best wishes to all of our family and friends for a joyous holiday season. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

P.S. This time of year is especially difficult for me. It has been more than 4 years since we lost my grandparents. I’ve never blogged about them, though I may someday. Their sudden loss was a huge blow, and while I know it was for the best, it is still troubling to me. So, to my mom, dad, and brother, I want to say just how much I love and cherish each and every one of you. And to Shannon, you have been my rock keeping me grounded through all of life’s twists and turns. I could never have gotten through this without you.

P.P.S. Screw it. Here are a couple of kids in a Taekwondo match. Cheers.

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