Friday, December 30, 2011

What a difference a year(ish) makes

I haven't written since Thanksgiving, but today (or yesterday? We can't remember exactly, but think it is today) marks the 1 year diagnosaversary for Kel. And yes, we made up that word. He wrote a long note of thanks and reflection which I will post below (for those who are not on FB), but first I thought I would note what a difference a year makes.

To be honest, it is hard to believe it has been a year already. The first 6+ months were a bit ... ummmm, hellish? We welcomed in the New Year with Kel's surgery (aka removing the troublesome 'boy'), he started chemo soon after, etc. What we believed would be done in March (chemo) extended through June, didn't work, and onto surgery. Now we've had a 5 month 'cancer-vacation', but every month is worrisome and only time will tell.

We've also (kind of) moved across country, minus one critically important family member (Kel, of course), and have been a long distance family for about 4 months now. Hopefully Kel will soon be able to move to MS with David and I, although I know he is not looking forward to leaving TPD.

While a year ago we were in shock, today we enjoyed a day of NOT working on the new house (as we had been doing for the last week or so). A few pictures below, but we chose to drive to Tupelo, MS today - where Elvis was born - and do things entirely unrelated to cancer (or Elvis)!


Went to the Tupelo Automobile museum, which is WAY WAY COOL! They had some late 1800s and early 1900s beauties:
as well as some later models (this, in case anyone is wondering, is one of my DREAM cars!):

We also ventured over to the Buffalo (really bison, of course) Park where we saw Bison, Zebras, Donkeys, Horses, Giraffes, and much much more. It was a fun and carefree day!

I've said it many times before, but I will say it again - to all of our friends and family, near and far, IRL and through various support groups, a BIG Thank you! May 2012 bring us all a year of love, peace, and comfort. We may not know what the next year brings, but if it has half of the love we had this year, we are in good shape.

Now, instead of a SUX section, onto my 'ghost writer' - Kel.

"Today is an important anniversary. 1 Year ago today I was diagnosed with cancer. I'm still here. Over the past year I went through chemotherapy and a couple of very invasive surgeries. I am doing very well now and feel great, but the fight is not over. I need to take this time to say thank you to everyone who has been there for me. My family, friends and co-workers.

First, my family. THANK YOU!! You were always there for me and stayed with me through all of this. I was cared for and loved and I want you to know how much it meant to me. I would not have made it through this with out you. Mom, Dad, Rachel, Ira, Grammy, Mimi, Bumpie, Brenda, Kathy, Trudy, Chad, Nancy, Jon, Shari (David), Sherry (Brooks), Brent and everyone that I am probably forgetting right now. It meant so much to me to know you were there by my side.

Friends, THANK YOU!! No matter what happened through all of my sickness I knew I could rely on you to take my mind off it and help me and my family cope with the reality of what was happening. It was a relief knowing you all were still there. I really appreciated Tim coming all the way out to Indianapolis for me, Bryan and his positive encouragement from Atlanta (and his Packers Predictions, LOL) and all the kind thoughts and prayers from everyone. It was incredible to see the support from close friends, acquaintances and high school alumni. Thank you Tim, Bryan, Alex, Craig, Ryan and again everyone that helped me stay positive through out this battle.

Co-workers, THANK YOU!! My brothers and sisters in blue! I always knew we were close but I never expected the outpouring of support I received. From my squad bringing me BBQ at my home just after I was released from the hospital to the help with the benefit yard sale and all the things you did for me on a daily basis. It was really overwhelming. I think "co-workers" is not really fair, you are all family too. Leanna, Rachel (Marquez), Scooby, Greg, Vince, Frank (Ortiz), Frank (Landholm), Stephanie, Anina, the entire Rapid Response Team and the Hostage Crisis Team, Sgt Merrill, Sgt Broderick, Capt Batista thank you all.

And lastly, my wife Tracy. There are no words to describe what you've done for me this past year. There isn't enough space on the Internet to say what I feel about how you carried me through this. You had so much on your mind already losing your mother the year before to cancer and then to go through it all again with me. You guided and supported me through each step of the treatment and in the moments in between. You cried with me, you laughed with me, and you kept me going when the future looked bleak. I LOVE YOU!! You even kept looking for the best options if I need more treatment, you never gave up. I saw this with your mother as well, you never gave up. You and David are my reason for being here and I love you both.

To everyone that I have forgotten to mention, thank you. Here's to another year. No matter what happens in the coming months I have no regrets and no fear because I know you will all be there again. I love you all!!