Thursday, February 09, 2006

how there are joy in tears

many of you ask me how my friend christine is doing as she battles leukemia. and i'm always forthright with any information i have - and since there hasn't been any news, that means great news.

anyways, tommy sent me an update that i'd like to share with you.

i dare you not to cry.

It felt like the days would never come where I would be at my desk writing about my wife’s successful fight against an invisible enemy. In the time since I have written my last update a great deal has transpired. Doctor appointments have come and gone. Medical tests have come and gone. Christine’s 2 year birthday has come and gone. Although we sit back and smile as a family at how wonderful life is compared to the days in the hospital, the scars, both mental and physical, are a constant reminder of our struggles over the last 4 years. Despite this however, life is a wonderful thing.

My wife’s last bone marrow biopsy was a remarkable achievement and another milestone in her path toward the 5 year mark where she is officially declared cured of leukemia. We held our breath for a full month after the last bone marrow biopsy, praying and pleading with God and all his Angels that the tests would come back negative. They did. With the good news came the remarkable discovery that Christine’s bone marrow biopsies would now be yearly instead of every 6 months. To think just a year ago they were a monthly event. Her doctor appointments are even spread out to every 6 months. These are things to be happy for.

November 13th 2005 was Christine’s 2nd birthday and she received a number of messages and notes from many of you wishing her a happy birthday. Thanks for those. She holds them dear and is extremely touched by everyone who remembered and/or keeps her in their prayers. We didn’t throw a big party this year, but enjoyed a more intimate celebration. The three of us, Kailey, Christine and I went to dinner at a nice little restaurant and then went back to our home to enjoy the rest of our immediate family and a few close friends. We took the time to count our blessings each and every moment of the day. It was a very special time.

I’ve looked forward to writing the next update but we found ourselves amidst the struggles of balancing life between work, play and family time. We try so hard not to get caught up in the little things that sometimes get in the way of what’s really important. But we’re human, so we make some mistakes and correct them along the way. We learn from those mistakes and use our experiences to try and keep us on the right path. It’s amazing how well it works when you have a team behind you as a constant reminder of love, faith, and support. Family and friends are such a wonderful thing.

We had a very successful year in 2005 raising support for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. When all is tallied by the end of February we should be at our $21,000 goal for the year. Thanks to all of you who have helped to make that a success and we look forward to an even better 2006 as we look to put an even bigger dent in blood related cancers!

If anyone really knows Christine, you are aware of her love of the baseball and in particular the NY Mets. Through the Leukemia Society, Christine, Kailey and I were invited to a NY Mets outing in Manhattan and got to meet the players. We took pictures, got autographs and played video and interactive games with the likes of Cliff Floyd, David Wright, and Chris Woodward. We even met Willie Randolph and Omar Minaya. I was very excited during the evening but you had to see the look on Christine’s face! Thank goodness we have pictures. You’d never believe we were hanging out with Mr. Met! It was an experience of a lifetime and in Christine’s words it was one of the most amazing experiences of her life. It was great to hear because she most definitely deserves it. It’s wonderful to see good things happening for her.

It’s difficult to forget we’re coming up on the 4 year anniversary of the first days of what has been a long and difficult journey. I continue to be proud of what my wife has accomplished. I would have her run for President of the United States if the work hours weren’t so long. I figure with what she’s accomplished so far in her life, some major political goals would be a piece of cake. Remembering back to that fateful day in the hospital reminds me of just how lucky we are. How lucky to have Christine with us here today. How lucky we were to have gone to the hospital and how lucky we are to have had the right medical staff, support, and our hero in Tampa (and his family). We’re still taking it one day at a time and remain forever thankful to so many for so much.

Christine has taught me a valuable lesson about escaping that which we do not want to endure. In every sense of the concept, our first desires are to escape by running away; avoidance. In so many ways this often delays the inevitable, or makes matters worse. If Christine were to have run she may not be lying in the next room at this very moment. That’s a powerful thought, and so very real. I’ve learned that in certain situations, to escape something; to truly do away with something you no longer want to endure you must take it head on. In Christine’s case her story tells of how she took on Leukemia and then a relapse; dealt with rounds of chemotherapy and radiation and all their miserable, horrible affects; to take her disease head on. She took it head on to do away with it for good. She continues to take on the stresses that come with her journey. She fights daily as she inspects her body for inexplicable bruises. She fights daily as she realizes the affects of radiation on the body and the changes she’s endured to find a cure. All these little things point back to the fact Christine was diagnosed with Leukemia 4 years ago and are a reminder that she will continue her fight each and every day. She wonders whether she will ever wake up and not ask herself if it’s back. As I continue to stand by her side with our family and friends and assist her in her battles, I will continue to use her example in my everyday life. It has made me stronger and will continue to be a driving force in the successes of our family. It’s great to have such an inspiration under the same roof and so close to my heart. Knowing Kailey has such an incredible role model makes me proud as a father and a husband. I’m one lucky guy.

All my love,

love ya too, buddy.

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