The surgery to remove the tumor went well. I had to stay overnight the night before the surgery because I was the first case in the morning, but I went home the next day, just a few hours after the surgery. I was under general anesthesia, so I didn’t feel a thing, and recovery has been easy. A very strange side effect (and I’m not positive it’s even related, but the timing is very suspicious…) is that I have become farsighted. I can’t read anything up close. I don’t wear glasses and I’ve had perfect vision all my life, but since the surgery my vision has definitely been altered. Strange. I am waiting for my doctor to call me back and hopefully she’ll just tell me that it’s normal and will correct itself soon. And if not, well then of course the tradeoff is worth it. It was bound to happen one of these days anyway – even though I am surprised every time I make this realization, I am not in high school, or even college, or even my 20s any longer. My mom stayed with us last week to take care of baby Kai. She will be back next week to watch him again while I go for scans. Thank goodness for moms.My sweet Jeff had his first Father’s Day! He’s such a fabulous father; he deserves to be recognized every day. My dad (who is also a fabulous father) and step-mom came for the weekend so we could all celebrate together. Jeff made his infamous ribs on Saturday, and Sunday we went out to breakfast and hung around at home with Kai. We have lots of fun things planned for the next few weeks. Friends we haven’t seen in over a year are coming for dinner on Thursday, Jeff’s cousins are coming over on Sunday, and next weekend we are going to the Eastern Shore to stay with friends for 4th of July. In the middle of all that we have the scans, and I am confident that this cancer does not want to get in the way of our fun so the results will be only good news. After we get good news next week, I have to start preparing to go back to work – my return date is tentatively set for July 11th. Because my maternity leave flowed right into crazy cancer leave, I will have been out of the office for 9 months. That is a long time. Even though the circumstances could have been better, I am extremely thankful for the extra time I’ve had at home with Kai. If we hadn’t been given this gift of a journey, he would have started daycare 6 months ago and I would have missed all of this precious baby time.
If it were possible to separate the worry out of this journey, leaving just the treatment, then I think undergoing the IL-2 would be worth the extra time with Kai. But the worry and the fear are such an enormous part of all of this. The emotional trauma is so much bigger and longer-lasting than any physical pain from the treatments, and it is impossible to divide this journey up into individual experiences even in my mind. But it is the collective experience that has been the gift. It is the excruciating pain coupled with the soul-warming love and support: the perfectly synchronistic melding of two extremes working together to change our lives forever. And through it all - all of the worry and fear, all of the anger and sadness, all of the pain and sickness - I am eternally grateful for the depth of the raw, love-filled, truth-seeking, experience-sharing, soul-touching humanity that embraced us right from the start and has continued to light our way throughout this journey. And I have learned that the only thing that matters in the whole of life is other people, period. I am thankful every day for the people who are loving me in so many different and meaningful ways, and I hope that one day I can find an appropriate way to express my own love and gratitude to everyone who so sincerely deserves it.Today I am thankful for the overwhelming, continued love and support of all of the extremely generous and thoughtful people who have touched our lives; I am thankful for those who have reached across distance and time to offer support as well as those who support us every day; I am thankful for the IL-2, which I’m sure is still working and will be my cure; I am thankful for the ongoing, awe-inspiring support of our MMG family (and most recently for the fabulous wealth of books for baby Kai – we read them every day and he loves them) and our fabulous neighbors who are still boldly displaying hope signs down the entire street; I am thankful for all of our friends and family who remind us every day how much we are loved; and I am thankful with a debt that can never be repaid for my extraordinary husband Jeff whose dedication and strength I can only hope to live up to, and our perfect baby Kai. You are becoming an incredibly sweet, inquisitive, happy person, my little one. While I treasure every second and often wish I could stop time right here in these perfect moments, I also cannot wait to see who you will become, because I have no doubt that you will be far better than even the best of me.