I'm still here! This managing life and work thing with two busy kids and a husband that travels frequently? Yeah... Also Christmas? Who has time for that?
But rather than dwell on my worries - which I am oh so very good at - I will share some good news. Today, at some point between 11-12 CST, my dad will ring the bell at the Siteman Cancer Center, announcing/celebrating/rejoicing that he has finished his very last chemo treatment! (He has been undergoing a preventative type chemo treatment in an attempt to stop any chance of recurrence.)
That is some sweet news!
He's a little wiped out from this final round of chemo, so there won't be much jumping around hooting and hollering, but I know he will be relieved to say the least. When I spoke to him yesterday he said, "yeah" with about as much enthusiasm as you'd expect from a guy who has very low blood counts at the moment, and is mentally and physically - just done. But he's so ready to be done. So happy to be done. And he's ready to ring that bell and not have to go back to that place unless it's for a visit and he's calling the shots.
It's been a long, hard year and a half; and yet we know it's not over. But now, now he can rest. Now he doesn't have to worry about feeling like crap for weeks at a time. Now. NOW he begins the final recovery and sooner than later, the return of a 'normal' life.
He's kept his spirits up through all of this - amazing me with his strength. He covered his fear with jokes (I don't know where I get that), and didn't let on to his daughters how worried he was. He's been as stoic as I expected him to be, not always to the nurses' delight. "Mr. G. You HAVE to tell us when you aren't feeling great. We need to know your symptoms. Quit trying to be so brave!" He's scared the crap out of all of us - the fear and panic came rushing back to me recently as I described the emergency intubation that was required during the transplant stay. He's been positive and done everything the docs and nurses have asked. He's been thankful and grateful, and yet a real crab ass at times. (Poor Bonnie!)
And today? Today, he's going to ring that bell. And while that bell rings, my heart will be happy and filled with gratitude for the gentleman who's stem cells saved my dad's life.
Today begins a new chapter. And it begins with the ringing of a bell.
Way to go Dad! I love you!