Well, it was just a year ago today that we all started googling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia for the first time. In many ways, the year flew by and, at other times, it was incredibly difficult and dragging. In all honesty, the good and the blessed has outweighed the bad this year. I got engaged and then got married to the most beautiful, remarkable, loving girl I have ever known. That pretty much says it all right there. I became an uncle to a future Nats draft pick. I also got accepted into a graduate program and relocated to northern virginia as a married man ;) There were also 5ks, hikes, marrow drives and many other initiatives to spread the word and work toward a cure for Leukemia and all other blood cancers. There was the joy of sharing this experience with my dad and knowing that we had each other to lean on....and we are both still here and thriving. There was the wedding of my lifelong friend, turned brother-in-law which I would not have missed for the world. There were also Eagles games, Sixers games, Phillies games, and a drive toward the Cup for the Flyers. And, finally, on the year anniversary of my diagnosis, my friends Luke and Meg gave birth to a beautifully healthy baby girl named Clare. She is innocent and perfect and truly represents all that is good in life. Having Clare be born today brought so much perspective to the majesty of life. It is so fragile and yet so enduring. Life is our gift from God and I am anxious to spend the rest of my life returning that gift. This year of battling cancer further opened my eyes to the beauty of family, friends, and God.
As far as my treatment has been going, I am getting adjusted to my new doctors and nurses at Georgetown Cancer Institute. Everybody there has been so positive and helpful and encouraging. My primary oncologist is Dr. Broome and she is very personable and always willing to listen to me. One of the infusion nurses is actually a friend of mine from college, Mary Ellen. It was so relieving to see a familiar face in a new place. She made me feel at home instantly, as has everybody else. I am going in for chemo once a month and bloodwork twice a month. My first treatment had to be postponed because my daily chemo pills made my liver enzymes rise and my blood counts fall a bit. Dr. Broome assured me that this is all part of the maintenance phase and somthing that we will balance for the next few years. My liver and blood rebounded and treatments are back on track; I just had my first spinal tap and chemo this past Friday. Everything seemed to go well and I resumed the full chemo and pill regimen......which should last about two and a half more years.
Living with Hanna has been every dream come true. We are enjoying Virginia and married life. It is also nice to have a little bit of time to relax before I start school in August. That will be the next step on this adventure and i am really looking forward to it.
So, I just wanted to reach out to everybody that has walked at my side (and sometimes carried me) this past year. I am confident that I would not be where I am without your prayers and your love. Cancer at 28 was a true shot to the gut, but cancer survivor at 29 and beyond is something that I could get used to. Much love, God bless, keep praying and know that
ALL Will Be Well,
"There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; or you can live as if everything is a miracle"