Paul’s MRI in early November came with reports of being “stone cold stable”. The exact words from the Radiologist to the Neuro-Oncologist. There are no new developments and his next MRI will be in February. You can see by the scan, he still has the hole where the tumor was removed and the white area behind is presumed to be treatment effect from the radiation and chemo. The photo on the right shows that there is no excess perfusion (blood supply) to this area. This helps support the description of scar tissue effect vs new cancer growth. We both feel incredibly fortunate and forever grateful. Thinking back to a year ago, we never could have imagined being where we are today with this good fortune. Many thanks to God, Paul’s stamina and modern medicine. Surveillance will continue with MRI’s and Neuro Oncology appointments every three months. It’s nice to have more time between tests so we can feel a greater sense of “normal”. Although, Paul knows he may not be fully out of the woods and we can’t erase what just occurred, it feels good to have some normalcy and to actually “forget” for a while.
Last week’s pillow talk: “thanks for staying, it would really suck without you”. Paul knew what I meant, shook his head and smiled saying, “yeah, that really would have sucked”. I love all the perks of having a great partner and try to appreciate every aspect of every day. Some of the little things I love are his big hugs, how he keeps our bed warm and how I feel so loved and protected everyday.
I just heard about a new book on Trump, “Let Trump Be Trump”. I resonate with this title and try to practice daily : “Let Paul be Paul” just like he lets me be Theresa. I am grateful for that and for him. He may not choose the right parking spot at the gym or restaurant but we still arrive safely and get to be together. I let him have his own tube of toothpaste and hand towel so he can squeeze it any way he wants and even wipe his nose on his own bathroom hand towel. But who cares, he just survived a really big event. So far, I feel like he kicked cancer’s ass.
Paul continues to work his regular schedule and drive many many miles each week. If you could eliminate the 14 months that followed the brain tumor diagnosis, you’d probably never know anything happened. Paul experiences fatigue at times but overall it’s quite impressive to be without any major impairments after all he has endured. His dedication to the gym continues to amaze me. I find him inspiring. He is like an old soldier the way he is so routine and structured. I told him it sometimes feels like groundhog day with how our weekdays roll. Not a bad thing, just saying.
We recently went to a “Friendsgiving” Dinner, met a new friend and shared Paul’s story. He congratulated him on survival and asked Paul how he was doing. Paul diverted attention to how awesome the boys and T were through it all. The astute man brought Paul back to himself and said “yeah I’m sure they were super, but YOU battled through it. You are the one that actually lived through it and you did it. Congratulations”.
Our recent trip in September to Paris was like a honeymoon all over again, 26 years later. It felt like we pushed the restart button. I’m going with it. I had never traveled across the Atlantic until this trip. Every moment was magical. And to think I almost chickened out with all the terrorist action in the news. I am so very thankful to have had this terrific adventure. We walked up and down the Seine river touring the city’s many spectacular sites every day without a care in the world. I think we walked 6-8 miles a day. Museums, the Tower, Cathedrals, shopping, restaurants, cafes, Versailles etc.. Beyond the local city sites, we had a day long excursion to Normandy. Like the whole trip, that too, was surreal. To think we stood on the beach and at the cliff side bunkers where those brave soldiers fought. It brought all the World War 2 movies that Paul watches repeatedly to life. The left photo shows Paul down in a crater from a bomb during the Normandy invasion. Mid photo, Paul unable to fully stand up in the bunker and the right photo, an actual “pill box” with heavy artillery.
You know how you push the refresh button on your computer or phone? That’s what we just did. Everything seems to work more smoothly, efficient and with increased clarity and appreciation for life. A little gift in the midst of this mysterious life.
Sometimes it feels like we are courting all over again. He actually stops at cute shops for me to poke around when we travel for hockey games and such. Kind of like those old guys sitting in the sofa chair in the boutiques waiting for their cute little trophy wives to finish shopping. That may not be so politically correct of me, but it wouldn’t be a complete blog post if I didn’t say something a lil off. LOL He usually sits there on his phone perusing hockey stats and social media. Sometimes you can hear him from across the store laughing at some youtube video. Whatev…….. It’s working for me. No complaints. I love our partnership.
Feels a lot like when we were first married and playing house, sharing all the duties before life became chaotic with kids and work and such. Maybe this is just the way “empty nest” is. Very shared with household duties. He grocery shops with attention to detail, trying to buy the correct brands and such. He fills the bird feeders, initiates dinner and does way more dishes and laundry than me. I feel pampered. He even waits for me to get home from work so we can go to the gym together.
I seem to be working a bit more with the boys gone. I love helping people, doing what I do and I have more time and energy for my work now that the boys need less of me. I am also enjoying advancing my health coach work with some extra research and training in Functional Medicine – very interesting. Life is good. Fun to be passionate about my work. I feel fortunate.
The boys are busy at school. Jack moved on from rowing to playing JV hockey at NMH. We recently had a fun day on the Charles River watching him row. He was thrilled to make the varsity boat for the 3 mile row up the river. Since he last played hockey 2 years ago, he has grown 3 inches. He said it is taking a bit of getting used to his new body on the ice. And we too are getting used to watching hockey in cold rinks again after spending so much time in the comfy warm college hockey rinks.
Jack is busy with college applications and trying not to be too stressed by the process. It will feel good to have it done. Just have to push the send button and turn it over to the college admission Gods. It’s hard to believe he is nearing college time. So amazing to see how he has grown from this cute little boy to this tall handsome young man.
Ben continues to work hard at school in the business program and hockey @ UConn. He enjoys his world but was also glad to have a brief visit home for Thanksgiving. The boys were like puppies getting back together. It was great fun to have them in the house for a few days. Their energy certainly broke up the routine. We look forward to having them home again at Christmas time .
The photo below is from a recent road trip to Ben’s game. We made a couple pickups along the way: Jack @ NMH & our 3rd son John (neighbor friend) @ Trinity. Great fun – lots of laughs. These boys are a hoot together.
I’m not sure when or if I’ll write again. We are doing well, busy with life and feel like we are getting back on track (for the most part). This is starting to feel like the perpetual Christmas card, updating my family happenings and thoughts on such. You have all been a captive audience and great support through the tough times. Please know that we are very grateful for all the love and support over the past year and a half. You have all made a huge difference in our lives. Thank you, Thank you! Feel free to reach out anytime.
God Bless you all! Happy Holidays!
XO Theresa, Paul, Ben & Jack