On big appointment days at Children’s Minneapolis, our routine had been to stop in St. Paul at Cossetta’s on our way home. The other day John asked me why we haven’t been to there in so long. I told him it was because he hasn’t had any doctor appointments. This was met with a huge eye roll and then he was on his way.
No doctor, monthly blood work, no exams, no scans…since April! This summer is the first summer in 4 years that hasn’t involved doctor appointments, medication and scanxiety . This is the first summer in 4 years that I have a feeling of peace in both my mind and heart. Oh, I still worry, but it is not a worry that consumes my everyday and all of my thoughts. John is in such a good place. He’s happy, healthy, feisty and active. Looking at him no one would ever know the fight that little boy fought and the hell his little body endured.
This summer wasn’t filled with any extraordinary vacations or escapades, but rather ordinary family activities that could so easily be taken for granted. There were several trips to Grandpa and Grandma Prinsen’s cabin in Spooner (John and my favorite place) where he and Jeffrey fished and fished. There was one sunny afternoon where I was sitting on the end of the dock thinking about our family of 5 and how blessed and thankful we are…that I never thought we would see this day again. Just like that…it began to sprinkle. As I sat there in the beauty of the lake and all things I love, with the gentle rain washing over me…the flood gates opened and tears spilled down my cheeks. The tears weren’t of sadness, worry or guilt (Cancer parents can carry a lot of guilt…even when your child is a survivor.) They were more of a, “You all are going to be ok and it’s ok to feel that way. It’s ok to not be wracked with worry every waking moment of every day. It’s ok to look to the future. It’s ok to do what’s best for you, your kids and your marriage”…kind of tears. At that moment a wave of peace and relief washed over me and has been present ever since.
Now, I know that life can and may change in a moment. We’ve lived it! This feeling of calm doesn’t mean that I foolishly think we are in the all clear and have nothing to worry about ever. What it means for me is that it is ok to be grateful for the moment and it’s ok to look to the future with hope. What ever life deals to us along the way, we will face together.
Hope for a bright future came to our family in the form of a four legged baby girl this summer. We had been talking about getting a new puppy for quite sometime, but had put it off because…who knew what we would be dealing with down the road and we couldn’t put a puppy on top of that. This puppy was also a sign that we are continuing to push even closer to life before cancer, one that included the activity of pheasant and duck hunting for Jon (His happy, peaceful place that has been nonexistent for over 4 years.) I pushed for the puppy this summer and on July 1st we picked Bella up in Mankato. We love her tons (Well…our 13 year old lab loves her a little.) and she has brought us much joy.
Michael: Michael has had a good summer at home working at the Hastings Aquatic Center and hanging out with his friends. He is excited to get back to UW-Madison this Friday. We will definitely miss having him around the house, but we are excited for him to begin his sophomore year.
Jeffrey: He participated in the hockey camp in town here during June and July. There has also been a lot of golf going on as well. Jeffrey also has a job watching 2 little boys this summer and it is a wonderful fit as the family works around his hockey schedule and are very flexible.
John: Running the neighborhood with his buddies is the number 1 activity! John enjoys swimming at his good friend Brady’s house and he has also enjoyed a few afternoons at the Hastings pool. Of course, his favorite activity is fishing at the cabin. This summer he learned (more like agreed to…because I know he could do this before) bait his fishing hook and take fish off.
Our summer is coming to an end and soon we will be back into the swing of the school routines. Michael as a sophomore at Madison, Jeffrey a junior in HS and John, his last year in the elementary…his 4th grade year.
John’s next appointment isn’t until October and at that time it will just be an exam and blood work.
We continue to be blessed by the love and support of our family and friends!
Love, Hope and Blessings,
PS…We’ll be taking a trip to Cossetta’s soon!