My name is Colette and I’d like to introduce you to my crew! We go by “thebomsquad”… it’s a cute derivative of our last name and it describes us to a “T”. We’ve been through some pretty explosive stuff and are grateful everyday to be together. You might notice our lime green bracelets… it’s our family color. Well, it’s my husband’s cancer awareness color – and we’ve all adopted it as our favorite. My hubby’s health originally started to decline in late February of 2012, then was ultimately diagnosed with an aggressive form of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma later that May. As anyone would be, we were devastated. What followed was 9 months of brutal chemo treatments that left my strong, football-physic husband wilted like a washed up, ratty old towel on a deserted beach. Really. Chemotherapy can be that awful. The kids and I were exhausted, emotionally and physically as well – the toll it took truly felt unrecoverable and I longed to get our old life back. Good news came in December that year, his scans showed the cancer had receded significantly and what was left was dead! They updated him to the coveted “remission” status and in January we started rebuilding our life. As his strength grew, our spirits began to soar. The relief and happiness we felt was pretty amazing… no longer did we take even the smallest things for granted. Dinners as a family, quiet Friday nights watching movies with the kids, low-key weekends… life was awesome. In time, Eric returned to work and slowly our new normal began to emerge and because of what we’d been through, it was a stronger normal and maybe even a better one.
Sadly, it was very short lived. In April of 2013, Eric began feeling unusually run down and tired. Other tell-tale signs and hot flashes seemed to return overnight. It was literally only a few days time and what was happening was so obvious – my heart sunk. The following week was a regularly scheduled monthly check up – and after moving up the necessary scans, we learned his cancer had returned. This time, it was a bigger beast (with gnashing teeth) and the fight ahead was clearly going to be uphill. After already having been through it and understanding some of what might be coming, I decided there were many things I was going to change. I looked at it as a do-over, an opportunity to “do” cancer better. No longer did I want to live appointment to appointment… fearing the next result, dreading the next surgery or worrying about the next scan. No longer did I let tomorrow’s schedule dictate today’s happiness. As a family, we learned a unique way to live in the now, live for today. Not knowing what was ahead became a blessing, it allowed me to simply be happy and content with today. This proved to work to our advantage and we weren’t as stressed. I think we all slept better, there were less tears, less acting out and we all seemed to cope much better with our crazy circumstance. Through it all, Eric demonstrated the will and strength of an ox – and in a very real way became our hero. How lucky for our kids to see a hero in action – as never a greater example of courage and faith had they known.
In January of 2014 – after 7 more months of treatment and 2 failed chemo regimens, we went to a top Cancer Center in NYC where Eric underwent massive mediastinal radiation to eradicate the remaining cancer in preparation for a Stem Cell Transplant. We told the kids the radiation rays would blow his cancer to Jupiter, and that it did. Once his status was upgraded to remission once more, he was admitted for a final round of high dose chemotherapy and a transplant thereafter to rescue his body from all the lethal treatments he’d received. Through it all, he never wavered. He never quit. Though his body was beaten and battered, he never let it overtake his spirit. Not exactly the way I wanted my kids to learn how to be strong… but who better to learn it from than their dad?
In the 6 months since, we haven’t taken a single day for granted. Even the bad days. Not knowing what might lay in the future for our family, we readily understand that today is a gift. This week is a gift. Eric is a gift. We are each a gift. Life is precious. Our normal now is an awesome normal… we’ve been through so much, but in the process we’ve grown closer and our love for each other has grown beyond measure. Eric has shown us what it means to love in one of the most incredible ways possible and for that… I can only love him more in return. My view these days is a priceless picture; definitely earned from endless worry, a long string of heart-wrenching experiences and through buckets of tears… but it’s a view I am so grateful for and will forever treasure.
To one of the bravest, toughest – most amazing Dad’s I know!
Follow Collette on her blog: www.learningtolovemynormal.com
Story written by: Colette Bomsta
This story was seen first on Real Imprints.