Friday, June 25, 2010

What a difference a YEAR makes.

A year ago I was putting the finishing touches together for Lily's Chemo Independence Day party. At the time I thought we would make it a yearly tradition to celebrate her accomplishment.  What a difference a year makes. We celebrate her accomplishment every day, by doing normal things. Yesterday she had her scans and they all looked normal. We still have to wait for the final report, but I'll take normal.

 A couple of weeks ago, Phil and I snuck away to Vegas for our first 5 days ALONE together in I don't know how many years, 11 maybe. As I gathered a file of information for our neighbor, I got to look back at Lily's extensive medical history and consider how best to recap it, In case of emergency.  I began stressing. We don't have a good track record for trips to vegas. I wish I could say it was due to wild and crazy behavior caused by overindulging in spirited beverages....but generally it was just poor luck.

My first trip to Vegas, I was pregnant with Miss Lily. Very pregnant. We were on a 2 week car trip from Florida to California. I had never been to Vegas and we were going to visit with our good friend Kellie for a couple o days before we crossed the ocean to Hawaii.  Somewhere between Colorado and Nevada, this cough developed. Each time I coughed my throat would burn all the way down to my lungs. Being pregnant- I wasn't sure that I could take anything and I really didnt want my Vegas experience to be the inside of an ER.  We called our resident OB, my long time friend Jaime- who also happens to be Kellie's sister. She told me what I could take and fortunately it was something that somewhat relieved some of the symptoms. I trekked around Vegas- with my ginormous belly- coughing a fiery cough because I didn't know when, or if, I would be back there.  The next night Phil woke up in a cold sweat and he too, by morning had the cough. I lay there hoping this wasn't an omen for our move. Maybe it was just Vegas.  Kellie would eye us cautiously, but was the most gracious host to us and our hacking.

Less than 6 months after we got settled in Hawaii, it was back to Vegas for Phil.  We were expecting miss Bella this time and since Colorado was closer to him than Hawaii- I packed up the kiddos for a 4 month respite at my mom's. We stopped in Vegas for a quick visit with Phil on our way to Denver.  Again we stayed with Kellie, who had just moved into a brand new town home.  We spent the first day seeing some of the sights we missed the year before.  That evening we sat around watching tv and I just didn't feel well. As was the last time I was in Vegas, I was 8 months pregnant and attributed all general aches and pains to said condition. I turned in early.  Not long after, I was laying in bed with horrible stomach cramps when I hear Lil Phillip call me. Phil went to check on him as the wave of nausea hit me. I spent the next few minutes disposed, then composed myself enough to check on Lil Phillip.  As I helped Kellie try to clean Phillip's vomit off the entire length of her new couch, Phil dodged into the bathroom. Obviously what goes on in Vegas stays in Vegas- I didn't realize that applied to all culinary delights as well. We spent the next 24 hours quarantined in Kellie's guest room. The day of our flight, I disinfected Kellie's house from top to bottom- feeling horrible for descending upon her, again, with the bird flu. What a difference a year makes.

2 months later, Phil and I had a couple of beautiful days in Vegas when he graduated from weapons school- since Bella was brand new- she got to make the trip with me.  And even though I was still getting puked on every so often- it was a delightful trip. Kellie even offered to hang out with Bella- in the hotel room.

2 years later, Phil and I were making arrangements for Kellie's wedding in Vegas. My mom was coming out to watch the kids and I was so looking forward to seeing our friends and spending some time with my man. alone. And then we found Lily's tumors.  I was beginning to think there was some sort of curse involving us and even thinking about going to Vegas.

 2 weeks ago, as I sat quietly on the balcony of a room at the resort in Vegas where Kellie got married, I pondered how our lives had all changed in the past 2 years. It occurred to me that within weeks, we would be to the 1 year cancerversary of Lily completing chemo. That damn mitotane. There is no party planned. Last year we had no idea how this year would go. We waited every 3 months for those scans to show nothing.  I definitely underrated how great normal is.  It's not that we aren't proud of all that Lily has accomplished- but she is more than the cancer she battled. It's time to move on. There may come a time when we have to revisit this in one form or another, but for now I am choosing normal. It will never be as if it didn't happen. We have daily medications that remind us of our journey, and those daily reminders make me grateful for where we are. My celebration comes daily as Lily hugs me and tells me I am the "best mommy ever"- like she has a vast list of other mommies she's fired. My celebration is watching her excitement mount for Kindergarten and knowing that she will thrive and the world is a better place with Lily in it , for however long that may be. And mostly I am grateful for the difference a year makes.

Lily Kay Monkey

Lily Kay Monkey
November 2008 Photographed by Shelley Detton (7 Layer Studio)