“Life is bitter-sweet,” my friend Sandy said with tears in her voice. My dear friend in Vancouver knows from experience just how true that statement rings. She lost her Son, Tony just over a year ago and still struggles as any parent would, yet she is preparing for her oldest daughter’s wedding which is a very joyous time.
Over the past seven years I have done nothing but hope and pray to be closer in proximity to my family and friends. Finally making it to Chicago in December 2009, I was ecstatic! Just a three hour drive to our family and friends.
On April 19, 2010, Sam was diagnosed with stage four head and neck cancer. He went through radical surgery which removed a softball size tumor in his neck, 50 lymph nodes, his right tonsil, right jugular vein, thyroid gland, and a baseball size tumor from the back of his tongue. Enduring six weeks of radiation and chemo just to make sure they killed anything left. Compared to that, the bleeding ulcer, 6 unit blood transfusion and high blood pressure episode narrowly missing a massive stroke were a walk in the park.
Fast forward to January 2011. Hoping it would be a better year, we talked about trying to take advantage of the housing market and look for a home in Michigan where we would eventually retire. We found our dream home on Lake Allegan, about 30 miles northwest of Kalamazoo. We closed on the house in mid-March.
A month later we discovered Sam’s cancer had returned, this time in his right lung. This time no cure. This time palliative care is going to be the only treatment.
Are you sensing the pattern here?
The sweet is living in our dream home, being closer to our friends and family and living each day to the fullest.
The bitter: well….you know.