I’ll never forget the morning of Nov. 25th, 2010. It was Thanksgiving. My body was rigid and stiff from a third sleepless night on a hospital cot. I woke up to find Brian staring at the ceiling in silence. Neither one of us murmured a word, and certainly not the words, “Happy Thanksgiving.” Around 6:30am there was a knock at the door, I assumed it was the nurse doing her rounds. Then suddenly, I heard a familiar voice. I turned to find Brian’s surgeon standing before me, my heart sank. It was a holiday. We were not suppose to hear from him till Monday. Everyone knows, no news is good news. I prepared for the worst. He walked over to the computer and logged in. He said, in a cold emotionless voice, “Your pathology report is back.” Then he paused and said, “23 of the lymph nodes were clear.” He paused again and stared at us. We waited for the but… but he was silent. Finally, I asked, “Ok, what about the rest? How many did you take?” He cracked a smile and said, “23!”. Our surgeon explained that this was his attempt to try and match our humorous approach to cancer. I told him not to quit his day job yet and as he left the room Brian and I exploded with joy.
We were given a second chance; a chance to never put off till tomorrow, to love each other unconditionally, to never take a single second for granted. I don’t know if that day was a miracle of science or just a miracle for us. What I do know is that colon cancer is rare for anyone in their 30’s. I know that the day he was diagnosed, 3 lymphs lit up like xmas trees on his scan, and I know his tumor was the size of an orange and assumed to be stage 3b. There was a lot that happened to us that last night in the hospital, both spirtually and emmotionally, and when the time is right, I am sure Brian and I will share it with you all. What I can tell you, is that on that day we were born again. On that day, we decided to change our lives forever. We would no longer work night shifts or crappy jobs where people did not appreciate us. We would follow our hearts and dreams and turn our marriage into an adventure. Now, two years later, some people are in awe of our approach, some others judge and critisize. We definitley do not fit the “norm” but neither of us mind. We have tango’d in Argentina, meditated in Machu Picchu, hiked the Napali Coast, ziplined in Coast Rica and ran marathons. We love our jobs, we love each other and because of that we love life. What used to be a “travisty” is now a hiccup and everything good or bad is somehow a gift.
This past Oct. Brian finally got his wish and we adopted a large dog. He was a two year old german pointer we named Jameson. Jameson and Brian became best friends at first sight. Although he was 68lbs he somehow fit perfectly in Brian’s lap. It was as if they were long lost soulmates. So, I wasn’t totally shocked to find out, 6 months later, that Jameson had suddenly been stricken with a rare terminal cancer.
We felt the whipsers behind our backs, “Oh that poor couple they just can’t get a break”. But we knew this dog was brought to us for a reason. We sat down and asked ourselves what would we do if it was one of us and both agreed, I would become his personal cancer chef. Then we decided, like Brian, we would would get the cancer removed. Brian lost a foot of his colon, now his dog would lose his foot and his leg. Then we decided that despite the diagnosis of 3 months to live, we would show this dog happiness, joy and trust. In our lives love and laughter is the only medicine.
I am sharing this story with you today because I know, life is not easy. And sometimes it is incredibly hard to find a reason to smile. I think a picture says a 1,000 words so below is a photo essay of Jameson’s “Bucket List Journey”. We decided to drive him across country to see the sites and meet our family. Today, he has beat the odds by living for 4 months. As you will see in the photos animals have an incredible gift. They live in the moment and only see the beauty and love that it is right before them. They don’t dwell in the past. They are not afraid of the future. Instead, they just enjoy today. Live for today. Today is a gift, that is why it is called the “present”.
Love To You All
KK and -Bman
*Lifein2lemonade is edited by Ryan Howard