Collin is 13 today, he’ll be 14 in May. There was a time I never thought he’d see double digits, much less his teens.
Even still every year that the holidays roll around, or a birthday, or sometimes just watching him master a new skill or make me laugh...well it is enough to take my breath away. We never stop worrying, or fearing that we won’t get that next year. He is 11 years beyond his diagnosis of ALL, 6 years past his last dose of chemotherapy, but zero days since the last time I worried about him or his brother Patrick.
Patrick is 15, he’s blossomed into this man-ish kinda dude on me this past year. He has a drop voice all of a sudden but he still giggles so sweetly.
He too is a survivor of cancer, and he too scares me on a regular basis. Patrick has been off chemotherapy for over 7 years now, he’s had his fair share of issues, most recently a diagnosis of osteonecrosis. We don’t know why some parts of his vertebrae are dying, but they are. He’s been coughing for months, and every day I try to convince myself it is allergies. These fears eat me alive some days. We have lost friends after they developed coughs like his.
He and Collin are both old enough now to understand the magnitude of their illnesses and even if they never want to go back to the doctor again, they know that for their own good and for the rest of their lives it will mean re-explaining these cancers, side effects, and the multitude of major health issues they now face.
My boys are growing up, for that I am SO THANKFUL. We will always be here though, in this limbo that is childhood cancer. Weighed down by worry, survivors guilt, and lifted from the depths by a self-imposed and sometimes FORCED dose of cautious optimism. Each day, each scare, each holiday and birthday, I am thankful for them. The scares too, that sounds weird I know! But those scares...it means they are alive and that my very worst fear hasn’t been realized. So as much as I loathe that fear...I am glad I still get to experience that, versus the alternative.
My dudes, the brothers, all full of jokes and giggles and smiles and a whole lotta sass and snark, more fight than I could ever try to put into words. I got another year with them. Thankful. See you at the finish line Tom. C and I hope to be there! You got this!