How nice do those words sound? "In Conclusion." I titled this entry "In Conclusion" because I pray that this is the last entry that I'll ever write on posthope.org. The "last entry" because Andrea had her final surgery (breast augmentation) this past Monday and I want this to be the final chapter in a story with a happy ending.
I've been thinking about this entry almost since the first time that I posted a comment. I had no idea what the ending would be like - and from my earliest writings you could probably tell that there was some measure of fear in my thoughts. Of all the hope that I had throughout this journey, and with all of the positive thoughts that I could muster, only now can I say that there were two things that I underestimated. Two aspects of the fight that would matter more than anything.
Yes, I expected a lot from "modern medicine'' and the amazing doctors that have helped us along the way. Yes, I expected a lot from the care facilities that we went to and the nurses who were beyond caring and generous with their knowledge and their patience. Yes, I expected a lot from our faith in God and the guidance that we were given. And yes, all of that provided incredible results - just as expected. What I underestimated was the the power of the love and affection shown by our family and friends. In the darkest of days and during the worst of news we were all comforted and lifted by your kind words and oh so meaningful gestures. Cards and emails and flowers and gifts and phone calls - while one could argue that these are not necessarily "hard" things to do - no one could ever convince me that they weren't some of the most meaningful and impactful parts of Andrea's treatment. Watching my Andi light-up when she was reminded of just how much all of you (and many others that are not on posthope.org) cared for her.....well, that carried both of us through all of this. The final - and most important element that I underestimated was Andrea and her resolve. Sure, I always knew that she was "tough", but I never knew just how tough she was. "Scared" for what feels like a brief moment in time, turned into "fiercely determined and relentless" for the remainder of her fight. Unfortunately, we live in a world where the term "fighting cancer" has almost become a cliche. Andrea didn't just fight cancer. Andrea attacked cancer. Her inner strength, her fierce determination, and her never-give-up attitude - combined with the cheerleading that came from all of you - leaves me wondering how I could have ever underestimated anything about her.
So this entry is a bit of a "victory lap" - for the time being. Yes, I've read the studies. Yes, I know the importance of the next 5 years. But more important than all of that: I know the power of our support team and I know the amazing woman that is my wife.
As the weeks, the months, and the years go by and as we put this episode in our rear view mirror, there's a message that I want to make clear to all of you. If, in the most unfortunate of circumstances, (and God-forbid) you or a loved one should be challenged in any way - KNOW that you and your network can fight your way through that challenge. And please know that Andrea and I will be right here (or wherever you need us to be) to help with that fight.
Thank you and may God bless you with good health, happiness, prosperity, and the time and good sense to enjoy them all.