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Posted 2016-08-11T06:24:56Z

Making a New Memory

A year ago today - on August 10, 2015 - we got one of those calls that no one wants to get.  It was Andrea's doctor telling her that she had breast cancer.  We had known for several days that we'd be getting a call, but we were hoping and praying that good news would come our way.  Now, as much as we were hoping and praying for good news, we were also giving thought to how we would handle the worst case scenario.  Let me be honest, we weren't prepared for the news that we received.  While we were told that Andrea's tumor and lymph nodes tested positive for cancer, we were not given any additional details - and quite frankly, I don't know that we were in a position to understand anything beyond the realization that "Andrea has cancer".  "This couldn't be; This happens to other people - not us; What do we do?" were just a few things that were running through our minds.  "What next?; How quickly can we begin treatment?; Wait a minute, what type of breast cancer is it?" and on and on and on with the questions.  And those questions came so quickly - within the first few minutes of finding out the news.  Just after we got the call, Andrea and I went to a nearby park.  We needed to get away - to a  peaceful place.  We sat on the grass on the side of a hill.  Our heads were spinning as we talked (unknowingly) about "the fight" that we were about to endure.  We told each other that "It's only breast cancer and millions have survived it".  We told each other that we'd seek the best care, that we'd talk to the best doctors, go anywhere for treatment, and that we'd do this together.  And tears came to our eyes as we talked about how we'd tell the kids, our family, and our friends.  Although we had incredible determination it was a very difficult day at that park.

I tell you that story because today - on the one year anniversary of that dark day - Andrea and I went back to that park and made a new memory.  We brought a blanket and we sat there talking about the journey that we've been on.  From re-living how we felt on that day to the incredible medical care that Andrea has received to the overwhelming support that our family and friends have shown.  We had tears in our eyes again, but this year's tears were very different than last year's tears.  The emotions that we've experienced over the last year have been incredible.  The lows were low but the highs were higher than anything that we could have imagined.  I wish that I could single out each and every one of you for the life that you breathed into us and the strength that you gave us so that we could fight this fight - because every one of you contributed to Andrea's recovery.  From the cards, phone calls, texts, gifts, thoughts, prayers, and well-wishes to the meals, the visits, the putting us in touch with your doctors, and so much more - we're so blessed to have all of you in our lives.

Over the past year - whenever I've driven by "The park where we had the cancer conversation" - it really brought me down.  In fact, I've gone out of my way to avoid driving by that park.  Today, Andrea and I forged a new memory.  And that park is now "The park where we celebrated the strong fight that Andrea has successfully endured".  I plan on going out of my way to drive by that park more often.  Today was a really good day.

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Comments (3)

  • Diane Starrett
    Diane Starrett

    Murray, you are such an amazing writer! I love so much reading your posts. And this one, especially, brought tears to my eyes. As someone who has been through this, but not nearly the severity Andrea has gone through it, I can appreciate your feelings...a year ago and today. I am so glad to hear you made a new memory, and a positive one, and my hope is that all your memories moving forward are positive and happy and continue to be cancer free! You both, along with all the love and support from your family and friends, handled all of this with such grace and amazing attitudes. I know some days were probably tougher than others, but you (and Andrea) always made us feel like this was something that just got in your way and you would triumph and get past it and through it. And you did! We all did...together! Congrats, Team Andrea!!!

    3 years ago · Reply
  • Murray Cleaner
    Murray Cleaner

    Thank you Diane. That was very sweet of you to say. As you know, the love and support goes a long way. And you're a strong one too! I hope that you and your family are doing well. All the best, Murray

    3 years ago · Reply
  • Leah Gniwesch
    Leah Gniwesch

    omg-I am flowing with tears...I love you both very much-am praying for you and for making many wonderful new memories....

    3 years ago · Reply