Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I get by with a little help from my friends

This post sucks, because it's about something I hoped I'd never have to address ever again.

This post is also awesome, because my life is full of wonderful people who do wonderful thing and mean a lot to me.

Some of you long-time readers may remember this post.  Though it seemed to announce something happy and conclusive, the mood was muted because it was one of the most uncertain times in my family's life because we just had to sit and wait. And wait. And wait to see if all those years of treatment did any good.

And it did do good.  He prospered, enjoyed life, finished high school, got a job, got accepted to college, reestablished his dominance in the local archery club, and prepared to serve an LDS mission.  Last December he left to serve a mission in New England and loved every freezing minute.  He worked hard and his passion for the work eeked through his brief but classic-Scott weekly emails home.  He was strong and healthier (and I'd wager happier too) than he'd ever been as he served God and his fellow men.

As I mentioned in my former post, after his treatments ended he continued to have regular tests to make sure he was still in the clear.  Once in a while something turned up weird in a test, but it was never sustained or cause for real worry.  He continued these tests on his mission.  In March he had a test done, but this time something indicative turned up in a routine blood test.  They biopsied his marrow and bad news.

Two days later he returned home.  Day after that he was back at the hospital starting new rounds of chemo.

It feels like we're back to square zero (square one didn't work out).  His best long-term treatment option at this point is a bone marrow transplant.  That'll happen if/when his cancer is in remission (or down to 0% in his bones) which is still isn't and stubbornly won't go.  With a miracle, a transplant will happen this summer right around my wedding, but that's better than it never happening at all.  After the transplant he'll go through a lot of other crap for another couple of years to encourage the transplant to work and keep working while trying to stave off new complications and diseases transplants can lead to that could potentially kill him.

Experience isn't much good in a situation like this.  It isn't any easier for him; it isn't any easier for us.  In fact, since it already happened once, that means everything is worse.

As you can imagine, this is all very hard and complicated and expensive and just plain awful.  Throw in a couple of deaths in the family, a sibling with kidney failure needing a transplant (and a perfect donor match with Scott, ironically), a birth, an engagement, a cousin with a cancer diagnosis, and another sibling with pancreitis and gall bladder surgery....I can't make this stuff up.  Why would I want to?  It's been the kind of roller coaster of a spring I wish I never have to go through again.

But there is balm in Gilead.  People are awesome and helpful and giving and caring and love us.  They can't change what's happening, but they can sure make it easier to live through.  Some of these awesome people include my extended family.  Some cousins are organizing a benefit on June 30 in northern Idaho at the Dalton City Park.  There will be food and music and activities for the whole family with all proceeds going toward expenses related to Scott's treatments.  Leave a comment below if you'd like particulars about time and location, if you'd like to volunteer to help, or if you'd like to donate time or goods to the silent auction.  I can send you an event invite on Facebook too.

If you can't attend or help and still want to contribute, they've set up a PayPal donation account HERE.  I've also put up a convenient little button to donate from this here blog.  If you have your own PayPal account set up, you can send a gift to scottfights(at) any time.  You can also use that email to correspond with Scott. 

If you read this blog, chances are you are cool people who care about things.  I hope you care about this and help us spread the word.  Oh by the way we're trying to keep it from Scott for now, sort of a surprise thing plus he doesn't really like the attention, so if you know him don't let on anything is going on yet, especially if you email him.

Sometimes the only way we can get by is through a little help from our friends.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Self discovery

It's amazing all the things I never knew about myself before this stage of my life.

I know that lots of people don't want to form committed relationships--to another person, to education, to a vocation-- until they "know themselves", and maybe that works out for them.  But for me, I always accepted that I could only progress so far toward self actualization by myself.  I need the influence of outside factors to push me in ways I never could have thought of in order to grow in ways I never knew I needed growth. 

I especially recognized that there are a lot of potentialities that can only be realized through the influence of other people in my life, particularly a "significant other".  What surprises me are the forms my growth is taking.  I found I'm finally developing my personal "living" style.  I've felt pretty assured of my style of dress as I've had sole control of my wardrobe since about age 14, but since I've never had to opportunity to actually furnish an entire living space from start to finish.

When Future Husband (FH) and I started building our gift registries, I realized recently that I had no idea what I liked and wanted.  The only thing we got nailed down our first trip to Bed Bath & Beyond was our casual silverware (He's a spoon person, I'm a fork person.  They have to fit just right in the hand.  I'm sure passers-by were wondering why we kept manhandling all the displays).

We persevered (or rather, I muddled on while FH exercised great patience) and finally found all our essentials.  That's a feat because I'm easily paralyzed by too many options or equal options (another recent self-discovery).  Seeing all the different tools I could use to stir noodles was overwhelming.  But I learned to remind myself whether or not the decision actually mattered, and if it didn't it was OK to blindly choose one and move on, or I'd defer to FH who was blessed with plenty of decision.  After that breakthrough, it was way easier.

It's been interesting to see my taste emerge.  Turns out I like very simple "building block" pieces (ie furniture, dishes) so that they can go with anything else I decide to bring home when my fancies change.  It's much easier to change out dishtowels on a whim than a couch.  No crazy dishes with spots and flowers for me.  I feel that anything with too-specific a color palette or design will limit my other decor options.

But sometimes I can get carried away with simplicity; if I didn't have FH to remind me to have variety, I'd get everything in neutrals and forget I can use patterns and details.  Case in point: wedding announcements.  If I designed them all by myself, they'd be white cards with black Calibri text.  Maybe a plain, single-color line border.  Thankfully, I had FH to override my boring-ness and infuse a little personality into the project.  Don't get too excited, they're still pretty simple.  But I like them, and they fit us.

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