Published 10 years, 5 months past

This is an even more thankful holiday for us than usual.  We’ve always been thankful for our good fortune, friends, and family, but it was two days ago that we got the strongest indication yet that our daughter Rebecca will live to see next Thanksgiving, and very possibly many more beyond that.

Tuesday morning we got up very early to deposit Carolyn and Joshua with friends, and then took Rebecca to Hillcrest Hospital for an MRI.  This was our first interaction with the radiology staff there, though by no means the last, and Rebecca as usual charmed the socks off of everyone there.  After she recovered from the anesthetic, we got lunch, picked up a few groceries, and then headed to the main campus of the Cleveland Clinic to get the results of the MRI.

To put it baldly, the results couldn’t have been any better.  The MRI showed no sign of renewed tumor growth, no regions that appear abnormal, not even signs of swelling secondary to cancerous activity.  This doesn’t mean that she’s cancer-free: nobody can say that with certainty.  As I wrote two weeks ago and XKCD beautifully illustrated a couple of years ago, there can be never really be certainty except of the terminal kind, but what we have now are strong signs that Rebecca’s cancer actually can be eradicated.  What that means is that instead of hospice, we can start a year of chemotherapy in an effort to make certain that the astrocytoma doesn’t return.  The normalness of the MRI, and the particular pattern of side effects she experienced from the first round of chemotherapy, mean it’s reasonable to feel hope.  As a friend put it, this isn’t the light at the end of the tunnel, but it means that there is a tunnel.  A long and difficult tunnel, perhaps, but nevertheless a tunnel that might one day yield to daylight and open skies.

And so we’re thankful for the nurses and doctors that have shepherded us through one of the most harrowing periods of our lives.  Without them, Rebecca would already be dead.  We’re thankful for the medical research and science that made it possible to remove so much of the tumor and target any remaining cancerous tissue.  Without them, Rebecca would be dying.  Instead, she is still as sparklingly alive as ever, and we have hope again.

We‘re thankful that we have the means and the opportunity to fight for our daughter’s life.  We’re thankful for family, who were there, and will always be there, when we need them.  We’re thankful for all the people who have supported us through the past several months, bringing meals to our house, ferrying our kids to school and activities, and doing the organization work to make sure it all happened.  We’re thankful for the Cleveland Animal Protective League, where we adopted a three-month-old shorthair tuxedo kitten yesterday.  We’re thankful to be together under one roof, and not under a cloud of grief.  We’re deeply, profoundly thankful.

A happy Thanksgiving to one and all, whether you celebrate a specific holiday today or not.  May every day be an occasion to be thankful.

Comments (13)

  1. I am so very thankful for the miracles that brought you to the right place at the right time, that y’all were in an ER when the seizures started, that you were close to CHOP, and for a optimal MRI. I look forward to seeing photos of kitty dear (Tuxedos rock, even if Gravity never liked me) and I will keep up on praying for continued sunnier skies. Love to all of you!

  2. You have taught me a great deal over the last few months, not least about facing reality and love in the face of grief and fear. I am tremendously grateful to call you a friend. With big love to you, Kat, Carolyn, Rebecca and Joshua.

  3. Great news Eric. I’m so happy that your Thanksgiving is a happy one this year. You may not be coming out the other side of the tunnel, but knowing there’s a tunnel to enter is great news.

  4. Interesting how clearly I remember talking with you the day after you found out about Rebecca’s cancer, and how uncertain everything was. I feel like the thankfulness you express today shines out so much more powerfully and clearly as it’s set against those bleak times of uncertainty. I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear this, but I’m sure it’s only a small fraction of the gladness you’re feeling.

  5. Fabulous news! Thank you for sharing this.

  6. Pingback ::

    Marc's Voice » Turkey weekend blogging 2013

    […] At least there are occurrences and reports to be thankful for. […]

  7. Happy belated Thanksgiving to all. Many, many people are sharing in your gratitude for this this ray of optimism.

  8. Really good news! Good Luck and thanks God!

  9. God bless you and your family. May you share many more Thanksgivings together!

  10. I’m late to the party, even though your family is often on my mind.

    Placed within the crazy context of medical/health struggles, worry, stress, and everything that comes with it, this is truly wonderful news.

    And how good it must feel to be a family, to have a family, to have friends who become family, and strangers who become friends. We take so much for granted in life, but these things and life itself are, as we know but can so easily lose awareness of, all that really matter.

  11. Eric, I have to confess that when my son was born and very very sick, I found, in building a web page, a perfect excuse to communicate how he was to my family and I studied for a long time your css examples to build pages on the beginning of this century, I needed time to have my mind busy under those circunstances… when what you know or what you have is not enough.

    Eric, you are reaping what you sow in readers like me, I am happy for your good news, God bless your family and your daugther.

    Best regards from PANAMA, Central America

  12. Dear Eric,

    My prayers and thoughts are with you, and am hoping for the best possible outcome for your daughter.

    Life is full of the unexpected, for better or worse. Six months ago I was consoling a friend whose brother just passed away from a glioma. Then I remember first reading about your daughter. Before I knew it, I was having my own brain surgery for what has turned out to be a Glioblastoma Multiforme.

    I remain positive and urge you to do the same, in spite of the gloomy statistics doctors quote. Each person is their own statistic, miracles can and do happen, statistics tend to ignore them, and the mind is capable of some amazing things that we still don’t appreciate.

    Wishing you all the best for you and your family and hope to be reading about your daughters continued road to recovery and then healing for years to come.

  13. Eric, I’m reading this update a bit late, but with happy tears. I’m sitting next to a neighbor who has just gone in for surgery after 6 months of chemo and radiation and we are both crying. The existence of the tunnel is wonderful news. I think of Kat, Rebecca and your family every day and my 6-year old daughter drew a picture for Rebecca and we will send it when it unearths itself from our piles of paper … sending prayers and positive energy to you, your family and especially to Rebecca during this holiday season and into the next year. Much love, Kelly

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