Time from a quick update from our neck of the woods. Today has been rainy and grey. Normally, this sends me into an angry tirade all day...and my poor students have to listen to me moan about how much I hate rain...but not today! My classroom has been a bazillion degrees since we've started school and the cool air circulating around my room felt more than fabulous today.
Since Kurtis' HCG has been "less than two" the doctors ordered the high sensitivity test. We have since learned that Kurtis' HCG is .5 which great news. Right now, there aren't a lot of things that we're doing medically for Kurtis. He's taking oral chemo which doesn't impact his daily life too much. Sometimes he's tired and occasionally his stomach hurts, but for the most part, he's "normal." In order to make sure that he should stay on the chemo, he also gets his blood drawn once a week to check for various levels, etc.
Life has normalized for us somewhat which is positive. In October, we will hit the one year anniversary of Kurtis' initial diagnosis. When I look back at the past year, there are a lot of things that I've learned and ways that I've grown. There are a lot of people who feel really bad when they find out what we've been through over the last year, but in a lot of ways the things that we've experienced have really impacted our lives in a positive way.
I know, it sounds strange... but consider the following...
...the type of cancer Kurtis has isn't forever. It isn't something that he'll have to carry in his body for the rest of his life. Sure, the treatment has been hell (to put it nicely) and it isn't something I'd wish on my worst enemy, but there are a lot of sickness that don't go away. His is on its way out the door as my fingers tap along on this keyboard.
...the sunrise, the sunset, rainstorms, afternoons in the hammock, baseball games, dinner out, reading books, drawing, writing, dreaming, and playing among everything else we do is now in technicolor. Life has never seemed so bright - even the simple things. Both Kurtis and I have learned not to "live in the moment" but to "love the moment". Of course, we're still future-minded, but it is nice to be able to love the moment you're in - and notice the small things.
...Kurtis and I have been through a whole lot together. I think there are a lot of people who are approaching marriage...right around our age...who have not been through the firestorm we've just walked through. I've discovered how nice it is to look at your partner and know that no matter what, they've got your back. There might be puking involved - or scary hospital stays - random frustration fits - or moments when you don't know what to do, but at least you have someone with you all the time that gets you and that you just get too.
...Families rock. Our families are fabulous and I can't imagine being here right now without them. Parents are great and they know how to do everything - from calm you down on a rough day to making sure that you have everything you need to survive.
...Friends and co-workers rock too. Ours have been so supportive. From our close friends that live in Fort Collins to the staff at my school and our lacrosse families we've had so much help that never went unnoticed.
It's hard to say things like "I'm glad you got cancer" or "I'm glad cancer touched us"...because, truth be told, there is no way that we'd like to repeat this whole process. BUT - since it happened, there are a lot of things we've learned and a lot of ways that we're better off because of what we've been through.
In addition, I'm gearing up a program aimed at teens called "Self Check 10-18"...it is only in the beginning stages right now, but what other way to throw out an intro to it than in this blog where you have followed our moves through this journey.
Working with kids (high school mostly) makes it so I know a few things:
-HS kids are awkward. All of them. So were all of us when we were there.
-Testicular cancer is rare, but if you break down the ages of kids who are diagnosed, many of them fall into the HS age - or the close to HS age.
-Because they are unsure about who they are, they are also confused about everything else (what time class starts for example...haha) - including their body.
-I don't want ANY kid who finds a lump to not tell someone because they are embarrassed about it.
So...for these reasons I decided that one thing I could do to give back, spread awareness, and ultimately make 10-18 a positive day instead of a negative one.
Self-check 10-18 will launch at my school in classrooms on the 18th of October (Kurtis' diagnosis date). 10-18 in police "ten codes" also means urgent which I found appropriate. In short, teachers will talk to kids about the importance of knowing their own bodies - and most of all reporting something to an adult who can help them if they find something odd. It's not about scaring kids, but just about having an honest conversation helping them to feel less afraid. In the future, I'd love to get people that kids look up to speaking to this, but for now, we'll start small and work from here.
I'm launching a facebook page today, and if you're connected to facebook, I'd appreciate it if you'd add it. It takes a certain amount of "likes" before the page can have its own name, and I'd like to get that done ASAP. So - you should be able to search Self-Check 10-18 and find it!
As time goes by, I'll make sure that more information goes up as I have it :)
ALSO (I know, this post is long...hang with me) There is a benefit for Kurtis...here is the information from the Holyoke Golf Club:
Hope everyone is doing well and we're sending love to all!
Liz (Kurtis and Chauncey)