Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Family

I think I may have been unfair to my family in my first couple of posts. They really are great people. I have three siblings, twin brothers, and a younger sister, along with my parents. Here are some stories about them, and how they did support me while going through cancer treatment.

During my first hospital stay, my brother Tres spent the night with me at the hospital. This was one of the nights I had to have a blood transfusion, and he helped me drag my IV stand to the bathroom, NUMEROUS times. He also offered to stay home that summer to help out, instead of doing an internship for school. Of course I told him to go, and he now works for that some company he interned for. Tres was actually there quite a bit. I have more stories, but I think I will save those, for now.

My other brother, Reed, offered to move home from where he and Tres were going to school, several times. The day I shaved my head (that is a whole story in and of itself), he brought me a bunch of his bandanas. I know how hard it had to have been for both of my brothers (who turned 20, right after I was diagnosed) to summon the strength my parents needed from them. They were both there, smiling as best they could.

My sister, Traci, is 7 years younger than I am, so when I ended up back home, she 15, and finishing her Freshman year of high school. I still feel so bad, because when she was growinig up, my parents always told her that her time would come. When it would just be the three of them. My brothers graduated from high school in 2001, and I ended up back home in April 2003, so she had less than 2 years of "just her" time. I think she handled everything as best she could. We had such a good time together, especially when I was feeling up to it, and Marshall was in town, we did things like go to the zoo, or balloon fiesta. I got to see my sister as the beautiful young woman she was becoming, as well as one of my best friends.

My parents drive me nuts but ground me all at the same time. They were both in the military, and I am proud to say I was (and am) a military brat. My parents met in the Air National Guard, although my dad was first in the Air Force and served in Vietnam. Through his time in the Air Force and Air Guard, he hurt his back. When I was in middle school, he had back surgery to fuse his spine, where he had disks removed. The back surgery was successfull, but the trauma caused him to be diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I believe I was a junior or senior in high school when he finally admitted that he really did have MS and began treatment. My mom spent 27 years in Air Guard, retiring after 20 years active duty as a recruiter. Three months after her official retirement, she suffered a stroke in July 2001. Turns out she has a blood disorder that causes blood clots to form directly in her lungs.
Aren't we a lucky family?

So, my dad has MS, my mom had a stroke, and then I was diagnosed with cancer. Seeing as my mom and dad both survived, we all knew that I too would pull through this, and I did. With their love and support.

Then there is Marshall. We met in Las Vegas, at a bar. I was visiting friends, and taking care of things so I could register at UNLV for the fall semester. He was there for a conference. I can't say it was love at first site, but he saw something in me, and I was intrigued by him. We exchanged email addresses and I was certain I would never hear from again. Turns out I did, but even I had no idea what would soon happen. He was 46 years old (I was 21) and twice divorced. He had two children, not much younger than me, but as the emails turned into phone calls, I found myself drawn to him. He was so easy going, and I could tell from the beginning, he was genuinely interested in what I had to say. I met him in May, he told me he loved me in July, I flew to meet him in Georgia in September, and had moved here by the end of December. The most whirlwind romanace I have ever had, and 8 years later, we are still going strong.

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