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Update on Mike and a Huge Thank You!!!

Mike finished his 15th and final radiation treatment this week. Finishing radiation feels different this time around. It’s not because I’m any less proud of him and his perseverance. It’s not because it’s any less of an accomplishment either. Watching Mike ring that bell and hearing the applause from the staff that has become so invested in him is special. It’s emotional. It’s all just different this time. Last summer, after 6 weeks Mike rang that bell and it felt like a huge celebration. We knew this battle wasn’t over. We know it never will be, but we thought we were closing the chapter on it for some meaningful amount of time. I don’t even know how much time. A few years, maybe? Finishing radiation last year meant Mike was on the road to recovery. He was on the path back to being the amazing, involved, hands-on husband and daddy that he is meant to be.

That being said, I have come to really dislike the saying everything happens for a reason. Or, what’s meant to be will be. It feels like a load of BS. Mike is meant to be digging in the dirt out back with our boys, he’s meant to be running around with us at the park and coming for walks with us around the neighborhood. He’s meant to be reading books and singing songs with us at bedtime. We’re meant to be doing things together. We’re meant to be getting out of the house for date nights and not only for doctor’s appointments. These things were meant to be but cancer came in with no regard to begin writing its own version of our story. That new story might be our reality right now, but it is NOT the story that was ever meant to be. I just very recently saw an instagram post about the unfairness of life. Part of the excerpt said: Be a warrior and work through whatever life throws your way with courage, love, and positivity. And continuously push forward. Because you are a survivor of the unfairness of life. You are stronger than you think. And you are capable of achieving far more than you believe.” I do feel like we're being unfairly robbed of so much, but I'm really trying to stay strong and manifest the mindset that this quote encourages.

Anyway, this time around, radiation felt different because it means the disease has progressed. It means we’re now facing a much steeper mountain. It means that since ringing that bell again, we’ve entered back into this black hole of the unknown. I am not hopeless; but having done everything “right” the first time around and still ending up here again so soon inevitably leaves me more intimidated.

It’s hard to explain the extent of the damage this new tumor has done. Mike is just not Mike right now. He’s extremely worn down and radiation was hard. He is struggling with his new disabilities and new level of dependence on us. While there have been some minor improvements (such as in his ability to balance on all 4’s) he’s also regressed in other areas, such as communication. While he was once able to disconnect from this reality a little bit through back and forth with friends or on social media, he now struggles to use his phone. We are forced to have patience and take things no faster than moment by moment. It’s been the challenge of a lifetime but the support we’ve received over the last few weeks has been incredibly heartwarming. We had no idea how many people were so invested in our story and so badly rooting for our family.

I don’t know that I can ever properly thank everyone who shared supportive words, sent prayer cards and gifts or so generously donated to the go fund me. that Mike's employer kindly started. We are truly in disbelief at the response we’ve received. People from every aspect of our lives have shown up in some way – from childhood through high school and college, new neighbors and old neighbors, co-workers, long- distant family friends, and members of the community that don’t even know us personally. It’s obvious that there is no amount of money, no gift or any perfect set of words that can correct this situation but your support and contributions will without question ease the added burdens of this disease. The money raised will go directly to medical bills, medical equipment, supplements, and other needs. It will also help tremendously with cobra payments which are astronomical for a family of 4. These payments have caused me angst as we can’t predict how long we’ll be paying them. Your generosity has helped us easily cover the next 12 months of them and I am so beyond grateful for that. Thank you Thank you THANK YOU. For everyone who has asked about visiting: Mike (completely understandably) just hasn’t been up for company. We hope to see some improvement over the next few weeks. We also have multiple visits a week from a physical therapist, speech therapist, occupational therapist and an in-home nurse. It feels like we’re just waiting, but also like each day is fully scheduled. We are so thankful for your desire to show Mike some in-person love and I think we’ll get there soon. I mentioned that Mike isn’t engaging with his phone much, but he is absolutely reading the messages and comments and watching the videos that you’re sending. I personally cannot thank you enough for helping him feel the love.

Next step is an MRI in 3 weeks…

Mikey D Strong!!!!!!

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