Happy Thanksgiving! This holiday brings the opportunity for us all to reflect on all we are thankful for.
My updates on Aaron are infrequent, and for that I am grateful. Grateful as there has not been much to share. To start, he is doing fine – this is always the word I use when people ask. Not great, not horrible, but fine. This past June marked 7 years of his battle with colon cancer. He has been on continuous chemo for the past 4 1/2 years as it is stage 4. This seems to sometimes confuse people as they often question if he is in remission. He is not, but his cancer is stable and controlled. He continues to have 3-4 small spots in his lungs. These spots are kept very small by him being on chemo all the time. After a year on the last medication (that irritated his skin), it stopped working this summer. There are a very limited amount of medications left for him to try, so we made the decision for him to travel to MD Anderson in August to make sure we were making the right choices in the next steps. He had a great visit there and we are working with them and his local doctors to map out the treatments. At the beginning of this month, we found that his current chemo was not working (as evidenced by his lab increasing and very small growth on the spots). He stopped that chemo and has switched to another. This new one is more of a suppressive therapy for stage 4 patients – meaning it won’t cure, but will hopefully slow or halt the growth. This is the last approved medication for him to try. The next step will be to put him in a trial with the team at MD Anderson. So that is kind of it. We have been in this pattern for a while now where we try meds and stay on them as long as they work. The difficult part is there are limited options left.
It is never lost on me how incredible it is that he has battled this disease for 7 years. I am always brought back to the day he was diagnosed and I begged God for 1 more year with him. In that moment I would never have dreamed that we would go on to have another child and live such a full life. So it is in that important realization that we continue to live – appreciating all of these blessings. So many of our prayers have been answered. And while the biggest one we pray for may not have been answered, so many thousands of smaller prayers have been in our daily life. Realizing this is a very important thing. We refuse to live in fear of this disease and continue to choose a life of joy. And I encourage you all to do the same.
For some, it seems that the focus can be on their hardships – how they have been wronged, how unfair things can be, or how hard things are. A life lived with this outlook is one that is truly not lived to its fullest. I cannot imagine if we had chosen this outlook instead of choosing joy. And I pray that our children learn from this and are able to do the same with their lives. Finding joy in our family times, our faith, our travels, our fellowship with friends, our volunteer work, and our careers allow us to continue to appreciate every day we are given. And I am sure, to some, it can seem that our choice to focus on the good could be denial of the bad. Which that I think is more a reflection of their attitude rather than our own. I do not share a lot of this part of our life on the blog. Part of this is for respect of Aaron and the kids and their personal emotions with this battle – the other part is that, in our daily life, we do not spend a lot of time focusing on the bad or difficult aspects of this chronic battle with cancer. We choose joy and that is what I choose to share on this blog. Whether that joy is sharing a new outfit, sharing home ideas, or sharing special moments in motherhood – I use this as an outlet to share those! We do have our days that this is very real and we struggle under the weight of it. We lean on each other and our faith to trust in the next steps.
We cherish all of our time together and on this day I am so thankful for all we have. And I am so thankful for all of you following along. Thank you for understanding my infrequent updates on Aaron. I hope they continue to be infrequent. This space continues to be a fun outlet for me and I love hearing from so many of you that enjoy following along. I really hope it can inspire some to choose joy in their daily lives – wherever you may find that joy!
I hope you all get time with family today, lots of yummy food, and adequate time relaxing. Rest up for some fun times shopping tomorrow! I will be sharing my favorites for the sales later tonight!!
Blessings to all of you, Brooke
These pictures are all from the talented Tracy Raver. She has taken our pictures for so many years and taken all of the kids’ infant photos. We love working with her and always appreciate the special images she captures of our family!!