On July 19, 2004, I took Taylor to our family doctor to find out why he was having headaches. It was the day our lives were forever changed. We thought he might need glasses. At 13 years old he was diagnosed with medulloblastoma….he had a malignant brain tumor. Since that time he’s had two brain surgeries to remove the tumor, spent 13 days in the hospital with an infection in his spinal fluid, had surgery to implant a port-a-catheter for chemo, had six weeks of chemo and radiation every day, had six months of maintenance chemo, had chemo induced neuropathy so bad that he couldn’t use his hands or feel his feet, lost some of his hearing, has double vision without his glasses, lost a lot of his “balance”, undergone too many MRI’s to count, ultra sounds, ct scans, IV’s and blood draws, and a last surgery to remove his port. He had months of physical therapy, learned to walk again unaided and has permanent hair loss. And he’s still my hero today. Not because of what he’s gone through, but because of how he went through it. He worked so hard and always had a smile on his face. We are so amazed at him every day and grateful to God, our family & friends, and to the wonderful people who have taken care of him along the way.
This past May marked Taylor’s 10 year anniversary “off treatment” and next month he will turn 25 years old! He’s a firefighter and an EMT……he’s overcome so much to be where he is. Over 11 years since his diagnosis and although it fades, cancer will always be a part of our lives. I want it to be gone from Tay’s life forever and from his younger brother, Mitch’s life and from all our lives. I never want to think about cancer again.
But I will. And so will Taylor and his dad and his brother and our parents and siblings and friends. We will because like it or not cancer is a part our our lives. Cancer is the part of our lives that keeps us remembering that life can change in a second, with one phone call or a word. It’s the part of our lives that reminds us not to take each other for granted and keeps us focused on what’s important.