Saturday, September 17, 2016

First Things First...

"Courage is the measure of our heartfelt participation with life, with another, with a community, a work; a future."
~ David Whyte

Because I hope you will follow our journey and share our thoughts with others, and because these will be strangers to us, I feel it only fitting to profile who we are and why this chronicle is important to us and, hopefully, to others.

John and I have been married for 33 years (must be comfortable because we both forgot our anniversary this year!)  We met in the summer of 1980 "in a bar in Kansas City."  Just as the song says.  I was an elementary principal at the time, he the Director of Corporate Engineering for a Fortune 500 company.  Both divorced, neither with children, neither intending to marry again.

We were married in Cleveland, Ohio, two and a half years later.  Within a year, John was transferred to Santa Barbara where I created a small boutique training/coaching firm that became my passion for the next 25 years, and he eventually created a small firm specializing in the abatement of asbestos and lead based paint.  That's the raw data.

In some respects, we are quite different.  He loves country and I like - almost anything but. He is a vegetarian, I am not.  He could watch sports all day.  Give me a good mystery.  And then there's politics.  Let's say we cancel each other's vote.  But we are partners, and the medical crises, of which we have experienced our fair share, have forged that partnership. We love each other, yes.  But as important, we like, trust and respect each other.

We have both battled cancer.  Breast cancer for me and non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma for John. The latter was put into remission with a stem cell transplant at MD Anderson 11 years ago. The same MD Anderson we will be visiting next week for further testing, prognosis, and treatment recommendations for the rare blood cancer with which John was diagnosed this week.

We are dedicated to facing this head on as we have faced every other challenge together. With the prayers and assistance of an incredible network of support.  With dignity and a healthy dose of realistic optimism. Learning whatever we can to make the most responsible decisions we can. And with a desire to contribute to each other and to others who are or may be facing a similar challenge.  It is our hope that by writing about our journey as we embark upon it, we can add insight and assistance to others now and in the future.  

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