As my summer comes to an abrupt halt, I think back on what an incredible summer it has been. It certainly beats the summer of 2012.
Ironically, the summer began on a low note. On May 31st Mark and I attended the funeral of the wife of one of his co-workers. She and I were both diagnosed with breast cancer about the same time. At first, her situation seemed much better than mine. She was stage three and spent most of 2012 going through chemo and radiation. It initially appeared that the treatments were successful. But in early 2013, the cancer returned with a vengeance. It had spread to her lungs. Her disease was very aggressive and she passed away on Memorial Day. She was 40 years old and has three kids. It was heartbreaking! There was no way to make sense of such a tragedy. I can say however, that it reminded me how very lucky and very blessed I am to be here!
June was filled with classes, political action, scrapbooking, household organization, and celebrating Nick’s 15th birthday. Of course this year was special because he got his driving permit. It is so hard to believe that my baby is old enough to drive. The next year will be quite an adventure leading up to the big 16th birthday. This time next year he will be able to drive on his own.
On June 30th I left for the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly in Atlanta, Georgia. It was an incredible experience. 9,000 plus teachers and educational support professionals all in one room making decisions together! It was democracy on steroids! Although it was a busy week, I did manage to see a few sites in Atlanta. My favorite was The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. I got to see his birthplace, the church where he preached, and his gravesite. Being a history lover and teacher, you can imagine this was really cool for me.
From Atlanta, on July 7th, I flew to Florida to see my mom. It was really nice because we spent 3 days together, just us, until Mark and Nick flew in on the 10th. It was great to see mom and we shopped, played cards, and I taught her how to use Facebook. I NEVER thought that would happen.
Once Mark and Nick arrived, Mark and I took off for a few days and drove through the Florida Keys. This is the 3rd time we have done this trip, and it is still as enjoyable as the first. It is so beautiful and so different from home. We spent one night in Key Largo and then 3 nights in Key West. Key West has become one of our favorite places. It seems every time we go, we find something new to do. This trip we rented wave runners, shopped, took a sunset cruise, and ate at a restaurant called…..no kidding…..”Better than Sex.” It was a dessert only restaurant and it definitely lived up to its name.
When we returned from the keys, we packed up the cars with all of our beach gear and headed to Sanibel Island. This has become another one of my favorite vacation spots. We rented a condo right on the beach and spent a week swimming, shelling, and relaxing. It was nice to spend more time with mom. Nick seemed to enjoy it as well.
Coming home from Florida, I faced an immediate return to cancerland. I saw my oncologist the next day and had my infusion of pamidronate. There were no scans to look at this time, only blood work. Everything appears fine. I will have another PET/CT scan in October and, fingers crossed, things will remain stable.
Just to make life a little crazier, I went to Vegas with my good friend for her birthday the following week. Of course the morning I was leaving, Mark got a call to go to Oregon on a wildfire. He is still there as I write this.
The past couple of weeks have been spent on school preparations and last minute errands. And so the summer is over and I go back to work on Monday. It is always bitter-sweet because I do love my job, but I also love summer. I do feel like I’m ready and I am looking forward to starting my 19th year of teaching high school.
I am so happy that this summer was filled with relaxation, fun, celebration, travel, and time with my family. It went by quickly, but I wouldn’t change anything. I can only hope there are more similar summers in my future.
On a side note, I am excited that I received a scholarship to attend a Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference in September in Houston, Texas. I will get to listen to doctors talk about the latest advances in treatment of my disease and also get to connect with others who share my condition. I am really looking forward to that.