breast cancer, calling all angels, cancer, drops of jupiter, hey soul sister, Heysoul sister, mastectomy, save me san francisco, skin-sparing mastectomy, thanks, Train
“I won’t give up if you don’t give up” – Train from “Calling All Angels”
I want to give a big thank you to all friends, family and business associates who helped my family deal with my wife’s illness this past year.
Today was just another day of running around the house getting the kids out of bed, reminding them to put their clothes away, brush their teeth, comb their hair and rushing them out the door to school. Hundreds of thousands of families repeated that same ritual this morning without batting an eye. Kids waving at me in my rear view mirror as I drove off to work just put that smile on my face that puts one in a happy place. These small things we take for granted, but I’ve learned to cherish these moments which are the strong fibers in the fabric of our lives.
Midway through the day I was running through my emails, my Facebook updates, and my Tweets as I ate my lunch and someone wished me a “Happy 9/9/09”. The date in slightly different formats had two meanings for me. Exactly 10 years ago my wife went into labor with our first child. The hospitals were then packed on 9/9/99 with tech geeks in the area wanting to have their babies on that day. Incidentally my wife didn’t eventually give birth until 9/11 which gave my son an equally auspicious birthday.
More recently, the date marked exactly a year since I spent one of the longest days in my life at the hospital as my wife went through a 6 hour surgery to have her cancer removed. As I responded to a few emails including one from the mother of my son’s classmate (her husband is dying of cancer) I could only think once again of how fortunate we are. I can only say thank you so many times to the wonderful friends who supported us physically with meals, carpools, rehab walks, babysitting, and even just a nice cup of coffee as well as emotionally with advice, cards, flowers, and prayers through a very tough time. All of those efforts allowed us to get back to the living our normal every day lives without hardly skipping a beat. A big thanks also goes out to all our new friends who met as we entered into this new community in our lives who helped us better understand what we would be going through and prepared us for the months of hard work. Even more to those old friends I grew up with who gave their unconditional support even though we hadn’t seen each other in decades and barely knew my wife.
Why the video in this post? “Calling All Angels” by Train is one of those songs that has been in my iPod for years and was listened to occasionally, but this past year it kept pushing me through some of my long night runs (over 1100 miles since the night of that surgery), inspiring me to keep going until it became a big part of my mantra run. I felt like I was running the streets of San Francisco calling for angels to help and they did. Incidentally, Train is coming out with a new album called “Save me San Francisco” (the band was formed here) and their hit song, Hey Soul Sister, is a catchy little tune that I think captures the energy of the sisterhood of women suffering from breast cancer. The fight against breast cancer is an intense one wrought with emotion. The sisterhood is strong. The women I met as I searched for answers showed me how a strong community atmosphere can be so supportive. The song also captures for me my love for the woman who has been both my hope and my inspiration over the last year.
Well when I got home tonight all I could do was give my wife a big hug. The date had hit her in the middle of the day too. We smiled as our kids wondered why mommy and daddy were so happy that they had to give each other a big embrace in the kitchen. We just told them we are just very very lucky people. Only a year gone by and the ability to look back and smile and turn our heads to the future is a good thing.