Monday, October 15, 2012

Strength & Love - Living the Fall

I've spent a decent amount of time these past few weeks thinking back over life this time last year. For me, that has involved revisiting both my personal journal and the CaringBridge site I maintained for friends and family during the last two months of Joe's illness. I am now more thankful than ever that I was finally able to convince Joe in October of last year to let me to start the blog on CaringBridge because looking back on it is very meaningful. Joe was always relatively private about what was going on with him to the point that even some of his close friends and family members didn't realize exactly how serious his illness had gotten by the time the fall season was in full swing. Part of my hope in integrating these posts with my current blog is not so much to recall the difficulties of last fall, but to really remember the sweet moments, those times when even in the midst of pain, love was shining through in our lives.

I have found looking back on these blog posts to be a cathartic part of my grief journey because they are a way to remember Joe and how much strength and love he showed throughout his illness. Those things about him continue to be a model for me in my own life. It's so easy to lose perspective and call this my WORST day or complain about how EXHAUSTED I am or get ANGRY about the traffic or an issue at work. Revisiting these posts reminds me to re-focus on strength and love. So, I've decided to share some of these posts that had previously only been available on our protected CaringBridge site. I don't think I will necessarily share them all, but as I walk through this fall season which will inevitably lead to the cold winter and the one year mark of losing my Superman, I know I will somehow find comfort in walking through this season "with Joe".


Written Oct 13, 2011 3:12pm by Anne Luck-Deak

Many times over the past year and a half I have told Joe that he is my Superman and I think there is no time that has been more true than these past few weeks. After powering through intense radiation on his spine, he had surgery this past Tuesday to deal with the accumulating fluid in his lung. In the end, more than 2 liters of fluid was drained both through the surgery and using the catheter that was placed. (Imagine, a 2 liter bottle of soda - that's a LOT!) It's no wonder that he is now breathing easier!

In the midst of it all, we celebrated a very HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY with our little man and enjoyed all the love and support from family and friends. Domani enjoyed his birthday cupcake on Tuesday although he seemed more interested in eating his party hat (he'll learn)! The time has just gone by so quickly and we are looking forward to celebrating with the whole family this Saturday.

Joe started back with his chemo treatments today after a long hiatus for his radiation. Here's to hoping that this helps him find relief for some of his symptoms and that he is able to fully enjoy the party on Saturday.

Hurry Up and Wait

Written Oct 15, 2011 1:40am by Anne Luck-Deak

On Thursday, Joe resumed his maintenance chemo with the hope that it will get him back on track after a month and half with no chemo treatments while he received radiation to his spine. He is tired and still experiencing some side effects from being off the maintenance chemo for so long, but we are hopeful this will start to get the tumors back under control. We will just have to wait and see.

Thanks for all your support over this past week especially - it has not been an easy one for us. What a blessing though that in the midst of a tough week like this we were able to celebrate the birthday of our own little miracle. Domani is growing up so fast and we treasure every moment we get to spend with him. Extra hugs to you all today!

Happy Birthday, Domani

Written Oct 17, 2011 12:35am by Anne Luck-Deak

Well, it finally feels official. Now that we have celebrated Domani's first birthday with a proper party it finally feels like he is REALLY one! 

What a blessing it was to be surrounded by family and friends, to watch Domani running around the firehouse shrieking with his cousins and friends, and to even have Naomi join us via Skype! Domani is a bit slow on the unwrapping so we still have some unopened presents for him to get through, but it's just a way for his celebration to last even longer! We are truly overwhelmed by the generosity shown to Domani and to us.

While the party was a lot of fun it was also exhausting (for all 3 of us!) We have spent most of the time since then resting and enjoying some leftover goodies.

While Joe's appetite is still not great and he is experiencing some pain, Domani's birthday celebration went a long way towards lifting our spirits. We are so thankful for our little man and the joy he brings to our lives.

Looking back on these posts, I am reminded why I got my Superman tattoo back in March. I am also reminded of Joe's sheer joy at being able to be with his son at his 1st birthday party and that Domani's party was the last time Joe drove himself anywhere alone. And I laugh at the fact that just like last year, Domani still has a stack of birthday presents to open several days after his party. I remember our optimism that somehow this next chemo treatment would turn the tide in the cancer battle and buy Joe some more time with us. I remember the happiness of Domani's birthday celebration and how blessed I felt and I remember how completely and totally tired we were when it was all over.

I missed Joe incredibly when we celebrated Domani's birthday this past Saturday. It was a lovely day and I just know he would have had a blast following our 2 year old around and showing him all there was to do at Von Thun's Farm. Joe would have had so much fun with Domani and his cousins and there were quite a few moments when that realization took over my thoughts and emotions. For me though, the moment when I missed him the most that day was back at home, during the afternoon family nap time that followed the party. Because this year, Joe's nap couch was empty and that still has a sneaky way of yanking on my heart strings.

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