Here we are. Tomorrow, when Abby checks into UWMC for her final chemotherapy, our journey together marks 41 weeks. Like mountain climbers rising at dawn for the final ascent to the summit, we hold onto the vision that Abby is now one treatment away from complete healing.
Over the past month, the climb has been more challenging but also more rewarding with every step forward. Abby completed her final morning of radiation listening to Jimmy Cliff sing “I Can See Clearly Now”. Before exiting the Radiation Oncology unit at UW Medical Center for the last time, the nurses, radiation techs and staff that had spent every morning with Abby marked Abby’s closure by ringing a gong together. The reverberations sent waves through the room. What a powerful moment.
In the weeks since, we’ve been busy enjoying the school year and seasons. The Seattle Hebrew Academy and its community continues to be a source of strength for our family. Jaren’s transformation from Pre-K to Kindergarten has been incredible and Miri’s new Chickadee class is inspiring her to learn all about the world around her. On the weekends we’ve been cheering on Jaren and his Eagles soccer team. Last weekend, we returned to the Methow Valley for the first time since being evacuated by the wildfires this summer. While the fires are now long gone, the trees were ablaze with brilliant fall colors and the mountain air proved the perfect final getaway before Abby’s final treatment.
Visit Abby this Week
Visit Abby at the UW Medical Center this week. She’ll be there from Monday, October 26th to Saturday morning October 31st. She would absolutely love to see you. If you can’t make it over, give her a call or text her, she’d love to hear from you.
Life after Treatment
As we prepare to plant our collective flag at the summit of Abby’s journey, we recognize that there is still a long journey ahead for our family. As Maurice Herzog, the 20th century mountain climber declared after a harrowing first summit on Anapurna, “There are other Anapurna’s in the lives of men.”
The coming months and perhaps years will no doubt include lots of monitoring and meetings with Abby’s SCCA Oncology team. Much of this we have yet to fully understand. But to close this chapter and turn a new page in our lives, Abby and I are planning a few days in Hawaii in early December. We’re so excited! Abby has been planning this trip since treatment plans overturned our April plans. When we return we hope you will save the date and join us on Sunday December 13th to celebrate Abby’s 38th birthday and a year ahead filled with health and happiness.
As we look ahead to a new year, Abby and I are profoundly moved by the collective love and healing we have received and continue to receive from you all. Your acts of loving kindness, your visions of healing, your blessings and your support has given us the strength to reach this point.
To celebrate life and honor you, Abby and I plan to lead an Obliteride 2016 Abby’s Army team. This year Abby’s Army raised over $10,000 contributing to over $2 million that went straight to cancer research. We believe we can do so much more and we hope you’ll join us to do more good together.
Love and Healing,
Justin, Abby, Jaren, Miri and Ari