Bucket lists and black clouds

We finally did it, went to California. Our daughter has wanted to go for several years. Tim has never been, and I have not been there in 30 years. It was great. We did the SoCal experience. Stayed in San Clemente for 4 nights so we were close enough to San Diego and all those far south areas. Then we switched to the Hollywood Hotel so we could do Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica etc. We kept busy. It was a pricey trip and I don’t know that we’ll ever do it again so we tried to see as much as we could in a week. It was beautiful. Tim has never seen landscapes like that, nor has Olivia. Liv swears she is gonna move there some day. They hiked to the Hollywood sign, which was a big must for Liv. I threw my back out the day before so just saw the view from the bottom of the trail and had to sit out for the climb. As I have said before though, everything is different for us. It is so heartbreaking for me to watch Tim take in beautiful views and gaze out into the ocean and know he’s probably thinking to himself that he may never see this again. Then, one day, we were driving on the freeway and in huge letters I saw the word, KAPPA, on the back of an 18-wheeler. It was some kind of packaging company and that was the second half of the name. UGH, I did not point it out to Tim. I just hate the constant cancer reminders and I’m sure he does too. (Kappa is the immunoglobulin light chain that Tim’s MM expresses) As I waited for Tim and Liv to climb to the Hollywood sign, I met some folks from Maine who were out there on a make-a-wish trip. They had a little boy, sporting a bandana over his head, who has neurofibromatosis. I looked it up when I got home. It’s not a cancer, but he is treated with chemos, both of which are also used in MM. I’ve said it many times, there is no pure, unadulterated joy anymore when you live with the cancer cloud over your head. It’ always there, on your mind. At least that’s how I feel. I have to just be really grateful that we could afford this trip and that we were all healthy enough to go. We made great memories. And, I must admit, after 9 straight days of spending time together, I am lonely with Tim back to work and Liv at cheer practice or out with friends. It was nice to be together for all that time, with all or most of our responsibilities left behind. I really don’t like to fly, but being on the other end of the country in 5 1/2 hours sure beats the exhaustion of driving. We were home in 4 1/2, thanks to those tail winds. I am glad we got this bucket list item checked off. It was a major one. Now, Liv starts her senior year in a few weeks. Life is full of big changes for our family. She is driving now, we have to apply to colleges this fall. It’s overwhelming, at times, how fast things are changing. It will be incredibly hard to be without her in our house. Thank God Tim and I get along so well but that’s not going to erase the pain of her being away from us. I have to start thinking seriously about a job or volunteer position because the blues are already setting in. But, once again, I have to try to concentrate on being thankful. In Nov. of 2007, Tim’s MM specialist told him he would not see our daughter graduate high school unless he rolled the dice and had an allo transplant. I don’t like to count chickens before they’ve hatched, but, 2 of these MM guys thought he had 3 years to live. They were wrong. Liv will graduate in about 10 months and we are cautiously optimistic that all 3 of us will be there. There are some really big milestones going on for us. As hard as they are, I am grateful that we are reaching them together. I turned 50 the day we flew home from CA. The night before, I surprised Tim and Liv with Sheryl Crow tix at the Hollywood Bowl amphitheater. It was a great ending to our trip. I can’t believe I am 50. Most people are bummed. Well, yeah, I’d like to be 28 again, only if my life was gonna go better than it did though. But, again, I will be grateful. I know folks who, sadly, did not make 50 and how can I bitch? Honestly, everything in my life is graded on a different scale now. We are immersed in the world of cancer. If I am able to have life, and any quality of life, I feel guilty for complaining. So, time to move on. The trip is over and it’s back to reality. Just wish ours wasn’t such a hard reality.