When Life Gives You Lemons

…you make lemonade, right?

Easier said than done sometimes!

We found out earlier this week that one of our good friend’s cancer has returned. He was diagnosed with cancer a little over a year ago, in the spring of 2016. He is a high school band director like my husband, and found out he had cancer near the end of his 3rd year of teaching. At this point in his career, he was interviewing for jobs at different schools, and had just made it to the second round interview for his dream school.

He found out that he had an aggressive form of cancer, and needed to go to the hospital to receive chemo two times a week. Not only did he continue teaching during this time, but he would actually teach a full day at school, head to the hospital to receive chemo therapy after school had ended, go home to rest, and then return to school the next day. While he was doing this, he was also preparing for an intense interview process, during which he would go through 5 total interview rounds, teaching different groups and different lessons at each round, and standing out enough to be offered his dream job after the fifth and final round. He only missed two days of school.

High-school-band-director

The school year ended in June, and he continued his chemo therapy through the summer until August of that year. By the time he started his new job, he was deemed cancer free and feeling on top of the world.

He was just recently in our wedding this past August, and was telling us that he had his 6 month check up to attend a few weeks later. Just this past week we found out that his cancer is back and more intense than before – so much so that upon hearing the news he is now undergoing three different types of surgery, and will soon be admitted to the hospital to begin chemo therapy. He will remain there for 4-6 weeks while he receives this treatment. His wife is taking 4-6 weeks off of her job to support him while he is in the hospital undergoing these intense treatments.

I can’t even imagine.

How does someone react and overcome that kind of news? I can only imagine how devastating it must be. Him and his wife are two of our good friends; friends that we see frequently, are both in the same career field as us, and were just recently married as well. They are a few years ahead of us in their marriage and careers, and are both people whom we respect, admire, and look up to – in their relationship, career and attitudes.

Shortly after he began chemo therapy in 2016, we went to a water park with both of them… a water park! He had already begun his treatment so he had a port implanted under the skin on his chest, and his hair had fallen out. And yet, it was one of the best weekends we had that year. We all had a blast, and you would have never known that he had such a terrible illness.

Kalahari-water-park

Upon hearing that his cancer had returned, we spent the evening last night talking to him and his wife on the phone and will be going to visit them this weekend.

Inspiring is the best word I can think of to describe their attitudes, and yet it still falls short. They have both maintained a ridiculously positive attitude throughout this entire process. To say they have been through the ringer this year would be an understatement – especially as his wife was just diagnosed with Bells Palsy three weeks ago.

Circumstances like this really put your own problems in perspective. I spent my run yesterday dedicating the miles to both of them, and feeling grateful for the beautiful weather and the fact that my body could run. We get so overwhelmed by our own problems in the every day routine that sometimes we forget to be thankful. Thankful that we’re even able to have problems like “I don’t have enough time to clean the house” because it means we are able to afford a house, or “I really want to make a burger but don’t have buns” because it means we have food to eat, or “my run this morning felt terrible” because it means that we are healthy enough to run.

img_0463

When we talk to our friends and find that they have a more positive attitude than we do and they are battling cancer, it is a true reality check. I don’t know why these terrible things always seem to happen to the best people, but my only guess is because they are the ones who can show us what is important in life. They can show us how to live and be grateful, how to never lose hope, and to celebrate everything we have.

Thanks to people like our friends, who are battling the odds and still showing us what life is really about. They sure are making their lemonade.

Leave a Reply