August 6, 2011
Today ended the way this whole excruciating journey began — with tears — but for very different reasons.
After a day filled with friends and excitement and laughter, we ended it quietly, just the four of us — the core fighting team. I mixed up Tanner’s last 6-MP pill with some blue gatorade and Jake, John and I brought it, along with her other meds out on a little tray singing, “Happy last chemo pill to you…” She took it like the pill-taking-champ she is, and then we went into the kitchen and threw the remaining chemo pills in the trash together.After our last-minute attempt at a skating party didn’t work out, John had the awesome idea of renting a limo and taking the neighbor kids out for a ride and laser tag. When we took our Make-A-Wish trip last year, we were supposed to ride in a limo to the airport, but Tanner got a nasty cough right before we were to leave. We decided not to expose her compromised immune system to airplane air and drove instead. She never forgot about missing that limo ride, so this was an especially appropriate surprise. We didn’t tell any of the kids that a limo was coming and just said we had invited a few friends for a playdate. When the limo got there, we called Tanner and Jake to the door. Tanner just stood there and said, “Who’s that limo for?” John said, “It’s for you!” to which she replied, “To keep?!!!”
When she finally realized that we were taking all her friends out in the limo, she ran inside screaming and they all piled in. We went to laser tag and played a couple of games there, then went on to Mellow Mushroom in downtown Franklin for some pizza. We ran out of time to go out for ice cream, so instead we stopped at Kroger (yes, in the limo!) and got cupcakes and ice cream and took them home to eat there. Several of Tanner’s friends ended up staying the afternoon, which made the day even better.
I don’t know that we could have had a better time. No one mentioned cancer or chemo at all. I think all the kids knew why we were there, but were just focused on having a good time. They opened the windows on Main Street in Franklin and waved at all the people walking downtown, posed for pictures in front of the limo, and laid on their backs on the limo seats and watched themselves in the mirrored ceiling.It was the best way to banish fear that I can imagine… with child-like abandon.
In September, we’re going to reschedule our skating party, but as a private party that everyone can come to. We would have never made it through this journey without the support and love of people that we know, and even some that we’ve never met before. It wouldn’t feel right to end this phase without all of you to help us celebrate.
The fact that we will be at clinic this Friday for our first survivor check-up is not lost on us. This is the end of one phase of this walk, but is certainly not the end of the doctor visits, pokes and prods, or worries. But no matter, because today, we KICKED CANCER’S ASS… in a limo!!!