Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010: In review

I am openly stealing the format of this post from Adrian , a friend from high school whose journey continues to move me with each post. If you haven't read her blog, you must! Anyway, I think she has it right when she breaks down the year month to month to discuss each important moment. So without further ado....

January: We spent New Year's Eve and Day (and at least one more day) in the hospital as Johnathan recovered from surgery to remove the tumor on his colon that was discovered during a colonoscopy in December. I returned to work after a week home with him, and we also met with an oncologist to discuss treatment options. Johnathan also entered graduate school at North Carolina Central University to pursue his Master's Degree in Information Science. I started my internship in Curriculum and Instruction.

February: Johnathan began chemotherapy as a precautionary measure, since his oncologist gave us the option of doing so or foregoing it. We decided that the extra 5% 5 year expectancy was worth 18 treatments. We celebrated Valentine's Day with a dinner and gifts.

March: Chemotherapy continued, and Johnathan's side effects are low at worst. His hair thinned a little but he did not experience nausea or other symptoms of the chemo. He continued his treatments at 3 weeks on, one week off. The indoor percussion competition ended with our ensemble earning the bronze medal at championships at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

April: We took part of my Spring Break and set off for Asheville for a few relaxing days, including a visit to the Biltmore Estate on Easter. It was a lovely weekend that provided me with just the time and space I needed to reconnect with my husband in the midst of all the chaos of school, graduate school, band and his chemotherapy.

May: I graduated with my MA in Curriculum and Instruction from ASU. My mom and best friend were in attendance when I walked across the stage. My husband was at his sister's wedding, and we had a late dinner after both events to celebrate :) I was relieved that even though I had another summer session to complete, I was finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. We participated in our first Relay for Life and Johnathan walked his first survivor lap. What a way to end the month! Our team, Go JoBe Go, raised over $600 for the American Cancer Society, and for a team that got a really late start, that's not too bad!

June: Johnathan is quickly approaching the end of chemo and is still doing great. The school year comes to a close and my contract was renewed for the 2010-2011 school year; the year I am eligible for tenure! There is a lot of joy in our house this month as we celebrate moving forward.

July: I finally finish all the coursework at ASU, and chemo is over! David, Johnathan and I took a vacation to Oak Island for the most restful, fun week I think any of us had experienced in quite some time. We cooked great meals, drank great wine and spent most of the days on the beach, and even took two trips to Wilmington for shopping and site seeing. We celebrated my 26th birthday with my parents and a dinner at their home.

August: Johnathan and I celebrate our 3rd year of marriage; one that has surpassed our imaginations in both challenge and joy. We cooked a quiet dinner at home and dressed up to celebrate the occasion. A followup appointment goes well with the oncologist. I receive a letter from ASU confirming my acceptance into the Add-On licensure program in School Administration. Just three classes and I'll be eligible for a position as an Assistant Principal.

September: School is back in full swing for me and Johnathan is back at work 4 days per week, as he is feeling much stronger since his chemo ended just over a month prior. I am working all kinds of crazy hours as the yearbook adviser, taking on a new role at school while attempting to balance just one more year of coursework and internship hours, along with a minimal commitment to David's band program, which basically boiled down into a little bit of travel and becoming a band spectator; something I did not think I would enjoy, but did.

October: We get to celebrate Johnathan's 26th birthday, the first one following his cancer diagnosis. In honor of the event, I register Go JoBe Go for the 2011 Relay for Life and start recruiting team members. We attended the Relay Kickoff this month, too. Johnathan and I, along with my parents, spent Halloween weekend in Chapel Hill where we had dinner with David and Ashley Donovan after a super exciting Carolina homecoming football game. The Heels won!!

November: School is starting to catch up with me, both the one where I work and the course I'm taking through ASU. I foolishly attempt National Novel Writing Month, which was a complete and total failure, though the experience taught me a lot about writing and about who I am as a writer. I think I'll try again next year (maybe?). We spend Thanksgiving with both of our families, extending the holiday to the weekend when my brother and his fiancee arrive. The tradition of Black Friday shopping in my pajamas online continues. We dare not go out on this day!

December: A month of appointments. Johnathan's next followup with his oncologist goes well; his hemoglobin levels are well within normal range. We meet a new gastroenterologist and schedule Johnathan's 1 year colonoscopy (can you believe it?!) for January 18, 2011. Christmas is beautiful; both in the sense that we have come so far in 2010, and the blizzard that dumped lots of snow in Cherryville. We spend Christmas Eve and Day with family and friends, then enjoy some time off from work. I traveled to Raleigh to spend 2 days with Ashley outlet shopping, and we rang in 2011 with friends in Greensboro.

I will never forget how I felt on New Year's Eve 2009. We were in the hospital, and I remember thinking that surely 2010 will be better. It was. 2011 is looking even brighter and more hopeful than I could imagine. Thanks for reading this year; thanks for sticking it out with us; thanks for your thoughts, prayers and concerns during Johnathan's health struggle. I appreciate it all more than you will ever know.

Here's to 2011,

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