How do I begin to tell you how happy we are? How can I tell you what it is like to be done? To know that I never have to implement "steroid rules" again, or wake Brinley up to take her oral chemo, or watch them inject poison meant to kill her blood cells into her veins, or explain why most of the rules don't apply to Brinley when she is on chemo? Or to know that I will never, never have to look at her "chemo eyes" again and be helpless, or that in two weeks, we won't be gearing up again for chemo week, or that when we tell people she BEAT cancer we get a happy reaction instead of telling people she HAS cancer and getting a sad one.....I could go on and on.

Brinley has been running around like a little happy wind up toy. David and I have a theory that her oral chemo (that she has been taking for almost 2 years) had put her in a constant state of not feeling well. In the beginning of it she was nauseous a lot, but it eventually went away. We have decided she must have just gotten used to not feeling well because she is clearly acting very differently. She is just so happy. Brinley has always been a funny girl, but she has had us laughing more than usual, mostly because it is nice to see her so happy and silly.

Truly, we are stuck up in some cloud right now, I believe it may be number 9, and I haven't seen it for quite some time. It reminds me of right after I got married, how happy I was, or after every baby. The kind of happy that doesn't last forever, because then it wouldn't mean anything. You only get that kind of happy a few times in your life. This is one of them for us, and I am trying to bask in it before it leaves.....and gets replaced with a general "happy" that I will also be grateful for.

I am finding that many people don't realize what I mean when I say my daughter just went off treatment for cancer. I have been so anxious to shout it from the rooftops, and some of the reactions are "oh, cool." Eh? Did you NOT just hear what I said? I can't blame them really, unless you watch a replay of the last 2+ years how could you possibly know what that means? The battle that has been fought by a 2 year old, all the way to 4 year old. No, I couldn't possibly expect people to understand. So many times I keep it to myself. At the grocery store, when the checker says "How are you?" I want to reply with "I am superbly, fabulously, wonderfully, gloriously happy. My 4 year old just spent more than half of her life battling cancer. She has been to hell and back. We all have. And now, well now the burden has been lifted, and I realize how heavy it was because I feel so light I could float away." (I picture myself rising in the air as I speak.) I can't give that speech for an "oh, cool." So I usually just say great, I think that goes over better.

I can tell the difference you know. Between a person who is truly happy for us and someone who is just going through the motions of congratulations. Not that it even matters, but I love the sincerity I have seen too, from someone who "gets" what going off-treatment means to us. So many wonderful friends, family, strangers, who can catch a glimpse, even if you haven't been through it, of the marathon we have just run. I hope you know I am grateful for that.

We went to the HopeKids movie on Saturday and it was a full circle moment for me personally. Here's why: the very first HopeKids activity we went to was a movie, and before the movie, this man with a funny hat and a microphone (hi C.R.:)) had a little girl stand up who had just finished treatment. I had never experienced this before. Brinley was in the beginning phases of treatment and it was a hard place. I was moved to tears of happiness for her. It was the most sincere happy I have ever been for anyone in my life. And she was a complete stranger. Brinley got to go into two FULL theatres full of cancer families to announce her off-treatment news, and they cheered for her, and I knew that they were as happy for her as I had been for that little girl two years ago. Even if they are in a hard place....

(Just to get this out of the way, if you care enough to be reading this blog, I would group you in the "get it" group. Just wanted to set that straight in case you are sitting there thinking "which group does she put ME in?")

So we are just happy right now. Ready for the next phase of life, whatever that may be. And if a curve-ball gets thrown at us, so be it. We have this time, right here, right now, to be the happiest we have ever been and I will cherish and thank God for it forever. No matter what.

14 comments:

Analia Huenu Hoyer said...

Sista, I think I know how you fee! (knowing that I could never really know how it feels). I am truly happy for you guys, and feeling blessed that we will all be able to enjoy Brin for the rest of her life. We love you! Casey and I can't wait to be closer.

Anonymous said...

sI am so full of joy right now for your sweet Brinley and your family. We have been on this cancer journey for three months now and watching that video of her last treatment and reading this post gives me HOPE. I long for the time when we can say Skyler beat cancer instead of Skyler has cancer, and I am SO happy that you guys are there! I know you dont know me but give that little girl a BIG hug for me. She is such a strong girl and Im so excited that she finally gets to feel good!

Crystal Isaacson

Melanie said...

Soooo happy to see you so happy! It's hard to express this kind of joy! Brinley's story has been very far reaching and has inspired so many people. By the way, I think you should give the grocery store lady your answer just for fun! Yipee I feel like dancing!

Briana said...

Kristin, I LOVE this post- it is the sweetest thing. I can feel your joy and happiness radiating through it. And it gives me so much hope, too. I am so, so happy for you guys!

I loved the first two paragraphs where you described all the things that are making you so happy. Beautiful!

What you said about her seeming to be so much happier and feel so much better now that she is off everything was really interesting. I think you guys are right - that maybe these kids just get used to feeling like junk and they adapt and live with it. (They are so strong and resilient - its amazing!) But truly, they don't feel 100%. Interesting to see.

Congrats again!!!

JohnH said...

:):):):) :):):):) :):):):) :):) :):) :):):) :):):):) :):):) :):):):) :):) :):):):):):):):):):) :):):):):):) :):) :) :) :):):):):):):):) :):):):):) :):):):):):):) :):):):) :):):):):):):) :):):):):):) :):):) :):):):):):):) :):):):) :):):):) :):) :):):):):) :):):):):) :):):):) :):):) :):):):):):) :):):):):):) :):):):) :):):):):):):):):) :):):):):) :):):) :):) :):):):) :):):) :):):) :):):):):)

Sole said...

This post has made my day :) Thank you!

Susi said...

Thanks again for another magnificent post. You are an amazing writer Kristin!! I am so HAPPY for you. Even though are experience was so different and sooooo much shorter of an ordeal than yours, I feel like I can understand a little bit. We are coming up on Lucy and Ella's third birthday this Saturday!! I can tell you that that warmth and floating on air feeling will come and go in the future and it is a wonderful feeling. :) I will never forget the joy of bringing them home and knowing that they were going to be fine. Life is good.
You guys are amazing! Thanks for sharing the journey you have been on with us through your blog. Come and see us if you are ever in Vegas.... We'd love to have you all to dinner :) Yeahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!

Ann Brown said...

I was so happy just reading your post! Wow -- it's contagious! (Happiness usually is). I am so very happy for Brinley and your entire family. And also so very happy (selfishly) because I know we will be joining you on the OT couch in less than 3 months!!!!

Yay for Cloud #9 happiness!

Ann and Elke (ALL-kids)

T. Hill said...

It's nice read your blog while trying to hide HAPPY tears at work for a change.

We're ecstatic for you all!

Angela Salinas said...

I can't express how much your posts have meant to me. Watching Brinley survive such a battle and seeing her strength, along with both you and David's support, has made me a better person. Kristen, you don't know me, but I was a friend of David's back in Vegas a long time ago, 2 1/2 yrs ago, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma Leukemia and although it has been a battle for me and at times felt unbearable, I too have fought it! I began reading your posts over a year ago and although I never left a post, my heart and prayers were with you and your family. Brinley is so beautiful and she is so fortunate to have you and David as parents. Thank you Sweet Brinley for giving me the strength to go on!

Good luck to you and your family in the future.

Anonymous said...

I have read your blog for a year now and am overjoyed for your family!!! My son has been on this journey for 2 years now and still has a little over a year left. He too was diagnosed with ALL at 2 years of age. You give me such hope!! It is such a difficult and emotional journey. Congratulation Brinley!!! May God bless you all!

Stephanie S.
Pittsburgh, PA

Nat Lud said...

This is such a great post! You deserve to shout it from the roof tops! You guys are amazing and I hope your ride on cloud nine lasts a really long time!

lindsay Roscoe said...

LOL! wether we get it or not, it is truly wonderful! I love the way you explain happy. I think you should tell every checker just how happy you are, it will spread throughout their day. Happiness like that can't help but touch the lives of others.

Becca said...

Congrats! I came across your blog through Amelia's blog. My daughter is battling cancer and a heart problem. We were there at that hope kids movie and I didn't know who you were, but I cried tears of joy for you. I love those moments of hope!