Your being on this particular email distribution indicates you have been tracking our family through Joanne’s fight with breast cancer. Your unwavering love and support has been terrific, and our gratitude has no measure.
Its been five weeks this very day since Joanne had the double mastectomy and reconstruction surgeries. As many of you know or can surmise, we were extremely fortunate having both procedures accomplished on the same table. It was a very long day, but both surgeons were outright triumphant when they found me in the recovery waiting room. Our primary surgeon was evidently VERY aggressive with surrounding tissue, but only took five nodes for testing. With all that, she was confident she accomplished our objective. I then managed to break protocol and snuck into the corridor that led from the surgical theater, so I was able to greet a decidedly dazed Joanne almost straight away. I had not relished holding her hand more since the day she agreed to go on a first date with me, and the moment she accepted my proposal of marriage, and when we brought our children into this world.
Over Thanksgiving, Audra, the Godmother of our daughters (her daughter, our God daughter, is a sophomore at Emory University, here in Atlanta) came out for a week, traveling from New Hampshire, and cooked a magnificent celebratory dinner. Terrific food and family. That week we received word that Joanne’s pathology report is clear. Joanne and Audra visited with both the surgeon and oncologist for follow-up reports where they confirmed the pathology. By God, it was one of the sweetest weeks of my life.
We are looking great and can now officially focus on healing. Joanne is still quite sore with limited range-of-motion. So, we begin therapy soon. She’s a bit self-conscious over her hair. I think she is lovely with a well-shaped head and the whole affect makes her gorgeous big brown eyes pop. But, its not looking good for the Christmas party circuit this year. NOTE: Many of you will be relieved that as Joanne’s hair began to grow back, I finally cut my own. It was shoulder length and shaggy. However, the stand and effort were made with good affect. I’ll also add that forty of my buddies also finally shaved – to the collective and immense relief of their own spouses.
More good news is that our oldest daughter Haley Anne has been accepted to Alabama. Roll Tide! The only thing that might stop her is an offer letter from Ole Miss. In addition to that, I’ve been accepted into Georgia Institute of Technology to pursue a double Master of Science in Human-Computer Interaction and Master of Science in Enterprise Transformation. These will set-the-stage for the pursuit of my PhD in Technology Transformation (and, hopefully teaching in my fourth season of life).
These are important milestones and signals that life is circling back around and reminding us that we must needs continue to be grateful at every turn, and prepared to give back to anyone that we can. A fascinating aspect of this ordeal is the community of cancer. Joanne has been befriended by numerous other women that have muscled through similar fights. Now, in-turn, she often finds herself supporting others. Along the way we have both forged meaningful friendships and relationships with a host of people that we might have never known but for the ordeal. Blessings come wrapped in the oddest form of package.
Merry Christmas. Happy Holiday. And, Happy New Year.
– Brian Patrick Cork