My last update focused on our recent travails–specifically, Cathy’s car accident and our persistent harassment at the hands of a professional intimidator. Since then, our car has been repaired, and it seems to be running almost as well as it did before. Our troubles with the property dispute got worse before seeming to get any better. In fact, it may be some time before we can say for sure that it’s all over. I will say no more on the matter except that our lawyer has told us that we have strong grounds to sue the new “owner” (the court may yet decide that he never had any legitimate claim on the property) after all that he has put us through; and although we don’t want to sue anybody, we’re prepared to do so if he causes us any more trouble. Aside from the seed of potential for further difficulty in this one area, which will hopefully vanish without sprouting, things appear to be looking up for us.
First, the biggest news: Cathy had her last radiation treatment on Thursday, December 30th. After nine months, she has completed the entire course of treatment prescribed at the very beginning by her oncologist. To recapitulate, she went through six months of chemotherapy, then surgery, and just over six weeks of radiation. Throughout it all, she remained enrolled as a full-time student, taking prerequisites for nursing. (There were brief flirtations with pharmacy school and PA school.) Even after her surgery, when she had the fluid drainage tube coming out from under her arm and connected to a bulb that was strapped to her side, she continued attending classes and lab exercises. She studied hard and took her final exams along with everyone else before finally resting for Christmas vacation; but even during the vacation, her rest was interrupted by early-morning trips to MD Anderson for her radiation treatments. Finally, on December 30th, we went with her parents for her last treatment. She got to ring a bell, as she had done at the last chemotherapy treatment, and she got hugs and congratulations from the nurses and other patients. We now pray that her battle with cancer is truly over, and that we can move forward without fear.
In the meantime, Cathy’s parents have been visiting us from China since November 21st. My parents rented a beach house in Galveston over the Thanksgiving break, and the six of us (plus Peewee) spent a relaxing four days there, interrupted only by a trip to Houston for one of Cathy’s radiation treatments. The weather was nice for most of the trip. Our fathers enjoyed talking to each other via electronic translators (which often produced highly amusing mistranslations); our mothers enjoyed cooking together; and we enjoyed reading and watching Peewee run on the beach. (Cathy was still studying most of the time.)
The fall semester at HSPVA wrapped up nicely. My students and the HSPVA community have all been very supportive and sympathetic with us in our struggles.
On December 22nd, we moved. Cathy’s parents helped us pack all our things during the preceding days. We are now almost fully unpacked. It was not something we would have wanted to be doing over the holidays, but things had become so unpleasant at our old apartment complex that when an acquaintance contacted me to offer us a place to live rent-free, we decided that it would be best to accept the offer. That was our biggest Christmas gift, and it has been a miraculous and timely blessing for which we are extremely thankful.
The end of Cathy’s treatment and gift of a place to live have given us a pleasant end to what was otherwise a largely unpleasant year. A friend told me over lunch that his new slogan is, “Life is a team sport.” He doesn’t like the image of the lone cowboy fighting and living on his own. Life without community and fellowship is hollow and less meaningful (if not meaningless). As I consider our experience of the past year, I agree wholeheartedly that without support from our family, friends, and church, our burdens would have been far too much for us to handle, and I cannot even try to imagine what would have become of us. Therefore, I would like to close 2010 by expressing our immense, heartfelt thanks to all of you who have supported and encouraged us in any way at all. Because of you we are able, despite all we have faced, to look into the future and smile.