Our Story | Are We Riding on One Wheel? Or, Instead, Are We Free?

“Whenever I’m on a unicycle I feel free, I feel brave, I feel a ton of things.” – Katelyn, Our Daughter, 10 After Maureen and my trip to MD Anderson in Houston on Monday and Texas Oncology in Dallas on Tuesday, we returned home yesterday, reconnecting with our three children who started school on Monday. The start of school is a special time. It reconnects us with the idea that we can start afresh, start new… write a fresh chapter as my friend, Terri Wingham, would say. This motif of a “fresh chapter” is a perfect backdrop to our travels around Texas the past few days, as we realized that the next several pages in our story are not the last pages of the previous chapter, but instead the first few pages of the next chapter. As I just wrote on my Facebook page: How many times in life do we find ourselves riding on one wheel? How often do we find ourselves in a health situation, family situation or work situation, where all of a sudden we realize that the other wheel, the handlebars, the brakes and everything else is gone? For the rest of this post to make the most sense, you really need to stop reading now and click on this link and watch the Uni-Saders trailer. It is just over 3 minutes and is being submitted to the SXSW Film Festival as a documentary. Katelyn, who made the quote above, is one of the two little girls holding hands. Ella, the other little girl, is one of her best friends. They are both in 4th grade, and...

Our Story | Taylor’s First Days

So, the worst thing to do to a 10th grader is embarass them. Unfortunately, even though that is true, we are still going to embarrass our son, Taylor, with this post. Today was the first day at the Upper School at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. I didn’t make it last year, but Maureen and I were both there today, listening to the bagpipes play as the 9th to 12th graders processed around the campus with their advisories and then entered the Upper School chapel to ask God to bless them and their campus for the year ahead. Today’s event made Maureen and I realize that what was once our story is now his story. Taylor is the oldest of our three children. He will be 16 on January 29. 2015. As the photo to the left makes clear, he is almost as tall as his mom. This means that he passed me in height a year ago. However, he has not just grown in height, but he has grown as a human being. We are really proud of him, because he is choosing each chapter in his own story wisely. A little over 16 years ago, Taylor was still our story. He had not been born yet. We were eagerly awaiting his arrival. I still remember Maureen coming into our bedroom, after using one of those pregnancy tests, and saying to me, still not quite awake, “Good morning, Dad.” Trust me, after hearing those words, I was awake, very awake. As we fight a bunch of cancer cells in Maureen’s body that have gone nutso, it is important to...

Our Story | Not Cancer’s

Have you ever noticed? Have you ever noticed that when faced by a tough disease, like cancer, suddenly all the stories become about the cancer? Not us? I gaze at the pages of other dear friends here at CaringBridge and interwoven in between what their disease are doing are the real stories, the stories about trips to college, weddings, family times, love. Life. We’ve hit a rough patch, but yesterday afternoon, it dawned on me that rather than telling stories of metastasizing triple negative advanced breast cancer, we were instead going to start telling love stories on the pages of our CaringBridge. There will be a lot of them from me, because I like to write and tell stories. There will be some from Maureen, and there will be some from our kids. This is our story, not cancer’s. Cancer, the “Emperor of All Maladies,” has not only taken too many lives, but it takes away our stories, too. We, the Thompsons, are taking a stand and saying no more. Are we faced by many important decisions about treatment? Yes, of course, we are, like everyone fighting their version of this stupid disease. We’ll tell those stories when needed, but starting today we are telling the stories of 25 years of love and life together. We’re going to fight like hell to have another 25 to share, but there is absolutely nothing cancer can do to erase the last 25, and let me tell you, 25 years with a woman as beautiful and amazing as Maureen is a real gift. Before I close this first post of “Our Story,...