Our Story | Not Cancer’s

Scan259_2Have 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 diseases 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, Not Cancer’s,” I will tell a quick story about the early days in Chicago when Maureen and I were first dating. Of course, to be honest, this story is so early in our relationship together, it may have been my wishful thinking that we were dating. From Maureen’s perspective, it was more likely something along the lines of that crazy guy she worked with at Apple asking to go see a movie and nothing more… 🙂

The Apple office in which we both worked was at 10 S. Wacker in Chicago, right in the heart of the loop in Chicago. At the time, I lived in the Chicago suburbs, and Maureen lived in Lincoln Park, north of downtown. I used to come into the Apple office on the weekends to get some work done but to also put myself close enough so that when I got up the courage to call Maureen at her apartment in the afternoon, it would be easy to pick her up, grab dinner and go see a movie. I will never forget a Saturday in February of 1989 when she said yes. We saw Rain Man, grabbed dinner at a restaurant in the Hancock and walked around. It was a day of joy, and it is part of Our Story.