Thursday, August 8, 2013

Give me a High 5!

We made it! I am overcome with emotion as I remember back to August 8, 2008 (8/8/08). We were in survival mode as new parents of two little ones who were 2 and 9 months, with still a very young marriage of less than four years. On top of that, we had just moved back to Ann Arbor the year prior, I started a new job and I just completed building our dream home near the Big House to stake claim to a place that would become home to thousands of memories that we planned to create. Here is a picture of the kids before diagnosis.

A simple google search after diagnosis showed that the five year survival rate for Myeloma patients was a pathetic 37%. I was a day past my 28th birthday, facing what seemed to be an inevitable death sentence. I was young, healthy, I had a budding and beautiful family, but suddenly I was thrown into a new reality, one where a young death felt almost certain. It felt even probable that Ocean would never be able to create any memories of his dad that would be lasting.

Thanks to an army of people, we chose to keep our chin up and shoot for the best possible outcome, a cure. We were told the disease was incurable, but we chose not to believe it. Although my body was stricken with a horrible disease, we would not allow our attitudes to be shaken. But it wasn't easy...There was 12 days of projectile vomiting, a 2 hour ambulance ride, 2 bone marrow transplants and ER visits and hospitalizations every step of the way.

But now, 5 years later, Cassie and I try our best as tired parents of (now) three energetic kids as shown above, to celebrate life, not just live it. We aren't experts at it, and most of the time we just want to nap or sleep in a little longer, but we do see the world very differently because of our experience with Myeloma. We know how quickly life can be stolen from you. Because of this we try to vacation a little longer, laugh a little more and spend more time with each other.

Many thanks to the army of people who have followed us and joined us in kicking cancer. We aren't out of the woods yet, but we are able to see the setting sun on this disease and we are having a great time dominating life. Here is a picture of Cassie and me celebrating my 33rd birthday yesterday in South Haven!

Keep doMMinating,


P.S. Here is an archived video when I started chemo 4 years ago! Wow, we look young.


fluffybunnylover said...

Phil, congratulations on this very important anniversary. Here's to a lifetime of milestones. Happy belated birthday, too!

Lisa Johnson said...

Congrats! Just want to let you know that I was also diagnosed at age 28 w a 1 yr old. I didnt even think Id get to see her get on the school bus. Today she is a few wks shy of 14. We were shopping for her freshman yr of high school last night. Im proud to say I turned 41 this summer. After a few years of treatments Ive been in remission 11 yrs now. I intend to see my girl graduate.

Paul Jenkins said...

Congrats from all of your maize and blue friends!

Phil Brabbs said...

Thanks everyone!
Lisa- When are you going to share your story on MMforDummies?!?! You should fill out a survivor story, it would inspire many!!! Especially me :)

Unknown said...

That's awesome Phil! Congrats from your Buckeye friends! :)

Gary Wirsing said...

Thanks to God for blessing you and Cassie with each other and with 3 beautiful youngsters that have such great parents to lead the home they will grow up in. I have watched the journey from a great distance with complete admiration for your will to live, not just survive. Please allow distant friends to continue to be a part of your family as you look into the sunrise with the long night behind you.

Amy Rochlin said...

Your strength, energy and love for your family are beyond inspiring! Happy Anniversary!!

Carole Leigh said...

Congratulations on an epic milestone! May you have many, many, many more milestones in your future. You are an inspiration.
Carole Leigh

C.E.M. said...

Congratulations from everyone at the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation! Thank you for your commitment and dedication to raising myeloma awareness. Keep on dominating! - Michelle Cole