Another Special Day!

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Ever since I was diagnosed with Cancer more than ten years ago, I have steadily added special dates and milestones to the Lombardi Family celebration/acknowledgement calendar.  Many of these days we let pass with nothing more but a mention of the event that occurred on that date ten years ago, seven years ago, five years ago, etc.  Let me give you a quick rundown:

Columbus Day – No longer a day to celebrate our Italian Heritage or the fact that this guy discovered the wrong friggin’ “New World”, but rather the day I injured my knee playing hockey that started the avalanche towards my life changing…

The Day Before Thanksgiving – Significant on two accounts…I had my first surgery (a bone biopsy) on this day in 1998 leading to my diagnosis, and in 2001 this was the day I was released from the hospital after my stem cell transplant

December 4th – My personal “D-Day”.  The Day I was diagnosed with Osteogenic Sarcoma…’Nuff Said.

December 11th – The day I met Dr. Beauchamp and was introduced to the Mayo Clinic…Also the day I knew that he would help save my life and put me back together…I just didn’t know it would be so many dang times!!!

December 28th – The day I started my first cycle of Chemotherapy…MMM, I can still taste the Cisplatin in my mouth if I think hard enough.

March 9th – The day I had my tumor removed and reconstructive surgery on my leg at Mayo Clinic

October 17th – The day in 2001 when I began my Stem Cell Transplant and brief imprisonment at the University Medical Center in Tucson, AZ.

October 25th – Re-Birthday…Also known as the day I received my actual Stem Cells back…maybe the most anticlimactic moment of all

December 7th – The day in 2001 when I no longer had to stay in Tucson and was allowed to come back to my house in Phoenix following my Stem Cell Transplant

September 14th – The Day Celeste and I found out that she was pregnant with Sophia Rose

May 15th – Sophia’s Birthday…The impetus for this Blog entry.  My little princess is on the cusp of turning ONE!  This past weekend we celebrated with friends and family her 1st Birthday on Saturday and then on Sunday we had Sophia baptized at our church here in Paradise Valley.  It was a great weekend all around, but one that got me thinking again about how special and precious our little one is.  Not that all children aren’t miracles, but the brief back story makes me feel extra blessed considering all that has gone on.  One issue that many people tend to not talk about because it can be a bit on the uncomfortable or private side is the issue of young adult cancer patients/survivors and fertility.  I certainly was not thinking about my future children at the age of seventeen when I was diagnosed, but I am one of the lucky ones.  What started as an awkward conversation between my Oncologist and my mother led to one of the best decisions in my life.  I banked my “Guys” and ten years later, when Celeste and I had decided that it was time to add to our little family, modern medicine stepped to the plate once again.  While it was difficult in many ways, most notably the process which Celeste had to personally undergo to ensure that this happened at all, it has certainly paid dividends in the end.  We have an amazing little girl, full of life and joy.  I love being a father and I love watching Sophie grow and change on a daily basis.  There are many people who made it possible for me to experience this great life experience, and while I won’t thank them all by name, I hope they know who they are and what they have done.  I often tell people that while having Cancer certainly did suck, it wasn’t all bad.  Sophia is a lasting memory to me of the hardships I endured physically, mentally and emotionally, but when I think of her or look at her, it is only with happiness and joy that I do so.  Happy Birthday to my little princess!

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