It took nearly a week for Atia to fully recover from her spinal tap and subsequent 5-day steroid treatment. During that time, we dealt with some pretty severe mood swings, including kicking, screaming and tons of crying.
However, once we got past all of that, everything moved along smoothly and Steve and I looked forward to his birthday and Valentine's Day. His birthday is the 13th and my mom graciously offered to drive up and watch the kids so we could go out. It was our FIRST "adults only" outing since Atia had been diagnosed ten months earlier. We were a little concerned about leaving her, but our excitement trumped our nervousness.
We spent Steve's birthday in the company of wonderful friends at a wine tasting party. In the past, we had participated and hosted wine tastings several times a year. Lately, however, the parties had become few and far between. Needless to say, everyone was thrilled to be together.
That tasting was much like all others - we compared several wines from various regions, discussed the climate and environment where the grapes had been grown, we analyzed the wine's underlying scents and flavors, boldness and fullness. And we drank - a lot!
As always, with a little buzz, the conversation turned to politics and other controversial topics. A healthy debate ensued, which got a little heated, but was all part of the fun. And oh, what fun it was!
Steve and I laughed and laughed. We didn't think about chemo, poopy cramps or cancer. We escaped into the simple pleasures of the evening. We held hands; we playfully kissed and we wrapped our arms around one another in long embraces. Our friends jokingly told us to "get a room!", but we didn't mind. We were like carefree teenagers in the midst of a new romance. It had been a long time since I had really looked at Steve, and I was taken by his good looks and charm all over again. He is a beautiful man inside and out.
The next day we were still on cloud nine and it was Valentine's Day! We excitedly chatted about our dinner and movie plans. Everything was perfect until Atia awoke from her nap with a 101.4 degree temperature, stopping us dead in our tracks. She hadn't shown any signs of being sick before going to sleep. We quickly packed everything up, leaving Asher with my mom, and rushed to the ER.
First and foremost, we were concerned about Atia's health, but we were also bummed that our Valentine's Day was ruined. We sat in the examination room talking about all the fun we'd had the night before and agreeing that we were crazy to think our second night out would go off without a hitch - we felt jinxed and scolded ourselves for getting our hopes up.
Atia's blood was drawn and IV antibiotics were started. Then, we waited and waited and waited - watching the time tick by. It was after 5:00 PM and we had lost all hope of making our dinner reservation and then, something magical happened...
The doctor returned with Atia's blood count result and she WAS NOT neutrapenic! What?!? Her immune system was fairly strong and therefore she didn't need to be admitted into the hospital. Her fever, though unexplained, had been cured with a dose of infant Tylenol. So, we were released!
It was 5:45 PM and in an effort to salvage our Valentine's dinner we rushed home, dropped Atia off with my mom and high tailed it to the restaurant. We were fifteen minutes late, but we made it.
We were surrounded by couples dressed to the hilt, lovingly leaning in towards one another and excited about what the evening held. They were swept away in the romance of it all. Steve and I, on the other had, were disheveled and drained, wearing t-shirts, jeans and gym shoes.
Upon realizing what we must look like, I felt embarrassed, though I didn't say anything. I didn't have to. Steve read my mind. He reached for my hand and gave it a little squeeze. He winked and smiled. I looked into his eyes and saw endless love.
It didn't matter what we looked like that night and it never would. Our bond ran so much deeper than that because of all that we had been through - my cancer diagnosis and treatment, both of our fathers passing away (within 6 months of one another), Atia's cancer diagnosis and treatment and Asher's two week NICU stay upon birth - and our love never waivered.
That night we celebrated TRUE LOVE - the kind that is not always fun, sexy and romantic, but never fails you when you need it most. It was our best Valentine's Day dinner ever.
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As you know, my blogs still haven't caught up to today; this one referenced events from LAST February. However, I can't close this entry without fastforwarding to today and wishing my beautiful baby boy a Happy 1st Birthday (lastSaturday). Everyday he makes me smile!