The call came through, I stared as it rang, the glaring eyes of my wife looking back through a pixel image formed from technology. Only 90 minutes into my shift I was fairly certain this call would center around a current general lack of respect shown by our children as of late. Between Jake’s consistent arguing, instagramming, snapchattering, compulsive behavior, or Jessica’s continual chip on her shoulder aimed at the entire world, Parkers inability to rise above 4 years of age at times and Cody’s, well Cody being Cody, it was fairly obvious a parental conference to line up our offensive, gathering ammunition and supplies for after school encounters was on the horizon.
Yet when answering the phone there was not the snap of an edgy, irritated Cuban woman whom I have grown so fond of but instead all that could be heard was a whimper. A demure, silent, almost mouse like squeak from the other end of the line. I sat up from my chair quickly, startling my co-workers as I pronounced; Jacy whats wrong! Still just a whisper, almost unrecognizable in stillness. Again even more stern, my tone changing with the rapid fire of my heart rate: JACY HONEY WHAT IS WRONG? ARE YOU OK?
With the whisper of an angel, a serene, quiet message arrived within the confines of my almost deaf, aging ears.
Whats gone? What is gone? Who? Is your dad ok? Is my dad ok? Are there any animals missing? What is gone? I don’t understand!
It is gone, fumbles from her lips one more time. The sound of a cracked voice, a strained quivering lip, a sniffle as mucus forms to join a plunging tear.
Honey, she called, it is gone, the cancer, its gone!
Is this a joke? Wait how does she know, man I wish I had another cup of coffee this just isn’t making sense!
Then it hits me. Three days before we went in for what we prayed would be the final bone marrow draw to determine if Jacy was indeed cancer free or if we were headed to Stanford for more Chemotherapy and an eventual bone marrow transplant. In those three days, with all that had been transpiring around us, I callously had forgotten.
ITS GONE! ITS FREAKING GONE! THE CANCER IS GONE!!!
Slowly but surely, my voice raises, not able to contain my happiness a shout of joy can be heard throughout the firehouse as I turn to my crew, my brothers, the family I spend one-third of my life with, the same family that supported our family 100% over the last six months. It is gone I say, the cancer is GONE!!!! Everyone is excited, I am excited, my heart is pounding, I can’t catch my breath, It is gone…
I tell my wife I love her, we both cry. A feeling of weight lifts from my shoulders, I want nothing more than to run away from work, go hug my wife and spend the day with her, talking about something we havent talked about in six long months.
My wife, my friend, Jacy Mirelle Franceschi was given a challenge six long months ago. The challenge was to beat Cancer. In that time she accepted, rejected and accepted that very challenge several times over. I knew my wife had it in her, she is the strongest, most stubborn woman I have ever met! I prayed a lot in the beginning, not for me, but strength for her. I coined a phrase and we adopted that phrase. Kicking cancers ass one cell at a time! A dear family friend formed an Army, and with it Jacys Army came to life, bringing support and love, along with a town that surrounded us. We (Jacy and I) never have done anything special, we both did not feel we deserved this attention but it didn’t matter, one by one they all came to our aid, joining Jacys army, supporting this cause and it worked! We did it, we ALL did it! My wife kicked cancers ass one cell at a time!
The cancer is gone. How we both longed to hear those words.
Yes, AML can return, Yes we will be ever vigilant for the rest of our lives, one wrong sniffle, a feeling of being run down, a blood draw or marrow test will never be missed. But today, moving forward, the woman I love is cancer free!
Feeling like Rocky Balboa after a fight, fist raised in the air, screaming for Adrian, but he just cant get to her. That is the way I felt at work when I got the call. The battle was over, the victor stood tall, but I just couldn’t get to my love to tell her how I felt, to have her look into my eyes and reconfirmed it to be true. Oh well it appears I just may have the rest of my life to do just that.
The cancers gone, the cancer is gone.
To my family, friends and co-workers, to the citizens of Dixon, to the followers of my blog and to everyone who held a kind word, said a prayer, shook my hand, hugged me, told me all would be ok. To Jacys Army, the meal train participants, the fundraisers, to all the wonderful cancer survivors I have spoken with, thank you. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. It is because of all of you that we survived this incredible ordeal. I love you all…