February, sometime in middle, 2014.
The best stories begin at the beginning or is it the end? Either way I will start my story where I want to, that is the way I usually do things, my way. If you asked me “Valerie you sexy lady. What do you think of cancer” I would respond pre 2014 with “It is terrible, sounds terrible and I am sure there is a cure. The government just doesn’t want us to know about a cure as they would lose a ton of revenue.” If you were to ask me, post 2014, I will give you the same answer only before responding I would ask a question. “What kind, is it someone you know, what hospital are they in and do they have someone?” The someone I worry about is someone that they can stand beside, follow and lean on with the weight of their problems. Who you are and who you have in cancer are huge, they make all the difference. I was about to learn this lesson.
At the end of 2013 Brian and I were just coming off one of the worst years of our marriage. We were struggling both personally and professionally. I realized that we had been on two different paths, mine was heading in the right direction of course. Brian was off, this is the best way to describe it. We took a much needed vacation in November. We spent an amazing time away and I was hoping that we could cruise through Christmas with an open mind. My vacation high didn’t last too long and that made my selfish diva side angry, she is one mean bitch. December was horrible, I hate Christmas as it is, the kids were constantly sick. Each week they were bringing something new home. Brian was getting everything along with them. I would pump him full of more vitamins and tell him to “suck it up buttercup we have shit to do”. I will let you know that I am not romantic, I don’t like to be taken care of and don’t expect me to drag your sorry ass along if you can’t keep up. I know harsh, it is what it is. I questioned him as he forgot things, broke things and just plain ignored me. We met with our marriage mentors, worked out, prayed, fought and snuggled. Nothing was working and I began to question everything. My birthday was horrible and I’m pretty sure he almost forgot. So, I did what any sane woman would do I got Botox, got a haircut and some new clothes. I worked on myself thinking that it was me, he just was bored with life in general. For Christmas and birthdays 2014 I decided that I would take Alexa and Kristie on vacation. I was hoping the girl bonding time would make everything feel better. I would be gone for a week and in that time Brian would somehow get his shit together and we could get back to life.
Alexa, Kristie and I left for the airport the night before our trip. I am a bear in the morning and probably the slowest person getting ready, besides Kristie. Somehow I managed to find an amazing assistant/best friend that is more scattered than I myself tend to be. My plan for this trip was to visit Fort Myers, where I lived, and drive to Miami down the Keys and then back to Fort Lauderdale. We were in Key West when Brian started texting me that he wasn’t feeling well. I was texting him how annoyed I was that our hotel was insanely crappy and that the brand should be ashamed. My DBS was throwing a hissy fit and stomping around. I have a feeling that this was the point that God may have been laughing, I think that God has an amazing sense of humor. I make my point with the manatee, platypus and sloth. We boarded a boat to go snorkeling the morning of February 15th. The 3 of us spent a beautiful day out on the ocean with a guide. The water is comforting for me and the ocean runs through my veins. We found a group of dolphins while we were cruising that stayed right by us the whole time. At one point, I was hanging off the front of the boat with my hands in the ocean thinking everything is going to be great. My life is great! I have everything I need and want, its great! We are blessed! Look at this trip its amazing and the world is beautiful. Praise Jesus! Hallelujah! And then it hit, salt water, dolphin snot and the smell of fish. The dolphin sprayed me right in the face from the blowhole. If you didn’t know, now you know that blowhole water is gross and smells worse than chum sitting in the sun. Somehow in that moment life would never be the same…..