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Hello.

I am Leah and I have Bipolar Disorder. To make life even more interesting, my husband, Dan, has Stage IV Cancer. He was diagnosed at 37 and has  been in ongoing treatment for 4.5 years! We also have a healthy and rambunctious 7 year old. So follow along as we try to manage our life together and strive for love, gratitude, and joy.

img_2064 It felt like an outrageous accomplishment. It felt like the summit of Mt. Everest.

And it also felt normal.

We made it to his 40th birthday and life with cancer has become so normal to us, I was distracted by daily non-cancer minutia and completely forgot to plan something.

While I was distracted, Dan planned his trip to Oregon. He always hoped to celebrate his 40th by traveling to the beautiful southern coast of Oregon to visit Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, consistently rated among the top golf courses in the nation. He set up plane flights, a rental car, air b&b's for Lake Oswego and Bandon, reserved a golf cart--got a doctor's note so he could have one--and penned a daily schedule for the entire trip, April 10th-18th.

With only 3 weeks to go, I realized his actual birthday (April 8th) was occuring while we were here in Illinois. Hail Mary! I threw together a 3-event-celebration for the 8th and invited people on Facebook.

picmonkey-collageAfter 12 years, having family join in on a birthday party is pretty cool!

Event 1 - 30 family, friends, and kids stopped by for lunch or beers at Peoria Brewing Company, where I rented a golf simulator, we had cake and ice cream, and drank lots of beer.

 

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We met with friends for cocktails and appetizers at Jonah's Oyster Bar and ended up with a group of four hilarious couples plus my dad at the Seafood House for dinner. There also was an impromptu trip to 8-Bit after dinner, with just a few of us trying to bravely stay out past 10:00 p.m. The best part was that Dan preferred not to know what I was planning, so he was actually surprised all day long.

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I can not even begin to describe how fortunate Dan and I are for everything we have--our love for one another above all--and how special the celebration was. We don't take a single day for granted.

The trip back to Oregon proved to be a little emotional for me but really great time together as a family. Even if I lost the photos--I'd remember every detail of them and more for the rest of my days --the little cottage in Lake Oswego, the smell of the forest, the crashing waves on the coast, seeing Dan at Bandon Dunes, playing with Raine, and the generosity of friends.

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