Today, April 17, is our son Bryon’s birthday.

This time last year, our lives looked a lot different than they do today. Steven (my husband) was in California with Bryon taking him to his final week of chemo. I was at my daughter Genette’s house in Virginia on April 13th when he finished his last treatment. I found myself there again this year, but with my husband. I flashed back to receiving Steven’s phone call that chemo was finished; I had a total meltdown when I heard that news! Finished!

The picture of Bryon that Steven sent me on that final treatment day was hard to see; he looked completely drugged out. But this year? This year Bryon is, well, Bryon again. His beard is back, his smile is back, and his joking attitude is back. There are residual effects from having the chemo, of course (he fights with neuropathy in his feet), but Bryon, my son, is returning.

This year, Bryon has a fiancé, Amber, and they will be getting married in November. Amber stayed by Bryon’s side and helped him fight his way through the challenges of cancer and chemo. I would say that I am excited about her joining our family, however I feel as though she is already a part of us.

Last year in February I went out to California to be with Bryon as he started his fight with chemotherapy. Carmen (our youngest daughter) went next to be with him for the second week-long round, Genette went out for his third round, and Steven went for the fourth. This year we will all be in California together, and it will be for a much happier occasion.

Yes, today is Bryon’s birthday and what a difference a year makes.