My mom and I immediately began plotting how AJ, Mark, Natalie, & I could go down with them, and we threw around a few ideas but eventually dismissed it as we just weren't sure how we would afford the trip and take the time off of work with everyone's crazy schedules.
My parents' trip started coming together....flights were booked, tickets were received, and it was all thanks to For Pete's Sake...they literally didn't have to worry about a thing. Then, we got some news that changed everything. My dad's doctors were suspicious of leptomeningeal disease, meaning that the cancer had spread to his spinal fluid. They did a lumbar puncture to take some fluid, which confirmed the diagnosis. Lepto is aggressive and hard to treat, and the prognosis wasn't good. (Thankfully, due to a new medicine that Dad's on, he is now doing better than we could have ever imagined...God is good!) We knew we all needed to be on this trip, and through an appeal to FPS, they lifted their restriction on who could stay in the house with my parents, allowing all four of us to come as well. We were also gifted flights by a generous family at church, and everything just kind of came together. Looking back, it's still kind of unbelievable how blessed we feel as a family. Having a support system around you while you're battling this disease is so, so crucial.
Anyway, back to Disney. My parents flew to Orlando on the Tuesday after Easter, and Mark, Natalie, AJ, and I followed on Wednesday night. We hit Magic Kingdom on Thursday and then went to Universal Studios on Friday (which was decidedly not as magical, hence prompting a return to the wonderful world of Disney on Sunday). Saturday ended up being a rest day, which was perfect since it rained all day (though we did get a family shoot in with the awesome Jordan Emmitt Photography), and then it was back to Disney for Hollywood Studios on Sunday. The four of us kids flew home Monday and my parents came back Tuesday.
The one thing I wanted going into this vacation was for it to not have a cloud of despair hanging over it. When we all stepped on the plane, we went into the week not knowing what the future was going to look like. I was so worried that we wouldn't be able to let the fear of the unknown and the worry of this disease go and that it would cloud the week for us. But it didn't. For Pete's Sake's motto is "Take a Break from Cancer" and it was exactly that: a much-needed break from years of battling this monster.
If you want a full account of our trip, check out Mark's vlogs!