Well, here we are, marking this one complete. Thank you, each and every one of you that has stuck with me through it all, even the really hard parts. Thank you for reading, reviewing, making me smile.
Thank you to Kyla713, forever fixing everything in my docs and not giving up on me when I send her lots of crap to go through. And to Packy, for leaving comments that make me feel like what I wrote was good and worth it.
I'll just leave you guys to it.
A year later
It has been a year of nothing but good news since that moment the doctor told Bella that her cancer was no longer detected. We went back three months later for a repeat scan and blood work. The wait for results was nerve wracking, but after having been through everything we had, we knew whatever else life threw at us, we'd survive.
That visit to the doctor for results wasn't as bad as any of the previous waits had been. I think it was because deep down in our bones, we knew we'd get good news.
And we did. No cancer detected, so this another three-month appointment was set, and if she was clear in that one, it would only be once a year from there on out, unless she felt any pain. The second visit held the same news—no cancer.
So, that led us to the present. Sitting in the waiting room again after having done a scan and more blood work. We were feeling pretty good as we were called back into his office.
"Hello, guys. How are you?" the doctor asked and then sat down, folders opened in front of him.
"Good as can be," Bella replied, flashing a smile. My hands automatically reached for hers.
"How have you been feeling?" he asked, leaning forward.
I wasn't sure I liked where the line of questioning was going. It settled heavily that maybe he found something.
Her doctor nodded and leaned back in his chair. "No elevated levels. No cancer. Nothing bad on the scans."
Bella let out a long sigh and squeezed my hand. "That's great!"
My heart felt like it was beating again, once I got the confirmation of no cancer. I looked up at the doctor and shook my head. "I can't even tell you how good it feels to hear you say no cancer each and every time."
"I think I have a feeling. It makes me happy to deliver good news." He stood up and walked around in front of his desk and sat on the edge. "Have you guys given anymore thought to what you guys emailed me about a while ago? I think it's safe to try."
After our last three-month visit, we wanted to know if Bella would be able to get pregnant with one ovary, or if maybe we could harvest eggs and have a surrogate.
Bella squeezed my hand again. "We have, but I think my fears and worries are getting in the way. What if I do get pregnant, and I somehow pass on the cancer?"
"That's a valid worry, but I'm going to highly doubt it. We caught yours early, and your family has no other history of it. We can always run tests on your embryo when and if you conceive. You've come so far, I think God surely could allow this." He smiled down at Bella, grabbed both of our hands in his, "Everything you guys have gone through has been a miracle. You fought hard. My wish is for you guys to get to share in creating a human being. The chances of your cancer coming back are now slim to none. I know that isn't at all a guarantee, but I think it's a safe bet."
"Thank you, doctor. Means a lot to us you say that," I told him before I leaned over and kissed Bella on the cheek.
We left that office feeling lighter once again, and another phone call full of good news was made to our family. Charlie was the most vocal, along with a promise to come out and see us again.
My dad and Bella had become thick as thieves. Now that there was no longer a worry about cancer, she was now completing her first full semester at Northwestern. My dad was her biggest cheerleader, always checking in, trying to help her with coursework anyway he could. They made lunch dates during the week, and whenever he was near our place, he'd stop by with a milkshake.
Bella was still as close as ever with my mother, but rarely mentioned Renee now. My mom was everything she seemed to need. Whenever their schedules allowed, they'd spend a day together, doing whatever they did that made them happy.
After our phone call, Bella turned to me, leaned up and kissed me sweetly. "There is something I've been wanting to do now that we have confirmation one year cancer-free."
She handed me card with an address on it to a tattoo shop. I looked at her, eyebrows raised. She'd never mentioned before that she wanted to get inked.
"What would you get?" I asked, as she grabbed my hand and started pulling me towards the car.
"I have an appointment in forty minutes. I already met with the guy last week when I set it. Mom was with me then."
"How come I am just now finding out about this now?" I kissed her forehead, opened the passenger door for her and watched as she got in before I made my way around to the other side.
"Well, in case we got bad news, I didn't want you to see me let down for another thing. And I wanted this to be a surprise."
I nodded my head, inserted the keys into the ignition and drove off toward the tattoo parlor.
It took a good few hours for the tattoo to be complete. She held my hand, and kept insisting it wasn't that bad when I'd cringe.
The tattoos were covering the major of the scars from her surgery. She got a few of her favorite flowers with a ribbon winding through them that signified ovarian cancer. Underneath of it, she had elegant script wave under it.
Tears brimmed my eyes as I watched those two words become permanent on her. She did more than survive—she endured.
That night we talked more at length about the possibility of making a family. I was scared, as was she, but we both wanted it. In the end, we decided to get through a year of school, and then begin to try.
We made careful love that night, mindful of the sore spots of her skin. I took my time, slowly loving her. My hand brushed gently under the new ink, my mind occupied with the thoughts of her one day possibly carrying my child, and as I thought that, I found that it wasn't really fear holding me back. It was the cloud of disappointment—the "what if I couldn't give this to her" attacked.
Soon after we reached our climax, she laid down next to me with her leg thrown over mine, her head on my chest as she drifted off to sleep. I never thought I'd have this; the heaven engulfing me. All I knew was I'd work to get it, and now, I held it in my arms.
It would be another year after the last doctor visit that we'd get the best news on our next one. We chose to go the surrogate way after Bella suffered a miscarriage shortly after we began trying. Her body couldn't handle it; her uterus just couldn't sustain it after all the chemo and radiation. Rosalie generously offered to carry our child for us. Now, almost two years to the day of being told my wife was cancer free, we were told our child would make his or her appearance any day now.
We wanted it to be a surprise and Rosalie was a trooper. As we walked out of the doctor's office, her water broke.
Later that evening, in the same hospital that Bella had surgery and endured her chemo, we welcomed our daughter into the world.
Just when you think life couldn't get better, it does. It is the best feeling in the world. A feeling you can't put into words.
No matter what we'd go through, what life would throw at us.
I wouldn't trade this life for anything.
It only took awhile, but finally we're at the end. I can't thank you all enough for reading. See you soon.