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Returned from Denver on Friday evening with robust platelets and a rock bottom white count.

Teddy slept most of the way home.

The rest of us sported yellow masks to protect him.

Enjoyed a Saturday of cutting wood, butchering ranch meat and enjoying good food with our family up the hill.

Then Teddy spiked a high fever late Saturday evening.

Frightened us.

No immune system.

At first we almost Flight-for-Life’d him to Denver.

Then we decided to stay local.

Admitted him to our hospital here in Durango.

Finally brought him and Laurel home once again last night exhausted beyond reason.

Pushed us all over the edge.

Decision made.

Like a six-year, all-night, not-much-sleep, chess game. You think there’s lots of moves left on the board, but really there’s just one left.

And you hope your opponent doesn’t see it coming.

We’re scrapping the eighteen month chemotherapy marathon.

Down to Radiation.

Every day for six weeks; with the exception of the weekends.

Apparently radiation doesn’t work on the weekends.

Especially on powder days.

Good thing cuz Teddy plans on hitting the local Denver slopes over the weekends.

We start in about a week.

Still working out the logistics.

Recently met with a dear friend here in Durango. His son was Teddy’s neighbor up on the sixth floor at Children’s back years ago when Teddy was originally diagnosed.

They had played community soccer together.

I’d never wish for any child to end up on the sixth floor at Children’s.

Any floor at Children’s for that matter.

Make no mistake, we dearly love and appreciate our medical team.

No question about their care for our child.

Yet, it’s our story.

A beautiful, searing, burning story.

In the local hospital lobby, he and I talked about a certain beauty present in sorrow and pain; and to be careful not to wish it all away.

For it’s in this journey, that we get to taste God’s goodness, a loving community and seeing through the temporal into the eternal.

Back on the ranch, there’s a herd of shadowy elk bedding down around our home.

Maybe a hundred of ‘em.

Maybe two hundred.

Like that big bass I caught when I was a kid on one of the Great Lakes. It always get’s bigger and bigger as time goes by.

Teddy and I decided to do a round of hand paintball.

No guns.

Sloshing through the melting snow and barren trees, throw as hard as you can and hope it splatters the other guy.

Couldn’t throw it hard enough though to break the skins.

So we did what any responsible father and son would do; we switched to slingshots.

Figured they’d do the trick.

Oh, and they most certainly did.

He’s got a great aim.

I don’t.

My neon splattered welts still burn.

And Teddy smiles...