A couple of nights after a scarily high fever, he woke up with the right side of his face feeling "funny." He couldn't drink his morning coffee without dribbling. By early afternoon, the entire right side of his face had fallen and wouldn't move.
We spent a few hours in the emergency room and eventually received the diagnosis of Bell's palsy.
About four weeks later, his symptoms were mostly resolved.
I have no doubt that that episode was the harbinger of the Damm Spot -- a signal from his body that something unusual was taking place in his brain.
Typical standard of care is to order an MRI if symptoms haven't resolved within a month.
For a long while, I lamented that we didn't insist on an MRI back in early 2008. I thought, "If only we had known that a tumor was growing. If only we had had a baseline image."
I've since realized that not knowing was for the best.
I'm not sure that knowing would have changed Steve's prognosis. We were never going to be able to operate on the tumor. More than likely we would have been paralyzed by the fear of the tumor, always on edge, always wondering if it was growing.
I don't think we would have lived life quite so fully had we lived with that fear.
And we had a great time from March to November 2007.
We spent spring break in Florida, spending time with Matthew and Gretchen, going to the beach, taking Cooper and Katie to Animal Kingdom.
We adopted Margie from a Scottie rescue group.
Katie's 2nd birthday party
We celebrated birthdays and holidays with friends and family.
We danced the "chicken dance" at Bavarian Grill.
We spent an adventurous day in Glen Rose.
I traveled to Shanghai with Jackie and Sydney, leaving everyone else behind for a week.
Cooper and Steve on a copper mine tour near Calumet, Mich.
We traveled to Wisconsin and Michigan, never wasting a moment on the Upper Peninsula or Mackinac Island or in Milwaukee.
Steve ran as part of a 12-person team in the Wild West Relay, helping run 195 miles through Colorado.
Steve and Katie, ECDP spirit night
Katie started preschool.
Steve and I attended his 20-year high school reunion.
We all ran in the Gary Burns Fun Run.
I wrote a chapter for Fodor's guidebook to Texas, often taking Cooper, Katie and Steve along on adventures all over Dallas and Fort Worth.
Before the paradeWe attended the Adolphus Neiman Marcus Christmas parade with dear friends.
We lived joyfully, without fear or an impending sense of doom or constant worry.
Steve and I were incredibly thankful for our shared life during his cancer journey -- partly because we were so incredibly thankful for all we had shared in the years before. And that includes the few months when the tumor was growing, when we didn't even know it was there.