Cancer is a devastating illness — to say it ruins lives is an understatement. For one household, the sickness will quickly rip a beloved father from his spouse and younger baby. However their perspective on life — and dying — is one of hope and, surprisingly, appreciation.
Scott and Anne Sutton met as center faculty college students in Pennsylvania, however it wasn’t till they reconnected at a mutual good friend’s wedding ceremony in 2011 that they fell in love. They have been engaged two years later, they acquired married on Valentine’s Day the subsequent yr, and it wasn’t lengthy earlier than they welcomed their son, Alec, who’s now three years previous.
All of the whereas, Scott has had medical points — he has a hereditary situation referred to as Von hippel-Lindau, and in 2009, docs discovered a neuroendocrine tumor in his lung. They eliminated the underside two lobes of that lung, and as Scott advised POPSUGAR, “we had hoped that would be the last time anyone ever told me I had cancer.”
Sadly, in January 2016, after months of decrease again ache, he acquired much more upsetting information: he had one other tumor, this one inoperable. “More tests would soon show that I also had neuroendocrine tumors in my liver, brain, and other parts of my bones,” he stated. It was deemed Stage four. His son was simply eight months previous on the time.
All through the subsequent few years — which concerned touring around the globe, together with a keep at a hospital in Switzerland, to discover a answer — the Suttons nonetheless managed to reside a life just like these of another new mother and father, with a exceptional exception: Scott, alongside together with his greatest good friend, Alec Traub, wrote and revealed a youngsters’s e-book referred to as I Love You Like . . . The story — illustrated by a cartoonist for the Garfield franchise — follows a grasshopper father explaining how a lot he loves his son. It is a candy idea by itself, nevertheless it takes on profoundly deeper which means figuring out that it’ll someday function a reminder to younger Alec of his late father’s love.
Final month, Scott returned house from a three-week hospital go to, and he was given hospice care. “The doctors have given us an estimated time frame, and my goal is to have as many normal days at home with Anne and Alec as I can,” he stated.
With an trustworthy perspective that in some ways is a rarity to witness, Scott, Anne, and their good friend Alec opened as much as POPSUGAR about what this expertise has been like for them.
On Life With Their Son
From the start, when Alec was born in Might 2015, Scott was “our rock,” Anne remembered.
“Alec had colic,” she stated. “Cried and cried and cried. When I was sad that Alec was sad, Scott would take a photo of Alec crying on his phone and make it into a meme to make me laugh. He would send me photos of the vomit Alec spewed all over him while I was running an errand, to show that, ‘hey, he does it to me, too.’ I know I’m a better mom because of having Scott as my teammate.”
And as Alec received older, his character really got here into its personal.
“Alec is full of energy, always excited to see what’s around the next corner,” Scott recalled. “Incredibly empathic. Eats anything, including black olives. Seems to have a scary good memory — you can’t pull anything past him you might have promised him a week ago. There’s so much talent in there waiting to come out.”
For Scott, Alec has been “the biggest joy of my life” and is “still excited” for all of the superb issues to return in his future.
“My hope is that he’ll do some of the things as a little boy that I did with my parents — I had a great childhood, so I’m excited he’ll have one, too,” Scott stated.
On Writing a Book For His Son to Keep in mind Him By
It is solely a slight coincidence that Scott and Anne’s son shares the identical identify as Scott’s longtime pal, Alec. “It’s sort of true we named our son after him,” Scott stated with a chuckle. “When Anne suggested the name as her number one choice, I immediately thought of Alec Traub and thought, ‘would it be weird to name my son after a friend?’ But he’s a role model of a friend, and that’s when I just knew it made sense.”
In truth, for 15 years, the 2 had a foolish custom involving textual content messages that stored them shut regardless of dwelling in several states.
“Scott and I are two guys who never shied from telling one another how much we miss, love, and care for the other. One day, he randomly texted me, ‘I miss you like the grasshopper misses grass . . . and hopping,'” Alec recalled. “I loved it, so then I texted him back, ‘I miss you like the anteater misses ants . . . and eating.’ It became our own fun, unique way to say I miss you.”
When Alec visited Scott in Pittsburgh following his analysis in 2016, the 2 got here up with the thought for a e-book.
“We were sitting all together talking about Scott’s health and how much he wanted to be able to do something to leave behind for little Alec,” Alec stated. “We then immediately came to the idea of putting those text messages together and creating something for him. We had no idea where to go from there, but we knew it was something we couldn’t afford to leave as just a cool idea. Time wasn’t necessarily on our side.”
So, they set to work. They watched YouTube movies about the way to write a youngsters’s e-book, discovered knowledgeable illustrator, and held Skype conferences till they have been have been able to self-publish this previous July. They’ve since bought greater than 2,000 copies of I Love You Like . . ., and all of the income go towards Alec’s school fund. There’s even a dedication to Scott’s son, one of which any mother or father can relate: “For my son, Alec Sutton, who makes every day an adventure. Thank you for asking, ‘Why?’ each of the 1.4 million times. I love you buddy.”
Selfishly, Alec is grateful for the ebook as a result of, of their yr engaged on it, the expertise introduced him and Scott even nearer and taught him about taking one thing damaging and flipping it.
“We turned that story into something so positive — for all of us,” he stated. “But if in the end, all it ended up being was something that I could create with Scott and that he could have for his son, then that was more than enough.”
On Not Letting Cancer Change His Outlook
It is exhausting to think about persevering with on with the day-to-day when you obtain a most cancers analysis, however Scott was decided to maintain a constructive outlook.
“Even with everything that has been going on with me, there have been so many great things in my life worth living for,” he stated.
He and Anne share a couple of mottos — “always forward” and “worry when we must worry” to call a couple of — that, Scott stated, “afforded us to live in the moment and truly just enjoy our time as a family.”
That point has included taking his son fishing for the primary time, educating him soccer, and even taking him to “Mickey’s house,” in any other case generally known as Disney World.
“There are no bad memories,” he stated. “We did as much as we could together, often packing the weekends full of activities with Alec and friends and family. We’ve built snowmen, we’ve gone minigolfing, I watched Alec ride a pony, we’ve seen the ocean . . .”
When requested what he hopes his son will keep in mind most about him, he struggled to seek out phrases. “Anne knows how I want to be remembered as a father, and I know she won’t let me down.”
“I won’t,” she stated. “And I know there are family and friends who will share stories, too. Over the recent weeks, we’ve had friends who have visited who have promised Scott they will take Alec hunting with them and their own sons some day; other friends who live in other states promising that our kids will grow up knowing each other and knowing their dads were good friends.”
On What They Want Others Actually Knew
Like some other typical mother or father, Scott is aware of that acquainted feeling that there is all the time one thing extra necessary to do, that we ought to be doing one thing productive like “taking care of that email in your inbox that needs done right away.” However, he stated, “what’s really important is right in front of you. You have to try to enjoy every day with your family.”
For Anne, she does not but really feel able to mirror on what she’s discovered via her expertise with Scott. However she did notice that she now understands that there are applicable occasions to be unhappy and grieve and occasions the place you merely should not.
“It’s really hard to find that balance of then living life and not letting cancer take every single day away from you,” she stated. “We make a good team and worked through those feelings together, always making sure we were on the same page.”
She even shared a uncommon upside to those years spent preventing most cancers alongside her husband. Following the tragic capturing at a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 individuals, Anne realized her household was given a chance that they’ve made positive to not squander.
“We’ve obviously been very sad since coming home on hospice care, working through a host of emotions,” she stated. “But when I heard the news stories of those innocent people losing their lives so unexpectedly, I sat here that day feeling even more sad for them. Today, even though we know what is to come, we know what’s coming.”
She continued: “Scott and I have the opportunity to reminisce, to laugh with each other while watching Alec play, to make sure as many friends and family visit as possible. We have the chance to really say goodbye in a special way. I don’t want to say that we are lucky, because that doesn’t seem quite right, either. Maybe just that it’s not lost on us — the magnitude that there are people who didn’t have the same opportunity that we do right now. We owe it to them to make the most of it.”
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