As I prepare for Christmas and Hanukkah, I can’t help but reflect on the path I have been on since this time last year when dealing with my cancer journey. I have shared my challenges with you in past columns, and I must tell you how blessed I feel that prayers and medicine have created a miracle for me.
Just four days before Christmas, I will mark my first anniversary of finishing 12 rounds of chemotherapy to combat stage 4 colon cancer, along with lung, lymph glands, and liver cancer. If you ever wondered if miracles really happen, I can tell you I believe they do, and I am a living example of one that is in progress. Since I finished my treatments, my doctor has been monitoring me closely with blood tests and CT scans that show the cancer is now almost undetectable. What this journey has done is reinforce how important family, faith, and friends have really been. My faith has been an absolute anchor for me, along with my family and friends, which includes so many in our cooperative family. The support I received shows the very best humanity has to offer and helped me get to this Christmas when I didn’t expect to get to last Christmas.
This journey also has me reflecting on my family’s Christmas celebration traditions. As always, I look forward to my family getting together to help decorate my home on the farm.
The cookie and candy making, along with the special meals for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, will bring my family together for some very special moments. I shared some recipes in past December issues that have been my favorites and our family’s traditions for many years.
This year, I will add a new tradition to our family decorating. I remember back in the 1960s, my Mom’s twin sister had one of those unbelievable modern (at the time) trees that were made entirely out of aluminum. The Aluminum Specialty Company of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, made this tree called the Evergleam. I have been searching for a four-foot one for years and finally found one at an estate sale. My kids won’t know what to think with Dad’s new space-aged tree!
Next March 17, will mark the 150th anniversary of my Great-Great-Grandparents Henry and Adeline Freese buying the farm that my family and I still live on and own to this day.
2024 will also mark the 175th anniversary of the founding of my hometown, the Town of Jamestown, where I serve as the town chairman. I am looking forward to the celebrations of life and community that will happen next year. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season, and remember to keep your faith, family, and friends close because they will help you get through the toughest of times.
Editor’s note: Unfortunately, after submitting this column for print, Steve found out that his cancer had returned. He sees this merely as a setback and is hopeful and in good spirits, but we ask that you continue to keep him in your prayers.