Congratulations, Zach!

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May 5, 2018 – My son, Zach, graduated today from the Georgia Institute of Technology, or more commonly known as Georgia Tech. He graduated with Highest Honor and a terrific overall GPA (3.89) in Mechanical Engineering, and he is now “A helluva, helluva…hell of an engineer.” 

We’re obviously very proud of Zach and his accomplishments. It’s incredible how quickly four years have gone by (see I’m a Ramblin Wreck) and how grown up Zach has become. It was a wonderful weekend – as I posted to friends and family on Facebook – and a chance for all four of us to be together. Of course, my dad was there – once again – to see another grandchild graduate college.

So proud of our engineer.

With all of the emotion and a hectic schedule, it was nice to have to time to reflect and decompress. I spent several early mornings sitting on the back deck of our rental home (which was a cool little house with all the latest updates) to think back to my time as a college graduate. I honestly don’t remember much except bits and pieces of graduation day and the ceremony. I remember more about the family gathering my parents organized later that day. I do remember, however, a feeling of anticipation – along with nerves – at the idea of finally being out of school.

I think Zach has some of those same feelings, but he is such a stoic that he doesn’t really express himself. He just seems to move right along. I wonder if everything that our family endured over the past 5+ years – especially the last two years – including the sudden death of our family dog, Nixie, has caused Zach to remain inside of himself emotionally. It’s hard to know and, of course, he won’t talk about it. I do know that Nixie’s death hurt him as much as the rest of us.

So, the beginning of “graduation weekend” was somewhat bittersweet. As we arrived at McCamish Pavilion for the Saturday afternoon ceremony, everyone – including Zach – seemed to be caught up in the moment. It was a great, and quick, graduation ceremony, and a lot of fun to watch the jumbotron flash Zach’s name and his honors while his name was read out loud.

We’re so proud of everything our son has accomplished, and we know he’ll accomplish so much more as a “Hell of an Engineer!”

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Health Update – My condition remains relatively the same. The only major issue I dealt with in the past six months was moving back to the branded chemotherapy drug (Gleevec). We had to argue with the insurance company about side-effects from the generic version that I had not had in more than three (3) years with the branded drug. The insurance company relented earlier this spring. I see my oncologist later in May for a three-month scan and check up. 

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Emily Update – Many of you have asked how Emily is doing, and we appreciate the concern. As previously discussed, her cancer appears to be gone and she finished chemotherapy almost one year ago. She continues to deal with the ups and downs of recovery. Vicki and I remain patient and diligent as we help Emily regain her old “strength” – physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s been a long process and we’ll be with Emily every step of the way.

Another proud day for the Billett Family.