Sunday, September 18, 2011

in sickness and in health

our wedding day

                                        the first week of high-dose treatments at scaa

                             celebrating our anniversary and the halfway mark of treatments

yesterday was my friend kerry's wedding, a very special day. it was so great to be there to see her walk down the aisle towards brad as they began their new married life together. it was a beautiful ceremony and a fun reception (i even danced which only happens on rare events, kind of a like an eclipse), great to see a good friend so happy and to be able to celebrate with other close friends. a very fun day. i wish kerry and brad good health, love, adventures, and more joy than they can imagine. she is so deserving of this happiness.

as with all weddings, i thought of our wedding and the vows we took. when barrett and i were going to a clinic earlier this summer on survivorship, one of keynote speakers talked about the "invisible survivor". meaning that the main caregiver of a cancer patient was not the one with the diagnosis, but they too have survived cancer. i think that most people who know me are in some way affected by my diagnosis, they may go to their dermatologist more often or make sure that they wear sunscreen or make sure that their kids do or hopefully both. but for the day in and day out, the rough patches that not everyone knows about, the down and dirty hell of treatments, barrett stuck through it with me.

sticking through it means enduring a lot of different things...
- endless doctor appointments
- holding me when i was shaking so bad from chills during those early weeks of treatment
- giving me shots three times a week and knowing that it hurt me every time (not his fault as he was a great nurse) and giving me a towel to stop the bleeding
- watching the skin rise pretty high around the shot location due to the fluids being injected into my arm
- watching the roller coaster of my emotions and not ever being sure of when i would take an unexpected turn of emotions, not buying a ticket for the ride but staying on the ground to help steady me
- crying with me when i was having a tough time (which occurred more than i thought that it would)
- listening to me when i became upset at evening time on the day of a holiday, birthday event, celebrations, etc. because i was so overwhelmed by the thoughts that had run through my brain all day but that i never vocalized (how many more mom's days will i have? what would this day be like for them without me?)....i know that he had those same thoughts too, and so nighttime on those days was tough for both of us
- not letting me see some of the times when he was upset because he knew that i was at my breaking point and couldn't carry more than what i already had...though he didn't let me see those times, i knew he had them and that is a tough thing to know because i couldn't make it any easier for him just as he couldn't make it any easier for me
- going to a couple of things without me when i didn't feel well, and having the thought cross his mind that him and malena would have to go to these types of things without me if the cards didn't play in our favor
- hoping that i stuck to the promise i made him at the very start, i would fight as hard and as long as i needed to in order to beat cancer
- playing with malena so that she didn't focus on me not feeling well when i just couldn't play
- not letting on to others how rough i really felt when we were around family and friends because he knew it was important to me that the focus of whatever we were doing was not on how bad i felt
- supporting me when my hair fell out, when i had a wig, when i wore hats (still do), when i made the appointment to have my hair cut short (which i put off for a long time because i wasn't emotionally ready) 
- being a nurse and helping me to take care of stitches from surgery and from the moles that have been removed over the last year
- taking a week off so that he was the one who was with me for the first five days of my high dose treatments
- swimming with malena at her lessons when i was too sick to do it or had bandages that couldn't get wet, knowing that not being the one in the water with her was tough for me because it was a change in our normal routine and i hated that

since we got engaged, it seems that there has always been something larger going on in our lives - family health issues, me being pretty sick for 7 months before my diagnosis with celiac disease, malena's two surgeries at childrens when she was a year old, the loss of grandparents....i look forward to a time when we aren't shadowed by a larger issue in our lives.

though the view forward has not always been clear, i have always seen him.


  1. Absolutely beautiful.
    We are all so grateful to Barrett for loving you and being there for you, and helping you through this. He is an amazing husband, dad, and man. LOVE him.

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