I saw my grandfather die of cancer; I also knew of co-workers who died of the disease and heard of many others going through cancer. I told myself that if I ever got cancer I’d fall apart and sink back into the dark hole of depression. I never actually thought it would happen.
Last May when I heard the words, “You have breast cancer,” I thought it was the end of my world, I didn’t give up. I went through the steps, the appointments, and the surgeries with courage and determination. I fell apart a few times, but I still stayed strong. I didn’t give in to depression even though it threatened to throw me down that hole again, and I didn’t let cancer ruin my life. This is why celebrating one year cancer free is so important.
I didn’t fight cancer alone. Through it all my husband stood at my side. He sat for hours in the waiting room with my mom while I was in surgery. He stayed the night with me, sleeping beside my bed in a recliner. He took twelve days off work to take care of me. Each morning, afternoon, and night he emptied my drains and measured them and what came out of the drains wasn’t pleasant. He brushed my hair when it hurt too much to reach up, and he held me when I broke down into tears. He was the strong unbending tree standing tall during the storm while I huddled beneath his branches for protection.
Celebrating one year cancer free wasn’t just for me, but also for my husband Lou. He cried with me when we found out about it, and he went through the battle with me. He never complained about taking care of me. Lou just stood strong at my side. I wanted July 17 2019, my one year cancer free, to be special for him, too. What made it special for Lou is spending a whole day with me and for him to spoil me, something he loves to do. I wanted to do more for him, but he wouldn’t let me. I am trying to think up a way to also spoil him.
My husband is very good at going all out for me. Wednesday morning my hubby got up at ten-forty. He said he had to go somewhere and I was not allowed to go downstairs until he returned and came to get me. I lay in bed trying to figure out what he was up to. I tried to guess what he had planned, but my mind went blank.
At eleven he came upstairs to get me. He said to follow him down the stairs, but look straight. So I focused on his back. At the bottom of the stairs he directed me to close my eyes. He led me to a chair and told me to sit. Once I sat down, I was allowed to open my eyes. On the kitchen table before me was a bouquet of pink roses, sponge candy, a balloon that said, “Congrats,” and a white medium size box. I opened up the box and inside there was a small cake that said, “Happy 1 year Anniversary.” Tears fell from my eyes as I got up and wrapped my arms around him.
He smiled. “There’s more. We have somewhere to go at five tonight, but first how about we have a piece of cake.”
We cut into the cake while I tried to guess where we were going at five. After our piece of cake and lunch we went for a ride around the Peninsula. I continued to make guesses, but Lou wouldn’t budge. When five o’clock finally arrived, we got into the car and he took me to Hoss’s for dinner. He made sure the waitress knew we were celebrating my one year cancer free. The waitress brought out a small cake for me and congratulated me.
That day Lou made me feel like I was on top of the world. That night when he went to bed I stayed up and bragged to all my friends. When I went to bed I felt so giddy that it took a while for my sleeping medication to kick in. He made my day extra special with not only the things he bought me, but with the love he put into it.
He tells me continually, “I don’t want any pats on the back for what I do for you.”
I can’t help but pat him on the back. He is an extra special man. He puts his whole heart in everything he does for me. He is the love of my life, my soulmate. He doesn’t just spoil me with gifts, but with love. He gives me lots of attention, he kisses me every morning, and every night we snuggle before going to sleep. He’s always looking out for me and he often puts me before his own needs.
While I went through cancer he put me first. He took care of my needs and put aside his own. It was a difficult time for him, too. He has lost a lot of people to cancer, especially his grandma, the woman who raised him. I can’t imagine what he was feeling to have his wife go through the same disease. I’m sure his heart was breaking, but he wouldn’t admit to it. He gave his all to me without one complaint and I can’t love him anymore than I do for it.
If you have someone taking care of you while you’re sick or who is always at your side during the roughest times in your life, let him or her know how grateful you are. We not only need to be there for the ones struggling, but also for the caretakers. The caretakers need to know how important they are. We need to celebrate all the people out there who care for their loved ones selflessly.
This blog post is a celebration of the man who holds me up and stands beside me no matter what. I’m in the light because of my husband, Lou. Together we slow dance in the light of recovery.