God is so faithful! I know I haven’t posted for so long, but God is still faithful and I am doing so well. I had my 2-year anniversary in December 2012 from my DLI – second stem cell transplant. I went back to work full-time at Trevecca in July of 2012 and our family is doing great.
Recently, a gentlemen emailed me to ask if he could have a letter placed on my blog. I received the letter this evening and wanted to share it with you. No matter how long the troubled night may be, never forget that the Lord is with you and will take care of you. I know He continues to do that everyday in my life. Blessings!
Letter from a caregiver:
Hope and Love Throughout Cancer Treatment
I will never forget the day my wife, Heather, was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma: November 21, 2005. That was the day my whole life changed, and I became a caregiver. Just three months earlier, we welcomed the birth of our daughter Lily, our only child. In our minds, we imagined spending this time of year preparing for her first Christmas. Instead, chaos quickly took over any plans we made.
As soon as the doctor announced the diagnosis, I became a caregiver. He gave us some information about the cancer, then talked about seeing a specialist for treatment. Heather responded to this information with shock, and she remained silent as the doctor outlined our three options for treatment. Her face was frozen in disbelief and shock, so I made the decision for us. I told the doctor we would go to Boston to see a physician who specialized in mesothelioma. I had to believe that this specialist could help my wife.
For the next two months, our daily routines were disrupted by chaos. Both of us were working full time before Heather’s diagnosis, but I dropped down to part time and she was unable to work after the diagnosis. Soon, I felt overwhelmed because my time and energy was spent caring for Lily, traveling to Boston and going with Heather to doctor’s appointments. Sometimes, my fear of losing my wife overwhelmed me, but I remained strong for her.
So many people helped us during that time. They offered financial assistance, kind words and everything in between. I had fewer things to worry about because I learned to always take people up on their offers of help. They lightened my load and reminded me I was not alone.
Being a caregiver is tough. It may be the hardest thing you will ever have to do, and you will go through periods of stress, chaos and uncertainty. You cannot walk away from your responsibilities, but you do have to give yourself permission to have bad days. Get through them by never giving up hope and using all the resources you have.
Heather went through mesothelioma chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, and our lives did not return to normal for years. However, all of our struggles were worth it. Today, Heather is cancer free, over seven years since her diagnosis.
I learned so much throughout the ordeal. I discovered that time is precious and that my stubbornness can be an asset. Two years after Heather’s diagnosis, I once again became a full time student. I was prepared for the challenges of balancing school with caring for Heather and Lily because of the lessons I learned while helping her fight cancer. I graduated with honors and even spoke at graduation. I talked about never giving up hope and always believing in yourself, lessons that I learned from my wife as her caregiver. Now, we hope that by sharing our story we can help inspire all those currently going through their own cancer battles today.