1. What were your first thoughts when you found out your wife was diagnosed with breast cancer?
It was a very surreal moment when Lindsey called me with the news that she had breast cancer. From the onset, when she first discovered the lump, the thought of breast cancer never really crossed my mind. I encouraged her to have it checked out but never expected it to be anything more than a little bump. When the words “I have cancer” came out of her mouth I kept thinking to my self she is only 25, we have been married less than three months this can’t be true. I commute an hour to work every day and on that drive home those three words kept playing over in my head the whole way home. It was a long drive that day!
2. How has it changed your life?
Being a newly wed of three and a half months my life had really been about adjustments and planning for the future. Lindsey and I were talking about selling our current house and upgrading to something that we both really wanted and a house we would want to bring a child home to someday (– no kids right now!). We were talking about five and ten year financial and career plans. We are both goal oriented people and have things that we aspire to achieve. (I wanted to retire early and she has hopes of a career as a writer someday)
When the diagnosis of cancer was introduced into our life it put a giant “road block” on our 5 and 10 year road map. (Lindsey has affectionately dubbed it our little “road block”) Our priorities have obviously shifted now. Not only is our priority now getting Lindsey through this disease, we also want to be an example to other people who are or could be facing the same thing. Cancer is not aware of your age, it does not care if you are a newly married couple with plans of a fairy tale life on the horizon, and the bottom line is it can happen to anyone at anytime. We have shifted our priorities to fight cancer and when she is cured and we are beyond this point we will begin again for the dreams on our horizon.
3. What brings you hope and courage during the rough times?
My faith in Jesus Christ brings me hope on a daily basis. Lindsey and I have both agreed that if our adversity can be an example of faith to even one person then it is worth what we have and will go through.
John 11:4 states,” When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it."
Stories of Jesus healing the sick and performing miracles occur many times throughout the New Testament, so what makes this one different from any of the others?
The next verse tells the difference. John 11:5 - Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Jesus loved Lazarus very much. He and his sisters were very close friends. The Lord allowed this trial happen to the ones that he loved knowing what the outcome would be. It says SO THAT God’s Son may be glorified through it. The people around Lazarus would never have known of God’s glory, or heard the name of Jesus had it not been for Lazarus’s sickness and the miracle preformed because of it.
I say all of this because what brings be hope and courage is the knowledge that my Saviors glory is made even bigger through trails such as this. I know that Lindsey will be cured and that our life will continue together, but, I believe that it is the rough times in life that our character and faith is put to the test and I consider it a pure joy (James 1:2-4) to face this hand in hand with my wife and Our Savior leading the way.
4. Did you want to know everything? (about the cancer, her status, etc.)
Of course I want to know every little detail. I want to know because in order to make the best possible treatment decisions and to map out everything it is important to gather all the facts.
That and I kinda have to by default, when we do anything there is a crowd of family breathing down our neck wanting to know every detail of everything that is going on. It is good to know that we are so loved by so many but it can be overwhelming at times!
5. What advice do you have for cancer spouses and caregivers?
The best advice that I can give is always always be ready to put a smile on their face. Cancer can be a tremendously intense experience, and overbearing to someone that is going through it. If you can be there to take the weight off even for a few minutes by putting a smile on your spouses’ face it can go a long long way. Telling jokes, making my self look stupid for some reason and just spending time with Lindsey has been great for the both of us. Nothing makes me feel better than when I see a smile on her face.
6. How has it changed the relationship between you and your wife?
Being a newly wed of three months, I never thought that I would know my wife on such an intimate level so soon. Normally at this stage I was sure that my biggest relational issues be trying to figure out which side of the bed to sleep on, or trying not to squeeze the toothpaste out of the tube the wrong way, and she would surely still not be aware of all my peccadillo’s, and heading for the hills J.
With cancer now a part of our relationship it has in all honesty helped me view my wife in a whole new perspective. This disease has exposed both of us to the core. Sitting on the sideling and watching her go through this is the ultimate test of my faith. I would trade places with her in a heartbeat, but, the sickening truth I have to face is that I can’t. However, I can stand with her and hold her hand through the whole thing. Being with her and seeing her handle this with such boldness and faith has given me a love for her that I could never put into words.
7. Have you had any other past experiences with cancer in a loved one?
Yes, unfortunately this is not an uncommon experience for me. Both of my grandfathers, my aunt (mom’s sister) and my mother have been diagnosed with some form of cancer.
My mother and her sister have both had spots of skin cancer removed from their bodies. My Dads Dad was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in 2001 and unfortunately passed away about two years later. My Mom’s dad was diagnosed with grade three colon cancer in the summer of 1996. He had a large part of his colon removed and intense chemo treatment there after to control the spreading of his cancer. I am happy to say that he has been cancer free now for the better part of 10 years. He recently went in for a check up and is cancer free and doing great.
8. Anything else you would like to share?
Nope. I think I have covered it all. If you read this and want to know more about us check out Lindsey’s blog.