Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"...In Sickness & In Health..."

      One of the aspects I love most about my relationship with Chad is our communication. Over the past (almost) 10 years, we have learned how to talk through & about anything & everything that is going on in our life. It will continually be a learning process, but in addition to being in love & being husband & wife, the fact that we are best friends only makes talking to each other that much easier.  From our pasts, our fears, & our day-dreams, to our secret "nerd tendencies" (totally more him than me btw! ;) ), no topic is really off limits between us, so I knew when cancer decided to crash our party in April 2010 that no matter what lie ahead of us , we would - somehow - make it through.
     We had only been married for 1 year & 3 months when my diagnosis came. We had made it through our first-year together as as husband & wife with flying colors, both of us finishing up school with Bachelor's degrees (Chad in History & Philosophy; myself in Psychology) & were still as in love than ever. We were solid & ready to live our "happily ever after", never expecting that life was about to test the strength of our love, our relationship, & the promises we made each other on January 31, 2009. 
     I remember very early on telling Chad that I would understand if my diagnosis was something he wasn't able to handle - hell, I was barely able to grasp it, so I didn't expect anyone else to understand it anymore than I did. His response was immediate: "I love you. You're my wife, my soul mate, & neither of us are going anywhere anytime soon. For better or worse, in sickness & in health, remember? This is OUR battle & we will beat it together". I remember closing my eyes & feeling those words wrap around me like a warm blanket on a cold night. We had said those words, never knowing how soon they would come in to play. It made me think about how many people say those same vows everyday; how, in some instances, it seems those words have become more of a tradition than an actual promise between 2 people who want to spend the rest of their lives together. Not for us though, somehow I had COMPLETELY hit the hubby jackpot & this was, undoubtedly, going to be one - if not THE ONE - most trying time of our life together. 
     The cancer monster barged in the week before Chad's final finals' week at WVU & we made the decision that he would stay home & become my primary caregiver. His strength, devotion, and just overall "awesomeness" would continue to amaze me everyday. When I didn't have the energy to walk to the bathroom, he would carry me back & forth all day; if I couldn't bath myself, he would bathe me. When my body was too achy to do something as simple my hair - well... he once attempted to put my hair up after my August 2010 surgery - I ended up rocking a Cyndi Lauper side pony-tail for my laps on the ICU floor, something we still laugh about to this day. :) If I was having a dark day & needed to cry, he would hold me just a little closer. If I needed to scream, he would sit there & let me scream at him (ILY!).  He kept me smiling, laughing, & was always doing little things that made me fall more & more in love with him. I would often wake-up to notes saying how much he loved me & how proud he was of his little warrior. He was constantly telling me how beautiful he thought I was when I felt anything butt (pun intended!). No matter how tired or worn out he may have been, he was always by my side. I never spent a single night alone in the hospital, in fact, we actually lost count of the number of hospital chairs he so often slept in - usually days at a time. During my BIG 2011 surgery in Pittsburgh, he spent the entire 8 & 1/2 hrs holding my wedding ring & watching my number move up the monitor in the waiting room as each stage of my surgery progressed. For someone who converted me to the foul-calling, college-football-loving wife that I am, Chad was proud to be my biggest cheerleader.
     Without-a-doubt, Chad is an amazing husband, man, & human being. He's the type of man that you think only exists in the movies; the type of man you so-often dream about. His gorgeous blue eyes & the unconditional love behind them still takes my breath away & his touch still makes the butterflies in my stomach take flight. 
     3 years ago we entered the cancer world together. Today - 2 surgeries, 3 chemotherapy regimens, & 28 radiation treatments later - we're still solid & even more madly in love than ever.

Chad - I love you more & more everyday. I am so incredibly honored to call you my husband, my best friend, my soul mate, & the love of my life. Thank you for being my Superman. <3


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