Happy Valentine’s Day! There is so much LOVE in the air. I feel that after going through cancer, LOVE is something that I treasure so much in my life. I thought I’d share with you my story of love – how love conquers all.
In mid 2014, my fiancé, Sonny, was diagnosed with lymphoma (on his nose). At first, what he thought was just a pimple, turned out to be cancer. I knew then that I needed to take really good care of him and make sure he receives the best care. We were fortunate that we found a great team of doctors that would treat not only the cancer, but also him – the patient. Because we caught the cancer early, the doctors were able to treat it with radiation. As he went in for radiation, I knew that he had some concerns and was worried about what could happen to him – let alone what could happen to us. However, underneath all that, I saw how strong he was and how positive he continued to be. If you saw him, you would not know that he was undergoing treatment for cancer. The side-effects from radiation did show on his face – discoloration and burns that looks like someone beat him up; but, besides that, you couldn’t tell that he just got another round of radiation because he kept smiling. As time passed, we finally came to a decision that after he completed his radiation, we could finally start planning for our future together. At that time, Sonny (boyfriend then) and I, have been together for 16 years. Yes, it had taken us this long, but we had other plans.
His treatment ended sometime before fall. It was a busy time for us because the holidays were just around the corner. We were so happy that the treatment was successful and we were able to move on and enjoy the season; not having to go to radiation everyday from Monday through Friday. We felt so at ease and grateful for the quick recovery; thus, it was time to really discuss and plan for our future – marriage, family, and the happy ever after we hoped for.
December came by so quickly and we were ready for Christmas. As much as I love Christmas and tried to keep a smile on my face, I was dealing with something that to me, was very worrisome. During the holiday season, I had to get a mammogram, ultrasound, and eventually a biopsy after the new year. The reason for all these appointments was because I felt a lump on my left breast. I thought to myself, “I shouldn’t worry so much because I had no history of breast cancer in my family and I felt healthy.” To be honest, I couldn’t help but to worry. Nonetheless, I felt that after we dealt with Sonny’s cancer, we could also dodge this bullet and be okay. This was not going to stop us from our future plans.
Sure enough, in January 2015, I was diagnosed with Invasive Breast Cancer – Stage 2B. It was a real shock for us. We couldn’t believe it. How could this happen to us, again? When will our happy ever after begin? It felt like we didn’t even have time to breathe. On top of that, we couldn’t even look far ahead into our future. At this point, we decided to hold off on anything remotely close to planning for the future; because at that moment, we knew that we needed to take care of today and everyday – taking it one day at a time.
As we finally made peace of what we had to overcome, we knew that we had to fight this together. I called ourselves “tag team partners”; not to make light of things, but to keep the fighting spirit --- that maybe with the two of us, we can defeat it. I knew that our love would overcome it and conquer everything that comes our way.
I still remember going with Sonny to every appointment he had – him sitting up on the “patient” chair, while I went to the room to listen to his treatment plans so I could help him when we get home. This time around, I sat on the “patient” chair, while he came to listen to my treatment plans so he could help me at home. I remember my first appointment with my oncologist who happens to be Sonny’s, too. He was also in disbelief that it was my turn – I was now the patient.
During my treatments, whenever I felt sad, sick, weak, or fatigued, Sonny was always there to help me out; to put a smile on my face – making me laugh at times and being the shoulder that I can cry on. Even with my bald head and the dark circles under my eyes, he still called me beautiful. I was so grateful for his help and his patience with me. We kept positive throughout my treatment and continued to love each other. We learned to live everyday with the faith that everything will be okay. I was not fighting this alone…I had my “tag team partner” – he is my rock through it all.
"I was not fighting this alone…I had my “tag team partner” –
he is my rock through it all."
It was a difficult time for us, but we made it. We fought through the “good and bad days.” Today, Sonny and I are engaged. There is still no telling when we will officially get married, but what we do know for sure is that no matter how tough the road is for us, we will walk side by side with each other. I have realized that I am no longer looking for our happy ever after because it was always here the whole time. We are both happy no matter what life brings us, and together; OUR LOVE CONQUERS ALL!
P.S. We've collected stories of other local couples. You can read them here: http://www.breastcancerhawaii.com/survivor-stories