Home / World News / How a Couple Got Each Other Through Cancer

How a Couple Got Each Other Through Cancer

My response to most conflict has always been more flight than fight, or, more accurately, a kind of stoic forbearance. So during our 16 months of cancer treatments I pulled inward and clung to our small family. I sought to slow time by paying careful attention to our moments together as they passed, and I let most other concerns go. This last part wasn’t difficult — life-or-death predicaments tend to sharpen one’s attention.

JESSICA Maybe it’s the Jersey girl in me, but I was all “fight” when it came to our cancers. When the oncology surgeon was laying out my options, I stopped her and said: “I have a 2-year-old daughter. I need to do everything I can to stay alive for her.” I chose the most aggressive treatment: a double mastectomy with an innovative one-stage breast reconstruction, followed by intensive chemotherapy and radiation.

My plan was to explore every “cancer hack” out there, so that I could stay as healthy as possible during treatment and, hopefully, shield our daughter from the worst. I gathered information from anybody who was willing to talk to me and felt such gratitude that complete strangers would drop everything to share the most private details of their stories. I tried everything, including cooling caps (head covers designed to reduce hair loss), frozen mittens and bootees to prevent neuropathy, twice-weekly acupuncture and boatloads of supplements. And, as if miraculously, the hacks all worked. Our daughter, Bebe, never knew I was sick, so she was never afraid. She still thinks these perky boobs are all mine.

When I receive calls from women who have just been diagnosed, I stop everything to talk to them. I always share with them something that was said to me when I was in the depths of my chemo treatment: When this is all over, you will actually be happier than before. It sounds unbelievable, but it’s been true for me. I know what matters now: the people I love. So I spend as much time as I can expressing that love and letting myself receive love in return.

DAN The pandemic has stirred up some troubling memories of “chemo quarantine” for both of us. Habit and ritual — to say nothing of magical thinking — helped me a lot during that time. Despite my nightly panic and dread, I would pull open our bedroom curtains each morning, speaking to myself softly, like a mantra, “You’re going to live, you’re going to live.” I feel some measure of that same doggedness these mornings now, as I throw wide the same curtains to our current uncertainties.

About brandsauthority

Check Also

Ardea partners with CSIRO as it guns for Goongarrie gold

Ardea Resources has partnered with Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO, to unlock the secrets …

%d bloggers like this: