Earlier this month I was approached by Cameron, who liked my blog. He asked me if I would like to share his holiday story about Cancer with my readers. On your behalf I accepted 😉 Cameron gives us a spouses point of view, which I especially appreciate.
I think this story will go to your heart as it did to mine.
Let Cameron and me know, what you think 🙂 Enjoy!
How We Made It Through the Holidays With Cancer
I have always loved celebrating the holidays with my family and friends. I enjoy giving thanks and continuing our family holiday traditions. In 2005, I was eager to share our traditions with our new daughter, Lily, who was born that August. My wife, Heather and I talked endlessly about our first Christmas as a family of three, and we couldn’t have been more excited. However, all of our festive happiness was ripped away from us in an instant just three days before Thanksgiving that year, when Heather’s doctor diagnosed her with a very rare and extremely deadly form of cancer.
When Heather was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, Lily was only three and one half months old. I was immediately filled with anger and fear. I tried to hope for the best and stay positive, but somehow all I could picture in the following days was the worst case scenario playing out. I saw myself as a widowed father, raising a daughter who would never really know her mom. That year, I felt that I had very little to be thankful for.
Though we celebrated Thanksgiving that year, it was far from the joyous celebration we had been hoping for since Lily’s birth. I felt hopeless and helpless. Heather’s family flew in for Thanksgiving and Christmas with us, and I braced myself for the conversation I had been dreading since the diagnosis. We discussed how her family would help us cope financially and emotionally through this difficult time.
During this discussion, we reviewed Lily’s childcare and our troubling financial situation. When we started discussing our bills and financial obligations, I never felt so helpless. Every day, the expenses were increasing and our projected income was decreasing, as Heather would soon be unable to work when she began treatment. We had to discuss liquidating our assets to pay for Heather’s medical care, and also figure out how much my in-laws could afford to pay for. I was mortified and embarrassed, but had no other choice than to ask for help. Of course, Heather’s parents were more than willing to help in any way they could, but it would be years before I could look back on that day with anything but shame.
Now, looking back, I realize how mistaken I had been to look at it that way. I can see now how much I actually had to be thankful for that day. We had a family who was willing to drop everything in their own lives to be by our sides, who were willing to make incredible sacrifices of their own to ensure our well being. My pride got in the way of seeing what was really important, which was being together with my family during the holidays.
This holiday season I must express my thanks for the kindness and love bestowed upon us by family and friends. I am thankful for my daughter and more time to celebrate traditions and memories. I am grateful for everyone who helped Heather and me through the mesothelioma treatments despite the incredible odds we faced. We have celebrated seven Christmases with our daughter, and we look forward to many more in the future. We hope that sharing our story will inspire hope and peace in others fighting cancer this holiday season.