Celine Dion – The Power of Love

The Power of Love
Surviving cancer takes great courage and great strength from both the patient and the caregiver. Fighting and beating cancer as a couple is not for the faint of heart. It takes dedication, commitment, courage and unparalleled love. When those four ingredients come together though, you have a recipe for HOPE.

This post is not about me or my cancer or my relationship. It is about Cameron, a caregiver who was able to love his wife through cancer and keep love and hope alive while doing it. Please read Cameron’s guest post (below) and when you do remember this….Even in the face of cancer, fairy tales do come true and Hope rides off into the sunset on a great white horse!

Fighting Back with Hope

My wife was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma on November 21, 2005. I was not prepared at all to become a caregiver to a cancer patient. Heather had just given birth to our daughter, Lily, three months before the diagnosis, and until that point we had been blissfully enjoying being new parents. We expected to be joyously spending the holidays with our newborn, not fighting for my wife’s life.

The doctor told us about mesothelioma and the options we had. We could go to a local hospital or a regional hospital nearby, neither one having the ideal resources to treat this form of cancer, or we could travel to Boston to see a renowned mesothelioma doctor. My wife was silent, too afraid and shocked by the news to digest these options. I knew she needed help, and I knew that if she were going to have any chance of beating this disease, she would need the best care possible. I turned to the doctor and said, “Get us to Boston!”

Our dual income household was reduced to one part-time income as Heather left her job to fight her battle and I struggled to balance work, doctor’s appointments and caring for our daughter. The stress from taking care of everything and the thought that Heather would die from cancer overwhelmed me, and I found myself on the kitchen floor crying more than once. However, I was always careful to hide these moments from Heather. I had to be strong for her, and the last thing she needed was to see just how scared I truly was.

Luckily, I had others to lean on. We were blessed with comforting words, helpful hands and even financial assistance from family, friends and strangers. I can never thank them enough for the things they did to help, both big and small. The best piece of advice I can give any caregiver is: if someone offers help, take it. The caregiver’s role is difficult, and you cannot simply walk away. It’s okay to have bad days, but you can’t let the emotions take you hostage. There is always hope.

It has been seven years since Heather’s mesothelioma diagnosis, and I am happy to say that after months and months of painful and difficult treatments, she is now cancer-free. Our daughter has been able to grow up having her mother, and we could not be more thankful to all the people who helped us through this tough time.

Throughout this ordeal, I learned organization and time management skills. More importantly, I gained the courage I needed to pursue my own dreams. I decided to go back to college and earn my degree in Information Technology. A few short years later, I graduated with high honors and was the graduation speaker of my class. My speech had one large message: never give up hope. I think the most important thing I learned throughout the past seven years is that our imaginations cannot fathom what we are capable of accomplishing if we simply remember to believe in ourselves, and never stop fighting for the ones we love.

THANK YOU CAMERON!! All my love, Andrea