Tuesday, July 14, 2015

3 Years to be Grateful!

Three years ago today, Whitey and I were in Littleton, Colorado.  The Manor House was getting set up, we were getting all gussied up, our family and friends were starting to arrive. Looking down the aisle at my gorgeous boyfriend, I felt like my heart was going to explode. I wanted to run (not walk!) down that aisle to him, before he changed his mind!  We partied all night, got toasted by best friends and family, cried tears of happiness, danced, kissed, and celebrated with most of our closest family and friends.  I never thought I would be as happy and grateful as I was on July 14, 2012.  I was wrong.

By our second anniversary, incredibly we had topped the joy we felt at our wedding!  Despite giving birth almost 10 weeks early, Eli and Leila thrived in their 2 month stay in the NICU. To top it off, they were two of the most healthy, and most adorable babies we had ever set our eyes and hearts on (in my humble and completely unbiased opinion!)  I was a stay at home mom, which was a role that I never thought I would love.  Yet, I did, and I found myself pinching myself daily.  I was able to spend my days witnessing them grow, thrive, and watching them hit their milestones early!  I couldn't believe my luck!  My life seemed perfect.

Our first family picture!

Going into our 3rd year of marriage, we prepared ourselves for another year, slaying life ;)  New hepatitis C drugs had surfaced, and my dad pointed Whitey to a new practice to speak about treatment.  We were hopeful that this was to be the year of health, and that these new drugs were the answer to our prayers.  I prayed that Whitey would be cured, so we could live our life to its fullest, and that he would be around to get old and gray with me.  So he could be there to witness our own children getting married as well!

On July 24, 2014 at10:50AM, Whitey began Olysio and Sovaldi to treat his hepatitis C. On October 30, 2014 at 7:26AM he had to undergo his last of 3 throat banding surgeries as a result of his disease. After we rang in 2015, we got the news that we had been praying for.  Whitey had zero viral load!  It was a miracle, and he had officially kicked hepatitis' gnarly ass!  I was on cloud 9.

Third banding surgery, and the start of Olysio and Sovaldi!

That euphoric feeling lasted all of 4 months.  Then things drastically changed.  

On April 26, 2015 Whitey asked me to join him getting an MRI.  It was a Sunday night, which I thought was a little weird, but he just said that was the appointment he was able to get.  I rolled with it, thinking it was routine. Sadly, hospitals were no new thing to us.  There was also a surprise!  That night, after his MRI, we were able to go on a date, just the two of us!!!  With the kids taking up 99% of our time, those dates are few and far between.  I was siked!  He got the MRI, and we jetted off on our date.  We got a few pounds of crawfish at Chasin Tails.  Delicious!

April 27, 2015 was the day our lives forever changed.  I knew something was up.  It was a Monday morning, and Whitey stayed home from work, awaiting the results.  He seemed quiet and nervous.  A good friend of ours works at Georgetown hospital, and had gotten an early read on the results.  They weren't good.

Whitey told me calmly and quietly that the previous night's MRI was to get a better read on a tumor in his liver.  Except it wasn't only 1 tumor... it was 2.  And they believed it was cancerous. 

Cancer.  It couldn't be fucking cancer.  Look at him!  He LOOKS so happy, and he seems so healthy!  I mean, the man still plays soccer at least twice a week.  People with cancer are supposed to look sick, so they were wrong.  Hell, he was more healthy than ME!  Or so I thought. 

I asked him how long he had known about this.  "Since last Thursday.  I just didn't want to say anything before I was sure.  I didn't want to worry you, babe." he said.  Here I was, all excited about our date, and he had been carrying this news in his heart for days.  It was the worst news probably anyone could hear, and he didn't want to upset me.  Immediately, I crumpled down to the floor and started sobbing.  Hyperventilating.  Shaking.  And there my beautiful husband was.  Hugging me, telling me that he loved me, and that things were going to be okay.  That is how unselfish he is... and how selfishly I reacted.  He was hurting, yet he was comforting me.  

That is the kind of man that I married.  

The next few weeks and months were difficult to take.  The bad news kept coming to us like a freaking tsunami:

  1. Yes, it is cancer.  My husband has cancer.... again.  It was a result of receiving hepatitis C tainted blood during the 7 blood transfusions that saved Whitey's life battling kidney cancer at age 7.  (Re-read this point, and think of Whitey.  I guarantee that it will hurt your soul.) 
  2. Yes, he had beaten the disease earlier that year... but his liver is too far scarred from cirrhosis to regenerate.
  3. No, it can't be cured by chemotherapy... although he will have to endure it, to keep the tumors small enough.  
  4. Yes, he has end of life liver disease.  
  5. Yes, he will need a liver transplant to save his life. 

The bad news waves kept on hitting us over and over again.  And you know what happened?  We got knocked down on our asses.  Hard.  So what?  Just like in that stupid ChumbaWumba song in the 1990s, we got back up, brushed ourselves off, and keep fighting. Most importantly, we keep fighting as we started 3 years ago... together.  We love our kids fiercely. We love each other just as hard.  Everyday.  And when it seems like we can't keep fighting, we are surrounded by the BEST family and friends.  Just like we were on our wedding day.

He still brings me flowers.  He still kisses me first as soon as he walks in the door.  He still puts me first.  He always thanks me for taking care of our babies.  And getting those dates in?  We treat every appointment or hospital visit like a date day.  We always make time to get breakfast, lunch, coffee, dinner, or dessert in.  Just the two of us! :) And when we walk into and out of the hospital, he still waits for me with his arm out, just to hold my hand.  

As I look back 3 years ago exactly, I am still flooded with the same feelings as I felt saying my vows.  Completely grateful.  100% more in love, if that is even possible.  Year 4 is going to be incredible.  It will be the year that Whitey finally gets healthy, one that gives him the chance to walk Leila Bean down that aisle to her prince one day (...or princess.  Who cares?!  Yay SCOTUS!) Happy anniversary, Loveface!  Cheers to our perfectly imperfect life!  While I know that it will be an immeasurably heart wrenching time, I vow to always love you, above all others.  Forever and always.  In sickness and in health.

2015 Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs.  A week after cancer diagnosis.

May 2015, OBX.  Pete and Penny's wedding
July 4, 2015.  Long Beach Island


  1. Such a well written post Tessa. So raw and real. You both are in my thoughts and in my prayers.

  2. I am crying at my desk at work. You guys are amazing.

  3. Happy Anniversary you two + two! You are always in my prayers - keep rock in' those lemons Tessa - you wear it well!!

  4. Definitely thinking of you guys and praying! 💗

  5. You guys are an amazing couple. The kind that deserves to grow old together. Here's to good healtha and good luck and many years of coming home to one another. Sending you all love. Komal

  6. I believe in God's power and love.

    "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." ~ Psalm 147:3

    Father God, I curse the spirit of cancer in Whitey's body and I command every bit of it to go right now, in Jesus' name. I command the spirits of oppression and depression, and spirit of trauma of all types to leave Whitey's life and body in Jesus' name. I command all chemical, electrical and magnetic frequencies to balance in harmony. The normal cells to digest all prions and discard them all from his body in Jesus' name.I ask for a supernatural transplantation of a brand new liver right now in Jesus' name. I curse the spirit of death and I command you to loose Whitey's body right now in Jesus' name. In the name of Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, I breath life on Whitey! Thank you Jesus!

  7. Thanks for sharing your amazing love story with us! Your posts help keep life in perspective and that no matter how frustrating, or exhausting the day can be there is still so much to be grateful for! You are in my thoughts!

  8. Thanks for sharing your amazing love story with us! Your posts help keep life in perspective and that no matter how frustrating, or exhausting the day can be there is still so much to be grateful for! You are in my thoughts!