Ok, so.. I’ve been meaning to get back to blogging for a LONG time but I just haven’t been in the right headspace… I can’t promise I’ll keep it up- although I have the best intensions- but at least for today, I felt inspired to write a post announcing Andy and I’s elopement (with an explanation) and I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge how thankful I am for the most incredible man in the world, my HUSBAND!!!!!!
Part I: Why Andy and I Eloped
Andy and I got engaged on 1/7/17. After a blissful day of running around to family members’ houses and sharing the news, we settled in for the rest of the weekend, hanging out on an air mattress we blew up in our living room, drinking wine and toying around with wedding planning ideas. Over the next couple months, we picked a date, 9/15/18, a photographer, venue, etc., we were on a roll!
Then came my diagnosis on 7/20/17. Wedding planning came to a screeching fault as Andy and I tried to figure out whether or not we’d be able to keep our original wedding date. Once we got deeper into the coordination of my treatment plan, we realized I’d be having surgery right around fall of 2018, so we decided to post pone the wedding until June of 2019.
As you may know, we’ve hit a lot of bumps in the road throughout treatment. During the most difficult times, Andy and I would talk about how much we “just wanted to be married already.”
Eventually, Andy and I decided that we didn’t want to let cancer keep us from being married, and there’s no reason why we should let it! So, we decided we would elope on our originally planned wedding date.
After a lot of discussion, we decided we wanted to keep it a secret. I, in particular, did not want people to know because I worried about the “magic” of our public wedding ceremony being lost if people knew we were already married...
Well, this plan got flipped on its head after my most recent surgery failed and we realized I would still be in treatment come June. We talked a lot and for a while we still had full intentions of keeping our ceremony in June.
However, when it came down to it, I couldn’t shake a gut feeling of dread when I thought about wedding planning. The idea of wedding planning while going through treatment - and knowing I’d still have the black cancer cloud hanging over me once the day finally came - felt daunting and I just couldn’t get excited about it.
I went to Andy and told him how I was feeling. He, as always, was supportive. He had been feeling the same way, but we both had reservations toward cancelling our ceremony in June because we were worried that, if we didn’t do it in June, we’d never get around to it and we’d lose yet another thing to look forward to. Furthermore, what if the doctors are right and my dream of being cancer free on the day we say our vows in front of friends and family just isn’t possible?
Well, f*ck that. Conventional medicine may say that I am incurable at this stage, but I don’t plan to let that be the case. My team at Johns Hopkins is helping me “live with cancer” for as long as they can but I’m not letting that become my plan. My plan is to become a radical remission survivor. I believe in my body’s ability to heal, despite what conventional medicine doctors say and I will do everything in my power to prove them wrong... And on the day I’m pronounced “no evidence of disease,” I will be flipping the bird to anyone who lost faith in my body’s strength.
[excuse my tangent]
Andy and I decided it’s a lot more optimistic to commit ourselves to having the ceremony we want - a cancer-free ceremony. With the support of my loving husband, I’m going to make that happen for us. So please, be on standby for our 3rd and final wedding announcement... coming to you as soon as I kick cancer’s ass.
Part II: What I am most Thankful for this Thanksgiving … i.e. lots of gush - skip if you have a weak stomach ;)
Andy, I’m legitimately tearful [its so lame] writing these words, trying to start this off, because I don’t even know how I could ever possibly formulate words to properly express what you mean to me (especially with this chemo brain). BUT - I guess I have to accept that I may never be able to fully articulate my love for you. All I can do is hope that with every cuddle, kiss, hug, touch, you feel the nearly-psychotic/obsessive love, passion, awe, amazement, etc. I feel for you.
Without a doubt in my mind – not even slightly kidding or exaggerating – I could not be doing this cancer shit without you. You keep me balanced and [partially] sane. You motivate, encourage, and gently push me when I need it.
A future with you is what keeps me going. During my most difficult times, I picture you and I on Venice beach, at Va La or Sunny Point Cafe, drinks in hand, toasting to an NED scan and it brings me back. It gives me hope and the strength I need to keep pushing through when all I want to do is give up.
You have seen me at my absolute worst. Like, I think of what you've witnessed during my hospital stays and ... ew. Just, ew. Gross. ..... But you've never bat an eye. You've embraced every shit [most of the time, literally] moment like you were born to be my caregiver. And that thought, in and of itself, breaks me a little because what you've done for me takes the strength of, like, a million men. What you've dealt with is so insane. There are so few men on earth who will ever know what its like to be in your shoes - there will always be a part of me that feels incredibly guilty for that - but it also grounds my faith that there are forces out there, a higher power, whatever you want to call it, that brought you into my life so I could survive this shit.
I love you so much and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life showing you how grateful I am for you.
Part III - My Vows:
I promised a few family members I'd share the vows I wrote so, might as well post them here!
Andy, over the past nine years I have fallen deeply in love with you for countless reasons. When I think of you, I think of your brilliance. Your intelligence is shocking… and slightly maddening at times.
I think of how creative and handy you are. You take on new projects with ease and you are an incredible teacher.
I think of how hilarious you are. You tell witty jokes I think of days later and laugh as if I just heard it. You are so silly and I love that about you.
But most of all, when I think of you, I think of how comforting you are. Your presence slows my heart rate, calms my nerves and relaxes me. You listen when I need to rant, you give me advice and reasoning when I need it and you just hold me when no words should be spoken.
In your arms, I am my absolute truest self. For those reasons, I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life as your wife.
I vow to be brilliantly faithful, committed to and supportive of you. I vow to be creative in keeping our love fresh and alive and flourishing. I vow to be hilariously silly and try to make you laugh as often as I can. Most of all, I vow to be your comfort. Forever and always.
That's it for now, folks!