Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 33

MARRIAGE

We decided that we
would get through our
marriage the same
way we started it, by
celebrating. There aren't
many silver linings to
cancer. So we decide
everyday to create our
own, big or small.

The plan was working out and by the time I
had my first chemotherapy treatment, we felt
like we knew everything there was to know
about boobs. Then I got my genetic testing
results back.
My medical team conducted genetic testing
to see if I carried the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
The good news was, I didn't. Then there was
the bad news. It turns out that I have a rare genetic disorder called Li-Fraumeni Syndrome.
I didn't fully understand what this meant for
me until I started googling it. What a mistake.
I felt like I did moments before I had to tell
my husband and family that I had cancer all
over again. This genetic disorder (that I still
can't spell without spellcheck) is known as

the " cancer gene. " Basically, my T-cells in my
body are not operating like a normal person's
do to screen and filter the bad cells out. So
the probability of cancer showing up in my
life again and again and again is quite high.
" Great... " I thought. And the hits just keep
on coming. Because of this disorder, I will be
scanned, tested, poked and prodded for the
rest of my life. Sounds fun, right?
With this realization, I was less concerned
about myself and more concerned about my
marriage and what my future will actually
look like. Guilt came over every waking hour,
even showed up in my dreams. This is certainly
not the kind of wife I wanted to be or even
imagined for myself. What if there is more
" sickness " in the " in sickness and in health "
part of the vow? What if we are consumed
with medical bills? What if I died before we
even got to celebrate our 10 year anniversary?
What if our whole marriage is consumed with
dread and anxiety over what problems we're
going to have next? What if he gets tired of
looking at my " sick " body all the time? What
if he's better off with someone else that will
live longer?
Neither one of us signed up to deal with
cancer for the rest of our lives. So where do
we go from here? When I heard the words,
" You have cancer " sirens went off in my brain.
My heart became heavy and my anxiety was
constantly stuck in my throat. But my husband, he didn't hear sirens. He heard a bell.
You know, like the one you hear in a boxing
ring. He fought for me, with me, beside me
and through me.
There aren't enough words that exist in the
human language that can adequately express
the love, respect and joy that I feel for this
husband of mine. Our friendship started in
college when I was 19 years old. I spent the
majority of our friendship trying to find him
a girlfriend because I thought he was so amazing! Then one day, when I was 26, our eyes
changed and we saw each other differently.
We've been together ever since.
The best way I can describe how I feel about
him is to compare the feeling to Christmas
morning. For me, Christmas morning has
always been a source of pure joy, excitement
and wonder. I can remember almost every
Christmas morning that I've had since I was
a little girl. I remember trying so so hard to
stay a wake on Christmas Eve so I could sneak
and see Santa lay out all of the presents. Chace
is my Christmas present that I get to open all

Love

the time. Will Li-Fraumeni Syndrome take
away my presents?
I finally had the courage to approach Chace
with my concerns. This is what he told me.
" Whitney, would you be willing to take all of
your problems and put them in a bag with 1000
other strangers? Then, reach into that bag and
exchange your problems for theirs? "
I had to really think about this... I started
thinking about all the good things in my life
that I wouldn't trade for anything. Ultimately,
I said to him, " No. I wouldn't. "
And he said, " Yeah, me neither. We're going
to get through this the same way we started,
by celebrating. "
Since that day, my fears have turned into
gratitude. I've beaten breast cancer twice
now since we've gotten married and I STILL
wouldn't trade my circumstances with anyone else. I've been in treatment more than not
since we said, " I do. " When my guilt of being
a " sick " wife sneaks in, I remind myself to
not let the worries of the next scan, the next
treatment or the next " you have cancer again "
phone call to ruin today.
I don't feel like our love is unique. I don't
feel like we are " lucky " to have one another.
I really don't. Instead, I am grateful. Truly
grateful. I feel like this is how it's supposed to
be. Every marriage has their trials, challenges,
and burdens that they have to deal with but
it's not work to me. It's my happy place. Our
burden that we carry happens to be cancer.
It turns out, I was someone who was ready
to take on cancer, he was someone who was
ready to watch and we are people who celebrate through it all.
We decided that we would get through our
marriage the same way we started it, by celebrating. There aren't many silver linings to
cancer. So we decide everyday to create our
own, big or small. We adopted the titles Boobie
Queen and Boobie King to remind ourselves
to eat dessert first and treat ourselves well.
We even started a business called, The Boobie
Queen Company to show others how to do the
same. The ultimate goal is to remind the other
Boobie Queens out there that they were strong
before cancer and they will be strong during
and after cancer just the same.
Because, there will be more sirens that go
off. There will be more tragedies that will
make us suffer. And when they do, this Boobie Queen and her Boobie King will find ways
to celebrate through the chaos and through
cancer. Again and Again. l
ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
DECEMBER 2020

33


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Elephants And Tea - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Elephants And Tea - December 2020

Contents
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Cover1
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Cover2
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 1
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Contents
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 3
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