Hey guys. Today is a day of truth and to be honest, this isn't going to be easy. My husband and I debated over how, when and if we wanted to share what I am about to tell you. It's also not an easy decision, but I share with you guys glimpse's of my world, big moments and small, and it's important to my character and authenticity with you all, that you know my life is real just like yours and everything is most definitely not always sunshine and roses (which social media can often lead so many people to believe otherwise). That being said, you will see my husband Mark pop up every now and then on my Instagram feed, but he's also the main man behind my photographs and very supportive of my blog. He is my world and I'm lucky to be his wife. Life has definitely thrown us a big curve ball recently, so I encourage you to read on, but at your own will.
Unfortunately I wish I could say the big "C" in this case were the pretty Cherry Blossom's in this beautiful LovePop Birthday card from Mark. This next sentence is such a struggle and I think I deleted it, unsure of how to word it, like a hundred times. So I'm just going to come out and say it bluntly. The big "C" does stand for Cancer. There's no eloquent or other way to put it. My husband Mark was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma (Cancer of the lymphatic system) on February 21st and so it began. And before I go on, I want to make clear the reasons why we decided to share this news with you all.
1. We believe in the power of prayer. God is good and we will make it through this with a whole new perspective and gratitude towards life. 2. We believe we are stronger together and should show each other more kindness, as you never really know what's going on in someone Else's life. And 3. If our journey can touch, inspire, or encourage any of you who may be going through this or something similar, then I would want that for you. It's nice to be able to connect over similarities and feel related to, and I can't thank you enough already for those of you who have known, for your overwhelming love and support. It's truly amazing how tragedy can bring people from all over the world together. I'm so grateful to have connected with you all and I again am so humbled and thankful for your support through this difficult time in our lives.
So you're probably wondering how it happened, what is next for us, and what is the relevance of the Cherry Blossoms. I'll start with how it happened and what we've found out since.
Right after Christmas we both got sick with a cold and were on the tail end of it when we left the first week of January for Park City Utah. While out there, Mark noticed a swollen lymph node on his neck and I, having had one after being sick in the past, assured him it was probably from being sick and if when we got back it wasn't gone, he should see a doctor for antibiotics and it would go away. To be honest, our schedules are crazy and when we got back we both kind of forgot about that conversation until about a week later when the lymph node grew and started to give him pain. We immediately got in with our doctor and she prescribed him antibiotics. Unfortunately after a week of strong medication, not only was it worse, but others were starting to appear in his neck and collar bone area. They were quite painful too, he will tell you. His doctor immediately took precaution and ordered an MRI, CT scan, bloodwork and sent him to an ENT specialist. From those results showing their were no viral infections, and there were some swollen ones in his upper chest, that all signs and his symptoms were pointing towards lymphoma. We were stunned to say the least. This definitely couldn't be right. After all we are relatively healthy 30 year olds, who may indulge in pizza a little too often given our Italian heritage, but I mean c'mon, right?! This can't be happening to us. Wrong!
It all puts things sort of into perspective for us. Me being the control freak that I am, and my husband possibly thinking he's more invincible than he really is, God had a wake up call for us. We are not fully in control and tomorrow is never promised. Even though as humans, we know and understand to not take things, people or life for granted, we all too often get comfortable in our lives and just when you get too comfortable, things are snapped back into reality and you're put in your place. So here we stand. But we stand with a choice. To let this defeat us and bring us down, or to stay positive and make it through this stronger together. We've chosen to be positive and proactive in treatment and faith, although I know there will be days and times where it is easier said then done. I'm not sure if its quite fully hit us just yet actually, but we are doing the best we can to prepare and persevere.
So what's next for us. The good news is, although Hodgkin Lymphoma is cancer of the lymphatic system and Mark seems to have a lot of enlarged, infected lymph nodes, the cancer is indeed curable. The cure rates are extremely high. So we have accepted that life will be interrupted and brutal during the next 6 months of treatment, but after that we will celebrate him being cancer free. We have to stay strong and positive. He will be doing chemo therapy every two weeks for 6 months and side effects can be nausea and definitely fatigue with hair thinning to hair loss. Again, the good news is, once it is over everything goes back to normal. So many thoughts have crossed our heads though over the past weeks, believe me. Again staying positive, on another note, one of our friends went through the exact same thing at this age 5 years ago now and we are going to the same wonderful doctors that she did. She has been cancer free now for years and has a healthy child. Again, reassuring us that we are in good hands, and with a strong support team, we will make it through this.
Leading me to my next topic. Boy oh boy did we have big plans for travel this year, Europe, more specifically Paris finallyyyy, included. I don't think we will be doing much if any travel, at least not by air during this treatment time, which will also be a big change for us as we have caught quite the travel bug and wanted to get some big places knocked off the list this year, prior to children. Again, God has a way of reminding me, we are not in total control here. So on top of getting this news, I also just had my 30th birthday. My husband being the sweet, caring man that he is got me this beautiful LovePop card that we actually learned of from watching Shark tank. I mentioned how beautiful I thought the cards were and he took mental note and surprised me with one on my birthday this year (some of you may have saw it on my Insta stories). It brought me to tears because the card is of a Cherry Blossom tree, which has been on the bucket list to go see them this year in D.C. He wrote in the card "Why go to D.C. when we have the Cherry Blossom's here with us". And of course I lost it like a little baby because the gesture was just so pure and sweet and again reminds me life is all about your perspective. I'm doubting we will make it to see them in person this year, although you never know. What's important is that I have what is most important to me right here with me. Mark.
Now that you know, I will do my best to provide updates throughout this crazy journey of life and again thank you so so much for the love, prayers, support and kindness. It truly means so much at a time like this.