I have sat down to write this, probably 100 times. Words have always been my friends. They usually come easily and flow freely, as I have been blessed with somewhat of a silver tongue, but this has been the hardest thing I've ever written.
I had the misfortune of a front row seat to my wife Mandy's battle with Breast Cancer. But this is not about her, this is about people like me, the ones that love and care for those that are battling for their lives. You see we also feel the pain of their struggles. We are the ones who hold them while they shiver or sweat as the chemo courses through their bodies. We are the ones who must appear strong when they are at their weakest. We are the ones who encourage and bolster their spirits, only letting our guard down long enough to cry (usually in the car on the way to work). We are the ones who help them with their drains after surgery and re bandage them. We make sure they are eating healthy. We are always looking up and researching new alternatives for treatment.
There was one particular day that I realized how important being support for someone with breast cancer can be. It was well into my wife's chemo treatment when I came home from work one day, exhausted and drained. I Let the dogs out and poured a drink. I walked into the bedroom, only to see that AGAIN she didn't make the bed, which annoys me to no end ( it's our own little private joke). I start to make the bed, when I noticed her hair brush sitting on the edge of the bed, alongside a huge pile of her beautiful strawberry blond hair. At that moment, I was struck with such sadness and shame for being so petty and selfish about something as trivial as an unmade bed. I picked up her hair, holding it in my open hand and wept. It was then that I realized she is fighting for her life. It was then that I realized how strong she is and how weak I was. It was then that I realized she is my hero. That night she came home and we had dinner. She asked me to shave her head, which I did and we joked about it saying I've never slept with a bald woman.
The next day I shaved my head. I anxiously awaited her return home from work, to show her that I was in this with her. She walked in and I greeted her with a smile and my new shiny head. She burst out laughing. Not the response I had hoped for. When she was able to speak she told me I looked like a serial killer and that she looked better bald than I did. She told me she appreciated the gesture but please grow my hair back.
Even today, after 9 years, breast cancer is still a huge part of our lives. Mandy continues to offer support to those who battle this disease. We continue to raise funds and awareness for the Carol Baldwin Breast Cancer research fund. Supporting someone who goes thru this is not easy. We get no ribbon to wear. Although a pink camo one would be pretty cool. The thanks we get is simple and beautiful. We get another day with the ones we love. So I say this, to those who are in my shoes: Stay strong, stay positive and know that you are amazing.
And to all of you also supporting Shelly in this fight, your efforts will help her beat this. Even if it's just a kind word when she's feeling down. No one should have to fight this alone.
Shelly, know that I love you when I say that you are "The Bigger Bitch!!!!!"
And for the record, my wife still doesn't make the bed!