Raleigh and I met when I was 14. He was a few years older. I'll never forget nudging the girl next to me during lunch and telling her to look at the boy at the water fountain. I told her I was going get married to someone just like that. We dated for about a year and broke up for a bit. I just knew we were going to be together forever, somehow.
When I was 17, someone told me Raleigh had died in a car accident. My heart was so broken. A week later, I ran into a friend of Raleigh’s. He informed me Raleigh had been in an accident, but hadn't passed away! Raleigh and I found each other, once again! We have grown more in love than we ever imagined. Here we are almost 17 years later sharing the kind of unconditional love most people only dream of.
I have always had an overwhelming fear of Raleigh dying, to the point it made me feel crazy.
In the last 6 months Raleigh has been extremely ill. Most of his symptoms are very dangerous, and have been present for several years, but became extremely problematic recently.
After begging, pleading and lots of tears, Raleigh finally went to the emergency room. Raleigh’s blood pressure has been extremely high for a several years without us knowing This is due to adrenal carcinoma, which is a cancer of the adrenal gland. Raleigh has a tumor on his adrenal gland that must be removed A.S.A.P. Due to the adrenal gland controlling about 50 hormones that play a vital role in the bodily functions, Raleigh has had three strokes accompanied by several other very dangerous complications.
After several tests, a week in ICU, and follow up care, we have recently discovered that Raleigh has several serious illnesses including; white matter disease, pheochromocytoma, swelling of the cerebellar vermis, and end organ damage, amongst many other things.
The DRs and Nurses in the ER had no idea how he was alive. They said they had never seen anything like this. Raleigh has regained his ability to speak clearly and walk without one side dragging behind. However, overwhelming the medical expenses are, we must continue treatment. In order to be able to remove the tumor as quickly as possible, I will have to dedicate myself to ensuring Raleighs medical treatment is timely. We need to address every DRs appointment without time or financial restraint. I am able to take an unpaid family leave for 12 weeks a year. However, short term disability will not cover FMLA in this case.
We do not currently have medical insurance due to a series of unfortunate circumstances during the enrollment period. I knew Raleigh needed medical attention and had enrolled us both. However, due to the financial uncertainty, I decided against the added expenses.
I never imagined something like this happening . I can't imagine my life without my best friend. As overwhelming as this all is I just try to keep myself together for him. Raleigh and myself have never been the kind of people to ask for help with anything. We either have it, or make due without. This is one of those instances when life teaches you to put your pride away and truly see the kindness in people's hearts. Regardless of the outcome, we both have so much to be thankful for. All I could ever ask for in life is Raleigh. I've never known anything else, and could not imagine my life without him.
- Monique Bryant
- Amanda Fahy