In 2008, not long after Cynthia's 26th birthday, while we were still basking in the glow of being new parents to our second child, we received the news that would rewrite our path for the better part of the last decade. "I'm sorry. Your wife has cancer." These are the words that I would never wish anyone would ever have to hear. Her journey with Thyroid cancer began with a little lump on her neck and a feeling that she just couldn't shake. We made her an appointment to see her doctor and before we knew it that little lump had quadrupled in size. Little did we know we were in for a whirlwind of scans and tests. After a long couple of weeks, a badly botched biopsy, and a lot of waiting it was determined the ever-growing lump was cancerous and surgery would be needed. In early December Cynthia underwent surgery that resulted in the removal of her entire thyroid and a full lymph node resection and a short stay in the ICU. Followed by six weeks of isolation and radioactive iodine treatment which she completed just days before Brett's first birthday.
Cynthia would then live and fight through the highs and lows of remission and the return of cancer. The sixth reoccurrence would be the hardest. In 2017 we had decided to move on to a new school and start a new chapter of our lives healthy and looking forward to seeing how a cancer-free life would be. We had just closed on our first home, Cynthia had just started her own small business and I had just started new teacher orientation at my new school. Then one August morning I had a phone call during a break where Cynthia through tears told me that cancer had come back. This was the largest reoccurrence yet resulting in four tumors and she would have to start chemo immediately. It was so hard to hear those words from her knowing how hard she had worked to get healthy and start to feel alive again and knowing that this would slowly take all of that away. I knew what was coming and it was scary and very upsetting feeling like we had made it out of the woods and could start to rebuild our lives and begin the next phase as a family. But, instead, Cynthia would be fighting through 295 days of the harshest and most difficult chemo treatment she had had to endure to date.
Over the last ten years, I have watched my wife and best friend's once vibrant life and energy get drained to such terrible lows in which we have been relegated to hoping for two good days in a row instead of hoping for constant health. I have watched a woman I had a hard time keeping up with becoming a woman who has to fight to keep up with everyone around her. I have watched a loving mother have to apologize many times to her two children for them having to have the sick mom. I have witnessed Cynthia have to miss out time and time again on life events and milestones because treatment and this disease has robbed her of an immune system and forced her to take life much slower than she would like. She has had to give up or let opportunities pass her by because this disease and its harsh treatment has made her moving forward at times impossible.
Now after fighting and surviving the hardest year of her life, she was given a clean slate to finally begin our new chapter of life in July of 2018. We have moved to a new school in a new city to allow us the chance to be more involved in our boys' lives. But, that new chapter lasted just 96 days before she was told that yet again this disease that has controlled her life for the majority of the decade had returned for the seventh time last week. Cynthia will have to begin her newest chemotherapy treatment in a few days and will have to begin her fight again and as with each time we are hopeful this will be the last, but we won't know more until she completes several weeks of treatment and we get a good look at how well the treatment is working. What we do know is that with each new round there are risks. New complications and setbacks that have to be dealt with as they arise. Cynthia has never lost sight of the end goal. She pushes harder than anyone I have ever known no matter the obstacle that is in front of her. Each occurrence has forced her to work harder and harder to keep up due to the toll they have taken on her. Cynthia has been debilitated by this disease and the constant fight against it has severely limited her physically.
We have tried every option we can to get through this hardship, but the constancy of treatment over the past decade has put us in a place of not knowing how we may make it to the next paycheck at times. This feeling that has become more and more frequent with each new recurrence and longer and longer treatment cycles. This disease has robbed Cynthia of her ability to do what she loves, the ability to help provide for her family. The last year has taken not only a physical and emotional toll but a financial toll on our family as well. With this new recurrence happening so quickly after the last we have not had the chance to take a breath and catch up. I can see the stress on Cynthia's face as she has no real idea of what the next few months have in store for her or our family. If I could lift this burden off of Cynthia so she could focus on her treatment and on doing the things that make her feel like herself that would be the greatest gift in the entire world. We have had so many of you reach out and ask what you can do or how you can help us. You can help by giving anything that you can… This will allow me to focus more on taking care Cynthia and lift some of the stress and pressure off my precious wife that the financial strain of everyday bills and chip away at the small mountain of medical costs, so she only has to focus on her health.
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