It’s the day that all girls dream of… the love of their life on bended knee asking for their hand in marriage… the sun is setting in the perfect location to provide a warm glow over the moment… the ring is brilliantly sparkling… the heavens open up and angels sing, right? Wrong. My engagement was hijacked.
How Carter and I made this far is short of miraculous. It stared in a bar with his lame pickup line, “Are you a Stones person or a Beatles person?” I ignored his pursuit as long as I could, and several months later, finally gave in and accepted the fact that we were meant to be together. We dated, I got to know his son, we moved in together and were talking about marriage. It all came to a crashing halt on my 39th birthday.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Carter proposed two days later. He took me out for my birthday dinner to the same restaurant that we went to on our first date. He even made sure we sat at the same table. The waitress greeted us, and the second she left, he was on bended knee asking for my hand in marriage. The waitress came running back in excitement, “Did I just see what I think I saw?” The manager brought over complimentary champagne. It was a moment I will never forget. Except for the fact that the euphoria of “WE’RE GETTING MARRIED” was more like, “we’regettingmarriedOHSH*TIHAVECANCER.”
We delayed telling everyone about the cancer because we wanted to share the good news of our engagement. On the outside, we were happily engaged. Behind closed doors, we were dealing with doctors appointments, oncologists, hospitals, and all things cancer. While we had always talked of a justice of the peace ceremony instead of a traditional wedding; the doors were now permanently closed to that option. It was surreal. It was like I was going through the motions in a cloud. It was like reality wasn’t real.
In those nine months between “Will you marry me?” and “I do,” I lost part of my breast to surgery and all of my hair, I was sick from chemo, came into early menopause, and had the walking farts. Nothing says beautiful and sexy fiance like a sweaty bald woman with the walking farts. And yet, Carter and Stepson never left my side.
We had our justice of the peace ceremony with Carter’s son and our parents, and then the three of us went on a “familymoon” together. It was a weekend at an indoor water park/lodge – something that we could all enjoy considering the circumstances. We are hoping to be able to take a “real” honeymoon at some point. After cancer, priorities quickly get rearranged.
In the spirit of sharing inspiration, you can read the very raw and poignant story behind that year in my book, Coconut Head’s Cancer Survival Guide – My Journey From Diagnosis to “I Do.” Proceeds go to help breast cancer advocacy and charities.
Cancer hijacked my engagement, my wedding, and my life. At the time, it was easy to get swallowed into the woe is me. But now, looking back at that year, I know that it was all in God’s hand and a part of His plan. If we can make it through cancer, we can make it through anything. “They” say that cancer shouldn’t define you. I disagree. Cancer defined that year for us, and set us up to be where we are today. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, but I wouldn’t take it back either.
Cancer hijacked my engagement, my wedding, and my life. And I’m thankful for where it took us.
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Love, hugs, and happy anniversary to my boys.HERE.