by Sara Ratzenberger
When I first met John, I knew that whoever he ended up with would be very lucky. I was happy when he ended up with me. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. We got married in August 2009.
A few months after our wedding our luck unfortunately started to change. I had a cough that started in December that wouldn’t go away. After being misdiagnosed with pneumonia, the cough lingered on. Abnormal CT scans, bronchoscopy, CT guided needle biopsy, lots of blood work, all came back inconclusive.
So on July 23, 2010, I kissed my husband as they wheeled me off to do a lower right lobectomy/thoracotomy. Five hours later I woke up to my teary eyed husband telling me how sorry he was, but that it was cancer.
I spent a week in the hospital. John got a cot and stayed with me. The day I was discharged, the doctor informed us that I was Stage IV Adenocarcinoma. We were devastated; we had already read the statistics. We went home and cried and talked. John spent the next day doing research online and starting up a blog to keep family and friends updated.
He told me it didn’t matter what the statistics say, for us, every day was 100%.
He has continued that attitude for the past 17 months as we have endured more surgery, several “second” opinions, 3 different chemotherapy regimens, countless CT and PET scans, radiation for brain METs, and constant vomiting and other side effects on my part. He is always at every chemo treatment, every doctor’s appointment, and every emotional breakdown.
John always took care of me, but since my diagnosis, he has stood strong to make sure our family of 2 survives this disease together. I think about how I am not the only one who lost out on our dream to have children (I was 31 and John was 34 when I was diagnosed), the possibility of not getting to grow old together, and the hurt he deals with as well.
Each day is a new day. Until recently, we used to work in the same office, which was wonderful. He made sure I ate my lunch, got plenty of rest, drank my water, took my meds, kept anyone with a sniffle away from me, and made sure that I had a shoulder to lean on at anytime.
His hugs can make my day so much better. His love is so strong; he keeps me fighting and keeps me positive! We pray together every day for courage, strength, patience, and healing. Without John as my partner, I know I would not be nearly as successful in this painful, difficult, emotional journey.
Since my diagnosis, John buys me flowers anytime he goes to the store by himself. There are some weeks I get flowers several times as he picks up my prescriptions, goes to get me a food I am craving (as long as I am eating!), or just to do the regular shopping.
My husband truly is a lifesaver and I am very lucky to have him.
Photo: John, Sara and their puppy Greta
Sara is a member of LUNGevity’s online Lung Cancer Support Community and will be attending this years 2012 LUNGevity HOPE Summit, a summit for lung cancer survivors.
Registration is now open for the LUNGevity Hope Summit. Apply today.