N@50: In Sickness and in Heath

In sickness and in health

I took those words to heart as I contemplated getting married at age 50.  It didn’t take much to figure out that while my hubby and I had a number of good years ahead us, we had probably lived more days than we were going to live.  So when I married my husband, I was well aware that I could become his caretaker and I was willing to take that risk, and if it came to it, that responsibility.  You see, his medicine cabinet contains a lot more prescriptions than mine and he’s two years older so I figured if one of us became ill, it would be him.  Guess what?   He didn’t become ill; I did.  About three months before our first anniversary, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Let that sink in:  Three months before our first anniversary, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

As you can imagine, the honeymoon phase of our marriage turned abruptly into the hospital phase.  A cancer diagnosis means tests, tests and more tests.  It means surgeries — first for the biopsy and then for the cancer removal.  It means treatments — months of chemo followed by months of radiation.  To give you an idea of how long the process lasted, we celebrated our second anniversary a couple of weeks after my radiation treatments ended, but while I still was recovering from them.  That gives you some idea of what the year has been like for us.

I have to give my husband credit and praise for the care he’s taken of me—physically, emotionally, and spiritually–over the last year.  I’ve said to him more than once —  “You didn’t sign up for this, did you?”  And his answer is always, “Sign up for what?  You’re my wife and we take care of each other.”  Such simple words, but you’ll never know how much they’ve meant to me.  Or how much he means to me.  It’s one thing to love somebody when everything is going well; it’s another to love them through life’s challenges.

I know this is strange to say, but I think we’ve grown closer during the past year.  For many years, I’ve worn my independence as a banner.  I didn’t need a man to complete me.  Through this past year, I’ve learned that it’s real nice to have somebody to lean on when your own personal strength seems to be waning.  I learned what it means to work together, to sacrifice for each other, to compromise for the greater good, and to love in practical ways.  Overall, I think I learned what it means to be a wife, a life partner.

I know some of you are saying, “Well, God was with you.”  And, yes, He was and still is.   If I weren’t married, I still wouldn’t be alone; I’m not denying that truth.  What I’m saying is that God was gracious enough to send me someone to go through this time with me.  I thank Him for sending George to me.

This has not been a year of sadness for us though.  I think it has made us both more grateful that we found each other.  And we’ve had some fun memories that we often share with a laugh.  Our first visit to wig shop is one of them.  The owner gave me this Farrah Fawcett thing and told me I looked gorgeous.  Behind her, my husband was vigorously shaking his head, his eyes wide with alarm.  Our attempt to make our own wig out of my sisterlocks is another fun memory.  George went out and bought yarn and needles and we sat down to a pile of what seemed to be hundreds and hundreds of locks.  We looked at the piles, looked at each other, shook our heads, and promptly gave up on the that idea.  Then after we finally settled on a wig, my husband, eyes sparkling, looked at me and said, “I’ve got a new wife.”  Something tells me I’ll be wearing wigs every now and then even after my hair comes back.

I’m now officially a cancer survivor, but hospitals and tests are still a part of our future.  And testing needs to be a part of your life or the lives of people you know and love.  Early detection is important so get those mammograms.

As I close this post, I want to share a Breast Cancer Love Letter with you. It’s written by a survivor to the women she loves.  I share it with you because I love you.

11 thoughts on “N@50: In Sickness and in Heath

  1. I am so glad that God sent George as your life mate. So good to hear that you had someone with you during this stressful time. You friend from GRW…

  2. Nothing like a good man beside you. I was truly thankful the Lord sent me my hubby when my mother passed in June. He has been my rock through out her sickness and he didn’t leave my side during her memorial service.

    Thankful God sent you a rock too. Thank you for sharing this and letting us know there are still a few good ones out there.

    Praise God you’re a SURVIVOR

    Take care of you 🙂

  3. I am so thankful that you had George during this challenge and so thankful that you both chose to see it as something other than a “year of sadness”. Challenges can certainly be good fodder for strength building if you choose to see them as such.

    Blessings to you!

  4. Hi Melba, it’s been a long time! I just visited your webpage. It’s good to catch up with you.

    Thanks to all you ladies–Melba, LaShaunda, and Beronda. George is a keeper.

  5. I have been following your success since the day I came to your first book signing in Atlanta, GA. Thank God for George and for him representing the few “by-your-side” men that still exist. Though I haven’t been able to read all you have presented to us, remembering where you came from and seeing how the Lord has blessed your efforts, is encouragement enough for me to establish my own unveiling story. Thank you for standing tall. That even helps some of the Men who read your work and are strengthened by it. Love ya, Tmg

  6. Angela,

    I had no idea, and I’m so thankful that you are a survivor. So glad you have George, and so glad you’re all right!

    Love you, friend!

  7. yes, it is wonderful to have a physical person to physically hold you and touch you when you are living through a hard time. we often forget that in the christian community.

    is that a sign that we don’t have deep relationships? or one that we don’t think deeply about them? i don’t know. i just know that it is hard to see friends going through hard times and we want them to feel better. it’s just that our words aren’t always as helpful as we would like.

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