Let’s Start From The Beginning

First off, sorry for the brief gap in blog updates! We’ve had a lot happen in the last few days and I figured since we are starting to make this blog and Go Fund Me public knowledge, I’d better get an update out there! 🙂 For those of you who don’t know us personally or if you don’t know the happenings over the past month or so, keep reading from this point. If you know our story or know us personally, skip down to the third paragraph–you’re welcome for saving you time, I can be long-winded sometimes; or so I’m told!

Lindsay and I are living proof that online relationships really do work! About 2.5 years ago I was on Match.com and got a “flirt” from this creepo 🙂 who turned out to be God’s greatest blessing in my life. We took things slow, texting, talking on the phone and skyping for about a month and half before setting up a coffee date to see if we were truly talking to someone who seemed as good as advertised or if we were about to embark on one of those all-too-crazy Catfish: The TV Show’s episodes! Fortunately, it was the first and not the latter. I remember it like it was yesterday, she was dressed in a darker purple top (Lindsay says it was navy…she’s nuts) and jeans and came in a with a smile that would light up the darkest of places, how the hell did I get to have coffee with such a beautiful woman? She came up and gave me a great big hug and introduced herself and within 5 minutes of conversation, I knew that she was ‘the one’, as they say. There was an indescribable comfort there, an unselfishness, someone so eager to please and to love and there was an adventurous spirit about her. I was instantly hooked and within a month we were ‘official’. The times only got better from there. We shared so many friggin’ laughs, tears (both of joy and sadness), smiles, cute gestures and gifts, vacations, romantic weekend trips, holidays and family time and most importantly (maybe I’m biased?) Bears games! As I mentioned earlier, I knew from day one of meeting her that she won my heart forever and it only took me 364 days to make that official and propose to her…I know…I’m super romantic like that. It would have been even more romantic but Lindsay decided that -18 with the wind chill in Chicago was too cold for an ice-skating proposal in the park…ok, it was definitely too cold but don’t tell her I said that, she’s right enough as it is! 😛 Anyway, we planned out our wedding over the next 10+ months and became husband and wife on the greatest day of my life, October 18th, 2014.

The following are a few other must-know items in our life. We have a little shithead of a malti-poo named Joey who currently looks like Yoda because of his terrible haircut but we love him like he is our first-born. He is 6 1/2 years old and is like a grumpy old man at this point but he is adorable and can make your heart melt in one swift gaze. He’s super snuggly and definitely an attention-needer but he always shows why dogs are man’s best friend; he only shows love and excitement each and every time we return home. We have a 2-year-old female Chocolate Lab named Pacey which we adopted through an amazing shelter in Peoria, check them out at fosterpetoutreach.com! If you didn’t figure it out yet, I got my lab on the condition that Lindsay could name her. She went with Pacey because then our dogs would be named Joey and Pacey–like from Dawson’s Creek–which apparently Lindsay thinks is cool?! Just kidding, it’s not a terrible show but I have to give her a hard time. Anyway, Pacey is now a svelte 94 pounds and a handful. She is definitely still a puppy and you have never met a more affectionate and loving 94 pound being than her. She is so easily excitable, in fact if she were laying nearby and I just mention her name I’d hear the common “thud, thud, thud” from the baseball bat of a tail that she has. If you can’t tell, we’re a little obsessed with our fur babies, they are like our children and I hope I’ve captured that. I’d do anything for my pups, even in that means spending $1000 to find out that a 13 pound Malti-Poo can, in fact, get a pinched nerve from jumping that will apparently just “go away” after a few pain meds and forced-rest.

So, we are soon-to-be parents of a baby boy!!!! On January 10th, Lindsay came upstairs and abruptly woke me up and was literally shaking with excitement. Thinking back, I thought something was wrong by the way she woke me up and said “Soooooo…guess what!?” Then she reached down and pulled up a pregnancy test that revealed the two most powerful lines that I’ve ever seen in my life, I WAS GOING TO BE A DADDY!!! We had to keep the secret for almost a month so we felt comfortable that the pregnancy would be a healthy one and then very anxiously met with Linds’ parents over dinner one week and invited my parents down for dinner the next to tell them. Those moments seem so vivid in my mind, I can relive them like they happened only seconds ago. Those times were moments of complete and total bliss. There was nothing that Lindsay and I wanted more than a baby and we were finally on our way!

We started our checkups with our OB doctor and she made us both feel so comfortable and at ease during all the first few weeks of pregnancy. As many of the women (and fathers) reading this know, there is always some scary “is this normal” type moments during those first few months and our OB was always a calming voice and very thorough in her evaluations and information provided back to us. It was at our 8 week appointment that we first got the news of an abnormal part of our pregnancy. Lindsay had a cyst that was about 2cm in size on her left ovary but our baby was happy and healthy. At our 12 week appointment the cyst had doubled to about 5.5cm in size but our trooper of a baby was still happy and healthy! At our 16 week appointment, our OB came in to the room with a rather grim look on her face and delivered some scary news. Lindsay’s cyst was now about 11cm in size and needed to be removed immediately to avoid any harm to her or our baby. We scheduled surgery for the following Wednesday and got there bright and early at 5am! The surgery was to start at 7am and last about a half hour to an hour. At 7:40 I got a call from the O.R. to say everything was on schedule and she should be out in recovery soon. I started to get nervous when we hadn’t heard anything and it was almost 8:30am. This was a surgery that required laparoscopic surgery and thus required Lindsay to be put under anesthesia which had my head wondering even further. Finally at 8:43am (103 minutes later) our OB came out to tell me that they were able to remove the cyst and that Lindsay and the baby were in recovery. I remember a physical weight lifting off my shoulders when she told me that.

The feeling of relief was extremely short-lived and she told my mother-in-law and I that Linds’ cyst was actually a cancerous tumor. There is no way to put into words what it is like to hear that your spouse has cancer, even fewer to describe the feeling of hearing this with their parent sitting next to you who had just discovered that her son had cancer just 7 days before. Let me recap that for you to let you feel the gravity of what our families had just gone through.

7 days before Linds’ surgery, her 32 year-old brother was diagnosed with testicular cancer. 

5 days before her surgery, we laid my strong and beautiful Grandmother, Sally Weber, to rest. 

Now I’m sitting here with Linds’ mother, Debby, and listening to words that just don’t seem to be real. I remember the initial words coming out and the overwhelming feeling of nausea, sweaty palms, almost tunnel-vision and general confusion. Our OB kept talking but it was as though she was on mute to me. Her mouth was moving and she was nearly in tears and offering us an opportunity to answer questions but I just turned to my mother-in-law, who was obviously devastated in a way that no one could EVER imagine, and embraced her. I remember us hugging and crying together, repeating the same “this doesn’t feel real, can’t be real” over and over again before deciding we needed to call our necessary loved ones that needed to be immediately involved to help us get through this awful situation. I called my parents and she called her husband and they all came down as soon as they could.  The situation didn’t seem real, there was no way that my beautiful, strong, sweet, caring a selfless wife could have ovarian cancer, it just didn’t make sense. Oh, don’t forget, she had my child of 17 weeks inside of her, just inches from this awful disease. “Why?”, I remember asking my Mom, almost as though she was going to have an answer for me. “Why?” I said to God over and over in my head as I walked down the hallway to meet my wife in her hospital room. Thinking back it was such a silly thing to ask, what answer did I expect? Did I really expect Him to give me one? I walked in to the empty hospital room and sat down on the couch in defeat and cried.

We always say “I can’t even imagine” when we hear of tragedy in another person(s) life and I felt as though those words were literally smacking me in the face as I sat there. It’s egregiously true; you can’t imagine the pain I felt at that point in my life, no one can. Just as no one can feel the pain that my in-laws felt, hearing their two young, smart, strong, beautiful and seemingly healthy and successful children were diagnosed with cancer within 7 days of each other. The feeling is indescribable, it’s overwhelmingly nauseating and causes confusion, anger, pain, restlessness, guilt, helplessness and a weird sense of loneliness all at once. It feels like an emotional nuclear bomb explodes in your mind and you don’t know if you will even be alive after your very next breath. They wheeled my gorgeous wife in to the room in her bed and left rather quickly after putting her in place. I walked over to her with tears still in my eyes and kissed her on her forehead and told her how much I loved her. I then somehow mustered up the words “Did your doctor talk to you about the surgery yet?” Lindsay looked at me, still slightly out of it from the anesthesia and shook her head yes. I began to cry as I hugged her and told her “I’m so sorry, babe, I love you and we’ll get through this.” We both laid there for a minute, holding each other, both terrified of what was to come and trying to make sense of why this would happen to us. We no longer had to imagine, we were living it…

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