public cancer…


What ever happened to good old fashioned private cancer? Oh Yeah, folks died or survived miraculously and lived to tell about it (thus becoming public after the fact.) I have been thinking about this a lot lately as things like the the news interview about the wonderful things the breathing room has done for our family that we did today happen. Andrea is so wonderful at being herself, both cheerful and well spoken on camera. This is much further out of my comfort zone for me. I am not great at asking for help and not sure I’m all that good at at expressing the deep sense of gratitude I feel to all those who have done so many good deeds for my wife and family. I struggle sometimes with not being able to be everything all the time to this family that I love so much. To let go and trust God and others is humbling. My wife’s public cancer is humbling (not embarrassing). I fully support her choice to share this experience with the rest of the world as I understand the great importance of this, and I am willing to walk with her through this as much as I can.

Friends (both new and old) often ask me how I feel about all of this and for months I given some pretty trivialized and sometimes shallow answers. I am by nature a pretty private person and talk to who I feel I need to when I am ready, sometimes after having to sort though whatever depression, anger, or denial that I need to. Sometimes I feel an expectation that I am supposed to feel a certain way about my wife having cancer or say the “right things”. Sometimes I want to say none of your…. business how I feel. In reality I feel humbled. I fear not being everything that Andrea needs me to be. I often doubt my abilities as a good husband or provider. I often wish we had more marriage / communication skills under our belt as then maybe we could deal with the fears and issues we have around cancer and just life stuff in general without becoming so frustrated with each other and ourselves. I wish my wife having cancer could turn me into the perfect husband and am saddened when I realize that it can’t and I’m not. My wife will be getting a double mastectomy in a few weeks and I have to embrace the things that will stay the same. She will have the same beautiful eyes, the same soft skin and full lips, the same girlish playfulness, the same love for me and for the most part acceptance of who I am. When we are at ease with each other she will still complete me, just as when we are at odds with one an other it will still be painful and i will strive to see her smile again. Still I have to give myself permission to mourn the loss of that which I probably noticed before the eyes and the skin as if I remember correctly falling in love was not my only agenda back then.. and yet I did .. hard and fast at that. I pray that God will show me many new things to admire, and be attracted to in my wife and that I will be able to express this adoration in a way that makes her feel comforted and beautiful. Lastly I am scared of losing her to cancer (in life or death). I am scared of letting her down as seeing her in pain and not being able to fix it is so frustrating to me. This makes me not the ideal caretaker as I want to be able to make all her pain go away and when I can’t I end up not doing enough. So this is how I feel… frightened, inadequate, in love, proud, humbled, and often lucky. I am very much in love with Andrea… not so much cancer, public or private.



5 Responses to “public cancer…”

  1. Mary Kate says:

    Kelly, you are a Lovely man married to a Beautiful woman. You posting what you just did makes the world a better place. Life is a stuggle, I know you know that. You are divine – you luv your Andrea, and she loves you. At the end of the day – that is all that matters. I luv my husband and if I ever had to go thru cancer with him – I don’t know what I would do – except support him (which you are doing with Andrea) , but I think I would be really angry ’cause I only had him in my life a little bit . It sounds selfish but the thought of living without him kills me, and I think you feel the same way. Again, in luv and respect, you putting out there how you feel says it all, need not question how you feel, but how you act.
    All my luv to the family, mk

  2. Rob says:

    Hey, Kelly.

    I think I told you this already — at least I hope I did (I know I tell everyone else) — but you’ve made me appreciate my step-dad in a way that I really didn’t before. First of all, there were three — not five — of us. Just like you have with the kids, my dad treated us like his own from the very beginning. He and my mom were together for five years before my youngest sister was born. And things didn’t change then, we were already as much his as my sister Staci would be.

    Watching you with the kids always made me happy and proud to know you. Everything that has happened since Andrea was diagnosed has only made me that much happier and prouder to have you in my life.

    Much love,


  3. leah says:

    wow, i think that your blog is great, and it is important to know that it is normal to have all those feelings, you are your own worst critic and you need to not be so hard on yourself. you are there for Andrea, and anything you do for her is with love and I’m sure she appreciates it, you are doing a great job, but you also need to care for yourself.
    be well, i think that the blog could be a great way to get some emotions out.
    i think about all of you all the time.

  4. Bill says:

    Hey Kelly,

    I don’t even begin to have adequate words to tell you what a fine man I think you’ve become. You, and Andrea, leave me amazed again and again with your honesty, and the integrity you show in dealing with each other and this awful disease. You’re not perfect – not one of us is – but the courage and commitment you demonstrate daily in continuing to deal with your and Andrea’s challenges is awesome.

    I feel privileged to be a part of your life/lives, and am only sorry that we don’t live closer.

    Take care, and keep making the most you can of every day.


  5. jenni bender says:

    kelly i haven’t had the chance to read this until now. i want you to know how much i care about you, truly. you are a great friend and i feel very blessed to have you in my life. i am thankful that you and andrea found eachother and you guys have such a wonderful family. i’m not going to act like i totally know what you are going through, but i will say that your honest words really moved me.

    as you know, i am always here for you. for andrea. for the kids. and yes we all know sometimes im an ass to get a hold of, but i love you all so dearly. God is with you.