When my husband Keith and I married on December 30, 2010, we embraced the meaning of the three French hens as Faith, Hope and Love. I knew my life was going to change when we said our ‘I dos’ but exactly how only God held the answers.
I remember when we first met. His smile had me mesmerized as we cut a rug to a 90’s song at a local restaurant turned dance club. His face lit up as we got to know one another. I felt a warmth come over me as he reminded me of home. He was so adorable. I said to myself “I could see myself marring him.”
We both shared our love of faith on our first date. We are both believers in Christ. This is the most important quality in a man to me. We conversed about me becoming a Christian in 2002 and he being raised in a Christian home and we smiled. He shared how he grew up going to church in a small town when he was younger and that attending Sunday service and worshiping our Lord and Savior were two spiritual activities we have in common. He also shared how his big family is so important to him. His older sister loved to cook a big dinner after church on Sundays for his family of five. Our relationship grew on Faith, Hope and Love.
Eight years after we got married, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer stage 1B2. I had a hysterectomy, radiation and chemotherapy. I felt defeated. I was fatigued all the time, especially after my first round of chemotherapy. Keith was right there by my side encouraging me and praying for me everyday. He was my hope and not only that he became my caregiver. During this time, he would take me to my oncology appointments which were 30 minutes away from home. I felt so grateful and safe. I really never understood when people spoke about “their person” or my “ride or die”. Well, now I do. I don’t know what I would have done without him.
The following year, we received some more heartbreaking news. Keith was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.
We nervously waited in the emergency exam room. The doctor came in and said, “Mr. Knox it looks like you have some cancerous lesions.” We were both in shock. I seriously couldn’t believe we were going down this road again. I exhaled.
Then Keith’s journey began in October 2018 when he went through a long and difficult stem cell transplant. This is a procedure in which a patient receives healthy stem cells to replace their own. He was in the hospital for 27 days. He was very weak, had no strength and lost 32 pounds. He was given a large dose of chemotherapy which made his hair fall out. I was at the hospital by his side day and night, giving him hope by praying for him and helping him with his basic needs like walking, getting dressed and eating. I will be honest, some days were really hard. There were long nights and days where my husband wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t walk and somedays he felt like giving up.
Then God stepped in. The Physicians Assistant, Ami, who is part of the oncology team asked Keith if he wanted to go home today. He answered with a yes and we were beyond happy!
Today I continue as his caregiver, assisting with his medication and chemotherapy daily. He also has neuropathy in his feet and legs. Neuropathy is weakness or numbness and pain from nerve damage. I rub his feet with pain reliving creams. Some days are better than others. But every day is a gift that I am with him.
As a patient and caregiver I too have days where I need help. My husband helps me when I don’t feel like cooking. If I need help with doing laundry or vacuuming the house, he is the first person to say, “I got you babe” and I am the first to say, “Thank you and I love you.” This relationship has taught me it’s ok to ask for help and I try not to put pressure on myself to get everything done. It’s okay to have a day where all you do is rest or read a book. There are days both of us don’t feel like doing a dang thing. What I have learned is to be in tune to or with your partner whether it be for better or for worse!
Amy is a wife and patient advocate based in North Carolina, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 44. She is passionate about reminding women to get screened for cervical cancer. She supports Cervivor and its mission in many ways, including being a social media influencer for the organization, as well using her faith to serve as a praying partner for those seeking that level of support. Learn more about Amy by reading her Cervivor story here.