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My Husband, My Love, My Hero
Dedicated to Christopher Oliphant
Submitted by Anonymous
This a true story of undying love between my husband and I. We met at a party in the summer of 1982. We sat on a porch talking for hours. Chris drove limousines and I was taking care of my mother who was dying of cancer. My father had died 2 years prior.
I had a 3 1/2 year old daughter and was newly divorced. After a 10 year relationship with an abusive man, I had sworn off men indefinitely. I had known of Chris for 3 years prior but had never talked with him, other than saying hello.
After that night we spoke often on the phone often. He would call me in-between his driving limos and we would see each other as often as possible. My daughter loved Chris and he treated her as if she were his own daughter.
After 6 months my mother passed away and I was devastated. Instantly I was without my Mom, who I was devoted to, had no job or place to live. Chris vowed to take care of me and Christina and we moved in together. I knew right away that this was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. A year and a half later we married.
The first two years of marriage were wonderful. We took one trip to Maui Hawaii. We had so much fun. We body surfed, ate, para-glided, ate, danced and swam and then ate and drank somemore... We had purchased a house and May 1, 1996, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Ben was not originally not supposed to be born. I had been told that he was a tubal pregnancy and we were to wait a couple of weeks to see exactly where he was in the tube and then he would be removed. After 2 weeks they gave us the best news ever. Ben had moved into the womb and we were going to have a baby.
Chris was a wonderful father. He adored his son and my daughter. Life was complete. For the first year everything was wonderful. Then one night I found a lump in my breast. I had had them before and they were always benign cyst so I wasn't too worried. I went to my Dr. and he confirmed my suspicions that it was a cyst but to be on the safe side I wanted to have it removed as I had with the previous ones.
Chris and Christina accompanied me to the outpatient surgery center for what was supposed to be a short surgery. Prior to going in they both sat with me and Chris held my hand. They gave me kisses and off I went. After about an hour the surgeon came out to the waiting room and told Chris that I had breast cancer. That was the day that our world turned upside down. As I came out of anesthesia, my surgeon told me that I had breast cancer and how sorry he was. Christina came in the room and helped me get dressed. She was 9.
After my surgery, Chris and I went to meet with an Oncologist and make a game plan. There was to be a second surgery to remove more of the breast tissue and take lymph nodes to see if the cancer had spread. I was lucky. I had caught it early. It was a fast growing cancer and an aggressive type. The next surgery showed it had not gotten out to the lymph nodes. Next would be Chemo and Radiation. I remember sitting on our patio on Chris' lap and crying and holding each other. He vowed to take care of me and the kids. He didn't let us down.
Chris' job was an hour away from the house, but even so, he never missed a Doctor's appointment or taking me to Chemo treatments. He would take our son to daycare and Christina to school and then go on to work. My family and friends helped as much as they could picking up Christina and Ben and bringing in food. When Chris would get home he would fix dinner, play with the kids and get them to bed and then do wash and pick up the house. The Chemo took its toll on me and he always made sure I was as comfortable as possible.
As the Chemo started working my hair started falling out in handfuls. Finally one day, after feeling like an old possum with only patches of hair left, I asked him to shave the rest of it off of me. With tears in our eyes, he did the job.
After about 6 months everything started getting back to normal. My hair was starting to grow back and I was back to working part time. But 6 months later we got bad news once again. I had been having pains in my abdomen and the sonogram showed a tumor the size of a lemon. My regular Dr. was on vacation and his back up Dr. called Chris and I into his office. He painted a very bleak future. He pretty much said to kiss the kids goodbye and say your prayers. We were once again devastated. We cried and held each other. How could life be so cruel? Ben was then 2 and Christina 10.
Once again Chris and my family were by my side as I headed into surgery to remove this tumor and see just how bad it was. I was to have a complete hysterectomy. This time the news was good. Well, I guess you could say it was good... I didn't have cancer. In fact, I didn't have a tumor at all. But he decided to go ahead with the hysterectomy anyway. We were just so happy that I was going to make it that nothing else mattered. Apparently, the radiologist had misread the sonogram.
Being that I had just gone through cancer a year before and my cancer was an aggressive one, my Doctor put me on Tamoxifin for the next 5 years. Tomoxifin can cause weight gain and now that I had had a complete hysterectomy my hormones were totally out of whack. I went into menopause and with it all the effects of it. Weight gain, mood swings, feeling carved up and betrayed by the Doctor that stepped in for my own Doctor. I was angry. But Chris' love never wavered.
Things went well for the next few years. One summer Chris and I actually raised $3,500 dollars for the Avon 3 day Breast Cancer Walk and he and I walked hand in hand 60 miles from San Jose to San Francisco. Chris is my biggest fan and supporter. His love is undying and unfazed by my carved up body and weight gain. I went from 120 to 170 over the past years.
Now it is June of 2003. My hips were bothering me and I thought it was due to arthritis. When I was born, the hips didn't form correctly around the ball and I was in a body brace for the first year of my life. Over the years they would occasionally give me some pain. So I figured I should have it checked out.
I made an appointment to see an Orthopedic Doctor just to see if there was anything he could suggest for the pain. He took X-Rays and said that my hips are fine but there is another problem. He saw a large tumor on my vertebrae and sent me to see a Neurologist. Of course my wonderful husband accompanied me to the visit, holding my hand. The great news was it wasn't a cancerous tumor, they were pretty certain. But the bad news was the location of it and the difficulty of removing it.
July 21, 2003, once again I am going in for surgery. Ben is now 7 and Christina is almost 15. Chris and my sisters are with us at the hospital. Chris holds me and we try to keep the mood light and hold back any tears or fears. There is a possibility that I may not walk after this surgery. This time I will be in the hospital for several days. Chris will be taking time off work and taking care of the kids and house. We are still paying off bills from prior surgeries which were in the thousands.
The surgery was a success. I woke up and had feeling in my legs. The tumor was a schwanoma and about the size of a lemon. To begin with I used a wheel chair when I went out and Chris would push me. Then I progressed to a walker. Chris put in a special ramp for me and moved furniture to help me get around better. Eventually I progressed to a cane. He went to all Doctor Appointments with me and was still making his hour drive to and from work. Picking up groceries and kids, cooking and cleaning. Never complaining once. I lost sensory nerves in the lower half of my body which, at this point, doesn't look like I will ever get the feeling back. But the pain is gone and I am doing well.
August 13, 2004, was our 10 year wedding anniversary. Even though we had huge medical bills hanging over us I wanted to take a vacation and celebrate. My sister had a time share in Mexico and so we planned to take the kids and go to Mexico for a week. The week prior to our departure date Chris' boss informed him he could not have the full week off because he decided to take some time off and he would need to cover for him. We had already purchased the cheapest airline tickets for the four of us and they were unchangeable. The only thing we could do is to go and then on the 3rd day Chris would have to return home alone and pay the extra charges for changing his ticket. I stayed in Mexico with the kids and made the best of it. On our anniversary we talked on the phone a couple of times but it is very expensive to call out so we had to keep the calls short. We may have been apart, but we were together in our hearts.
With all we have been through, our love has never wavered. Chris is a hard working husband and father. Always putting his family before himself. Doing without for himself to make sure that everyone else has what they need. When he walks in the door the first thing he does every night is give me a kiss and hug. Every night. Then he plays with our son. He may be tired from a long commute but he always has time to run my daughter somewhere or stop off at the grocery store on his way home or play some ball with Ben.
I try to lighten his load as much as I can. I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful husband and father in my life. God has truly blessed me. So maybe this trip to Hawaii will give us the honeymoon we never got to spend together.