Be anxious about nothing. Be prayerful about everything. Be thankful for all things — Philippians 4:6-7
Care giving is usually left to the females in our lives. My mother, daughters, sister and cousin were my champions. My collective family support system was well beyond belief however, it was the men in my family that embraced the challenge to provide me with ultimate support. My brother, my son and my husband showed me that men can be strong yet sensitive, brave yet bothered, and cautious yet calm.
My brother, Ronny, is a real life GI Joe. At the time of my surgery, he was in Northern Iraq conducting a site survey for his new assignment as an Operations Officer for a Cavalry Squadron. Regretfully, I did not tell him about my condition. When he returned home, he was informed of the surgery and immediately came to my bedside. After admonishing me for not telling him about it before he left, he immediately began wearing a pink bracelet in my support. He made doctor appointments and reluctantly watched Real Housewives with me for as long as I wanted to. Before deploying, he took me to get my hair cut. I wanted my hair loss to be on my terms. With tears in my eyes, as my beautician clipped away at my shoulder length hair, he just kept reminding me that I would be snazzy with a short hair-do. He was right. My brother was in a Bradley tank, in the middle of a war zone, proudly wearing his pink band of support.
The love a son has for his mother is a love like no other. My son Xavier’s excitement of high school was quickly eclipsed by his concern about me. He approached this journey with incomprehensible maturity for a 14 year old. The day after learning of my diagnosis, he walked with me in the Dallas-Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Three months after my surgery he had established the Cancer Awareness Club at his school in Texas and started raising funds for cancer research. He wore a breast cancer pin for two years after my surgery to show his support for his mom. Xavier currently sits on the board for the Southwest Valley American Cancer Society Relay for Life. He coordinates Valley Teen groups for the relay. He continues to volunteer with Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure annually. He IS a breast cancer advocate.
My husband, Howard, is Superman. Even before the confirmation of the cancer, he was there supporting me emotionally, spiritually and physically. He never had a sense of panic and was always calm no matter the news. He bathed me, dressed me and fed me. In anticipation of my baldness, he shaved his head first. When I was at my lowest, he would sit and read me the Book of Job. He always reminded me of God’s love and His promise of healing. The thing that I love about my husband is that no matter how fragile I appeared, he never looked at me with pity or sorrow. I never felt I was anything less than his beautiful wife.
The journey of cancer can highlight character not often seen in our loved ones. I am grateful to have known unconditional love, caring and support from my three men.