In May 1984, when I was five months pregnant with our first child, my husband, Tony, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease – a form of cancer.
Fear reared its ugly head. I had so many questions. Would Tony live to see our baby grow up? Was his cancer curable? What if ... how would I ...?
I was working full time for an insurance company. Keeping busy – and constant praying – helped divert my worries, though the concerns lingered like dark clouds in the back of my mind.
My co-workers, and Tony’s, all knew about his diagnosis and the series of strong radiation treatments he would be undergoing following surgery, and they were all so caring. We received countless phone calls, cards, and even flowers.
One of my co-workers, Amy, would buy healthy snacks and leave them on my desk. “For your baby,” she’d say, “and we have to take care of you, too.” People both inside and outside of my work department often asked for updates on Tony’s health. Everyone – including those I hardly knew – was genuinely concerned and always encouraging. Diane, another co-worker, not only asked about Tony, but always asked how I was holding up. My supervisor, Joan, along with the rest of the office, threw me a surprise baby shower one day. All of these thoughtful gestures made me realize I was surrounded by love.
It was heartbreaking to see my strong, handsome husband feeling so ill from the treatments, but as is his unselfish nature, he carried on bravely for me and our unborn child. He must have been exhausted going to work every day after an early morning radiation treatment, but he was a trouper.
Our friends, family, and church family were wonderful, too, offering help, hope, encouragement, prayer – and food. People I barely knew in town would ask how things were going, and if we needed any help with anything. One friend even dropped his own projects to fix our car while Tony was in the hospital.
In September, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. It was a long, painful labor. Though he was tired, Tony unselfishly stayed the entire time, happy and proud to be a dad.
Thirty-three years and three children later, I’m happy to say that Tony is still here on Earth – and he’s cancer-free.
The thoughtful gestures from three decades ago are still appreciated today. We thank God for carrying us through, and also for everyone who made the difficult journey a little easier by their generosity and kindness, shown in so many different ways.
Read more acts of kindness in Heart of the Home: Random Acts of Kindness