My hero is (without a shadow of a doubt) my husband Shawn. I want to tell you about our struggles and obstacles, and how strong my husband has been through it all.
We met in 2001, we were both working at a chain of bars his family owned. When I was involved in an auto accident, he was brought from the Lee’s Summit bar to the Blue Spring bar (where I worked) to help cover. When I returned, we met, and he decided to stay and continue to work in Blue Springs permanently. We became friends and then we dated. Then we didn’t speak, then friends again. Then, we started dating for the rest of our lives. We still go on dates, even if it’s a night around the fire pit, it’s a date!
Before I was sick, both our mothers made our lives extremely difficult on a daily basis. We had a very stressful beginning. My mother constantly needs a babysitter, and his mom was forever playing us against each other. Very stressful, and in my opinion the reason why I am battling this now. Stress is highly unhealthy, and dealing with stressful people is just the icing to make someone ill. Shawn was suffering from severe anxiety and stress, due to stress. He had terrible panic attacks and chest pains. He developed a full body restless leg syndrome, and it still appears when anything to do with his mom comes up. I also had panic attacks, would wake up in the middle of the night with my arm numb and unable to breathe normally.
Let me paint a picture. We bought a house from his parents under duress. After having our son in 2005, they bought a house and moved us in to help fix it up and then flip it. The agreement was 5 years. We finish it, and they would either sell it or we would buy it ourselves. I wasn’t even comfortable enough to unpack because I was always being threatened by Shawn’s mother. She would try to start fights between us, and tell Shawn to kick me out so she could move in and play mommy. And she finally told Shawn it was me or her. Shawn was actually given an ultimatum by his own mother, to leave his family. So in 2006, we were given 22 days to either purchase or vacate. With a baby, pets, and no money to put down on a deposit, we tried to buy the home. We got the house, and now we our rent had gone up $400/mo. They had really put us in a horrible spot. After we bought the house, they went after Shawn for his vehicle! The entire situation was unwarranted, uncalled for, and a disgusting display of parenting. All this while my parents were getting a divorce. My mother was calling me names and screaming at me for having a relationship with my dad. I was covered in quarter-sized hives throughout the year of 2005, and gained weight with stress. Unhealthy.
We knew had to cut all poison out of our lives for our own health and happiness. So, we finally did the hardest thing, and cut ties. We desperately needed that time to mend, and be a family. In 2009, we had our second son and everything was finally feeling like we were headed in a positive direction. But in 2010, I was diagnosed with stage 3b hormone driven, aggressive breast cancer. And our positivity was squashed again. But Shawn has been the most amazing person I have ever known. He somehow still makes me feel like his girl, and not a cancer patient. He does so much, and he is an amazing daddy.
In 2012, I was re-staged and re-diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer in my bones and spine. I knew then, that Shawn needed to finish his degree. “At a time like this??” Shawn asked. But it had to be done because I had no idea how long I had. He needed to finish his degree so he could comfortably take care of his boys, and so he has something to show for his life. He makes jokes about how he’ll never finish, but I told him to stay positive. I hated the thought of him feeling like he is less, because of a piece of paper.
So, while taking care of his family, working full-time, and managing baseball, Shawn has been going to college! Taking a couple of classes each semester, getting awesome grades, and rockin’ it! His professor emailed him today to tell him he got 100% on his last final!!! AND 100% on his paper!! YEAH!! WAY TO GO HONEY!!!!!! So very proud of you. He has his senior project and he will GRADUATE college in July!!! YESSSSSSS!! 🙂 🙂 🙂