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My Husband, My Hero

We’ve been together nine years now, married for five. We both grew up in the small state of Delaware. We knew we were the missing piece in each other’s lives. Luke made me feel whole, he made me feel safe, I never questioned his love for me. He joined the Army right after college and only excelled from there. I finished nursing school and stayed in Delaware while he deployed for a year to Afghanistan.. we spent two years apart. We never lost sight of what was important; our love for each other, our support to one another, and knowing that we would see each other again. The day I got to see his face in person again, to kiss him, to hug him.. I never thought I could love him anymore than I did that day. That was 2012, and we were 22. Fast forward a few years, and it’s 2015. We’ve moved to a new post, we’d bought a home, and life was fairly normal. He has an amazing job that he loves, Luke is a pure adrenaline junkie. But he’s so intelligent, likeable, relatable, and will go out of his way to do anything for anyone. He sees the good in everyone. He can light up a room with just his presence.. 2015 was a long year for both of us. He was gone a lot, worked long hours, but he had goals and dreams and places he wanted to go, and there was no stopping him. Thanksgiving of that year, he started getting headaches, then crippling migraines. He couldn’t sleep, eat or barely drive. But he still went to work. He’d just made it to the highest status he could in his unit, and we blamed it on stress. By the middle of December, he was vomiting and having visual changes. His doctors finally ordered a CT scan for him. I remember that day so clearly.. I was wrapping the end of his Christmas presents, it was late and I hadn’t heard from him. I called, I text.. nothing. I was starting to get frantic. I had gotten my stuff together to go over to the hospital on post when I finally got the call from Luke I’d been waiting for. I remember he told me not to panic, to not worry.. But to please pack a bag, get in the car & head to Nashville. The CT scan revealed there was a mass in his right frontal lobe the size of a grapefruit and they were taking him by ambulance to a bigger hospital. I don’t remember much of anything after that, until getting to the hospital and seeing my husband’s face. We cried. They talked about doing emergency surgery that night. An MRI showed that it was most definitely a tumor, and surgery was required. We talked about funeral plans, we told each other how much we loved each other, and I slept in His hospital bed with him that night. His parents flew in the next day. He had surgery the following day. His neurosurgeon came & spoke with us after the six hour surgery was over. It was like listening to something through a staticky radio.. Luke has brain cancer, at the age of 25. He recovered so quickly from the surgery, he amazed everyone. Then came radiation. And the hair loss. I remember the night I came home & found our bathroom sink full of his hair because he shaved it all off because he didn’t want to deal with it anymore. I cleaned it up, so he wouldn’t have to look at it in the morning. I spent the night in our closet crying and begging for it to be me, not him. He doesn’t deserve this. Then chemotherapy started, and he was sick. We spent more time at the hospital then at home for fluids, for malnutrition, for pain management.. He couldn’t eat or drink, all he could do was sleep. But we still made the most of everyday. We made sure that everyday was happy. Even if that meant laying in bed and playing cards, or just being together talking about plans for the future. He has NEVER given up hope. We found out the cancer was back & was spreading in April 2016. They gave us two options.. do a lobectomy, or let Luke live his life. We weighed our options, and he decided to go for the surgery. In May, he had his second brain surgery. He made a full recovery, with minimal side effects. He was able to return to work, and is continuing to do what he loves. We’ve had a few set backs, but he never ceases to amaze me with his passion, his positive attitude, his love for life, his thirst for a challenge and adventure, and most of all.. His unwavering strength and ability to still light up a room with just his presence. Unfortunately, his cancer has continued to come back, and he starts a new clinical trial very soon. What I want people to know is that without each other, without our love, without the support from our family and friends, I don’t know how we would have made it through these last 15 months. Even before my husband’s diagnosis, our mantra has always been “teamwork makes the dream work!” And as cheesy as that sounds, it’s so very true. No, not every day is perfect. Life isn’t perfect, but love makes it all worth while. My husband is my hero, he’s a fighter; and we will continue to fight this ugly disease together, hand in hand, with love in our hearts, and smiles on our faces. -Mary

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