An Update on Joe's Journey and A Big Lesson Learned - Pretty Real

An Update on Joe's Journey and A Big Lesson Learned

9:00 AM



For a while now I've wanted to update you on Joe's recovery. Most of you know he was diagnosed with cancer in March of 2014. This came as a complete shock and as you can imagine was devastating news for our family. While we were living it, it was too painful for me to discuss, but now that it's been about a year since he finished treatment I’m sharing a few lessons learned and an update on how he's doing, including his current treatment plan. I still get emotional thinking of our little family in such a fragile state.  But we learned some very valuable lessons.  For one...
1. Community is everything.  Many of you know we were planning to relocate last spring. Instead of undergoing a biopsy, Joe was supposed to be in North Carolina discussing a job opportunity. Only God knew we needed to be in New Hampshire.  In “This is Love,” I shared many examples of how our friends and family came through for us.  If you feel isolated, I strongly suggest that you attempt to build community.  That might be attending church, reconnecting with family, or getting involved in your local community. I learned that while we rely on God to meet our needs, He works through the people in our lives.  And that made all the difference. 

2. It’s okay to be sad. I really wanted to be strong. All the time. I didn't want to admit how much it hurt to watch my husband go through this [here come the tears]. I shared my feelings after his first chemotherapy here. I never said the word "cancer" to my kids. Even though literature told us to 'name it,’ I couldn't bring myself to introduce that word into their little worlds. Since I was pregnant I had regular OB appointments and guess where I broke down every couple of weeks?  Let's just say by the end, my nurse practitioner was ready with tissues when she asked "how are you?"  She was so very kind (thank you Christine!) and told me it was okay to cry and be weak.  


3. Insurance is of vital importance.  Insurance seems so dull.  So boring. So unnecessary because we're in our 30s and invincible.  The truth is no one is immune to life altering illness.  You have no idea how many times Joe and I said to each other "Thank God we have insurance." In a time when we had very little control over what was happening, it was a profound relief to be able to focus on Joe's healing without worrying about hospital bills and income replacement. 
Please listen to me when I tell you to research your benefits and find the right voluntary health insurance policies to protect your family, during this open enrollment. Open enrollment often occurs in the fall and is a time when employees can review their employer-sponsored benefits offerings and choose the health insurance policies that best meet their financial and health care needs. Many employees don’t take the time to research their coverage options and as a result end up with inadequate coverage.  Please don’t let that be you! I know insurance feels like something we rarely use but consider that Joe was in the best shape of his life and in his early 30s when he was diagnosed.  In the U.S., the lifetime risk of developing cancer is slightly less than a 1 in 2 risk for men and a little more than 1 in 3 for women. More than 1.6 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2015 alone.
Aflac offers a variety of voluntary policies such as critical illness insurance, accident insurance, cancer insurance, hospital indemnity insurance, disability insurance, and life insurance.  A few years ago, I thought we wouldn’t need any of those for years but now I can look at each and see how the coverage they provide can be essential. Having a cancer insurance policy in place can help protect you from the sometimes overwhelming costs associated with being diagnosed with cancer. Aside from treatment expenses (which I can tell you from experience are astronomical), these types of policies can help with other expenses such as childcare, transportation, mortgage payments, even groceries.  We should all consider this type of coverage, especially those of us who are parents or have a family history of cancer.
Today, Joe gets maintenance therapy every 2 months for 2 years. We’re halfway to his last treatment- PTL!  While they make him feel ill, if he rests that day and sleeps it off, he’s typically fine the next day.  We don’t love that this is ongoing but there’s some very good data showing the effectiveness of this treatment to keep him in remission.  He still isn’t back to “normal,” but as he did throughout his recovery, he keeps an extremely positive attitude.  We know that the outcome could have been much worse.  We are so thankful for our community and for insurance that made an awful circumstance bearable. 
Please take the time to consider voluntary insurance policies offered by your employer. It’s worth it.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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10 comments

  1. Corageous, informative, loving. Thank you for walking us through such a very delicate part of your life journey. You have shown tremendous love by keeping us updated. I love you both, keep up the good work.
    -Kristina

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    1. Thanks so much Krissy! Good to hear from you!

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  2. This is an awesome article, mainly because it is relative to the real an unexpected circumstances of life; anyone's life. It is very teary and emotional having seen you and Joe, his parents and siblings walk through this in faith.

    If this post reaches just one person and a makes a difference in an unexpected circumstance, sharing your story will be yet another victory from the very hand of God!

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  3. Beautifully written Tiffany! I can't even imagine how emotional that time was for you and now as you share it with all of us. Thank you for your courage to share and the strength you showed during such an overwhelming season in your life.

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    1. Thanks Amber! It was tough but having insurance made it easier in many ways. Glad it's almost over though! Congrats on B's nursery being in print! Exciting!

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  4. So glad to continually hear good reports for you guys! And thanks for the reminder about insurance...it's one of those things that we always want to put off until later. Miss you!

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    1. thanks friend! I appreciate it. Miss you (and your blog!)!

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  5. I'm so glad that you and your family are healthy right now, and that when everything was going on that you didn't have to worry about medical expenses along with everything else on your plate! Thanks for sharing so openly about that season of your life. Your faith and your strength are encouraging to many!

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    1. Thank you Jill! It's so true-- having good insurance was a saving grace. Thanks for reading and commenting. ♥

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