I met this wonderful man when I was 19 and he was 30. Our first date was June 20, 1983 it was love at first sight and knew he was my soul mate. On September 28, 1983 we got married and started our family in 1984 and had our first son, 1985 our second son was born, 1987 our third son was born, 1990 you guessed it our fourth son was born.
Fast forward…On September 28, 2008 my husband gave me a surprise of a life time he planned a Vow Renewal Ceremony. He got all our sons and daughter-in-law, the Bishop that married us 25 years earlier, and his wife played the music. Ray wanted us to have the Vows renewed in the Church we were married at in Greencastle, Ohio but it is now a City Trustees office. A new Church was built in Canal Winchester, Ohio and the bell from Greencastle was brought over to the new Church. Ray said you know what we should do on our Anniversary? We should go to Church and see if anyone remembers us. He had this planned out for months.
Each year we celebrate our first date anniversary, wedding anniversary, but now we have added two more anniversaries.
On June 19, 2009 we were called to the Urologist office at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. So you know it has to be bad news when the receptionist says the doctor has cleared his schedule to talk with you. We are called back to the Urologist office and he has this look on his face that something is really wrong. We all sit down and the doctor starts with I have cleared my schedule so that we will have all the time we need to talk. Ok I am already confused to why we are there! And then the meeting begins. Sergeant Hoetger I am so sorry to tell you this. The biopsy returned and you have an aggressive form of prostate cancer. It got so quite in the office, the feeling that I just had was like being kicked in the stomach.
And now my emotions begin I started crying our happy life has now changed to a horrible nightmare! Please I want to wake up now!!! But it was not a nightmare I am awake and this is all true. Ray is speechless and then his tears start flowing. Then the questions are starting because we need answers. Why? How? Was it something that I did or did not do? What about our sons? We got some of the answers from the Urologist but he also said we now need to become students and learn everything we can about prostate cancer. We travel back to Columbus that was the longest hour and a half car ride and the quietest! Not the driest I still had tears streaming down my face. And now depression has set in for both of us, a new battle to deal with.
We get back home and both of us are not ready to talk about the horrible news so we just lie in bed and watch TV or try too. The next day was the anniversary of our first date yea we have been a couple for 26 years. But wait yesterday we got the horrible news how do we have a Happy 1st Date Anniversary. We tried going out to dinner for what should have been a happy day, but it was over shadowed by the day before. I tried to eat but would just burst out crying! We both are not into this anniversary this year so let’s go home.
I remember what the Urologist had said. We need to become students and learn everything we can about prostate cancer. So I start searching the Internet for any information that I can find and start printing off at the information to share it with Ray. Except he was not ready to deal with the devastating news we got. But I was not ready to let my husband go yet so we had to find out what the best treatment options for us. I searched for a support group for both of us to attend, but every time I called the response was…I am sorry no women are allowed at our monthly meetings. But your husband is more than welcome to join us! But Ray would not go without me; he says we are in this together! August 10, 2009 I found a group that allowed men and women and have been going ever since. We attended the group that night I did not feel so alone that night, as I have found a new branch of family called Prostate Cancer. The wives gathered together after the first hour to talk about our feelings, issues or just to socialize. I was a newbie that night and was just going to listen. But when it came time to introduce myself I was going to be strong and no tears. Well I cried like a baby, but it was ok the wives understood and said we know what you are going through we were there once!
I made a decision that I was not going to sit back and say Oh Poor Me! It’s time to take an active role in advocating for prostate cancer as a wife and mother of 4 young sons!
I will do whatever it takes to raise awareness of Prostate Cancer! Not only for me but for the other families that are still battling and to remember those who have lost their battle from this horrible disease. I am not afraid to say those dreaded words Prostate Cancer. What about you?