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Showing Love and Sharing Hope: a Husband’s Account of Support During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

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In late February, my wife Val was diagnosed with breast cancer. The cancer was found on a routine, yearly mammogram. Upon further testing, we learned that there was not one, but two lesions as well as two lymph nodes affected. After further biopsies, she was diagnosed in early March with Stage 2, Grade 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.     

We met with her surgeon, Dr. Beck, and then her oncologist, Dr. Schultheis, and a plan was formed. She will have a total of 6 chemotherapy treatments, each 3 weeks apart, and is set to have a double mastectomy upon completion of the chemotherapy. A port was placed, and she began chemotherapy on March 23.

I vowed from the beginning of this journey that I would be her protector and that I would be by her side for every test, treatment, and appointment. Unfortunately, during her diagnosis the COVID pandemic hit and changed everything. We learned shortly before her second chemotherapy treatment on April 13 that not even I would be allowed to be there with her. We absolutely understand this policy and appreciate the work that those on the frontlines are doing. We are so thankful for those health care providers, who are truly heroes. We know these policies are especially important to protect those with compromised immune systems just like Val. Though we understand its purpose and of course respect this policy, it was devastating news. The thought of her going through this alone was something I COULD NOT ALLOW. So, I did what I could. I with the help of our daughter, made a sign and I vowed to sit outside and wait for her. I wanted her to know that though I was not physically by her side, I was there, supporting her.

I also wanted those providing her care to know I appreciate their work. I appreciate the care they provide, and I appreciate them protecting her health and limiting any potential exposure.

Val and I have five children between us and eleven grandchildren, all but two of which are local. Our newest grand baby arrived in January. We have a wonderfully close and supportive family as well as many friends who are like family. To say we have an amazing support system would be an understatement. Being isolated from them all has been so difficult. The grand babies are missing their Nonni and she misses them so much. We look forward to the day we can safely be together again.

Submitted by: Bobby & Val 

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