Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Special Anniversary

Three years ago tonight my husband and I walked Brandon down the aisle. A few minutes later Christina's parents walked her down that same aisle where she and Brandon joined hands before committing themselves to one another for a lifetime. 
Exchanging vows
The entire wedding celebration seemed extra special because Brandon had "dodged a (cancer) bullet." Or so we thought. During the right maxillectomy surgery performed several months earlier, the cancer was found only on one small bone between the sinus and nares. No trace was found in any other area. He'd come through the two-month check-up with flying colors. He would not make it through the four-month check-up with a similar good report. Still, he and Christina enjoyed their wedding and honeymoon without the specter of cancer as an uninvited guest. One savors small miracles where one can find them, and this gift to the newlywed couple and to their families truly was a miracle.
The proud groom and his beautiful bride, Christina
First dance as husband and wife
Soon after returning from the Caribbean, an enlarged lymph node was discovered in Brandon's neck during his routine check. Further examination revealed a spot at the back of his throat, and the biopsy was positive for poorly differentiated squamous cell cancer - again. Now the newlyweds were thrust into a world of port-a-caths, chemo and radiation with all its side effects. 

If anything, these two became a stronger team, each supporting the other as more "spots" showed up on PET scans, through a welcomed pregnancy, during a long labor (in the midst of which Brandon had a chemo treatment), as they adjusted to life as first-time parents, and when Brandon's treatment options ran out.

Brandon and Christina committed themselves to one another for a lifetime on July 23, 2010. Their lifetime as husband and wife may have lasted only 22 months and a week, yet they truly lived and loved to the fullest for those almost two years - probably more than many couples live and love when given 50+ years to spend together. 

They celebrated their first anniversary - and the only one they spent together - at Boi Na Braza Brazilian Steakhouse. They toasted each other with caipirinhas and celebrated impending parenthood and their life together only days after a particularly disappointing PET scan. Last year on their second anniversary and this year on their third, Christina has marked the date by inviting a few family members and friends to join her at Boi Na Braza to again celebrate the life she and Brandon had together and the love they found in one another. 

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