When I was 28 and had been with my husband for 9 years, married 6, he was diagnosed at age 35 with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. I knew no one at the time that was going through the same thing, which left me feeling so isolated and alone. I had my own health issues, was working full time, and found myself suddenly thrown into another galaxy that I was not prepared for, nor had any experience in. Through many, many hours of research online I was able to find resources to help with any questions I had, as well as learned how to utilize social media platforms to give updates on my husband’s health journey, while also receiving the emotional support I craved so badly.
In Wife, Widow, Now What? I have written my story of being a cancer wife then a widow and beyond in chronological order of the events from the day, one of my husband feeling ill to four and a half years later. My narrative is interspliced with my original CaringBridge, Facebook, and Instagram posts, while including all of the resources you will need and want when you or your spouse/significant other/loved one is diagnosed, are in treatment, and beyond. Music is also a really big part of my life, therefore I included the songs per each year of the journey that I listened to most, so you the reader, can choose to make a playlist for your reading pleasure if you’d like to hear what carried me through those times. I really wish that I had had a guidebook or map of some sort to help me navigate through the unknown waters of the world that is cancer, and this book is something that I believe can help you.
In this book, I offer insight and my experiences in how to navigate your emotions, diagnosis, treatment, insurance, hospital stays, and the medical culture, employment and time off of work, legalities, finances, social support for the patient and the caregiver, self-care and much more. My narrative tells the nitty-gritty yet beautiful story of my cancer journey with my husband while providing you with a feeling like I am having a cup of tea with you or holding your hand through your journey. I have been there, I lived it, and I came through it all as a stronger person who can truly say that cancer has changed my life for the better, despite all that I’ve been through. I believe that you can get through your own unique cancer journey, no matter the outcome, and invite you to be a part of the journey I was on many years ago.
“Some days I think that if I didn’t have “Grayson” tattooed on my wrist, I’d never believe that it happened. When I think back on the girl who went through everything in this book…I cannot believe she faced and tackled so many fires and wars and still came out on the other side.” When Rachel was 28 years old, her husband was diagnosed with leukemia. What they thought was the flu after working too many hours, turned out to be the life altering illness that would forever change everything they knew. Rachel became a cancer wife, manager, team cheerleader and expert juggler at life, while supporting her husband throughout his illness, until he died two days after she turned 31.