Sandra McIntosh: Her's Husband's Diagnosis Changed Everything
My life has been a Beautiful Disaster since my college years, but that shit is dark. I found happiness in 2003 with a wonderful man and got married in 2008. Life had other plans for us. Out of nowhere in November of 2010, right after my grandmother died, Mark was having stomach pains. They increased and he had blood in his stool. Our NP sent him to the ER fearing he had C-Diff like my grandmother. Within 2 hours Mark was diagnosed at 33 with colon cancer. 2 days later he was in surgery. On my 29th birthday he began chemo. To get through I took his pain pills while getting his soup and watching Labyrinth non-stop for comfort. When the pills were gone I was done with them as always. I anticipated a bad scan in September of 2011. So bad that at night I talked and acted strangely. Mark’s scan ended up being bad. For the first time his oncologist didn’t have a plan. Throughout the day I got worse. I ended up hospitalized with severe depression for over a week. Even I didn’t realize how badly Mark’s diagnosis effected me, as well as other issues with friends and family.
In the hospital I found fragments of myself and even helped others. I came out a different person. Overtime I found my calling as a caregiver as I should have been. So much so that Mark and I had a chemo baby in 2014, a son, who’s now 4 and the bright spot of everyone’s world. Never did I think our world would change again and Mark would be dying. It was almost a year ago we signed the hospice papers. He remained at home for as long as he could. Today, going on 8 months following Mark’s passing I’m doing ok. So is our son. I go with the ebb and flow of things. A year ago exactly we knew and it was beyond hard. I felt like an elephant was always sitting on me and I did nothing but cry. At the same time our little family did nothing but live. We did what we wanted with the help of friends and family days before Mark went into hospice care. Even then during that month and a half we created memories as a family.
I may never stop questioning or get used to being a single mother. However, I thrive on my strength and ability to get through. Just as I said to Mark when he got down, I’d hold him tight and say, “If we can get through this, we can get through anything.” When I first came across the Beautiful Disaster clothing I was immediately attracted to it. Just the name spoke to me. Then the story behind it made me feel at home and like I belong again because being a widow with a son can be a lonely place. Beautiful Disaster gives me comfort and empowers me when I need it most. I’ve lived a blessed and cursed life that really began before I was 30. Cancer is thief in the night, but for all it took it gave me so much in the long run. Yeah, it took years from Mark and I, but it gave us trips, an awesome son, and memories I couldn’t dream is. Most of all it taught me true strength and grace under pressure. I wouldn’t change anything about my life as it stands today.