After All These Years
Pink Ribbon Girls' CEO, Heather Salazar and her husband are celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary. In classic Heather style, she is using today to shed more light on cancer. Heather and her husband, Steve, sat down together and hashed out what her cancer journey was like for HIM.
He gave her some real honest answers.
Heather: How did you support me through breast cancer?
Steve: Over communicate. I tried to understand that we were all going through this. Continually turn the focus back on you and make decisions based on your treatment. As a guy, the natural thing is to want to do is fix things. There is no fixing cancer, so I tried to prioritize the best support system for you and us.
Heather: How did you handle talking with the kids when they were scared?
Steve: I was as honest as I could be for each of their ages. I answered their questions, even the hard ones. I felt if they could ask the question, they needed to know to know the answer. I tried to be present with them and trying to keep things as normal as possible.
Heather: How did it feel when so many people were helping our family?
Steve: It was very difficult. I was used to being the one helping people instead of receiving it. I realized the joy people got from helping us and I didn’t want to steal that away from them. I also realized we needed the help. They were all amazing and the help was humbling.
Heather: What was the most difficult part of the entire process?
Steve: Dealing with reality that it might not be okay. I tried to compartmentalize my fears while being terrified that I might lose my best friend.
Heather: How did your Faith help through this journey?
Steve: I had many talks with God. I struggled with "why?" Ultimately, I decided to trust God not knowing the outcome. I had peace that could only come from Him. God clearly uses our struggles for our purpose. Your never know when your story will help someone else.
Heather: Let's talk about intimacy after cancer?
Steve: It’s different. It almost makes it more special. It was so important to me to make sure you knew I still thought you were beautiful. I loved your "warriors mark" and I was so grateful for everyday that we have together.
Heather: When were you the most proud of me?
Steve: When we were at the lake and you took off your wig. You didn’t care anymore. You seemed so free and empowered.
Heather: What are five suggestions you would have for other men supporting their wives?
Steve: 1. Have patience- that’s typically hard for us guys 2. Understand you can’t fix it. 3. Be their biggest cheerleader (become selfless- again typically hard for guys) 4. Appreciate every moment 5. Receive help with gratitude
Heather: You’ve met so many families battling this disease. Some of them didn’t turn out favorably. How do you handle that?
Steve: I ask why? My friend didn’t love his wife any less than I love mine. Cancer isn’t prejudice. It’s mean. I feel guilty. I try to show up for them.
Heather: 13 years on this cancer journey - What is your life’s mantra ?
Steve: Take time to heal. We live loud. We try to live with no regrets. You never know when your time is up so we just appreciate it everyday. Love each other and love our family.
Happy 25th Anniversary to you both. Thank you for teaching us what it is like to be on this journey together. You are proof of the power of WE. You are proof that No One Travels This Road Alone...