Cancer & Marriage

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When I was eleven years old my mother was diagnosed with cancer of the bladder. Before she was diagnosed I don’t recall thinking she was sick. Dinner was always on the table, I had a ride to all my practices, and our house was clean; life seemed normal. One day my grandmother came to visit, her visiting and staying with us was a normal thing. As we were home waiting for my grandma’s arrival I was in the kitchen and I saw a plastic Tupperware container sitting on the counter. I looked at it and asked what it was. My mom responded saying it was a urine sample. I was confused because the container was full of blood. My mom went on to tell me that my father was taking her to the doctor because of the blood in her urine and that was why my grandma was coming to stay with us.

My mother left that day and didn’t come back. In fact, all the sudden my grandma left the house crying and my fresh out of college uncle was over feeding us pizza. When the person left in charge of us was my wild uncle, I started to get scared. My mother had been admitted into the hospital and was prepping for surgery. Over the next few days I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I remember hearing the word cancer and thinking I’d never see my mom again. I was scared and confused and didn’t have either of my parents home to console me.

After several days I finally got the opportunity to see my mom at the hospital. She smiled when we walked in and she was wearing her signature red robe. Although she looked to be in good spirits I knew she wasn’t the same mom that was able to take care of all of our needs. That something had changed and she needed more love and help from us than ever before. I went home that night and bathed my little sister, washed the dishes, and cleaned up my room without even thinking it was a burden. I was willing to do anything to make life easier for my mother because I had never seen her so vulnerable.

As a child I saw my mother vulnerable and it scared me. She was the strong one. She was the one that kept the family together and moving forward, but cancer took her away from keeping us together. As an eleven year old child the only thing I knew how to do was to do all the things she told me to do that I fought her on. From cleaning my room to cleaning out the dishwasher I was willing and ready to do all those things without a fight just to get my mother back. But what does a husband do? How did my father emotionally handle the possibility of having to run a household with three daughters alone? How did he cope with the possibility that the love of his life and mother of his children might be taken away from him because of cancer?

We at My Three Sisters Publishing know how inspirational and encouraging people’s stories can be. We are asking for your help by sharing your story to inspire and encourage others through their battle. All proceeds will benefit Imerman Angels. From now until December 1st we are accepting stories of marriages who have survived cancer. Submission guidelines are as follows:

Paragraph 1: Your love story

Paragraph 2: Cancer diagnosis

Paragraph 3: How your love helped your marriage survive (i.e. things partner did,

caretaking, emotions, connection)

Cancer Survivor Name:

Significant Other Name:

Years married:

Marriage Photo

Current Photo

Email contact

Send all requested information to by December 1, 2013



“When I said yes to your father’s proposal we believed in the vow of in sickness and in health.”

~Donna Conley cancer survivor


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Jillian Conley

About Jillian Conley

Author of Maid of Honor, Dating Chase Walker, Time for Audrey Buchanan & the Coffee Table Quotes collection. Blogger giving life advice through stories. Co-founder of My Three Sisters Publishing. TV Host Social Chicago. Radio Host Love Code on Modern Problems Radio Show.

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