Blast From the Past,  Deep Thoughts,  Hepatitis C,  Mom,  Ovarian Cancer,  Scoliosis,  Spines & Livers & Bones, Oh My!

Writing You A Love Letter

Bill and I got married in August of 1993 and vowed to stay together “from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live.”

What we didn’t foresee was that I’d be diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 1997.  That diagnosis would launch our journey through a series of medical events that have affected every aspect of our lives.

Finn was sixteen months old at the time, and Bill and I were told to finish our family so that I could start treatment as soon as possible.

As we look back at the last ten years of our marriage, we can see how each medical hurdle we faced prepared us for the next, more challenging one.  We worked hard at completing our family, and Porter and Drew arrived six weeks early, in August of 1998.  Bill’s experience watching me undergo an emergency C-section was his first alarming hospital experience.  It wasn’t his last.

The duo spent several weeks in the NICU, and Drew was readmitted a week later after he stopped breathing.  He was hospitalized another eleven days.  I resigned myself to the fact that he was going to die, but Bill visited him faithfully each day.

Once the twins started sleeping through the night, I returned to work part-time.  I began my interferon and ribaviron treatment for the Hepatitis C in February 1999.  Each month I’d receive a cooler full of pre-loaded syringes with interferon, which had to be stored in the refrigerator.  The first time I signed for the box and unloaded the shots, I cried for hours.

Three times a week Bill would give me a shot, and each day I’d take a number of pills.  Although I was the one who was sick, we were all affected.  The treatment was rough. I had to quit working, but I made it through the year-long treatment.  I’m about to celebrate my seventh year of remission.

Once the liver adventure was behind me, I noticed that I was having trouble standing up straight and that my back was hurting more than usual.  I spent a couple of years trying to get relief through physical therapy, a chiropractor, and pain killers, but by 2003 it was evident that the original rods and screws that had been placed in my back were now pulling it forward so that my natural swayback was disappearing and my vertebrae were lining up on top of each other like dominoes, a condition called “flatback“.  (If you click the link, I could only stand up like the lady in Figure 2!)(And that’s my lovely surgeon!)

After a lot of research and interviewing several surgeons, I had spine surgery in January 2004 and that adventure is described here.  Again, I was the patient, but Bill was there at each doctor visit, in the hospital, and after I was discharged.

It took a full year for me to recover enough to go to Jazzercise, and the first half of 2005 was marvelous.  I felt better than I had in years, the boys were independent, and in July my mom took the entire family, including my sisters and their husbands and kids, out west to a ranch.  It had been her dream for years, and she’d saved up her money and waited until the children were old enough to go and appreciate it.

We had a supernaturally wonderful time.  We celebrated my mother’s birthday out there.  I think she and Drew had the best time of anyone.
A couple of months later, I found out I’d been in remission from Hep C for five years, which meant I was officially cured.  I specifically remember calling my mom and hearing her say, “Praise the Lord!”

We were busy with school and fall activities when my mom called to say she’d been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and five days later she was gone.

Emotionally that loss and the way it has changed my family has been much harder than any of the other challenges we’ve faced.  Just last week I dreamed I called my mom’s house and she answered.  In the dream, I told her not to move, I’d be right there, because I had a whole lot to tell her about everything that’s happened in the last year and a half and even more questions to ask.

When I got to the house she wasn’t there.  I felt dizzy for several hours after I woke up.  Her voice had seemed so real.

Throughout it all, Bill has been there for me and for our boys.  Our medical mishaps have been hard on him.  It’s one thing to be in your fifties or sixties and taking significant time off work to care for a sick wife.  People expect sickness at that age.  It’s a different thing entirely to be thirty-one and handling a career, three kids, and a nauseated wife.  It’s asking even more to go through the same exercise four years later, accumulating vacation time to hang out in your wife’s hospital room in New York and make medical decisions– should we transfuse or not?– while fielding calls from the health room back in Alabama to give permission for the administration of calamine lotion for a bug bite.

I haven’t even had the chance to care for him much.  He had a vasectomy in 2001, and I planned my whole weekend around his balls, but the twins ended up getting croup just as I had put him on the couch in front of the TV and his Valium started to wear off.  I spent the next two days sticking the boys’ faces in the freezer and the hot shower and throwing Bill a couple of pain pills and a new bag of frozen peas when I had a free hand.

August is a time of reflection for me.  We celebrate Bill’s birthday, the twins’ birthday and our anniversary this month, and every year I look back at our marriage (fourteen years now) and think of all we’ve been through, good and bad.

There’s an anniversary card I found that sums it up perfectly.  The cover says: “You’re the man my mother warned me about…”

And on the inside it says,”THANK GOD I found you!”

Beach 07 398


  • shokufeh

    Happy Anniversary! You are an inspiring family. Not only have you gone through many tests, you’ve come through them with a great sense of humor.

  • Karin B

    Enjoy your month of celebrations! You went thru some tough times. My mom died about ten years ago, and I still think about her every day. I miss sharing events and happenings with her.

  • Stephanie Honeycutt

    What a beautiful family, and an equally beautiful story to share! Happy anniversary and happy birthdays! And may you enjoy many more!

  • Charro

    Happy days to you and yours !!!! My hubby and I will celebrate 36 years on the 28th of this month and also expecting our FIRST grandbaby!!! Look forward to seeing you in jazz when I return in October ! Charro

  • Lillian The Ponderer

    Happy Anniversary to the two of you “in sickness and in health” is certainly something the two of you have had to meet more than most and with such love it really is an example to us all. Happy Birthday too, to Bill, Drew and Porter. Enjoy all the blessings that come your way.

  • Mamaluv

    Oh my gosh, Anne, you made me all weepy reading this post! I know others who have been through trying times and just fall into a tailspin of depression and failed relationships. I admire you for pulling through and keeping your sense of humor.

    Great read! What a beautiful picture of your mom and son – awww. Such precious memories!

  • MammaLoves


    What a beautiful love letter.

    I’m so sorry about your mom. I have those same dreams about my aunt. I like to think that she is visiting me and letting me know everything is okay.

  • Lauren

    What a great post. Thanks for sharing. The strength of your family really shows in the stories you share here. Happy Anniversary.

  • lake lurker

    Happy Anniversary!!!August is a wonderful month indeed. Last August I discovered your blog and you and all the Glamores have been an inspiration. Thanks for the laughs, screams, and occasional lump in the throat.

  • PhxButterfly

    Still trying to swallow the lump in my throat after reading this. You & Bill really took your marriage vows seriously & good thing. There is the expression tough times don’t last, tough people do. You are a shining example of a family that has faced adversity and come out all the better grounded for it. Congratulations on your 14 years and may you have another 100+ years together. PS….I was holding it together pretty well until you told us about the dream of your mom. WAH!

  • Jeni

    Oh, Anne! Happy anniversary, and happy birthday to Bill and the boys! Matt and I celebrate my birthday and our anniversary this month, too. It’s swell.

    Bill seems like such an awesome guy. You may have married him for his looks, but he turned out to be pretty worth of your affections, eh?

    Someday when we have a bloggy meet-up, Matt and Bill can compare sick-spouse stories. I think they’d bond. Or something.

  • Cassie

    Crying here too. That was your mom in your dream, she was reaching out to you, and I’m sure you’ll have more dreams like em. Embrace them, you truly have a guardian angel.

  • Kenrda

    Beautifully written, made my day. Reminds us that we would choose our own problems over someone else’s every time. I thank God every day I still have my mom (and my husband).

  • Clearlykels

    Happy Anniversary!! That was a great post. I know what you mean about your mom– 9.5 years later and there is still not a day that I don’t think about her. She is with me in every choice I make and how I handle myself.

    Hmm, do you think I’ll meet the man of my dreams when I move my brother into C-ville… eh, I doubt it. I’m too old for the guys who hang out at the corner. ha ha

  • KLee

    I’m so glad that you and Bill have found each other as well. You are truly blessed with each other and your boys. Congrats on your anniversary, and also on having the fortitude to stick together through both the hard times and the easy ones.

  • Alex

    I just wanted to share with you how much I enjoy your blog. My husband and I are sitting on the fence about having another child (our son just turned 3 on Saturday – another August celebration!)and reading about your experiences with your sons makes me long for another….especially after reading this post. It made me realize that family and the love and support of that family is what is important, and everything else will come. Or it won’t. But either way you are together in it. Our biggest fear of having another child is financial, but it seems silly to worry about that after reading your post. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Andre Natta

    I’m not really sure what to write. I’ve been going through some of those same range of emotions in recent months. It makes you thankful that you’ve been able to find that perfect partner that can be there in your most humbling of moments as well as to enjoy some of your greatest triumphs.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • PeanutButtersMum

    Wow. When you wrote about your mom dying of ovarian cancer, I knew I had something in common with you. When you wrote about your dream where you called her and she answered, I knew I had something else in common with you. My mom also died of ovarian cancer and I still, to this day, 3.5yrs later, want to pick up the phone and call to tell her about all of the exciting things happening in my life. This post is very moving…

  • Charlie on the PA Tpk

    I may be a newcomer ’round here, but that has to be one of the most touching posts I’ve ever written.

    I am not sure who is more fortunate: you to have your hubby, or he to have you.

    In cases of a tie like this, I’ll say your family is most fortunate to have each other.

  • Jenny

    You always remind me how much I love my husband…and how i ought to tell him more.

    thanks for this blog!

  • maureen

    You have really been going through hell…
    inspite of your beautiful family I know how hard this stuff is…ya just have to keep going…we are dealing with an abundance of things ourselves and being ever on top of things…may or not help with the day to day stuff..God Bless and keep on going..wish I could say the loss of your Mom gets better..

  • Erin

    Thank you for so fearlessly and so openly sharing your life (in all its glorious trials and celebrations) through this blog! I’ve been married for several years and am expecting the impeding arrival of our first son in just a few weeks. I hope I can weather motherhood and everything that comes our family’s way with as much grace, humor, and honesty as you, Anne! HAPPY August to you and your fantastic family.

  • Mitch McDad

    great post. I especially liked the “weekend around the balls” line. Though, as usual, the hubby got jipped.

    Thanks for sharing such personal thoughts.

  • MGM

    Wow! Thanks for sharing this great post! Nothing else I might consider saying seems to be quite right, so I’ll stop here.

  • Shelley

    Happy birthdays and anniversary! You two have been through so much together, you deserve to have a wonderful anniversary. 14 years of marriage is fantastic!