This Is Us

A Love That Cancer Can’t Kill

Watching my wife die has taught us all how to love better

Brandon Janous
Human Parts
Published in
6 min readFeb 13, 2020

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Photo courtesy of the author.

I’m so glad she chose me.

…for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, ’til death do us part…

Nearly 10 years ago, Rachel and I stood in front of hundreds of loved ones and exchanged those words. We may have added some flair into our vows, like the promise of endless candy in the pantry and unlimited back rubs, but the “for better or worse” part meant the most.

And boy, have we lived up to those vows. I mean, she’s always stayed by my side and supported me at my “worse.” And believe me when I say that I’ve had a lot of worse. A whole bunch of worse. She was also my number one supporter during our “poorer.” And believe me when I say that we’ve seen some poorer. She never wavered, never faltered, never gave up on me — no matter how bad things may have gotten. She was always willing to pick me up when I’d fall. She deserved so much better but, for some reason, she chose me.

I remember our wedding day like it was yesterday, and thinking that the “‘til death do us part” would come someday. Never in a million years did I think that “part” would come so soon. That part was supposed to happen 50 or 60 years from now, not today. For sure not now.

But as I sit here today, watching her sleep, in the same hospital room we’ve been living in for almost a month, death is exactly what we are facing.

Less than two years ago, we were diagnosed with breast cancer. We fought it and we beat it. Five months ago she mentioned some back pain that we initially wrote off as just getting old, but it ended up being cancer in her spine. A month ago the cancer showed up in her spinal fluid, and just a few weeks ago, it invaded her brain.

We’ve talked to the experts. We’ve gotten opinion after opinion. We’ve even explored some pretty radical ideas suggested to us by complete…

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Brandon Janous
Human Parts

Widower | Daddy to 3 | Writer | Storyteller | IG: @brandonjanous