Healing through loss || MINT Dentistry Real Story
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We had been married for over three-and-a-half years, four years almost, whenever we found out that Liz had cancer. And so, the way we found out is, actually, we were pregnant with our daughter, Sophie, and it was month, like, three and a half, week 18, somewhere in there.
So, when we found out she had cancer, it was such a shock, like it literally was like ... It caught us so off guard, that we were almost in disbelief, like, that's not possible. Not Liz, anybody but Liz. Maybe me, but not Liz. You know?
And so, it was a shock. We were very emotional. We were very fearful, clouded. You know, your thoughts are clouded, you know, in a moment like that. And the biggest thing they said, is that we feel like we've caught it early enough to where you've got a great chance, you actually only have a 6% mortality rate.
And so, she was just stage 2. It was cervical cancer, and so they said, "We can go in right now. We can do a total hysterectomy, and we can get all of it, and you've got a great, great chance. You're young, you've got a good body, you'll be fine."
She was 29 years old, and so we were like, "Okay." You know, we're going through what she's telling us. She goes, "The negative aspect is this: we are going to have to take the baby."
Lizzy ultimately made the decision that she was going to postpone treating the cancer, to be able to have Sophie. And so, that's what we did. And so, we postponed it, and then Sophie ended up coming early, which was a blessing also, but then it was a whole other scenario with Sophie.
So, Sophie was actually born at 29 weeks, and so she was a little over two pounds when she was born. She was in the NICU for nine weeks, but she's our little miracle baby also, because she's grown, she's doing great. The cancer got to the point where they felt like they could go in, do a procedure, and remove all the cancer.
And so, what that entailed, is she would have to do a total hysterectomy. They would also have to remove her bladder. The cancer had eroded into her bladder, and it was irreversible, the damage that had been done. And so, we looked for a facility, and USC in Los Angeles, was actually the best place for that type of procedure, because they could reconstruct the bladder internally.
And so, it was a pretty extensive procedure. It was a 14-hour surgery, and so, she was in there all day long. And after that, we thought she's good. They felt like they had got it all. She was in the clear.
And so, we found out that the cancer was back, and so we went back out to Scottsdale, Arizona, started up treatment again, and we were doing everything we can. But, Liz, just her body, wasn't strong enough at that point to continue fighting. She was down to 78 pounds, 80 pounds, and so she just didn't have the strength to be able to sustain the treatment.
And so, it was pretty quickly, that she digressed, kind of, from that point. And it was just a matter of weeks from then, that she ended up passing. Until the week that she passed, I never thought that there really was a chance that she wouldn't make it. I thought there would be significant collateral damage on her body, but I never really had entertained the thought, that in all reality, she might not make it.
And Lizzy made that decision. I was so proud of her, but it was tough. But, I'll tell you the thing that has really made it all feel right, is even after Lizzy is passed, I still feel like it was the right decision.
And it's tough to say that in a sense, you know, if you think about it, but when I look at Sophie, and I see the life that's in her, and I see the gift that she is to the world and to me, and who she's going to become, you feel right about the decision.
And I know Lizzy wouldn't go back on it, even knowing the rest of the script, she would not have changed it. She would do it, even knowing now. What's pretty powerful about that, is that, again, when you think eternally, that's what He did for us, is that He laid down a life to give us life.
And when you really begin to wrap your mind around that, it's a very powerful thing. And the love that He has for us, is so much greater than anything we can comprehend here on Earth. And so, again, that gives me so much hope, in knowing that Lizzy's in a good place, because I can deal with my pain here. I can deal with my hurt. I can deal with the sorrow. I can deal with he void that's here, as long as I know she's okay.
As long as I know she's in a great place, and she's doing good. And so, throughout everything that has happened since the event, one of the things was that we heard MINT was making these T-shirts, and the T-shirt said, "Run Free, Smile Strong, Lizzy Strong." And I love that so much, just because it encapsulated Lizzy.
That was the attitude that she had about life. People are great. Sometimes in life, you get jaded about people. You know, you almost hope in humanity sometimes, when the older you get, a little bit, and the more you learn about life, and our world. But then, you know, events like this happen, and your hope in humanity is just restored, because you're like, "Man. There are so many good people out there."
And I feel like God used MINT and the people at MINT, and not just with us, in hearing the stories of other people that have been impacted by that group of people, and how they're active in the community, has been pretty awesome.