Saturday, November 14, 2009

Good Plus One

I have shared my story many times. It has always been a 3 pronged one:

-My father was diagnosed with leukemia in September 2002 and battled until January 2004 when he passed away.
-A few months prior to his death, my daughter Isabella passed away at birth.
-A few months after my father passed away, my wife became pregnant again. While pregnant, she was diagnosed with cancer.

These are the simple facts that have a lot of complexity built into the detail. My daughter Isabella passed away 1 day after my fourth wedding anniversary. The only reason it wasn't actually on my anniversary is that my wife fought with all she had to push until after the clock struck midnight. Either way, instead of having a romantic evening with my wife to celebrate our marriage, we were in Santa Monica finding out our precious girl didn't have a heartbeat.

Regarding my wife's cancer diagnosis, we had the very difficult task of deciding whether to have the baby before or after attacking the cancer. The difficulties that accompany such a tough choice are far reaching. Your life or your baby's life....which do you risk. We chose to have the baby first and on October 29, 2004, my son Jaden was born. Less than two weeks later, my wife was in surgery to remove the cancer and immediately after the Holidays she began radiation treatment. This radiation treatment forced my wife into quarantine. We had a new wife could not hold him. I remember standing in the doorway of her room holding Jaden up just so she could see him. No hugs, no kisses, just a look from 25 feet away.

On November 3rd, my story took a little detour. I have always shared my wife's portion of the story as having beat cancer.......with the caveat that she has beat it 'to date'. I am not sure why I ever added this caveat. Was it because it wasnt official? Was it because I lacked faith or was afraid? I am not sure I will ever know the answer but as it turns out, the caveat was unfortunately justified. November 3rd was supposed to be the day my wife, Crea, and I learned about the very last follow up to her cancer diagnosis 5 years prior. Instead, in a very surreal way, my wife and I learned the cancer had returned. No follow up. No maintenance. Treatment must begin again. Am I mad.......I would be lying if I didn't say 'Yes'. My wife and I have endured our fair share of hardship and live to tell about it. Am I sad.....I would again be lying if I didnt say 'Yes'. I am sad because I know my wife is scared. I am sad because my wife has to go through more surgery and treatment and there is not a thing I can do about it. We were told about an optimistic outlook and I am grateful for that. The truth, however, is that cancer is inside of my wife. The truth is that cancer is a horrible thing and until someone looks me in the and tells me my wife is cancer free.......I will be uneasy.

So, my story continues and you might ask why I call this Blog - Good Plus One. The answer is this:

If you focus on just the facts of my story, you only see hardship and loss. Hardship is not where I choose to focus. Loss is not where I choose to focus. I choose to focus on my belief that Blessings come from even the most trying of circumstances. After my daughter passed away, I had to give the hardest speech of my life at her memorial services. I spent so much time on writing and practicing the speech. When I came out from the back of the church, I was amazed at how many people had showed up. Truly overwhelming to see so many friends and family (unfortunately none of my family could make it as my father was 3,000 miles away fighting for his life). I stood in front of everyone acknowledging we were all together for a sad circumstance but instead of spending our moments together in sadness, I wanted to focus on the blessings that came from the loss of my child. I think this was my definining moment....everybody has one......this was mine. After the service was over, I was thanked for my speech by many. Folks had come not knowing what to say. Folks had come wondering how they could help me and my family. was my words that helped them. Blessings come from the most trying of circumstances.

Shortly after my daughters' passing, doctors told us that my fathers leukemia was terminal. I had to sit with my father and watch a video of Isabella's memorial service. How do you sit with your best friend, watch a memorial service for someone else's passing knowing the future holds the same outcome for you. My father could have been sad but instead gained comfort in the belief that Isabella would be waiting for him in heaven. Blessings come from the most trying of circumstances.

Because of Isabella's death, my wife had to undergo many medical tests to determine if something was wrong. While the cause of my daughter's death was not necessarily determined from these tests, the fact that my wife had cancer was discovered. If not for these tests, the cancer could have grown undetected and my wife might not be alive today. We like to believe that Isabella volunteered for Heaven knowing my father needed her and so that my wife could live. Blessings come from the most trying of circumstances.

So, for me, Good Plus One means that although bad circumstances will present themselves, Good will always be on the winning side. When tough times appear, be patient.......the blessings will be there in time. Keep your eyes, your mind and your heart open. The Blessings are there or will be there in time. For now, I will pray that my future holds the blessing of a healthy wife. I would appreciate those same prayers from you and if you would like to join me in the fight against cancer, please click the link at the top of the page.


  1. Found you off Twitter. Thanks for sharing your story and your amazing attitude. I look forward to watching your blog/story unfold :-)

  2. Chris...I began following you on Twitter because I loved your handle, Running2SaveLives. I was curious to see what the meaning behind it was and began reading your blog from first entry. I too, am running for the same cause. Just joined TNT a few months ago to run the Disney Half Marathon. Your story is truly touching and my prayers are with you and your wife. Fight and don't stop believing in God's blessing. You are an inspiration! I also started a blog to document my you said, the miles and the journey are life-changing.

  3. Chris...God bless you and your family forever. I am reading your story at work trying to hide my tears, but they are not tears of sadness, they are tears of emotion and admiration for such amazing human beings. You guys are an example and an inspiration way beyond my words can explain.