Today’s guest post is by Emily Williams sharing about how she met her husband Colton and the scary, intense, but beautiful journey they have been on ever since. Here is day two of How We Met.
Colton and I first met before I knew we had actually met. I went to Northern Kentucky University and… he didn’t. Colton was on campus to hang out with friends and filled in on the worship team at our Baptist Campus Ministry, where I ran sound. The funny part of the whole thing is that I ran sound for the band every week, but it took me probably about a month to see him as a human behind his guitar. He had that early-days-Justin-Beiber-emo-
Long story short, a few weeks, maybe months, later I had him help me lead worship for a worship night at my church and I made my move.
We were going out to eat as a group after and I pulled my car up next to his as he was loading all his gear in and said, “We might as well ride together”. Boom. And the rest is history. That’s how you do it ladies.
Fast forward about a year and a half, we got engaged, fast forward another five months and we were married.
Three months into marriage our world was shaken when Colton lost his job at a creative ad agency.
At that point he decided to go out on a limb and do his own thing, so he began working on a personal brand. Two months after that, December of 2014, Colton was diagnosed with StageIII Esophageal Cancer, AKA. a cancer that chain smoking, binge drinking, 70-year-old men typically get. It was, conceivably, a shock to us all. Everyone except for my hypochondriac husband who said, “I told you so” as soon as he came out of anesthesia and found out the news.
The next eight months Colton went through radiation, chemotherapy, an Ivor-Lewis Esophagectomy (basically gastric bypass), and another round of chemo.
At that point, his doctor’s cleared him and wanted to see us back every three months for scans. When we came back for his six month scan the cancer had recurred and metastasized in his leg, shoulder, and lymph nodes in his chest and vocal cords.
When the cancer recurred, his oncologist suggested we look into alternative medicines that were coming out. He explained that he couldn’t get his hands on a lot of them yet, but gave us references for out of state hospitals and treatment centers to look into. After much research, we landed on Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, New York.
We dropped everything back home and through, what we believe to be, God-ordained connections, we were able to stay in the city for next to nothing for the first five months. When we realized it was going to be more of a long-haul treatment, we decided to go ahead and rent a place we could call “home-for-now”.
Since arriving in New York, Colton has received radiation and two different regimens of immunotherapy. When the first regimen didn’t work out as hoped, his NYC oncologist told us about this new combination of drugs that had just come out. She told us that it was very unlikely that insurance would cover it, and if it didn’t, it would be around $10,000 every time Colton would sit in the chair to get treatment, which is every other week. The oncologist gently suggested us return to chemotherapy which, at this point, would be a palliative option. That was all we needed to hear for us to make the decision we were not going back to chemo without a fight. We told her we wanted her to try to get insurance to cover the new drugs. She said she would, but to not get our hopes up.
Time went by slowly as we waited to hear if insurance was footing the bill. Three weeks later insurance called Colton to let him know that they were going to cover the new drugs that were requested, they also said they were going to give a little extra coverage for some other things coming out “to give his oncologist more tools”. If you’re familiar with insurance AT ALL you know this is not normal. At Colton’s next appointment, the first thing his doctor said as she walked in was, “I’m getting your insurance”.
After three months of the new immunotherapy drugs, it was time for the dreaded PET scan to see if any progress was made. November 9th we found out that these new drugs were shrinking each spot of cancer left in Colton’s body and some had even disappeared! It was then that we found out that these new treatments were so new that there is no studies to show what happens if taken off of them, so for now, Colton is meant to stay on them until further notice.
As I write this, his next scan is coming up next week, February 6th*. By the time this blog is posted we’ll hopefully already have the great report that we’re hoping for.
Wrapping this post up, I’m realizing that there’s more of a play-by-play of a cancer story than our relationship, but to be brutally honest, I feel like the last six months has been the first time we’ve been able to somewhat enjoy each other’s company without him feeling guilty like he’s “putting me out” or me fighting the feeling and title of “caregiver”. Moving forward we’re looking to what’s ahead, remembering what and who brought us here, and enjoying where we’re at.
Emily Williams is a manager and lead barista Cha Cha Matcha in New York, New York. She also blogs at www.Cure.ColtonWilliams.com Her husband Colton Williams is a freelance videographer. You can be mesmerized by his work at www.ColtonWilliams.com .