“I will never forget the day I officially met Devan. We met back in our early 20’s and I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a hot, sunny day back in September 2012. I was just getting back to my grandma’s house from taking my uncle’s kids to the park when I saw the infamous gold car in the driveway. I instantly got butterflies because I knew it was Devan’s car.

Devan and my uncle James have been friends for years, but due to my uncle being overprotective, I could never talk to Devan. So, the kids and I got out of the car and I asked James about his friend that was over (although I already knew) and he introduced us. I am usually more reserved and more on the shy side when I first meet people, but something within me was bold that day.

The first thing I asked Devan was if he had a girlfriend and when he said no, I proceeded to ask if he wanted my phone number. You should have seen how red his face got, but he took my number and we have been smitten ever since. At the time I was living about an hour away but we still managed to find a way to one another every chance we could. And before I knew it, I was moving an hour away to be with him.

Devan brought so much sunshine into my life and our love just continued to flourish over the years. Then came March of 2015 – the beginning of a journey we did not know we would take. Three years into our relationship, Devan developed a funky dry cough that would not go away. We went to the emergency room on three separate occasions and were told he had walking pneumonia and he was sent home with antibiotics.

Unbeknownst to us, each time he was treated for walking pneumonia, a mass on his lung was growing more and more. Over the next few months, Devan developed skin nodules all over his back. Months flew by and still no changes in the nodules on his body. Keep in mind, Devan was a very healthy young man prior to any of this. I noticed over time that Devan’s weight, appearance,

appetite and overall health started to diminish, but we chalked it up to stress. August 2015 is when our lives would change forever. Devan was feeling a little under the weather and was screaming in agonizing pain that his head was hurting where he had a nodule. His mother and I decided we would travel 45 minutes and take him to The University of Shands in Gainesville,

Florida is due to not feeling comfortable taking him back to the hospitals we had visited previously. The whole ride there was just nerve-racking. The way Devan described his head pain instantly had me worried it could possibly be a brain aneurism. We get to Shands and they began every test you could think of under the sun, and he was then admitted. September was a crazy month, but well worth it for October.

Our wedding was very small and intimate with close family and the theme was Garden of Hope. Butterflies signify hope, so our wedding was full of butterflies and flowers. I picked out a beautiful lavender dress because purple is meant for all cancer fighters and I wanted to incorporate Devan’s journey. Marrying him was by far one of the best days of my life!

I took about two and a half years off work and I have a passion for baking, so I started Baking for a Cause. I would and still bake yummy goodies to sell to help with any financial assistance he may need during this journey. Devan was my inspiration to pursue my passion for baking and the cause behind it means everything and more!

Things looked like they were finally taking a turn for the better when then again cancer came creeping in. It’s December 2019 and as we are preparing for holiday parties and events, doctors find cancer in his femur has spread down his leg and started deteriorating the bone from the inside out. He was scheduled for emergency surgery in which a titanium rod was placed inside the femur bone for support.

The months following this surgery were so trying on both of us. I was working full-time and in between working 40+ hours a week and being a full-time caregiver, I was beaten. But he made it so easy. Not one time since being diagnosed has he ever complained and I admire him for being so strong, not only for himself but for me too. Over the next few months,

he did lots of physical therapy and we were finally getting used to our new normal, but with any journey, there’s always going to be trials and tribulations. Here we are in May, preparing for his fourth round of radiosurgery. Now on the fifth generation of chemo, we get hit yet again with bad news. He is now needing a second surgery on his femur for fixation of his rod.

Months go by and we are adjusting to our new normal and navigating through this part of our journey. October 3, 2020, comes around and for once we got to celebrate our anniversary the way we wanted! Things were finally starting to look up again for us and we were enjoying every second. November 2020 we were hit yet again with devastating news.

His cancer has become resistant and there are currently no new generations of oral chemo and the only treatment option is the traditional IV chemo. My heart was so sad for him, but I also remembered we made it this far and we will continue to do so. He started IV chemo in November 2020 and is still currently taking it every three weeks.

In the past, his doctor mentioned an oncologist who specializes in his rare cancer and I was determined to get him seen by her. We prayed and called Boston Mass General, and would you know it, I was able to get him an appointment within two weeks of our call. Here we are in May 2021 and on our way to Boston. We are fortunate enough that both doctors have been in communication in regards to his treatment,

and we are currently awaiting biopsy results to see if there is any other treatment for him. Devan is still currently taking oral chemo as well as the IV chemo and is doing amazingly! I think our strong faith and our love for one another are what keeps him going. You never know how much love can truly heal someone. Of course, the medicine and the doctors are a HUGE reason why I still have my best friend,

but I think love is also what saved him. We want people to take away from this story that no matter what it may look like right now, anything can turn around for good. This whole journey has helped us to not only appreciate one another more but to also live right now. Even though life may bring some rain and storms, love conquers all. Cancer, you tried to destroy us,

but I thank you for making us stronger and love even harder. You only have one life to live so make it magical and live it to your fullest. An illness does not define your worth or who you are, so for all of the warriors out there, stay strong because this too shall pass. And even when you’re nearing the end of your journey, smile and know you did your best and it’s all that matters.

By Lilit

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