I remember on my wedding day being absolutely ecstatic to marry my husband. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I loved taking my time getting ready and trying to stand still and look around to let it all sink in.

When I finally walked down the aisle, I was trying my hardest to choke back the tears.

He is about to be mine forever, I kept thinking as I inched closer and closer to this handsome man with tears streaming down his face.

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We stood their holding hands and I never knew what a perfect man this man would truly be for me.

As we stood there listening and repeating our vows, we had no idea how quickly we would be tested and have to lean on our vows.

Words like “in sickness and in health, for better or worse” . . . most recite them without really letting that meaning sink in. We were in our late 20s, we were on top of the world . . . what could possibly hold us back now? We wouldn’t have to really worry about those vows until life got tough . . . later.

We never knew later would come much faster for us.

Later turned into right before celebrating our sixth anniversary.

“I vow to love you in sickness and in health” went off like a gong in our ears after being told I had stage 3 breast cancer. At 32. While breastfeeding my baby.

The silence was deafening. But my husband, he was firm.

Cancer shook me like all get out. It threatened every fiber of my being. But what about the spouse? What about the caregiver? I cannot imagine being on the other side.

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He stood firm like a rock. He was loyal and incredibly careful.

He went to every single chemo infusion. He did all the research. He made all the appointments. He called the insurance. He bought all the right things. He was created to be my husband during a cancer battle. God knew what he was doing.

I never knew when I stood before 200 people on my wedding day that just a few years later, that handsome man would be standing next to me as my hair was falling out.

I never knew when reciting those vows about how much we would love each other, how we would be tested as cancer flipped our life upside down.

I never knew how strong my husband was until I was wheeled back into surgery.

I never knew how loving my husband was until he had to empty my drains and care for our two small children when I was bed-ridden for two weeks recovering.

I never knew how loyal my husband was until every single part of his bride was ripped and torn and rearranged and scarred. And yet, he has never once looked at me differently than the woman who walked down the aisle toward him.

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Many look at me and call me brave and strong. That is only one half of the cancer story. Just as there are two halves to a marriage. I look at my husband, and I call him brave and strong.

Lauren Wiatrek

Lauren is born and raised in Austin, Texas where she lives with her husband Evan and two girls. Lauren is a stage 3 breast cancer survivor and has started living a more intentional, preventative health lifestyle to truly live the best life possible. Lauren loves all things food, extra hot coffee, and being a girl mom. Lauren's family takes off for the summer every year road tripping around the country, which has helped Lauren gain inspiration to write in her blog and in her coming books.