Through My Eyes: What it’s Like to be a Young Adult supporting a Loved One With Cancer

Through My Eyes is a series in which those affected by childhood cancer share a behind-the-scenes look into what it’s like to be in their shoes.  Read every perspective. Become aware and donate to help create solutions for kids fighting rare pediatric cancer. 

Corey is fighting relapsed stage 4 Ewing’s sarcoma at 20 years old. Being diagnosed with cancer has taught Corey to enjoy every part of life, because tomorrow is not promised.  Corey proposed to his girlfriend Blythe on August 5th, 2019. She said yes.

There is no worse feeling in the world than for someone you love to be suffering from cancer. You want to fix it.  Make it go away. But all you can do is love them. Blythe was featured on our social channels (Instagram & Facebook) on 9/13/19 to share her fears, her frustration and the thoughts going through her head and heart as she supports the one she chooses forever with.

I Choose Forever

“When Corey was first diagnosed with cancer in the fall of 2018 we had only been dating for two weeks.  As awful as it sounds, I didn’t know if I was supposed to stay with him. I didn’t think I was strong enough to go through everything. Meanwhile, I knew that I truly did care about him.  I decided to stay… no matter what happened. 

On the other hand, I knew I was terrified of losing him. I thought that Corey was going to end things with me because he wouldn’t want to put me through everything that comes with cancer. Or that he would think that I would not want him because he was sick. That was not what I wanted. I was even more afraid Corey was going to die… he wasn’t in the best physical state. 

When Corey was first diagnosed I barely knew his family. As a matter of fact, I had only met them a handful of times. I had no idea where my boundaries stood with him and his cancer. Would I get on their nerves visiting the hospital everyday? Should I visit every day… was that my place? Did they like me? 

I sat with him in the hospital every day with anxiety covering every inch of my body from the moment I got there in the morning until the moment I left at night.”

There is no worse feeling in the world than for someone you love to be suffering from cancer. You want to fix it.  Make it go away. But all you can do is love them. Today, Blythe shares her perspective. She shares her fears, her frustration and the thoughts going through her head and heart as she supports the one she chooses forever with.

One Day at a Time

“I’m lost at what the next steps are in Corey’s treatment. At the moment we have no certainty in what’s going to happen next. I am the type of person who likes to have a plan, but with cancer… there isn’t a plan. Sure the doctors might have their “plan” but that has no guarantee. With cancer things change all the time. 

At the beginning… Corey’s treatment was supposed to take 9 months to a year. That changed very quickly because he could not even meet the platelet requirements in time for his second treatment.  Treatments moved out to every three weeks. Eventually, treatments had to be moved out even more. Now we are to the point where we have no idea when he will receive treatment based on weeks. 

A curveball was thrown to us in July when we found out that Corey relapsed. Within less than an hour of being readmitted to the hospital and this diagnosis, Corey began to lose feeling in his legs due to the new lesion on his spinal cord. Corey had surgery to remove that tumor the next day. 

After this surgery Corey temporarily lost the ability to walk and the use of his bladder. The doctors set a new plan, but we still don’t have a timeline.  We still truly do not know what is next. 

I have had to learn to take things one day at a time.”

I Watch the Good. Bad. Ugly.

“I’m with Corey most days, I see everything. I detect the aggravation in his face when he can no longer do the things he once could. I witness his friends not inviting him to do things because he can’t stay out as late as them. I notice the exhaustion that swallows him up even though he tells you he isn’t a bit tired. I observe part of his confidence being ripped away as his hair falls out. I look at the tears that roll down his cheek as he worries about the results from the MRI and bone marrow test that we will receive the next day. I view his frustration as he can no longer remember the things he once could. I see the pain that covers his body after the surgery that was necessary to save his life. 

On the other hand, I look at the joy in his face when he gets to go home after a long hospital stay. I listen to him talk about all the things he has to look forward to. I see his excitement when he gets new parts for his truck. I stare at the thrill that is brought to him by watching the Carolina Panthers play. I view his passion for hunting as the season rolls around.  I spot the smilies his dog, Stella brings into his life. I recognize the hope that is brought to him through cards people send. I admire his determination to beat cancer. 

I watch the good. I watch the bad. I watch the ugly.”

No Timeline

I’m lost at what to do and where to go to school. When Corey was originally diagnosed with cancer in November I was attending East Carolina University, ECU, as a Nursing Major. ECU is approximately 4 hours away so when Corey got sick I decided to finish the semester and come home. I figured it would be best because I missed a total of 3 weeks his first hospital stay. I wanted the ability to be with him and support him day in and day out throughout this journey. When I returned home I enrolled in our local community college to work on my Associates in Science so I wouldn’t get behind and could transfer to a University when all this was done with. Here I am in my sophomore year and I have no clue what to do about school. I have no idea if I should go back to a four year college and receive my BSN or whether to stay at a two year and get my RN. 

I have no idea what to do because we have no timeline.”

I’m Lost

 “I’m lost in when we should get married. In August Corey and I got engaged. We have people ask us all the time if we have set a date. Well that’s a good question… but the answer is no. I hate being asked this question because I don’t know what date to set. 

You can’t plan a wedding when you don’t know what will happen. I have no idea what date to set because we don’t have specific dates for treatment or can’t predict what days Corey is going to feel good or feel bad. Even more, I don’t know when Corey will be back to work. For all I know Corey could die, as hard as it is for me to say… it’s true. Then I would be left with a venue, a photographer, a cake, a dress, and everything else on that day with no one to use it with. 

That thought frightens me… setting a date and not having Corey there for it.

This could happen to you or your child.  We were normal teenagers one day and the next we were dealing with cancer.  Do not think for a minute it will not be you because it can be in the blink of an eye. Never in a million years did I think our life would be the way it is right now.”

19 years old. She’s scared and lost. But she fights alongside Corey to help him stay positive. Childhood cancer affects not only the children and young adults fighting for their lives, but those fighting next to them.  Thank you to Blythe for her honesty. It’s real. It’s raw… just like childhood cancer. Are you aware now?

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All photos/videos courtesy of Blythe. 

*** THROUGH MY EYES: THIS IS CHILDHOOD CANCER SERIES

9/2: We Have Stopped Making You Aware

9/3: Through My Eyes: This is Childhood Cancer 

9/3: Through My Eyes: What Cancer Leaves Behind

9/4: Through My Eyes: Day In the Life Of Kellie Andrew, Warrior Mom Fighting to Save Her Child From Neuroblastoma

9/5: Through My Eyes: Behind the Scenes with Aaron Plummer, Dad to RhabdomyosarcomaWarrior

9/6: Through My Eyes: What My Child About Cancer, What Really Scares This Cancer Mom

9/8: Through My Eyes: Week 1 Results

9/9: Through My Eyes: Behind the Mind of a Teenager Fighting Cancer & Social Anxiety

9/11: Through My Eyes: What It’s Like to be a Young Adult Living With Cancer

Through My Eyes: What It’s Like To Be a Young Adult Living With Cancer

Corey, diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma at 19 years old, shares what it’s like to be a young adult living with cancer. Learn how his life has changed, what keeps him strong and what cancer has taught him.