Justin Hobbs' wife, Cara, passed away from brain cancer in March 2011. With the support of MD Anderson, family and friends, he found ways to cope through her treatment and since her passing. Now, he is raising money to help find a cure for brain cancer. He blogs at www.haileykateandme.blogspot.com.
Cancer is a dirty word.
My first experience with cancer at MD Anderson was from afar, through friends of friends and distant family members. It was a place I really never wanted to visit, but after seeing their extraordinary cancer battles, my wife, Cara, and I decided that if we ever heard the word cancer again in our lives, we would head straight to MD Anderson.
In 2010, that decision stared us in the face and without hesitation, we were knocking on MD Anderson's door.
A family's battle
Cara started having very bad migraines, which we thought were brought on by her pregnancy. We later found out that she had a brain tumor, a stage IV glioblastoma multiforme. It's the most aggressive primary brain tumor in humans and, basically, the worst words in brain cancer you can hear.
At the time, we had a two-year-old little girl, Hailey, and a less than two-month-old little girl, Kate. Our world was flipped upside down. The 13 months that ensued after Cara's diagnosis were life changing. What amazed me through this journey was the cancer-fighting passion of the MD Anderson community.
From the registration staff and receptionists, to the surgeons and nurses, and even the cleaning staff, they all seemed to remember why any of us are there -- to fight for our lives or the lives of a loved one. The staff never seemed defeated, but always hopeful. That hope pours over you and you can feel it and grab hold of it.
The attitude and hope from the MD Anderson team helped me through Cara's battle, which ended on March 14, 2011.
How to cope, and continue on
I am often asked exactly how I coped during Cara's treatment and then how I continued on with life after she passed.
My number one way of coping was, and still is, my faith in Christ and His promises. It was also, and still is, the love and support I received from family, friends and my church.
During treatment, my parents and my mother-in-law sacrificed their time to come live with us in Houston and then back home in San Antonio.
A friend of mine set up a Caring Bridge webpage that was extremely helpful and useful in allowing me to inform the masses of Cara's progress. The comments on the website also served as daily encouragement for me.
Since Cara passed, I have become very involved in a non-profit organization called Clays for Cara, which was started the year Cara was diagnosed by my close friends in Boerne, Texas.
It was originally set up to help support Cara and me financially as we faced travel and medical expenses.
Now, the organization and I have established a permanent endowment for brain cancer research at MD Anderson in Cara's name.
We are holding our third annual event, a sporting clays tournament and dinner with live music and an auction, on Saturday, Oct. 27, near Kerrville, Texas.
We are doing our part to raise money to fight brain cancer so that someday it will be cured.