Couple planning wedding, life despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis
They are ready. And they feel like it adds some normalcy to their lives, being able to plan a wedding and get married — cancer be damned. They're shooting for Dec. 21.
"We're thinking Timpanogos Temple," she said and turned to Dorais, "You still on board with that?"
"Sure," he said.
"A simple luncheon afterwards, something that's just kind of simple. I probably won't have much more energy than for a wedding and a luncheon," Catano said. "We're pretty excited to get married and move on. Any form of normalcy, I just kind of cling on to that, because life hasn't been normal for the last couple months and you're looking for anything to just be normal and just get back to living."
She hopes the wedding will be a celebration, "a holiday" for those closest to them.
Cancer has already changed a lot of things and not all of them have been bad. Catano said she sees her friends, family and loved ones more.
"When your mortality is handed to you, if anything, you realize relationships are really key and important," she said. "I feel like I've been relying pretty heavily on the people in my life. They've really made me happy and not that you should rely on other things or people to make you happy, but that's why you have each other, to kind of help each other out when times are bad. It's been really helpful.
"Catch me next week when I'm day one of chemo and you'll probably get a different story, but I couldn't do this without all those people in my life."
She's also come to realize that attitude really is everything and self-pity is a slippery slope. People matter most and life is full of blessings.
"My sister has been sending me all these inspirational quotes every day and one of them said that cancer is not a death sentence, but a life sentence in that it kind of pushes you to live," she said. "I think it's caused me to really think about what's important and what's worth stressing about and there are so many things in life to be happy for even when you're suffering or in pain. I think, hopefully, in retrospect this will teach me some really good life lessons and I'll be able to live a better life because of what I'm going through now."
Also, insurance is important.
"You got to get it!" she announced, praising her employer, Alianza Academy, and her gratitude for their support. "I just feel like there's so many blessings in spite of the fact that, you know, stage four cancer kind of sucks."
At this point in time, the goal is to be walking by the new year. Better still if she can walk by the time they get married.
"I'm hoping to be able to walk on my wedding day without the use of a walker or a cane," she said.
She feels like she has years still and is optimistic about children. She appears radiant and confident. He is the same.
"I've seen a more emotional side of him and I would have married him without seeing that and hoped for it later, but I knew he had it in him," she said. "You want to know that, that the person you're going to be with for the rest of your life is going to take care of you through thick and thin. And this is pretty thick. He hasn't gone anywhere. He's stuck with me."
The couple's friend, Sam Dickens, chimed in: "They are two of the best people I know."
"Aw, Sam. You don't have to say that," Catano said.
She turned to a reporter, "But did you write that down?"
Catano's family and friends have set up a YouCaring account to help pay for medical expenses at www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/amandacatanosmedicalexpensefundraiser/27013.
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