This sweet little submission is a fantastic example of why I love to help tell other cancer patients' stories. The submissions I receive are so much more beautiful, tragic, complex and nuanced than Hollywood is often ever able to capture.
I fell in love with this story as soon as I read it. It's just so true to life, and Steven told it so perfectly. It's very true that a cancer diagnosis will make or break a relationship. The news is just so intense, and it takes a special level of love and commitment to turn something tragic into something beautiful. I don't know Steven personally, but I imagine his relationship with his wife is something to behold.
Here's his original submission, that I had to edit to make it work for a 6 panel cartoon:
One of the things my wife (gf at the time) and I liked doing was grabbing take and bake pizzas with mushrooms and olives to cook up at home on particularly hard days. It just helped make a rough day better.
The day I was diagnosed, I had to wait until she got home from work later that night to break the news to her. It wasn't easy, but we held it together for the most part, hugged each other, and discussed what is going to happen now, and what was to happen in the weeks to come. She asked if we could have a pizza night tonight but if she could go grab it herself while I relax at home. I agreed and waited till she got home. When she did get home and we started to work on the pizza that I realized she bought a different style of olives than we usually buy (She bought minced, not sliced). Literally no big deal, and I made a small comment along the lines of "hey, you bought a different type of olives, it'll make it look more like pesto on the pizza!" To which she broke down in front of me.
Apparently while she was shopping, she had her first breakdown and couldn't really see/read the labels for the olives, but thought she grabbed the right ones. Her second one was after I pointed out she got a different type of olives. She just wanted to make the perfect pizza tonight because of how shitty the news was, and "couldn't even get that right". We held each other and cried together, it was what we really needed.
I honestly didn't care about the olives, or the pizza. But in hindsight, I still think it's kinda funny that that's what it was that got us to really recognize and address our feelings. Olives.