Love. This one word means so many things to so many people, yet at its core — it nearly defies explanation. How is it humanly possible to wrap your head around an emotion which courses through your heart, mind, body and soul?
When on full display in words and actions it literally defines life’s most honest and pure moments. Strung together over minutes, days, weeks, months, years… this love builds a relationship which can stand the test of time…. or the even the challenge of a lifetime.
Everyone has a love story.
I am Mark Brodinsky and this is The Sunday Series.
The Sunday Series (85): With Love, Nestor
Loving can hurt, loving can hurt sometimes,
But it’s the only thing that I know.
When it gets hard, you know it can get hard sometimes,
It is the only thing that makes us feel alive…
Alive. It’s all Nestor Aparicio wants for the love of his life to be alive…and well. And he’s made the decision, the only decision a man in love can make — to support and to be there for Jennifer every step of the way.
You won’t soon meet two people more devoted to each other, or a man focused on seeing his wife through life’s greatest challenge, for the second time.
You see Jenn Aparicio has leukemia, again. The first time the battle she waged led to the blessing of finding a donor and an eventual bone marrow transplant in June of 2014. Cured, or so she thought.
The joy of the victory and the desire to help others going through the same journey (hell) prompted Jenn and Nestor to embark on a nationwide tour this past spring/summer to encourage others to join the bone marrow transplant registry, 30 ballparks in 30 days, the GiveASpit baseball tour.
We keep this love in a photograph,
we make these memories for ourselves.
Where our eyes are never closing,
hearts are never broken,
times forever frozen still.
Pictures of a couple relishing in the rebirth of life. A second chance. Nestor put the pain behind him and took Jenn on a whirlwind tour to celebrate her life and to help others hopefully save theirs.
But just like in baseball, the game is never over until the final out, you can never say never.
As this year’s playoffs got underway, 15 months from “being cured” Jenn learned the leukemia had returned.
“I was checking out at the grocery store when I got the news”, says Jenn. I started crying immediately, I drove back to work and called Nestor from the parking lot. The first couple of days was a roller coaster of emotions for sure. I would be fine, then the next minute balling my eyes out. But then I pulled it together and said let’s fix it” (again).
It’s now been 27 days in the hospital, with a host of physical complications and consequences of the cancer returning and the treatment and strategies the doctors are implementing. But this blog post is not about the details of this most recent journey – you can read the latest update – so well told by Nestor himself on his blog: http://wnst.net/author/nestoraparicio/
No this post is about the love story. One Jenn can explain in just a few sentences:
“Most of my family does not live around here so I have to rely on Nestor for everything. And he is unbelievable. Anything I want he tries to make it happen. He has more strength than I do. To come see me most of my family has to come in by plane, I rely almost solely on Nestor.”
There is little Nestor won’t do for Jenn, in fact maybe there is nothing Nestor won’t do for Jenn.
Nestor says, “my takeaway from all of this is Jenn was really healthy for 8 or 9 months, (after the first bone marrow transplant), and we took advantage of that time to live like we were dying. We did all we wanted to do and then it just stopped again. It’s amazing how quickly it can all be taken away from you.”
Speak to Nestor about Jenn for even a few seconds and you can hear the love, passionate devotion and dedication he has for the love of his life in every word he says. The couple has been married for a dozen years now – and Nestor is doing all he can to try to make every day a gift for his bride and be there to see her hopefully come back again… and be around for dozens of years to come. He also carries with him great perspective on all the couple has endured.
“There are a lot of people with a lot worse circumstances who live with a chronic, terminal condition and are simply going to die. That’s not where we are today. There is a hope by Valentine’s Day Jenn will have a cute pixie haircut and feel like a million bucks. We try to think in terms of what’s the fastest way for her to get perfect, a lot of people don’t have that chance. That’s about the most optimistic long view I can make.”
Loving can heal,
loving can mend your soul,
and it’s the only thing that I know.
I swear it will get easier
remember that with every piece of you,
it’s the only thing we take with us when we die.
It’s the second time around. It’s once again a fight for life. But what has never ceased, never stopped, never experienced even a second of doubt or fear, is the love Nestor has for Jenn and the incredible support he brings to her side every moment of every day. Jenn says, “Nestor has more strength than I do.” He stops whatever he is doing to be there for Jenn at a moment’s notice. Just a few weeks back Nestor was returning from taking his 96-year-old mother to the eye doctor when he got a text from his wife. The text said two words: “I’m struggling.” Nestor says he was literally at a red light when he saw those words and he dropped everything he had planned for the day, including doing his WNST radio show, to be by her side.
Despite the love and devotion, being a constant caretaker can take its toll. Jenn pushed for Nestor to take a few days to himself recently, supporting him going on the road with his radio show to see the Ravens play the Cardinals in Arizona. Nestor’s radio show is his respite, his outlet, his sanity, so he can continue to go above and beyond to be there for Jenn as she struggles with the consequences of this latest dance with devil, this latest page in the book of the journey to fight her disease. (#jennstrong2)
And if you hurt me,
that’s okay baby only words bleed.
Inside these pages you just hold me,
and I won’t ever let you go
Wait for me to come home.
Back from his trip last week it was back to more waiting and wondering when the next step might take place to try to get Jenn back to good health – or at least free from the burden of this beast (blood cancer). “She needs to survive”, says Nestor “and there are ways to make that happen so that maybe she may never, ever experience this again. We want to get her fixed forever. Our best scenario is that someone save her life, (the same bone marrow donor as before), and that she be young and strong and by next spring live a full life, a normal life.”
We keep this love in a photograph
we make these memories for ourselves.
Where our eyes are never closing
hearts are never broken
and time’s forever frozen still.
Right now time and patience are two of the most important pieces of this crazy puzzle to put the Aparicio’s lives together again. The other is the one thing everyone needs and no one can ever get enough of: love. The world’s greatest medicine, its finest, purest miracle of healing.
If there is a miracle to be had, if there is a positive force in the universe to bring Jenn back to good health – you should know there’s one man who is praying for that miracle to happen. Every action he takes, every word he speaks, every blog post he writes, everything he does right now for Jenn should be followed by a heart-felt signature:
From Nestor, with Love
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.
(Song lyrics courtesy: Ed Sheeran, Photograph)
Mark Brodinsky, Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Speaker, SpeechWriter, Emmy Winner, USHEALTH Advisors
Author: The #1 Amazon Best Seller: It Takes 2. Surviving Breast Cancer: A Spouse’s Story
Join the Tribe! Enter your name and e-mail address into the blog and get posts from It’s Just About… Life & The Sunday Series sent directly to your e-mail inbox!