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Wedding Woes

Devastating Diagnosis

edited September 2014 in Wedding Woes
My FI and I got engaged this past May. We were both so excited that we started planning the wedding right away. In about a month, we had signed our venue, photographer, officiant, coordinator, and caterer. We've been planning on sending out our save-the-dates in a few weeks. Our wedding isn't until fall 2015, but it's a destination wedding (three-hour drive for her, but a flight for most of our other guests), so we wanted to give people as much time as possible to plan accordingly.

A little over a week ago, we got devastating news: his mother was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a type of cancer that affects the bone marrow. It's been hard on both of us, as we're both extremely close to her. Her treatment plan is currently looking like six months of chemo, and then if/when they can get her into remission, a stem cell transplant. But that's a very rough estimate. It's too early to tell how she's responding to treatment and if that six month estimate is accurate.

My question is this: I'm not really sure how I should plan given the above. We've decided to keep our wedding date as-is for now (she's so looking forward to it and lights up anytime we talk about it). We've asked FI's dad multiple times about changing the date and/or venue, and he says he doesn't want us to for that reason. But we have an understanding that we may need to move it at some point. Do I send out my save-the-dates as planned? Or do I hold off for a few months until we have more of an idea as to what the next year is going to look like for us as a family? Her being at the wedding isn't an option for us, but I also don't want family to start booking travel full-and-well knowing things may change. Help!

Re: Devastating Diagnosis

  • If this were my mother I know she would be upset if I were to cancel my wedding.  But, I would consider moving it to a local instead of destination wedding.  It sounds like she has a long road of recovery/treatment and I would not want to add the stress of traveling to her.  That is just my take, but talk to your FI and family.
  • VarunaTTVarunaTT member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited September 2014
    I think I would leave things as they are for right now.  You both need to concentrate on her and the family.  See what the next few months brings before making any big changes.

    ETA:  I'm sorry to hear of her diagnosis.   IDK how much you guys are into anything at this point, but the University of Arkansas is the #1 place for treatment.  I can't recall the exact situation, but I believe it was one of the Walmart family members that suffered from the cancer and so the monies flowed into the Institute, making it the best in the world.
  • dolewhipperdolewhipper [wh]orlando member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    My opinions are going to be all from a logical standpoint. That being said, I'm incredibly sorry to hear this. I want to let you know that this is very devastating to your Fi, and you will never understand what this means to him (you will try, but it is different to the actual child of the person with cancer).

    My father passed from cancer before I was engaged. He knew Fi and I were talking about it and were serious, but did NOT want us to get engaged/married because he had cancer.

    This is a conversation you want to talk to her about. If she knew you upped the wedding for her, she might go the route my father would have taken and be incredibly upset. While I understand not having her at the wedding would not be an option at this point, you can't book a wedding around a sick person. Cancer is a bitch and can take over at any given moment. Doctors gave my father 6 months to live when he first found it-he beat it and lived 7 years. It came back in the 6th year though, and as much as he tried to fight it again, cancer won.

    pegasuskat when suggesting to make it local if you can. I was going to have a cruise wedding until my mother had a stroke and we realized it would be impossible for her to sail.


  • I'm thinking similar to PK, I'd consider a local venue or close-ish to FMIL as opposed to a destination that requires a plane flight. But that should ultimately be a family decision.

    Infection and myelosuppression is going to be a big concern for a while, especially for a soon to be stem cell transplant. And when she gets her SCT, she's going to have to be monitored extremely closely by her doctor for weeks to months. Getting in a germ infested airborne tin can and being away from doctors that are acutely aware of where she is with her treatments doesn't sound like something id want to do.

    Good luck to her! She's got a long road, but it sounds like she's in a good treatment track.
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  • I'm sorry, that's awful news to receive. I would suggest holding off on sending any info - you still have plenty of time for people to book travel and plan vacation time. 

    I wouldn't change anything for now and see how things go over the next few months - reassess if you need to. 

    Another option if you guys decide not to move the wedding/change plans, but she starts to get worse or is unable to travel would be to have a very small ceremony locally with the immediate families (if possible) and then continue with the planned DW/party as a "vow renewal". 

    A friend's father was diagnosed with terminal cancer when she was planning her wedding - he did not want her to cancel anything or change her plans, so they did what I had just suggested - had a ceremony in the hospital with the immediate family, and then held the reception/vow renewal during the planned wedding. Her father passed before the renewal, so she was very happy to have had the ceremony with him present. 

    Best wishes to your FMIL. 
  • Bubblegum5586Bubblegum5586 member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    edited September 2014
    A few years ago my cousin got engaged and shortly after found out his mom had a fast moving cancer in a later stage (sorry for the lack of details... I just remember it had a grim prognosis). 

    They planned their wedding near his family (across the country from the bride's family) so that way after months of chemo she wouldn't have to travel. 

    The great news was she FULLY recovered (has been in remission 4 years so far)! It was nothing short of a miracle! She wore a wig at the wedding but look fabulous (actually I commented on how much I liked her new hair cut and everyone laughed at me saying it was a wig! I had no idea!). 

    So part of this was advice in maybe having it closer to accommodate his mom and her comfort and part of it is spreading hope. People overcome cancer all the time and I want to share those good vibes and wishes with you and your [future] family!

    ETF: grrrr paragraphs

  • Five years ago, we didn't know if we were going to be planning for a 50th Anniversary Celebration or a funeral for my Mom.  She was diagnosed with a then incurable condition and they gave her 5 years to live.  Well, in that time, something amazing happened, we convinced her to seek second opinions which led her to be involved in research that we are in the final time of waiting for them to use the word "cure" in the next six months or so. 

    Having had that for an experience, my thought is this, leave your date alone and keep planning "as if" life is normal...  It's challenging, not going to lie, but consider it your way of keeping her spirits up as something to look forward to (the marriage, trip, destination, vacation, etc.).  If something changes you deal with it but never let it rattle your stride...

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  • Thanks, everyone. The wedding is a destination wedding for my side of the family and a number of people on his, but luckily, it's about a 3-hour drive from my FMIL/FFIL. So a drive, yes, but not really a destination wedding in the sense that she'd have to get on a plane. :) And Charleston is one of her favorite places...
  • larrygagalarrygaga Czechoslovakia member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    edited September 2014
    I'm sorry to hear that. :(

    My advice would be to move it back locally but keep the date. A DW is usually hard for people who are sick or old, and it sounds like she wants to be there.
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