GA Voice - - Health & Fitness -

health scares weren’t over.

As Lopez re­cov­ered, she had time to think about her jour­ney. “For the long­est time, I kept ask­ing my­self why? Why me? Why can­cer?

“That an­swer be­came clear to me when Patt was di­ag­nosed,” she said. “I could now steer her through the roller­coaster of emo­tion, fear, hope, and help­less­ness I en­coun­tered, which I saw re­flected in her face af­ter her di­ag­no­sis. When she first got that call that it may be can­cer, she sank to her knees and I had to take the phone away and talk be­cause she couldn’t fin­ish the call.”

Cian­ci­ullo was di­ag­nosed with thy­roid can­cer in Au­gust 2012 and is now re­gain­ing strength af­ter treat­ment.

When both peo­ple in a part­ner­ship are di­ag­nosed with can­cer, there are chal­lenges that go well be­yond who will pick up the dry clean­ing or pre­pare din­ner.

Lopez speaks for them both when she says, “The tough one for both of us to learn, be­ing con­trol freaks, was learn­ing to ask for and ac­cept help. There are many things with this dis- ease that you have to leave to oth­ers, to chance, to medicine, and to God.”

Lopez con­tin­ued: “Our faith has been cru­cial. When peo­ple learn about our faith, they usu­ally won­der how we can be Catholic and also be ho­mo­sex­ual. We say we’re ‘Cafe­te­ria Catholics’ — we take some­thing from here and some­thing from there but we’re not go­ing to throw the baby out with the bath­wa­ter.”

She also of­fered ad­vice to other cou­ples go- ing through a health cri­sis: “Go through it to­gether. Be hon­est, be hope­ful and ac­cept help. Some dis­eases ren­der you pow­er­less un­til the next test comes back. You can’t con­trol things so let­ting go of con­trol and ac­cept­ing help was nec­es­sary.

“Have faith in each other, have lots of hu­mor and lots of hope.”

Patt Cian­ci­ullo and Mag­gie Lopez have both faced can­cer di­ag­noses over the last two years. (Photo by Brent Cor­co­ran / RNZ Pho­tog­ra­phy)

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