Sep 13, 201208:17 AMDaily News
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Coping with Cancer: How the marriage survived
Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a five-part series examining the Beltz family of Carlisle, who is celebrating the fourth year of remission for their young son Xander. To learn more about the Beltzes, check out Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday’s articles.
It would have been easy to ask for separate rooms.
Just walk down the hall and ask the front desk at the hotel or Ronald McDonald House for a different room and then you’re on your own. Dave and Dava each knew this.
Yet even at their lowest moments, they resisted the urge and stuck together and have come out stronger than ever before after the nightmare of having a child with cancer.
“We take a deep breath, go on to the next day,” Dave said. “Everything is one day at a time. Sometimes one minute at a time.”
It’s no secret that cancer can be stressful on a marriage. With jobs to hold, healthy children to take care of, a household to maintain, bills to pay and, of course, a child in critical condition, it’s difficult to hold a relationship together. “A lot of marriages don’t survive,” Dava said. “We hear that more often than not, since you’re pulled in so many different directions, especially away from each other. You feel disconnected from everybody because as common as it is in this area, you still feel disconnected from the rest of the world because you feel like nobody understands. You feel isolated.”
Dava credits Carepages with getting her through the ordeal. At the time, the Beltzes didn’t have Facebook, so she used Carepages as her outlet.
Carepages is a blog through the local hospital that allows parents or families to update people on anything and everything. Whenever she would post something it would be sent out to everyone who subscribed to it, and they could comment on the post to reply to Dava.
“It was a way to vent my frustrations,” she said. “And it was faceless, so I could say anything. I knew there were people on the other side who were going to read it and be accepting of what I was feeling. I needed a way to release and that was it.”
As a person who expresses herself better in writing, Dava is convinced she would’ve “exploded” if she didn’t have Carepages. She was also able to post pictures to the blog.
In addition to Carepages, Dava credits her faith with getting her through. She’s thankful for her parents raising her in church and giving her a solid foundation.
“I’m not a religious person, I’m more of a spiritual person,” Dava said. “I don’t think my relationship with God should fit in a box. Pulling on that is what kept me afloat. I knew there was somebody bigger who could handle what I was feeling and give me peace. Not everybody has that.”
Dava is grateful for her small blessings such as the Ronald McDonald House and the kindness of strangers to helping her get through, as well as Carepages allowing her to vent.
When the family finally returned home after all the treatments, it was a pretty quick transition. Everybody got back into their routines and felt good to be back from the “long, horrible vacation.”
As they look to the future, the Beltzes know the worst is over and they made it.
“It’s hard to work through, but we came through it closer and stronger,” Dava said. “Our marriage is more solid. Not everybody is that fortunate. It depends on how you deal with it.”
Kurt Bopp is assistant editor/web at Central Penn Parent. Check back tomorrow for the conclusion to our Coping with Cancer series as we take a look at the Beltz family today and as they look to the future.