When a bride and groom take vows on their wedding day to stand by each other in sickness and in health, not many are tested less than 24 hours later.
Yvonne Schmidt had been feeling a little under the weather in the weeks leading up to her August 2009 wedding in Minnesota to her husband Dan Schmidt, but thought it was the fatigue and nervousness that came along with planning a big event.
“I just kept telling myself, ‘It’s the stress of the wedding,’” Yvonne said.
The newlywed couple was set to honeymoon on Lake Superior exactly one day after their wedding, but made a stop at the doctors’ office because Yvonne was suffering from a sore throat and a feeling of tightness in her head, even after taking down her up-do and tiara from the previous day.
After hours of poking and prodding, doctors told them Yvonne had cancer — specifically, acute promyelocytic leukemia—and needed immediate intense treatment, the South Washington County Bulletin reported. The honeymoon would have to wait.
“When we heard the news it was really hard to believe. I kept thinking, is there something I could have done? Why was this happening now?” Yvonne said.
The good news was that the leukemia was caught early enough to cure, but not without three extreme treatments of chemotherapy.
“The first time she went through it, I was so scared for her,” Dan recalled. “It was all so new to us. I don’t think either of us even had anybody in our lives who had gone through this.”
The Schmidt’s first nights as a married couple were not spent where they imagined, but they were spent together. The first 29 days following the wedding were in a hospital room, with Dan at Yvonne’s bed side almost constantly—except the Sunday afternoons that she insisted he go watch football with his buddies.
The only other time Dan and Yvonne spent apart during her treatment was in November when Dan contracted the H1N1 virus, at a time when she was very susceptible to infection.
“I came home from work, had a temperature of 101.2 degrees, went to the doctor and they said, ‘Stay home, stay away from your wife,’” Dan said.
Yvonne, a two-time marathoner, returned to work in February and is now in remission. She will be on medication for the next two years to ensure she remains cancer-free, and is looking forward to a new start in her marriage.
“We’re finally starting to live that normal newlywed life,” she said. “It’s a good feeling.”