Mary Belz

My story and Mike’s story really isn’t too different…as I mentioned we did everything together, he was truly my best friend, not just my husband. We went to appointments together and sat there like two little kids trying to make the best of them. We often went out to dinner after the “big” appointments…the MRI reviews. Sometimes our plans didn’t work out so well. Once we got a flat tire in a neighborhood that probably wasn’t the best place to break down. Mike wasn’t too appreciative that I thought it was an opportune time for him to teach me how to change a tire because I didn’t know how (but he did teach me and now I know!). Another time we got rear-ended on the way home, but we were fine, thank God! We went to dinner anyways, the MRI was clean, we had things to celebrate, and nothing was stopping us!

Mike and I tried to live relatively “normal” lives. Sometimes that was easier than others because with a BT diagnosis it can be a roller coaster ride. We rode the ride together though along with our families, through the ups and the downs we tried to make the best of it. When one of us wasn’t so strong, the other person was there to help the other up or to listen or to cry.

We both were goal-driven and career orientated people. We met at Kent State University where we went to school and graduated, Mike with his undergrad and I decided to go back for my Masters. Mike’s personality and career choice was so different from mine; determined, confident, he entered the field of sales. I had been more creative and studious; I entered the field of education. I truly admired Mike’s drive and how confident he could be in his line of work. He grew to appreciate my career as well. During a period of Mike’s illness when he was out of work, he even came to school with me. It was such a blessing for him. To be around children I’ve learned is always a beautiful gift they bring you to such a wonderful place filled with nothing less than love. For Mike to experience that, in spite of his illness, meant so much to him. He felt like he was worth something and those kids embraced him for who he was not the disease.

Mike and I both grew in many ways over the years. In our marriage, in our faith and also as individuals. I have changed myself as a person and have become more confident and assertive after learning how to advocate for Mike and me through the years. I became a sales person in a sense; Mike was a good teacher! I am so proud and honored to have been his wife.

Every day is very different for me now. I miss my husband and best friend and the dreams we dreamt together. What gives me hope though, is that in some way perhaps we may have learned something through this journey that may help someone else.

Mike was a big fan of the Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish football team. I’d like to dedicate this page in memory of Mike who played and fought every day of his life like a champion!




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