September 5, 2016 will mark Meaghan and Joey Tordella's first wedding anniversary. During my opening remarks at their ceremony, I shared that "marriage today is a choice - freely, openly, gladly made - of a life companion, partner, friend and fellow journeyer." The story of Meaghan and Joey's first year of marriage has been a true journey, taken hand-in-hand as a true partnership. I asked Meaghan to share an update ... here's a summary of their first year together.
"Well, our first year of wedded bliss started off a little differently than most. Joey had been having some wheezing prior to the wedding which was felt to be asthma but wasn't responding to typical treatment. He had to travel to Vietnam 2 days after our wedding and when he returned he underwent a CT scan of his chest which showed a lung nodule which was obstructing 2/3 of his right lung. He had this scan done on Monday evening and we were leaving for our honeymoon to Kauai, Hawaii on Thursday morning. We were told to go on our trip and he would have a procedure to remove the nodule when we returned.
So we named it Ned the Nodule and went to Kauai. We had a blast snorkeling, eating great food and hiking different trails all around the island. It was a beautiful, relaxing paradise. Upon our return, Joey had the procedure to remove the nodule which was determined to be a rare salivary gland cancer which had grown in his lung. His wheezing instantly resolved upon removal of the nodule. Curative treatment for this kind of cancer was removal of that part of the lung. So 2 months after we were married, Joey was admitted to the hospital surgery. They removed 2/3 of his right lung. He spent the next 3 nights in the hospital before coming home. Thankfully, he had an uneventful recovery.
Our goals for 2016 had already been planned around the time this was all going on. I wanted to travel to Peru to hike part of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and complete a half Ironman triathlon, and Joey wanted to complete a full Ironman triathlon. In January, we started training for the Raleigh 70.3 Ironman and both completed the race, exhausted but smiling. Less than 2 weeks later, we traveled to Cusco, Peru for our 4 day/3 night hike along the Inca Trail. The trip was more of an adventure than a vacation as it was 27 miles of hiking, fluctuating temperatures and early mornings. It was an incredible experience that we shared with the 11 other people in our group and the 2 guides.
There's no rest for the weary so upon our return we resumed our training. I had such a good time with my first half Ironman race that I signed up to do another race of the same distance in September and Joey is eyeball deep in training for his first Ironman.
I work in healthcare and over and over again, my patients have told me "the first year of marriage is the hardest!" Well if that's the case, then we have weathered this storm quite well. We never thought that the first line of our vows: "I promise not to break Rule #1" would have such true meaning. A little backstory, on our first road trip, I packed some almonds for the car ride, not realizing that Joey was allergic to them. Once he told me he was allergic, I tossed the bag in the back seat and said "Rule #1, no dying!" This is a phrase that we have used in jest over the last few years, never imagining that it would be a real fear for those few weeks last fall.
We have accomplished so much in the past year and overcome some crazy unexpectedness both in sickness and in health. As our first anniversary approaches, we have nothing excited planned (other than some long training rides I imagine) except to enjoy each others company and to not take anything for granted. "
Meaghan & Joey Tordella