(this story originally appeared in a special Cancer Awareness section to the Thief River Falls (Minnesota) Times newspaper-GN)
Ana and Adam Tongen spent their first wedding anniversary together. This sounds romantic but is really triumphant and a story from which all can take inspiration.
I’ve written previously of Adam Tongen’s fight against cancer. This battle began a few months after he and Ana were married and just prior to Christmas 2011. Adam was diagnosed with germ-cell cancer and underwent a total of two very involved surgeries, numerous procedures, regular chemotherapy, intense chemotherapy, six weeks of infusion therapy and lost his hair twice. His most recent stay at the Mayo Hospital was just under three months during which his pregnant wife, Ana, was able to travel very little.
Ana and Adam had just crossed the threshold in their lives that would soon include their new baby when Adam was first diagnosed. We found out about Harper as a sort of Christmas present from Ana and Adam when everyone was pretty down about Adam’s cancer. It is hard to believe that Ana and Adam had probably began their battle with cancer before they took their vows or even gave Harper her start. This isn’t a story about cancer however, cancer can write its own story. Matter of fact, cancer can go ahead a leave the room now. My words are my children and I won’t devote any more of their time to this disease; I will let them linger as long as they want on the Tongens.
Ana and Adam traveled a dark path this last year while Adam was sick yet spent their time spreading light for friends and relatives to follow. Adam maintained his typical strong character and didn’t complain or even spend his time buried in despair. Ana was positive and focused as she watched over her new husband and grew their child. We all tried to do little things for them but the weight they bore in this fight was something amazing and educational for all of us.
I think we all can learn and find inspiration from the way the Tongens reacted to this unwanted, un-needed test of character. I can see how important it is to maintain a good attitude, both in how it hastens recovery and shutters us from despair. Stress effects us both mentally and physically and a positive, hopeful attitude gives no foothold to stress. I think it is similar to Newton’s Law of Motion in which objects in motion tend to stay in motion. In the Tongen family’s case, people with a good attitude tend to have a good attitude-the more positive your are the more likely you are to stay positive.
Anyway, the first year of Ana and Adam Tongen’s life together encompassed a highly-condensed version of what many take years to experience. They accepted the good and the bad with grace and maturity and Adam is now home and looks good. The only proper punctuation to end the sentence of their first year of life together is by saying that Ana and Adam Tongen, one year after they first said “I do”, spent their first year anniversary together.