The Next Chapter

This is the hardest post I’ve ever written. It will also be my last.

Last Friday, my husband, my true love, Spencer, was diagnosed with stage IV kidney cancer. We are devastated and stunned.

For five years, we — he, really — have given up so much to get through his surgical residency. So many weekends apart, so many nights he spent in the hospital, so many things we didn’t have time to do together. Now, here we are, two weeks from the end of residency, and everything has suddenly crumbled. I feel like we’ve been pushed off the roof of a skyscraper and we’re falling so slowly and so quickly at the same time. Everyone who loves us is reaching out to grab us, but we’re still falling.

Over the last three years, I often felt like I gushed about Spencer too much on the blog. But I couldn’t help it. We are true loves and best of friends. He is the centre of my world. During our wedding ceremony, the priest asked each of us why we wanted to marry to the other. I said that it’s because my happiest moments are always with Spencer. That remains true and will always be true.

So I am giving up the blog. I have to dedicate all my energy to the battle we have ahead. We can do this. My husband is exceptional in every way. He’s young, strong, an incredible athlete. He’s driven and motivated. He does amazing things. And he will be exceptional here.

To our readers, thanks for checking in everyday. Please remember Spencer in your thoughts and prayers. To my co-blogger, Michelle, thank you for your kindness and love. I know you’ll post when you get home from Italy and tell everyone about your plans. To our friends and family, Spencer and I feel tremendously loved and we know you are an army around us. Our nephews are magic to us.

To Spencer, you know how I feel. I don’t need to tell you here. xo



53 thoughts on “The Next Chapter

  1. Chris I am so sorry. I send my love and prayers. I want you to know that I have truly enjoyed reading the stories from you and Michelle each morning . Love from Michelle’s Grandmama, Ada Bethune

  2. Though I have not met you Chris, I feel I have gotten to know you over the past year through your blog posts. I am so sorry that this is happening to you and Spencer at this time that was supposed to be filled with happiness and excitement. It is not fair. Please remember to take care of yourself so that you can take care of him. My thoughts are with you.

  3. I’ve never met you, Christina or Spencer; however, I’ve been a regular follower of your blog & enjoy reading your posts every morning. I frequently talk to my husband about ‘The Toque Girls’ & what they’re up to. I was reduced to absolute tears this morning when I read your post. My heart is heavy & my thoughts are with you & Spencer for sure.

  4. I’m devastated to read this. Sorry is so small and meaningless when all you can think is how completely effing unfair this is. Thinking of both of you.

  5. Dear Chris, like many of the readers above we have never met, but you have impacted our lives by sharing yours with us. I have been an avid reader for the past year and love your spirit, style and humour. Know that you have so many people thinking and praying for you and Spencer during this difficult period. Just take it one step at a time, and your decision to stop writing and pour all your energy and healing power into your life with your hubbie is the right one. Lots of love, Heather

  6. I don’t know you, but was sent here through Andree. You are both in my thoughts – wishing you strength as you face this together. I am so glad you have each other.

  7. Chris I do not know you or Spencer but you are not alone in this new life battle you will be facing. i do hope you do not give up on blogging. for the main reason of sharing your stories and talking about the roads you will be travelling as a family going through this. i think so much good can come from this…but of course its completely understandable and i am not in your shoes. i wish you both all the positive strength you will both need.

  8. The Toque Girls is the only blog that I make sure to read regularly, so when I saw a new post this morning I opened it immediately as usual. My heart skipped a beat when I read your news, and I haven’t stopped thinking about you and your husband since. Wishing you all of the strength, love and support needed to get through this time ahead.

  9. I am so sorry to hear this sad news. In times like this you do what you need to do. I’ve been through similar situations with both parents, and I don’t regret any of the decisions I made. Seeing you and Spencer together it’s easy to tell you have something special. We will all miss hearing your voice on this blog. Your readers only want the best for you, and I know I’m not alone in saying that I’ll be thinking and praying for your family.

  10. Hi Christine – I am not sure if you remember me, but I was friends with Evan and Nicole, Nic and I worked together in Melville at the pool. I am so very sorry to hear about your husband and I hope you can feel the love, prayers, and support from all over the world for you and both of your families….you are both in my thoughts and prayers and I know you have the strength to push through this time. All the best, Shawna.

  11. Christina I met Michelle at Andree Roberts wedding a few years ago and have been a Toque Girls fan ever since. Although I have not met you, I am saddened by your news today. God bless both of you on this journey.

  12. Hi Christine, I’m a friend of Michelle’s and have been following you both on Toque Girls. You and Spencer are in my thoughts and I’m sending warm, healing energy to you both. Know that even when you feel alone in this next chapter, you are not.

  13. Christina, I am so sorry to hear of your news. I know your family will be a very strong support system for you during this difficult time. I will remember Spencer and you in my prayers as well as have my church family pray for you guys. Praying for an outpouring of support for you and knowing that God will continue to bless you in all circumstances.

  14. Chris… I wish more than anything we could all write this reality away for you and your soul mate. Just know there are people out here in the world who will help carry your hope, happiness and strength through this journey. Let yourself feel what you feel when you feel it. The rest of us will be your solid ground.

  15. Chris…oh my goodness. What a hit for you both. Thank god you have awesome friends, who love you both, and a strong family that will pull you through this. Love to you Chris, miss you, and praying for your man, Spenz

  16. I feel like there is a hole in my heart since we heard this. Remember as Nanny always says, ” where there is life there is hope.” We love you both so much and we are here for you always. Auntie Mary and Uncle Brian

  17. I am stunned to read this post, this is truly terrible news. We are sending you much love and strength with this battle. We love you. xoxo

  18. Christina and Spencer- when I saw the photo of the two of you on this post I thought how appropriate so I pray that with your arms around each other and your hands clasped that together you will climb this mountain -always know you can call on God to give you the strength you need for this journey and remember to celebrate the many miracles you will find along the way. May God bless you both and give you peace. I keep you both in my heart.

  19. Christina and Spencer, I have not met either of you but have enjoyed reading the blog over the past year or so. It is difficult to understand why these devastating things are placed in our paths. I wish you strength, love, courage and determination to fight back and overcome this hardship. Celebrate each and every day and your love for each other. My thoughts and prayers are with you both.

  20. Christina from a young beautiful girl till today you have been the source of so much pride to your family. Your choice of Spencer as your loving husband has been no exception. With God on your side and many many prayers from your family and friends you’ll just put one day at a time on your pâté and limb this mountain .. So much love and support to you both eleanor

  21. Like many other commenters, I’ve never met either of you (Chris or Michelle) and know you only through an online blogging class we took together several years ago and your blog, which I’ve been following since then. I’ve been thinking a lot about Chris’ post since I read it yesterday, about Spencer, and about the challenges ahead for you. I hope that knowing how many of us are pulling for you two will help through this next chapter. You have each other, a wonderful perspective, much strength, loving family and friends, and determination – I can’t think of a better recipe for taking on these challenges. With all my best, Laura

  22. This is the pits. There’s no other way to describe it. I’m so sorry, but know that lots of people are pulling for your hubs and thinking of you both. Sending nothing but good thoughts your way. Cancer is a mean mofo, but you guys can beat it.

  23. I send you positive thoughts and prayers of hope, courage and love as you battle this with your husband. Sounds like you two have been a formidible team from the beginning and together you can conquer anything. While the disease had its own ideas I know that the two of you, with help from heaven, medicine, friends and family will forage ahead in strength, grace, mercy and determination that will turn this prognosis around. I pray that you would discover even new closeness, deeper love and greater peace. Blessings to you as you move forward towards your future!

  24. I was so sorry to learn of this news. Sending many positive thoughts into the universe for your husband, you and all of your loved ones as you begin this battle. I will hope we will read you again here someday with a happy story of recovery!

  25. I can’t imagine the pain, heartache, and devastating time you are enduring right now. I can only pray that God gives you grace and bestows extra blessings upon you two while you work through this. Love, prayers, and hugs, all the support I can give, from Green Bay, WI.

  26. Chris I am so sorry you have gotten this terrible news. It is so frightening to be facing this fear and uncertainty. I wish I could fix it, or promise that it will work itself out, but I am afraid all I can say is that I am hoping and praying for both of you. It sounds like you have an amazing guy and an amazing relationship, and I hope he will respond well to treatment, and come out the other side of this okay. You seem so dedicated and determined to defeat this, and if anything can do it, I am sure you will find a way. Do remember to be kind to yourself too; it is easy to burn yourself out trying to be there for someone who is sick, and you need to take care of yourself if you are going to be able to be there for him. best wishes to both of you.

  27. Chris – I just wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog over the last 2 years. So much of what you and Michelle have written reminds me of why my year in Calgary was a memorable and unforgettable one. Will keep in touch and do whatever I can to help you and Spence through the challenges that lie ahead.

  28. Christina, we’ve been trying to find the right words since hearing your news. You wrote a beautiful tribute to Spencer. Please know that we send our love and support to both of you and that you, Spencer and your families are in our daily thoughts and prayers.
    Love, Bonnie and Dan

  29. Christina, I am so sorry to hear about Spencer’s Illness. Beautifully written post. Wishing you both the strength and best possible outcome in all of this.

    ~Brenna Hardy

  30. Your love for your husband is inspirational. I wish you both peace amidst the turmoil that lies ahead. Lucky to have each other, I send strength to you both. One day at a time, cherish every moment, and fight like hell!

  31. I feel comforted that you have such a loving, supportive family. With love anything is possible and miracles occur every day. Please know there are people like me all over this country praying for your husband and for you and your family.

  32. So sorry for your recent stunning news. However you sound like fighters and optimists and strong, strong people. Those qualities will always win the day, go fight, stay strong, lean on those willing to help and keep the faith. My best wishes and prayers to you both. Take care.