Post # 1
My fiancé and I have been engaged for a few months now. We are planning a wedding for fall 2013, so it is about a year and a half out. My FSIL was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago at age 27. I won’t go through her whole medical history but she underwent initial rounds of chemo and radiation and had a double mastectomy. We thought she had it beat only for it to return last year as Stage 4 metastatic cancer. It’s been tough but she’s a fighter and is not giving up.
Early on my fiancé and I discussed whether we wanted to plan to have our wedding as soon as possible to ensure FSIL would be able to attend or keep to the timeline we originally wanted to allow ourselves time to finish our grad school programs and save money. We talked to FSIL about it and she said she is an optimist and would prefer we did it a year and a half away so her hair would have time to grow back and she would be feeling better. We looked at venues and recently found the perfect place for us. We are ready to put down a deposit but last week FSIL got some more bad news. The cancer has spread to yet another organ and they are considering her current treatment a failure. They have run out of new treatment options for her cancer since the disease has progressed under every treatment she has received so now she is trying to get into a clinical drug trial. I know it’s serious but besides seeming tired, she doesn’t even seem sick and I don’t think any of us really know how much time she has.
I am torn about putting a deposit down for a wedding venue when we have no idea how her health will be at the time of the wedding or leading up to it. I feel uncomfortable talking about this with my fiancé’s family because I don’t want them to think I’m more concerned about the wedding than FSIL’s health. I just don’t want to put our wedding off indefinitely and I also don’t want to plan a wedding for a time when things might be difficult for my fiance’s family.
I don’t feel like we should book our wedding now with things being uncertain. I would never want my FSIL to think we’ve changed our plans because of her because she would think we are giving up. She wants everyone to think positively. Does anyone know of any wedding insurance plans that cover pre-existing illnesses? I was thinking we could book the place and if necessary we could get our deposits back and move the wedding. We can’t afford to have the wedding we’re planning any sooner than next fall but we could afford to do a smaller destination wedding sooner. My only concern with that is my family doesn’t have much money and I don’t know if they’d all be able to come.
I know others have planned weddings with terminally ill family members. I guess I’m just looking to see what other people would do in this situation. Thanks for your help and sorry this is so long.
Post # 3
I would book the venue. If her health changes maybe you could do a smalll courthouse wedding with immediate family and then next year do a vow renewal at your venue.
I am really sorry your FSIL is going through this. I was a nurse in oncology for almost 4 years giving chemo, her positive attitude will make such a big difference. I hope she finds a clincial trial that is successful. I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.
Post # 4
I am sorry, I hope it all works out. 🙁
@ieatunicorns: Great idea!
Post # 5
Thanks. That is a good idea. I think I’m afraid my fiance’s family will think I’m being insensitive making plans for a wedding when they’re dealing with such bad news. I think our wedding date is far enough out that we can wait another month and then book the venue. By then we’ll know if she got into the drug trial.
Post # 6
@ieatunicorns: This is what I was going to suggest.
@crabmallet: I’m glad to hear they’re being proactive and has submitted for drug trials. I’m sorry you, your FI and your future in-laws are going through this.
Post # 7
I agree with waiting a little while to actually book. I dont think that you should put your entire process on hold though. And I also agree with @MrsMeNow.. You could always do a smaller ceremony with her present and then renew your vows at the big wedding if it does come to that. Fingers crossed for you and your FH and his family! Hope everything works out and your FSIL gets better!!
Post # 8
I think @MrsMeNow has a good suggestion. And it sounds like going ahead with your plans as you had them intially is in line with your FSIL’s preferences. I think your fiance’s family is unlikely to be offended, unless you make a big deal out of having booked your venue, but it sounds like you are quite sensitive to their feelings, so I doubt you would do this! I am so sorry you are going through this.
Post # 9
Ask her how she feels. I had a similar situation with my father in law. He did not want the wedding moved, didn’t want anything changed. He felt like it would mean giving him a expiration date and he felt like he would not have anything to look foward to if we moved it up. I was willing to get married in the hospital room if we had to when things got worse but when the time came he got sick so quickly. Admitted into the hospital and passed away a few days later, he had a few hospital visits months before and always made it back out okay. It was very up and down. On his last day it just didn’t seem important, the wedding seemed so insignificant. He was a part of our lives/relationship for years, we took trips together, joked around, had good times and that time seemed to matter a lot more than this one day. I hope this makes sense, I am not sure how to word it properly. I am very sad that he will not be there for our wedding, I feel some regret that we didn’t move it to this past April (he would have been there) but you can’t predict these things. I don’t have much advice, sorry for what you are going through, I hope everything works out and I wish you FSIL the best.
Post # 10
I would book it and say nothing about booking it unless asked. Really you could not do many other plans for another 8 months or so if you have the venue and photographer and possibly DJ booked.
I wish your future SIL the best. I have had my father pass away from cancer when no trials would work and it’s a hard thing for the family to go through.
Post # 11
I completely understand your feeling like your fiance’s family will think it is selfish for planning your wedding, but here’s the thing: I honestly do not think they will. It is very, very, very sad what your FSIL is going thru but wouldn’t talking with her about the wedding plans and getting excited with her be just what the family needs to get their minds off of it? My grandmother passed away a month ago, and even tho I knew that she wouldn’t be around for my wedding, I still talked to her about my wedding like she was going to be there. And she loved it. At my wedding, I will honor her by wearing her pearls. If, God forbid, something were to happen prior to your wedding, you can always honor her at your wedding. I think if your FSIL found out you were changing your wedding plans around her illness it would really bother her.
I’m really sorry that you are going thru this, and I wish you and your family the best.
Post # 12
Thank you so much for all the comments and kind words. I feel like this is just a hard thing for all of us to handle and I am thankful to have an outlet to turn to when I feel like my concerns are trivial compared to what my FSIL is going through.
Post # 13
@OtterHalf: This exactly.
My BIL got married in April whilst I was undergoing chemo and I would not have wanted them to change anything. Having a great night out with family was a real highlight and having something to look forward to amid the countless test, drugs and doctors appointments is definately a plus for wellbeing.
But OP don’t ever feel that your concerns are trivial just because someone is going through something. No ones concerns are trivial if they are a concern to them.
As someone with breast cancer I just want to say don’t put your life on hold. Life is way too short! And I know this will sound callous but please be realistic. Your FSIL has recieved possibly the worst news a cancer patient can (Stage 4 metastatic) and whilst she and your family are pinning their hopes on a drug trial please realise that a drug trial is just that a trial. I am in a drug trial and my cancer came back. It happens especially if it is a blind trial. It is a great thing to be included in but you do have to reconcile that it is a trial and trials often do not work. I am sure your FSIL wouldn;t want you and your FI to put your life on hold for a what if.
At the end of the day if you are really concerned talk to her. I know a lot of people don’t wont to bother someone who is ill but at the same time a lot of people who are ill don’t want to be treated any different than anyone else. Normality is often the most comfort!
Best wishes to your FSIL and your family.