#MDAadventures: My husband's testicular cancer journey

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By Ashley Smith

There are few positive words associated with cancer. It's hard, it's hectic, it's nerve wracking, and it consumes your life. As a caregiver, I found myself at a loss for how I was supposed to approach cancer after my then-fiancé, Austin, received his testicular cancer diagnosis. (Don't worry, we didn't break up. In fact, we got married.) 

Twenty-four hours after Austin checked in to MD Anderson, I came up with a hashtag that I could use to share our experiences with our family and friends on social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Using the hashtag would allow our friends to see all of our posts about Austin's cancer journey in one place. As an almost-tech-savvy 24-year-old, I was looking for a way to document Austin's testicular cancer treatment without being depressing. I began taking sometimes goofy, sometimes serious, but always informative pictures.

Here are some of the photos we shared with the world on our journey, our own little hash tag to share our #MDAadventures:

So excited to #marry my best friend! :)

ashley7.jpegMy #mcm finished his first 5 days of #chemo today! So proud of this amazing man :) #infinitydibs

ashley4.jpegSurgery day! #badhairnetday

Austin.JPGModeling with his pole.

Such a great day. The man made great strides at MD Anderson and I finally got my hair did. I think he did a better job at being awesome though.:)

ashley1.jpegIt's official! Thanks to my wonderful photographer for capturing the #larkinsmithwedding so beautifully.#endlessexposures #wedding #houston 

ashley5.jpegBack in the grind!  #lastround#happyhappyhappy

austinsmith.jpgLast day of chemo.

Talking about cancer with others can be tough, but the pictures made it easier. People often commented on how much fun we were having, instead of how hard cancer is. That made it easier for me since I dislike dwelling on the negative. I even received an award at work for my positive attitude and fun photos.

Cancer doesn't have to be sad. We decided not to let it beat us up. Instead, we allowed it to make our lives something fun to look at.

Ashley and Austin.JPG

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