GLOUCESTER, Va. (WAVY) — A Gloucester couple is in the fight of their lives, together.
During Lung Cancer Awareness Month, they have a story to share and a reminder for others.
Lisa and Seth Doyle have known each other since they were 14 years old, and have been together since 18. Together, they share four children and three grandchildren.
They admit they’ve had their fair share of hardships throughout their lives, but few things compare to the cancer diagnosis they both received. The Doyles are battling lung cancer together, and they were diagnosed just 5 weeks apart.
Lisa was given her diagnosis in July after several bouts of bronchitis that kept returning. She said the words from her doctor did not quite register at first.
“The doctor said: I’ve been looking at your scans all afternoon and I’m sorry, it’s lung cancer.”
Seth knew that they would get through her diagnosis and treatment together, as they had done for 35 years. That was until he received the same news, but worse.
“But then things took a turn, because my husband was also diagnosed with the same lung cancer,” said Lisa. “His is terminal, it spread to his brain. He has 14 tumors in his body.”
“I may have a year, a year and a half,” Seth said. “I’m scared of what’s going to happen to her, I’m not scared about me dying, because I’m going to a better place. I’m scared of leaving her here … all by herself, sick, bills rolling in, that’s what scares me the most.”
Praying for a miracle, they say they have shocked doctors, and shared too many visits to the hospital, including their biopsies.
“I was giving him the thumbs up, he’s all prepped for surgery, with his blue hat on, I went in first,” Lisa said. “We wake up in recovery together and you have nurses coming up and saying ‘oh my god, really?'”
Lisa decided to put her chemotherapy on hold as Seth continues radiation.
“I’ve known him since I was 14, been together since we were 18, I can’t sit back and do treatment and be fighting for my life and be a positive to live as I watch him die,” Lisa said. “It’s a chance I’m willing to take, I can’t have both of us back in there laying in the bed. He says he wants me to be happy again, he wants me to go into remission and have a happy life.”
“If something happens to me, she’s still young enough,” said Seth. “So, it’s not looking good for me, so why should she hold off on her treatment, when I’m not looking anyway? And I think she would, if something happens to me, she’s still young enough.”
Seth stopped working after the diagnosis. They say the support of friends, like Brandy McCreery, is priceless.
“Maybe we could raise some money while they fight for their lives, because I don’t feel like they should fight for their home while they are doing that,” McCreey said.
“It’s in God’s hands and I’m putting my faith in that and I am hoping for a miracle,” Lisa said.
The question remains: why did this couple succumb to lung cancer at basically the same time? They both have their own theories.
“I’ve read that with cancer … usually it’s linked to some kind of major trauma,” Lisa said. “We lost our son a few years ago and it was unimaginable grief. The grief was so intense with losing our son, he was on life support for four days, it’s not just like we got a call and it was done.”
Meanwhile, Seth spent his life working on floors and knows he’s come into contact with asbestos.
“It’s a living nightmare, you wake up every morning and you are like, ‘is this real?'”
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For more information about Lung Cancer Awareness Month, click here.