by intern Andy M.
monaghan.JPG Brian and Gerri Monaghan “went to battle” over 10 years ago, when in 1998, Brian received a call from his doctor.
“Come and see me, but don’t drive,” the doctor told him – and the alarm bells went off, for Brian as he knew something must be seriously wrong. He was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma, which had already metastasized to his brain. The doctor told Brian he had 6 months to live….

Gerri was positive and proactive. She started a folder on which she wrote, “To The War”. In the folder, she had 3 main categories:

What is melanoma?
Who do we know who can help?
What can we do personally through diet and nutrition?

She said, “We were going to battle… we might lose the battle in the end, but we weren’t going to go down without giving it everything we had.”
Over the course of his serious illness, Brian has had 2 brain tumors removed as well as multiple other surgeries.
In an interview last week on Good Morning America, Brian told of his wonderful and committed wife:

I would not be alive, sitting, talking to you – were it not for the lovely lady sitting next to me. No question about it. There are other things that helped me make it… but I would be dead if it were not for what she did.

Even though he was very ill, Brian knew he had a responsibility to care for his wife. He would call her from his hospital bed and also buy her flowers regularly. Gerri acted as Brian’s advocate, always accompanying him to his doctor’s appointments and asking the doctor to explain everything to them both, so that they understood clearly.
As the years went by, Brian and Gerri felt the need to share their amazing survival story with others out there who were going through the same difficulties. They have published a book entitled The Power of Two: Surviving Serious Illness with an Attitude and an Advocate.
Gerri said it is a road map for others who will come behind them: “They can put one foot in front of the other and get to the point where they’re a cancer survivor too.” The book contains many practical recommendations, and has helped people in similar situations.
Healthy or sick, we can all take encouragement from seeing this loving couple, so dedicated to serving each other through Brian’s long years of illness.

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