Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

February 3, 2011 at 7:24am

Reservist helps spouse battle cancer while serving in Iraq

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MCCHORD FIELD, Wash.- When Air Force Reservists prepare for deployments, common items they double-check might be, updating wills and powers of attorney, making sure their finances are in order, medical clearances, making sure they have the proper equipment and supplies, and ensuring the well being of their families before the Reservist departs.

But one Air Force Reserve family was thrown for a loop when a special cargo handler with the 446th Airlift Wing from Wilsonville, Ore., found out his wife of 11 years was diagnosed with breast cancer the week before he deployed to Kirkuk Air Base, Iraq, in August 2010.

"It scared me and I cried for hours," said Candice Currier, mother of four. "But I knew how strong I was and the support I had from my family and best friend gave me all the strength I needed to get through. Plus, I knew that being able to communicate with my husband through e-mail and Skype would help me feel like he wasn't as far away."

In order for her husband, Tech. Sgt. Chris Currier, 86th Aerial Port Squadron, to proceed with the deployment, he, his family and his squadron leadership had many conversations.

"We knew that their sister-in-law and family friend would give her the support she needed like watching their children while he was gone," said Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Dietz, 86th APS air transportation manager.

Over the course of Candice's seven chemotherapy treatments, Chris felt her pain during the harder moments, but also her relief when she was doing well.

"Hearing her on her down week was the hardest part," said the Intel contractor. "Knowing how defenseless she was was hard. But when I found out she was pulling through, it was a great relief. Knowing that the people I deployed with were there for support was also a relief."

Chief Dietz showed his support by taking a trip to Oregon to check on the family and make sure Candice was doing okay.

"I went down there on Candice's birthday, Oct. 25, to drop off some truffles and check on her," said the Olympia, Wash. resident. "The commander (Lt. Col. Tim May) and the first sergeant (Senior Master Sgt. Anthony Mack) also called her a few times. We were relieved to find out she was going to be okay, not only for her sake, but for her family." 

Throughout the entire process, the couple never doubted her strength in getting through her illness. In fact, it made their relationship grow stronger.

"I knew from the start she was going to pull through," said Sergeant Currier, the veteran who's been through four deployments, to include Operation Desert Storm. "She will not take ‘no' for an answer. Without a doubt, this has made me a better husband, a better (noncommissioned officer), and has made us stronger."

Candice sums up their relationship through the troubled time.

"Most certainly it has made our relationship stronger," she said. "I had to let Chris see the raw side of me by letting my guard down and trusting that his love would still stand. He showed me his true feelings every time we talked and no matter what my insecurities about my looks or feelings were, he didn't waiver his love and desire for me as his wife."

Although a biopsy confirmed the absence of cancer, Candice will begin radiation treatment at the end of February.

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