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This is a guest post by Amy Homnick whose husband Brian Travalja has stage 3 renal cell carcinoma. This story originally appeared on Amy’s Instagram page in celebration of Brian being 1-year cancer-free.

I still get goosebumps thinking back to September 20th, 2022. It is the day our lives changed forever. My husband Brian called me at 4:42pm to tell me the doctor found a 10.4 cm mass on his right kidney. My knuckles turned white as I gripped my phone, heart racing and my body was trembling. Then denial took over, “it can’t be real, they have the wrong patient, they meant mm not cm”, any other explanation made sense. We were 5 months pregnant. We were leaving for our dream trip to Italy in less than 24 hours. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak, I was frozen in place paralyzed with terror. 

One year, 365 days ago, Brian underwent a radical nephrectomy for stage 3 cancer, renal cell carcinoma. We spent almost a week together in the hospital and somehow Brian didn’t miss a beat when it came to making everyone around him laugh and smile. He was radiating positive energy and cracking jokes with the doctors, I believe “are you kidney me” was a fan favorite. I will always remember the huge victory we felt the first time Brian was able to walk down the hall so we could watch the sunset during our date night. 
Brian has been the biggest inspiration this past year. He is enrolled in a clinical trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital and currently kicking cancers ass. I could not be more proud to have him as my husband and the father to our daughter Charlotte. He turned the most difficult situation into a beautiful year of growth and learning.

We are so grateful for all the love and support from our family and friends over the last year and can’t express in words what a difference it has made. It’s been difficult for us to decide to share the details of this journey but we wanted to raise awareness and remind everyone the importance of listening to your body and advocating for your health.

I want to celebrate Brian every day but today is extra special for us. Cheers to one year cancer free!

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