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'In God's hands.' Middle Georgia couple share husband's journey with terminal brain cancer

Macon Telegraph - 2/14/2020

Feb. 14--Travis and Mikayla Greene, of Gray, were planning their wedding in January 2017 when they received news that dramatically changed their lives.

"I had a tumor in my frontal right lobe about 7 centimeters by 3 1/2 by 5, so it was bigger than a large egg," Travis said. "It swept us away. I was always healthy, always active, never had any issues."

The doctors have said Travis' condition is terminal.

When they found out the news, Mikayla said she didn't fully understand the gravity of the situation.

"At that stage in life, nothing can happen to you, and you're invincible," she said. "Not that I would've made any decisions any different, but I didn't understand that the journey that we were taking was going to be life-changing."

The couple's wedding day was moved up, and they were married at The Medical Center, Navicent Health on Jan. 18, 2017.

Today, after three years of doctor appointments and cancer treatment, Mikayla, 26, is pregnant with the couple's first child.

"It's just a blessing to have our own kid, and right now, everything's healthy," said Travis, 27. "We're excited."

As they look forward to meeting their baby girl, Travis and Mikayla planned to spend Valentine's Day doing their "normal thing," Travis said.

Travis buys the best steaks he can find and grills them at their house, and they just spend time together, he said.

"I can grill one better than I can buy one," he said with a laugh. "At least, that's how Mikayla and I feel."

After Travis' third surgery in January 2019, he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Although Travis' doctors said the cancer is terminal, they have not put a timetable on his health.

He said the couple has hope.

"I'm in God's hands, and I'm put in this situation for a reason, and I know I've made a lot of people that haven't said a prayer in a long time say a prayer," he said.

Travis has been using Optune, a wearable and portable device that treats glioblastoma. Optune has had success with helping people with glioblastoma live longer, according to its website.

They've packed a lot into the past three years

In the past three years, Travis and Mikayla have traveled all over the United States.

They traveled to New Orleans after New Year's Day, hiked in Yosemite National Park, took a tour of Alcatraz, went on a cruise to Cozumel and Cayman Islands and visited the casinos in Las Vegas.

Travis has gone on several motorcycle trips. This past fall, Travis road the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive and traveled through seven states.

"I luckily have awesome friends and family that support us, and we've been trying to see as much as we can see while I still can," Travis said.

Last summer, they traveled to Panama City Beach with Travis' family as well.

Mikayla said they are like an old married couple because she said they've learned to appreciate things that people their age don't typically appreciate as much or take for granted.

"I think other people appreciate that, but it's a different level when it feels like everything could be the last time that you get to do it," she said.

Their paths eventually led them to each other

Mikayla and Travis attended Jones County High School, and they took a class together their senior year.

They immediately became best friends, Travis said.

But, they were never single at the same time until a few months after they graduated.

When Mikayla was home from college, she ran into Travis at the Ingles in Gray, and they talked in the parking lot for about an hour and a half, Travis said.

Travis officially asked Mikayla out on a date Jan. 27, 2012, he said.

They were planning their wedding for April 1, 2017, and picked up their passports for their honeymoon to Jamaica on the day Travis went to the doctor for severe migraines. They found out Travis had a large mass in his brain.

While they were in the hospital, Travis said the doctors wouldn't relay any information to Mikayla because they weren't married.

"She's the one that basically keeps everything straight, and we were already planning on getting married ... so we actually ended up getting married in the hospital," Travis said. "It was the coolest thing."

The hospital provided decorations and a cake, and Travis and Mikayla tied the knot in the chapel, Travis said.

Although they were married in the hospital, they celebrated their marriage three months later on their original wedding date because everything was already paid for.

"It was just a big party," Travis said with a laugh.

He said they have the best relationship because they never argue.

Mikayla said Travis is very level-headed. Instead of saying, "Why me?" Mikayla said he says, "Why not me?" because he has a strong family and support system to get him through this.

"Thank God he is that way because I don't know where we'd be if he wasn't," Mikayla said.

Mikayla takes care of all of Travis' paperwork, schedules his doctor's appointments and keeps a positive attitude, Travis said.

"She's been my rock through this whole thing," Travis said. "It's just a blessing that she was put in my life because I tell you, especially at our age, ... for somebody to stick around and be here for me, it's just heaven sent."

And now, with their baby girl on the way, Travis and Mikayla continue to look to the future.

"She wants a piece of me no matter what," Travis said. "We're walking God's trail. If we ain't supposed to have a kid, then we won't have a kid. If we're supposed to have a kid, we'll have a kid. We kind of lay everything in God's hands."

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