After many years together Chris and Millie Willis-Baugh couldn’t wait to get married.
It was a new chapter in the lives of the young couple.
Not only were they about to become husband and wife but Chris was about to leave his army career and start a new ob in finance.
For the first time in years, Chris and Millie would be living together full-time – and they couldn’t wait.
In the months leading up to their wedding in June last year Millie had been feeling unwell with stomach problems.
The busy couple put it down to stress over their upcoming wedding and anxiety over Chris’s new career.
Their wedding day was perfect and they were happily planning their honeymoon to Hawaii as Millie continued visiting her doctor in a bid to get to the bottom of what was wrong with her.
Then in December last year Millie was referred for more tests and just after Christmas the couple’s world came crashing down.
The 30-year-old buyer with The White Company was diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer.
Chris, who by this time had left his career in the army behind him, said: “It was a sucker punch. We had always been healthy and have both always been into fitness.
“We’ve always eaten fresh food and it was a real shock.”
The 31-year-old admits he did have his suspicions his wife could be battling something serious as more and more minor illnesses were ruled out through tests.
Chris said: “The list of what it could be was getting smaller and smaller and her symptoms weren’t improving.”
Suddenly the newlyweds had gone from planning their honeymoon holiday of a lifetime to working out how to cope with Millie’s surgery and treatment.
She had to have major bowel surgery and now has a colostomy bag, which they hope will only be temporary.
Millie has also endured four gruelling rounds of chemotherapy.
Chris, who admits he has never been very emotioanlly open, delayed started his new job in finance to care for his wife.
He said he found it hard to deal with so many things he had never experienced before, from talking about fertility treatments to changing Millie’s colostomy bag.
Chris said: “There was a lot to thik about, you have to become an expert overnight and you have no idea what you’re doing.”
But one thing was certain for the ex army officer, who has seen tours in Afghanistan, Jordan, Cyprus, Kenya and New Zealand, he would always be there for Millie.
Chris said: “I was very frank with Millie when she was diagnosed.
“I said ‘there’s no point you being embarrassed around me as I’m your husband’.
“I told her I made the promise in sickness and in health when I married her.
“This is only one year in what will hopefully be many, many more.”
And he was also determined that he would use what the couple, from south east London, had been through to help other husbands who felt lost following their wives diagnosis.
It also links the husbands together to they can talk to someone about what they are going through.
Chris said: “As a bloke I just thought there must be other men out there struggling with loved ones having cancer.”
Millie has now finished her treatment and are looking forward to the future.
While they haven’t re-booked their honeymoon just yet, Chris is confident it will happen in the next few years.
Chris and Millie were also supported by Macmillan. For more information, click here.