2018 Pink Tie Guy: Brandon Linn

Life is not a cake walk when you have children who are 14, 12, and 9 years old. There’s homework, extracurricular schedules, and, of course, the hormones. Not to mention parents have their own work and social calendars. Life’s hard sometimes.

Now imagine having to tell those kids “mom has breast cancer.”

Brandon and Lisa Linn had to figure out how to share that news with their kids, in 2017.

Lisa, who nominated Brandon to be a 2018 Pink Tie Guy, was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer last May. It was aggressive, and doctors said they needed to act fast.

“[Brandon and I] talked for hours about how to tell our children. He held me, we cried, got angry, and [we] even found time to laugh through what felt to me like the worst time in my life,” Lisa wrote in her nomination.

Navigating an illness like breast cancer can be a daunting task. You have to find the right doctors. There are numerous treatment visits. Many times, there is surgery.

“Brandon is there for me every step of the way,” she said. “[We] worked together as a team.”

Lisa had a double mastectomy and chemotherapy. She noted Brandon, a busy orthodontist, accompanied her to every treatment appointment, and he took care of the children when she was sick from chemo.

In addition to being very ill during treatment, Lisa emotionally struggled with the physical side effects of the drugs that would help save her life. She lost her hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows.

“You feel horrible about yourself, and, for me, I feel very ugly right now,” Lisa wrote. “But when Brandon tells me I look beautiful, I believe him for a few minutes. I look in the mirror and think, ‘maybe I still am beautiful.’”

In a conversation with Komen Colorado, Brandon said he didn’t notice Lisa’s physical losses.

“I think one of the challenging things, it seems to me, is how you’re feeling when you’re going through treatment. It’s not very good. Then you have the reminders, whether it’s hair loss or eyelashes, you have this physical image, that, ‘Oh, I’m sick,” Brandon said. “But when you looked at her eyes or her face, I didn’t notice that stuff as much…It was just Lisa with a new ‘do.”

Today, Lisa is doing well. But now she is going through the lengthy reconstruction process. She said turns to her husband for hope that one day she will be OK again.

Brandon, too, looks forward to a time when life will go back to “normal.” But, for the Linns, it will be a “new normal.”

“Having gone through this, it will never be exactly the same. But the silver living is, these types of experiences makes it easier to not sweat the small stuff,” Brandon said. “My hope is when we’re done, we’re back to being healthy and having grown from the experience.”