The greatest love story ever told!

I’m married to a man named Mr. Tuffy.  

Today is our 20 year wedding anniversary so this posting is about love. It’s also about ovarian cancer and Mexico. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to wax poetically about matters of the heart. Can an amateur writer with absolutely no experience writing about love properly describe it?  This posting may turn into one gigantic snooze fest, but dear reader, in honor of our 20 year wedding anniversary I want you to meet the love of my life.


Meet Mr. Tuffy!

Mr. Tuffy became Mr. Tuffy on our third or perhaps fourth date. I honestly can’t remember. He’s named after Tuffy Rhodes a former major league baseball player. Mr T took me to a baseball game early on. There stood Tuffy Rhodes at the plate. Sexy third (or fourth) date guy said “that’s a pretty cool nickname.”  Right there and then he became Mr. Tuffy.  Me?  I ‘m Stuffy.  It’s sickening. I get it. But I’m allergic to everything Mother Nature tosses out. This is true. So Tuffy and Stuffy is who we are and for the past 20 years we’ve been pretty damn happy.

Here are some trivial and utterly boring  details you should know about our love story:

  • We met through a personal ad placed by me in the San Francisco Jewish news, now know as J. We lived only two miles apart, (me, Berkeley, him, Oakland) but had it not been for the ad, our paths would have never crossed.
  • We make the bed together most days. We agree making the bed daily is important
  • He asks for seconds (and usually thirds) every single night at dinner. He always compliments me on my cooking except one time when I made steamed Kale.
  • He likes meat, but happily eats vegetarian food or fish since I don’t eat meat. And yes, he likes tofu!
  • He watches old movies with me.
  • He looks great in blue.
  • He handles all of our finances competently and without complaint.
  • He cleans up after himself, and sometimes after me.
  • He helps me stay organized because I am forever losing things.
  • When he makes promises to me, he always keeps them.
  • He likes to watch Family Guy.
  • He takes me to amazing sporting events like minor league hockey road trips through Canada, and to professional soccer matches, and to funky Mexican wrestling matches.
  • He taught me how to love Mexican food.

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Then he became Super Tuffy

Mr. Tuffy became Super Tuffy in May of 2015 when I got diagnosed with advanced stage ovarian cancer. Here’s my favorite Mr. Tuffy cancer story.

When I got diagnosed, the oncology folks told me straight away that I would lose my hair during chemo. They also told me to cut it short before chemo started and to prepare for it to slowly start falling out. So I moseyed down to my hairdresser, and got a short cut. Two weeks after chemo started, I woke up to a guest appearance of wads of hair in my mouth.

Disgusting, right?

Mr. Tuffy volunteered to use his beard/hair trimmer to remove the remaining offending party. He took me into the bathtub and said  “you are the bravest person I know” then he let the shears fly. After I  was sans hair he left me teary eyed in the bathroom and went away. He came back with this present. (far right).


This is quite a “gem”

See what I mean? It’s pretty damn thoughtful to get a super funky blingy hat like this right after you’ve been scalped!


I really love this hat. It’s feminine and highly functional- with or without hair.

He did many other great things for me when I had cancer. Too many to name. I could not have gotten through it without him, period. I could list everything he did, but you’d be reading forever. Yeah, he massaged my feet when I had neuropathy and he came with me to every single chemotherapy session, but better to tell you what he does for me each and every day.

Day in and Day out…

  • At night he tickles my back when I have hot flashes to cool me down!
  • Since we’ve moved to Mexico, he goes to the store at lugs home five gallon jugs of water so we always have fresh water to drink and to cook with.
  • He let’s me drink coffee and doesn’t complain when I spaz out from caffeine overload.
  • He always tells me I look nice when we go out for date night.
  • He cuts fruit and vegetables so we always have healthy food to eat. When he is finished everything is symetrical. I do not like to cut!


    Mr. Tuffy is a good cutter.


  • He listens and listens and listens when I start freaking out about the possibility of my cancer returning. OK, maybe this doesn’t happen every day, but when it does happen, he’s 100 percent non-judgmental and present. It’s got to be depressing and painful  to listen to your wife talk about possibly dying, but he does it and I’m grateful.
  • He usually laughs at all of my jokes and even when they fall dead, he smirks.
  • He never holds a grudge
  • He takes out the trash without me reminding him.
  • He wraps his arms around me before we fall asleep.

When he proposed

When he proposed he did so with a ring out of a gumball machine. It was a cheap, plastic ring with a snake on it and I loved it. I have a great picture of me wearing it the day we got engaged. Unfortunately, the ring disappeared not soon after and I was crushed. I lamented its disappearance several times during those early years and asked him repeatedly where it could have gone.

Then on our 10 year anniversary, Mr. Tuffy surprised me with it!  He kept it hidden from me for 10 whole years!  It brought me to tears.

These days he’s not quite so romantic, but he does have his moments and I’m often quite touched.

How many more years?

I’m not a cancer statistic. So far I am a cancer survivor.  I hope we have many, many more years to share our love. I try not to take this time for granted. I cherish each day we have together.

I wish and hope we will have many more joyous years together, but if we can’t, I’m blessed to have experienced everything he is.  To feel loved and cherished by him every day is the greatest gift a person could have. What a blessing!  And now…

A (not so) personal ending to a great love story

Dear Mr. Tuffy,

Happy anniversary. I thought long and hard about a gift to give you to celebrate these past 20 years, but as you know, you poo-pooped all of my great suggestions (including lovely matching bracelets) and you are incredibly hard to buy anything for. I did like the idea of matching tattoos but maybe for our 25th????   Truthfully, you have given me everything a girl could want and Mexico is way too hot for matching velour robes so telling our story seemed like a good idea at the time.  I know you’ll get it since you are the writer, not me. I’m confident you’ll understand why I felt compelled to share our story with family, friends and yes, even strangers. Sometimes stories just have to be told.  I’m so grateful that every single day I get to feel the love you bestow on me.  You rock my world Mr. Tuffy.  I love you. Thank you for helping me live my dreams each and every day. Happy anniversary.


Mrs. Stuffy



15 thoughts on “The greatest love story ever told!

  1. Well now Im crying…! YOU KIDS! What a great love story Stacey. I have not know you long, but it has always been apparent to me that you are well matched. I admire Andy for being your rock. I had no idea that he had to cut the fruit too! Happy Anniversary, and I too hope that you celebrate many, many, many more anniversaries. I miss you both but am enjoying your travels.


  2. Thank you so much for sharing your love story. I had tears in my eyes as your Mr. Tuffy sounds like my T-bear of almost 28 years…cancer issue and all. God bless you both as you continue you forward. Happy 20th and, of course, many many more!


  3. You truly have no idea just how blessed you both are. Such a beautiful love story thank you for sharing it. I wish you 40 more at least! Many of us do not get the knight in shining armor, though we get the rest. Bless you both!!


  4. This is an absolutely wonderful story and equally wonderful marriage. Thank you for sharing and best wishes on your twentieth wedding anniversary!


  5. EPIC!! Beautiful tale of Super Tuffy and Stuffy! Congrats on your wedding anniversary and sending you two much love. You/your relationship is a great example of “true” love and you both are such role models. Hugs!


  6. Happy anniversary to you both! We are so grateful to have met you both in Zihwat! Love absolutely love to read your blog! You are a great writer, cheers!


  7. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story! I also have ovarian cancer and found the love of my life at age 44 after a horrible 22 year marriage. I feel blessed each and every day, just as you are. Here’s to many more years with our amazing men! 🙂 Sue


  8. I am so touched by your story; I feel so happy you have each other. Thanks for sharing! I’m also encouraged by the newest comment about finding love at 44 after a bad marriage. I am 41 and in an unhappy marriage. All I’ve ever wanted was a loving marriage; I never cared about money or status, just love. With my current health conditions, it doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me, but I’m overjoyed to hear other people’s love stories. Just to know that great love can and does exist, gives me hope. It feels too late for me, but maybe my kids will find great loves. Again, thanks so much for sharing your personal story with complete strangers so our hearts can benefit also.


      • I poked around your blog some and really enjoyed reading some of your pieces, particularly your nomadic plans. I always had a travel bug and especially longed to see Japan someday, but life got busy with work and family and somehow I found myself stuck in one place… until my kids are grown at least. If I live long enough, I intend to travel when they go off to college. Thanks for sharing your stories; it’s like I can experience the adventures vicariously.. Bon Voyage 🙂


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