Cancer Free

About a week before Valentine's Day my mom twisted her knee while delivering flowers for her flower business.  It made the week up to Valentine's Day as well as the actual day particularly much more difficult than usual, on top of the fact that she also lost her voice.  We laughed at the irony.  She was a hot mess, but once again our family made it through another Valentine's Day.

A week went by and her knee was still hurting so she finally went to go see a doctor.  She, like many small business owners, are struggling in this economy and the thought of going to the doctor with poor health care is enough to scare her from seeking out getting better.  But she finally went.  Hobbling to and from work, she gets a call back from the doctor saying that she needs to come back in for a mammogram.  Something new was found in her breast and they needed to get a better look.  They still couldn't tell if it was cancer or not so they needed to follow it up with a biopsy.  The whole scenario started to become a little bit too real. 

She was helpless.  She could barely walk and was in so much pain with her knee, adding the risk of cancer to the list seemed like too much and unfair.  Yet none of us were in control so instead we had to wait and pray.  We had to worry and wonder, hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

There is something about fear.  The type of fear that forces you to lean on to something bigger than yourself.  To seek real comfort and peace that makes you let all of your cares and worries leap from your tiny little fingertips of a tight gripped hand.  It is truly rare to feel like all is at risk yet all is safe in the hands of The One who is in control. 

It truly was ironic.  Literally a year, to the date, my dad had his heart surgery last year.  It was like the song of our lives was put on repeat and it was starting to get annoying.  The week after Valentine's Day, after another long and physically tiring holiday, my dad went to the doctor for something else, only to find out he had something worse.

Last week at the peak of my emotions, I wrote out a note to myself that reminded me of God's faithfulness in time of need:
February 26, 2013--
Almost nearly a year ago you healed dad's heart during his surgery. 
And here we are a year later and mom is going into the same hospital, the same time of year, and with the same amount of fear for her life. 
May her and our family's fear be reminded of your faithfulness, your presence, your healing powers, and ultimately your control and purpose in all things. 
This time is not an accident but a part of your good and perfect will. The next day, my mom had her biopsy.  And about five days later we would hear the results.  I had those five days marked on my calendar and that morning I woke up knowing we would find out if my mom had cancer or not.  I played scenarios in  my mind of how we would respond to finding out she had cancer and how it would change our lives.  I knew that this day was going to be the last day we would go through life with an unknowing hope.

Before I got the call, I had already talked to my mom on the phone that day.  So when she called back later that afternoon, I knew it wasn't just to say hello.  As I answered the phone, I held one last breath before saying, "hello."  And with a surprisingly emotionless voice, my mom declared she was cancer free.  I yelled, "you were supposed to scream with happiness if you were cancer free!" as I was caught off guard with her mix of words and lack of emotion.  And suddenly, within mere seconds all was once again right with the world.

I got in the shower as my mind raced.  We made it.  We are cancer free.  We can move forward with out the heavy weight on our shoulders.  It would be easy to move on and continue life as if nothing happened.  But it wouldn't be fair to this experience if we didn't come out of it differently.

I am a different person.  When something like this rocks your world, you better expect to gain some perspective.  To appreciate these fleeting moments called life.  To be more aware of all that surrounds you and carefully make each of the seconds of the day to mean something.

This past month I have changed.  I have become myself again after a long period of unsettledness.  I am aware of who I am and what I do and it has more purpose and life than it has for awhile.  I am thankful for this scare as it caused me to pause.  To let the world continue to swirl around me as I focused in on bigger things.  To focus in on our lives and our day to day and to all the things I spend my time doing and decide to do it differently.

It would have been a rough road to go down if my mom did get cancer.  But I have also learned that the road is just as uncomfortable when I choose to live my life without meaning.

// I went shopping for a cherry blossom tree the day we got the good news my mom was cancer free.  As that tree gets planted and grows for years to come, when I see it blossoming every Spring I want to be reminded of this day.  That it would be a reminder of God's faithfulness, this season we have been in as a family, and the personal change that is going on in my life.  I have great hope for each season's growth of new life.  

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  1. This Feb. 5th I went for my annual mammogram, a week later they contacted me that I had to go back in for another one, because they saw something and didn't know what it was. When I saw the radioligist walk in I knew something was wrong, talk about being scared, I was literally shaking. I had to have a biopsy, which I did three days later. I had to wait 7 days... the longest days of my life. Finally I got the results, cancer free thank the Lord!
    I know what your mom went thur, the biopsy isn't easy believe me, my breast is still black and blue but I'm so happy! Amazing how one call can change your life, I hope your mom is doing well and her knee is better too!
    Have a great day, I know you will:)

  2. God always knows best. I have infinite faith in his wisdom and timing,even when the results are not what we hoped/prayed for. Almost a year ago we were struggling and, as you know, a lot of heartache and pain. But we are coming out of it better people, with a gratefulness for life. Sadly my oldest brother is loosing his battle with cancer, which puts our issues in perspective. I know God has a plan and there is a reason for my Brother's illness.Still hope and faith will never leave us.
    So glad your Mom is well.

  3. wow! so glad to hear your mom is cancer free--those two words are pretty powerful. it is pretty amazing how your life can be brought back into perspective so quickly. and i love the idea of the cherry blossom tree--what a great reminder of God's grace. celebrating with you!

  4. Such a poignant story and I'm so glad your Mom is cancer free! Few things are as scary as not having the time we want with the people we love most. I love how you've grown from it and are turning it into a positive experience!

  5. My sister went through another cancer scare earlier this year much like your moms. And hers also turned out well. I love your idea of planting the cherry tree in recognition of God's faithfulness. A tangible reminder of His love.

  6. Ashley, I am so happy to hear that your Mom is ok!!!!


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