Monday, May 6, 2013

Healing Through Tears

I am blessed.  It's not from luck or hard work or anything I have earned... it is totally by the grace of God on my life.  I will never understand how one person could be surrounded by so many blessings.  My greatest gift and source of love, inspiration and hope is my family and at the center of that family is my Mom.  I've yet to hear of anyone who has met her and not been impacted.  There is no way to put what she means to me and so many others into words.  She radiates joy and encourages everyone she comes into contact with in the sweetest, most genuine ways.  Behind the scenes she is my source of strength, my greatest supporter, and, simply put, my very best friend. 
Fourteen years ago she had breast cancer.  She faced it with so much optimism and faith that I never wasted a single moment in fear because she assured me it would all be alright.  Through surgery, chemo, hair loss, radiation, sickness... she was the one who gave us strength to keep hoping.  A year later when my precious Dad got very sick with a lung infection and spent days in the ICU and doctors said he wouldn't recover... she was the glue that held us together again.  She reminded us that God had taken care of us before and that he wasn't finished yet.  And He did.  His faithfulness to our family is something that I will never be able to comprehend. 
A few weeks ago Mom's six month blood work from her oncologist came back with elevated cancer markers.  After a C/T and PET scan they found a mass on her pancreas.  The doctor met with her and said that it was luck they had found it so early because he didn't see any signs that it has spread.  She said, it's not luck, it's God.  She had surgery two weeks ago to remove the mass and after some time in the ICU and a few days in the hospital, she was recovering really well.  Last Monday her surgeon came in and said they had received the pathology report back.  He said some words I never want to hear again, especially in reference to my sweet Momma: "It's bad.  It's real bad."
I will never forget that moment.  My world was crumbling.  I tried so hard not to cry as he told us how they found cancer cells in the margin around the tumor, in two lymph nodes, and in her liver.  I knew that if I started crying I wouldn't stop.  I was right but I couldn't stop the tears from flowing.  As I looked up I saw Mom shaking her finger at me and grinning, trying to get my spirits up.  Seriously, when hearing the diagnosis all she was concerned about was how the rest of us would take the news... if that doesn't sum up the amazing person she is, then I don't know what will!
We came home that day with a ton of flowers, cards, words of support and love and a long list of visitors that had come by to let Mom know they were praying for her.  She is so loved and I am so proud to be her daughter.  I spent the next few days getting as much information I could about pancreatic cancer, the statistics, prognosis, and treatments.  I thrive on facts and data and what I found was scary.  Finally I turned to the place I should have gone from the beginning, the place Mom and the rest of my family had gone... straight to the arms of Jesus.  I was struggling.  How could this happen to my Mom... the most incredible person I know?  But He gave comfort.... and peace... and strength... and hope.... just like He always does.  Since the moment of Mom's diagnosis I have been praying for hope and healing and He just keeps answering with moments of HOPE!
Last Thursday Mom had her follow up appointment with her surgeon.  That morning he had met with a tumor board that meets weekly to discuss cancer patients.  They had spent the morning discussing her.... HOPE!  He talked with her a little about the plans for a very strong chemo.  He said it will make her really sick but she, of course, told him to bring it on.  She's a fighter.  She's a survivor.  Instead of talking to us about buying her time, he talked about fighting this disease head on.... HOPE!
This weekend I graduated (remind me to tell you all the ways God was faithful through that journey... He is so good!).  Ever since we first heard about the tumor and the plans for surgery it didn't seem like Mom would be able to go.  I was fine with that.  I didn't want to go either but I couldn't deny Mom's adamant requests that I do it for her.  When we found out the diagnosis was not as simple as it had first appeared, I really did not want to go.  I started praying that the surgeon would clear her to go.  There was no way I could make it through without my Momma there.  He cleared her and she went... HOPE!  It was the greatest joy of my life to see the person who had helped me survive the past two years in the stands as I walked across the stage!  I love my Momma and I literally could not have made it to this amazing place in my life without her encouragement and support. 
Another moment of hope came on Friday night at my pinning ceremony.  God just loves to give us unexpected blessings!  A family came in and sat down next to my family.  After a short time they recognized each other and it turns out it was one of my Dad's former firefighters.  His daughter was also graduating from UCA.  After the ceremony, Mom was talking to his mother and she told Mom that she had cancer thirteen years ago.  It was in her spleen/pancreas and had spread to fourteen lymph nodes and into her bones.  She is alive and healthy today.... HOPE!
Please pray for Mom.  She meets with her oncologist May 17 to find out the details about treatment.  Pray for hope, healing, and opportunities for Mom to share her faith with those she comes into contact with.  As she has been saying all along: "We've had bumps in the road before and with God's help, we've straightened them out... We can sure do it again!"  We pray that God uses her healing to bring Him glory!
"What if Your blessings come through rain drops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?"

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a beautiful message of God's HOPE and PEACE that passes all understanding!

    You are undoubtedly your mother's daughter because you are passing along beauty even in the midst of your dark time. Thank you for touching my heart. I will keep you all in my prayers... Twilah