I was given the diagnosis of my breast cancer over the phone. Shocked and with tears in my eyes I returned the phone to its cradle. I walked into a co-workers room to share the news and asked her to cover the front office for me while I went home. Joey immediately rose from her chair and with compassion in her eyes reached out to hug me. She briefly held me. I don’t recall what she said but I can still feel the warmth of her embrace. Her eyes met mine and I knew her heart felt my pain. With tears streaming down my face I left the office and headed home.
I called my family to give the news we already suspected but were waiting to have confirmed. I told everyone that I wanted to be alone that day to wrap my head and my heart around the diagnosis. In retrospect that was unkind of me to do. I just could not look upon their faces and deal with anyone else’s pain but my own that day. I knew that I was asking a great deal of my family to give me alone time. As hard as it was my sister and son obeyed my wishes. However, my daughter did not.
I heard the doorbell ring. I was aggravated. My nose was red and bulbous from crying so hard. My eyes were swollen and looked like tiny slits. I confess I did not want to go to the door and greet whoever was on the other side. Reluctantly I unlatched the lock opening the door. There stood my daughter, Paige. I could tell she had shed tears too. The look on her face told me she could not honor my wishes to be alone although she wanted to. Her arms were filled with food from Texas Roadhouse. She tried to smile. Tearful and jokingly she said, “ We always eat our stress Mom, so I brought steak and potatoes. You might not be eating as much during chemo treatments so let’s enjoy food while you can.” We ate.
We talked about what was to come in my life and the impact it would have on those I love and who love me back. We talked about my grandsons. We cried.
Once again my life would change. In time it would return to normal. Only it would be a “new normal”. A normal that would include doctors, hospitals and treatments just as it had with my husband. I knew too much and looked at my new normal with great trepidation. I also knew our family would adjust. Our lives would revolve accordingly. This time however, I would be the patient and not the caregiver. I was born to take care of others. It is one of my gifts. The shoes I wore as caregiver would now be removed and placed upon the feet of others. Now my grown children would be involved with the doctor visits and my care. They and my sister would be my caregivers. This was a major shift in roles for me.
Paige stayed with me for several hours that night. The time approached for her to go home and get her boys ready for bed. She rose from the sofa and said, “Mom, I need to go home now but we need to pray before I leave.”
When my sister and I have serious praying to do we kneel at the sofa. I left my wingback chair and headed toward the sofa thinking Paige and I would kneel and pray there too. She met me in the middle of the room with out-stretched arms. We stood with our arms wrapped around each other. Standing there, we prayed.
We did not ask for healing although it was understood that each of us desired that very thing. We believe that God still heals in miraculous ways. He also heals through doctors and medicine. And sometimes He heals by taking us home. We had the assurance I would be healed one of those three ways. Healing was not asked for. It was expected.
We were both crying as we took turns praying; offering up our heart’s concerns to God. We prayed for our family. For comfort, grace and strength to endure whatever would come my way. We prayed wisdom for the doctors that would be dealing with my case. We asked God to guide and direct all my health care providers. Standing in the middle of my living room we prayed believing.
All of this happened one year ago today, yet I can still feel her sweet arms around me and hear her broken voice as she cried out in prayer to God. It was an extremely tender and emotional time for the two of us. It is a precious memory that will be forever stamped upon this mother’s heart; my beautiful daughter praying a beautiful prayer for the mother she loves.
This past year has been tumultuous. My body has undergone major surgery, chemo every three weeks and radiation. There were many complications with my meds. I put on the brave face but I have never been so sick in my life. Some days it was a major effort to go to work. I often napped from 5:30 to 7:00 pm and fell into bed again by 9:30 pm. Physically I do not feel on the top of the mountain but I have definitely left the dark valley and a smile has returned to my face. I owe it all to the prayers of those who care.
I have said this many times before but it is true; the outpouring of concern and love for my family has been overwhelming. I believe God answered our prayers. The things we prayed for; wisdom, grace and strength to endure were given. In May I will finish one complete year of treatment. God is good and I am blessed. Truly blessed.