Cancer is like saying #$%^&*. It’s got six letters but it’s a four-letter word.
I’ve never liked the word cancer.
Merriam Webster defines it four ways:
- a northern zodiacal constellation between Gemini and Leo
- a malignant tumor of potentially unlimited growth that expands locally by invasion and systemically by metastasis; an abnormal bodily state marked by such tumors
- something evil or malignant that spreads destructively
- an enlarged tumor-like plant growth
I guess I don’t mind looking at constellations in God’s big beautiful sky, but seeing a malignant tumor on an MRI, and that tumor belonging to my very own mom, well, that just sucks, to be frank.
I went to my mom’s appointment yesterday along with my dad and younger sister. I choked back some tears here and there as I watched my mom be so very brave. I mean, my mom was like, “I’m not scared. I trust God. I trust Him when things are good and even now. I trust Him.”
I sat there next to my dad who has always been so in love with my mom, knowing this is his journey, too. I thanked God in my heart for parents who still enjoy being together, thankful for their loving example of marriage for my own life, so very thankful God opened a door for them to live so close to us.
So many things were running through my thoughts in that office suite dedicated to education and treatment of this “new to me” disease. We all listened to one pretty amazing doctor share knowledge and courses of treatment, maybe not realizing she was now part of our journey. Of course the “Noah” mom came to the forefront of my mind…wanting to fix it…wanting to conquer the world and find a cure for all cancers, but especially breast cancer because it’s front and center in my world. But, as much as I am on this journey with my mom, this is her journey. And she’s one pretty amazing woman, so I know she’s got it…because she knows The One who has got it!
In 7th grade a nurse came to educate us girls about self-breast examination. I freaked. Not because I thought it was silly to talk about touching my boobies. Something in me was gripped with fear and I was sure I would die of breast cancer before I even left high school. I even had my mom take me to the doctor because I had lumpy breasts. The doc said, “Do you eat chocolate?” Of course my reply was an emphatic yes! She asked, “Do you drink caffeine?” Hello! I’m in junior high! Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper were my BFF’s next to Stacey, of course! She said that caffeine increases fibroid tissue in the breast and can cause pain and discomfort. I stopped drinking pop. I didn’t drink it again until my freshman year of college…which accounted for my 15 extra pounds at the time. I gave it up again. Water is my favorite, anyway…
I don’t fear death anymore thanks to God’s grace in allowing me to be mommy to a sweet little boy whose name meant “Peace.” And, I don’t fear breast cancer. I don’t fear. What the heck is the point of fearing?! It steals joy and hope. Walking through this with my mom, even from the first call she got, watching her trust in God, and her peace, there’s just no room for fear.
Cancer is a four-letter word, but having met it, I know now it can be beat!
It’s not going to be a cake walk. There will be surgery. There will be chemo. And, since I’m not having either of those aforementioned, there will be a boat load of walking on my part. I haven’t picked the city or the date, but this time I’ll probably do the 60 mile walk. And yes, if you are interested, I’ll be forming a team…
As a daughter of a woman with breast cancer, I know I can’t fix it. I’ve learned that from experience. I can definitely be a support and encouragement. I can do practical things like make meals and help care for my mom over the next 9 months or so. But there is other stuff I can do, and I know it will not only help my mom, but help my generation and Emily’s generation to come.
No. Breast cancer isn’t my “new” platform. I’ve championed for it, or rather against it, in the past…simply because I have boobs. Yes, you will hear more about it here in days to come. But I’m still passionate about loving women, encouraging women, and telling them about God’s AMAZING LOVE for them…this isn’t new, either is God’s love or my passion to tell it.
It’s just that breast cancer has helped re-light a fire under me that had nearly died out.