Friday, September 7, 2018
My Mom has Cancer
I was outside, trying to busy myself with gardening, when I got the call I had been waiting for.
"It's Stage II. Cervical cancer."
Even though I had been expecting to hear exactly that, it still felt like a punch in the gut.
My mommy has cancer.
My pretty, petite, active, healthy, social, hard-working mother has cervical cancer.
I was able to go and visit my parents in Colorado just a few weeks ago, and as soon as I got there she shared with me that something wasn't right. Heavy bleeding and severe pelvic pain for a good while had led her to go see a doctor, who immediately started running tests and gave her some very honest possibilities of what it likely was, and none of them were great.
Then a few days after I came home from my trip, the biopsy came back and confirmed what we all figured it probably was.
We shed tears, because this is terrifying and surreal.
And then we talked about all the hope in it, how incredible it is that they caught it this early and of the good possibility that they could get all of it with surgery.
She'll be getting a full hysterectomy and they'll also be taking some lymph nodes out, and they really won't be able to know how far the cancer has spread until they biopsy those.
I'm so proud of my mom for how well she has taken this.
Yes, she has hope and is choosing to put her trust in God in each step of this hard journey.
But she has also had the courage to healthily grieve this.
Cancer is scary. People die from it every day.
And when you're told in your mid-fifties that you've joined the Cancer Club and you're given statistics of the likelihood you'll survive it... your life just turned upside down.
She's fought our natural human tendency to immediately put our Pollyanna faces, so that we can "stay strong" for others or ourselves.
She hasn't avoided facing the fear and the pain in the attempt to look or feel strong.
Because you know what takes actual strength? Vulnerability.
Feeling completely out of control, and relying on nothing but God for peace and hope.
The way that my mom has walked this balance every day since the news has been humbling and inspiring.
And as her daughter, who tends to be a little over-protective of her, I'm so thankful that so many friends and family have met her vulnerable circumstances with compassion and love and just being there. Instead of with all of their own fear or denial or hyper-positivity or a list of cancer horror stories (NO THANKS!)
So thank you to all of the people who have loved and supported her and my dad and me and my brothers so well these past few weeks and continue to do so. It really means more than you'll ever know.
And please be praying.
Pray for her surgery that is scheduled for the end of this month, which I'll be going back to Colorado for. That it would all go smoothly, and that they find that the cancer hasn't spread into her lymph system and she wouldn't need radiation treatment.
(As a side note, pray that my daughter and I are protected from this disease, considering it's genetic.)
Pray for her recovery process, that she can rest well for the 6 weeks needed until full recovery.
Pray for the financial aspect. My parents moved back to Colorado less than two years ago, and because of their careers at a non-profit and being self-employed, they've been planning on getting their own health insurance for a while, but in between all the busy-ness of life, it fell through the cracks and now it's too late with her pre-existing condition. But God is faithful and has always been our best provider, and He won't stop now.
And please pray that this would draw us closer to each other and to Jesus.
There really is nothing like feeling scared and out of control, that brings us more on our knees in front of the Lord, crying out to God that He would be near us in the darkness.
And the beautiful thing about darkness is that that's where His light shines brightest.