"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tunes without the words, and never stops at all."
In June of 2010, my family and I had the most wonderful beach vacation! My husband, our two daughters and I went to Holden Beach at the southeastern tip of North Carolina. Sun, sand, shells, the sea and just a relaxing time together made the week one of the best vacations we have ever taken.
Three days after returning home, our world started to change. An annual gynecology appointment for me led to a day of getting tests and scans. The next day we were in the physicians office, then sent to an oncologist.
On July 23rd, 2010 came the words that, somehow, in my heart I already knew. "You have ovarian cancer."
The tumors were large. Very large. l found my self talking about it with my husband first. Then all I could think about is the possibility that I may not see my daughters grow up, go through school, get married and all the things a parent looks forward to.
I had to try to put the negative thoughts in the back of my mind because I knew I served a God who had the answers to meet our needs individually and as a family. But that was difficult to do.
The good news: the doctor got all he could see.
The bad news: there were cancer cells on the outside of the tumors as well, and they had microscopically filtered into my abdominal cavity.
The surgery was massive. The wound was the same. A portion of the wound could not be sutured, so for the next year I would spend up to 4 times a day doing my own wound care. During this time, the chemotherapy started for what would be an 18 week treatment process. Needless to say, instead of a peaceful beach vacation, as a family we were all in a whirlwind of change. But none of us gave up hope.
When a person gives up hope,what else does he or she have?
Our daughters were 4 and 10 at the time. Our 4 year old often gave much wisdom through the eyes of a child. I was told after my first treatment that I would start losing my hair fairly quickly. It started getting pretty bad and our 10 year old would inform me,"Mom! There is hair in the shower!" "Mom! There's hair in my eggs!" I had to laugh, and soon found out that humor really was a healing way of dealing with things.
The day came when I finally decided it was time for a trip to the hairdresser. With my husband standing near me, the clippers started their gentle touch on my head, and in just a few minutes I went from having patchy hair to no hair. My hairdresser put my wig on me and styled it up. I must say, it looked very close to my regular hair, but it was itchy and somewhat uncomfortable.
When I got home, I waited a little while, then took off the wig and showed our daughters. It was somewhat of a shock at first. but then my 4 year old climbed up in my lap and said,"Even though you don't have hair, you're still my Mommy."
The tears came and at that moment I realized it was going to be ok. Whatever the future held, we would go through this as a family, because that's what families do. And hope? We would hold onto hope, knowing God would take care of us.
After 18 weeks, chemo was finally over. I continued to dress the wound and had to make weekly trips to the oncologist for it to be checked. Things were on the upswing.
Scans and blood work continue to come back with good results, and though there are still some complications that have been ongoing from the chemotherapy, I am looking ahead...and looking up!
My God, My Healer, My Hope is what brought me through. My cancer continues to remain in remission and after next year I can be officially "cancer free", though I am cancer free right now in my book!
I am thankful for what God has brought our family through. Not just in my story, but other examples in our entire family. We want our girls to know and believe that there is a Savior who cares about our every need.
If you are reading this, and you have a need for God to do a work in your life, DON'T GIVE UP HOPE! He loves you and wants the very best as you serve Him.