Each person experiences a different cancer journey, yet they all begin with the same three words,” you have cancer”. My journey began with me sitting on my couch, by myself holding the phone to my ear allowing those words from my surgeon to sink in. Quickly my body pulled itself into a fetal position, trying to go to a small, safe place. Panic took over and all I could do is scream and cry with no one listening other than my God. At that moment, a sense of calm came over me, and I was reminded that I wasn’t alone. God was way ahead of me and the road I was about to travel was marked with love, faithfulness, and clear direction of where to go one step at a time.
My stepdaughter was 7 years old at the time and was completely unaware of how her life was about to change. As most parents, I wanted to protect her, shield her from this ugly monster that quickly invaded our peaceful life. So who do you call? Not the Ghostbusters, but Grandma for her, and my parents, husband, and close friends for me! With eagerness I called upon my troops, and without hesitation they responded. With lily(my stepdaughter) occupied by a swing outside, my support system circled around me, laying hands upon me, lifting up earnest prayers to God.
As I began to travel through my cancer journey toward healing, I was confronted with how my role as a wife, teacher, and mother would change. I had so many questions, and very few answers. How could I explain the complexity of cancer, the overwhelming fear of the unknown, and yet provide reassurance to my stepdaughter and the other children in my everyday life? The search was on to find the answers to these questions with little positive results. I soon discovered children’s books about cancer often involved death (which is understandable) but was difficult for me to read, or symbolism that I feared would only cause more confusion. God equipped me with a new phrase which I voiced on a daily basis. These three words became a powerful tool in providing reassurance and comfort during the difficult time of uncontrollable change. The three harsh words that began my cancer journey quickly faded and were replaced with a calm whisper in my ear, “it’s still me”.